Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-03-21
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



VIEWPOINTS The Seasoned Life
by Jano

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

You might find this hard to believe, but it's true.

Before I came to earth I had already picked out my parents and siblings and waited for the correct body for myself. I waited until I grew impatient and finally requested, "Next available, please." The third day of August, I was born a 6 lb 5 oz baby girl.

For many years I thought that my little girl's life was like most little girls. I played drums with pencils on the top of the grits box. I woke up looking forward to playing baseball with my plastic ball and bat. On Friday nights, I went to sleep listening to the boxing match on the radio as my bedtime story and dreamed of playing for the Chicago Cubs when I grew up.

One day, a backyard friend told me that if I could kiss my own elbow, I could change into a boy. He had witnessed my frustrations, as adults on the street on the other side of our fence had commented on my baseball enthusiasm. They often made my friends, who were boys, feel bad for being out hustled by a girl. I didn't want them to feel bad or for me—to continue to feel that I couldn't be the winner in our games, because I was a girl. So I spent a whole 6-year-old summer day trying to turn myself into a boy.

I kept trying to kiss my own elbow. My sister Tam, who was two years older, monitored my progress and encouraged me to twist that elbow a little more. I even made up a song expressing my efforts, "Boy, girl, boy oy oy oy." But by evening, we were both tired and resigned to the fact that I would never be able to kiss my own elbow, which meant, I would have to remain a girl for the rest of my life.

I went on playdates with my best friend from school, to cook with her Easy Bake Oven and play hours of boring games like hopscotch and rock teacher. When I became old enough to understand where babies came from, which to me was the main thing that made girls different from boys, I figured one day, I too would have a child. In my naiveté I imagined I could have enough children to form a basketball team.

The day before I was to enter eighth grade my life changed forever; I came on my period. Although my mother had been very instructive about menstrual cycles and what it meant, the thing I remember her saying sadly and almost apologetically was, "You can no longer play with the boys like you have been. You have to be more careful now." She even admitted that she had prayed that I did not start menstruating until I turned 17.

For the next 40 years, life was dictated by my menstrual cycle. In the beginning, the joy and wild abandon I had in playing an impromptu game of slow-pitch softball became an excuse or feigned disinterest for not joining in. The flame of my natural desire to climb a tree or scale a fence was dampened by the red and white between my legs. At any moment, I could go from laughing with the boys to being pulled aside and whispered to, about the untimely red stains on the back of my clothes.

Moving from my teens to adulthood did not make these monthly visits any easier. The boy that lived inside of me had learned how to impersonate a girl so well. However, when it came to that monthly cycle, I harbored confusion, depression and shame. I often felt bullied as well as betrayed by life. It was oppressive and kept me tethered to a spirit of caution so deep that I often rearranged my plans with friends ( which made me seem fickle ) because of its untimely arrival and my inability to understand or manage it. I recall watching the women's track and field event at the 1988 Summer Olympics on television, wondering what their secrets were for running in those outfits seemingly unconcerned of whether they would come on their period before the finish line.

Then one day, my menstrual cycle stopped; which turned into a year of not showing up. Which turned into a different season of this female body—menopause.

The end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

I graciously accepted it.

Jano is a writer with an insatiable curiosity who has also written for the Chicago Defender, Chicago Sun-Times, Out Magazine, Fisk University Almanac of Popular Culture and more. She wrote a column for Nightlines, a sister publication to Outlines ( now Windy City Times ) in the 1990s.

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

W.O.M.B. marks first anniversary at Affinity 2018-03-22 - E. Nina J. and Lucy Shumpert marked the first anniversary of their monthly women of color poetry and spoken word open mic night ...

Gay News

SAGE Condemns Erasure of Lesbian and Bi Women by HHS 2018-03-22 - [New York, NY] In what is becoming a trend, the Trump administration is once again trying to make LGBT people invisible. The administration ...

Gay News

Kendell stepping away from NCLR leadership 2018-03-15 - The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) announced that after more than 22 years, Kate Kendell will be stepping down from ...

Gay News

LGBT judges discuss paths to the bench 2018-03-14 - A panel of prominent LGBT judges and one justice from the Illinois State Supreme Court met March 8 to discuss the need for ...

Gay News

Annise Parker looks to 2018 midterms 2018-03-14 - According to former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who now heads the political organization the Victory Fund, "this is a going to be a ...

Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT Nine 10-minute plays about lesbians 2018-03-14 - Nine 10-minute plays about lesbians are on tap this weekend in Buena Park. With History Lezons, a roster of playwrights who identity as ...

Gay News

Lesbian-themed 'The Cake' coming up 2018-03-14 - Rivendell Theatre Ensemble ( RTE )—Chicago's only Equity theater dedicated to producing new work with women at the core—announced the Midwest premiere of ...

Gay News

Ndegeocello in Chicago, Evanston March 24-26 2018-03-13 - Out musician Meshell Ndegeocello will perform in Chicago and Evanston on March 24 and 26. She is slated to perform at Chicago's Promontory, ...

Gay News

BOOKS 'Sisters in the Life' spotlights Black lesbian filmmakers 2018-03-13 - Anyone who has seen Cheryl Dunye's The Watermelon Woman might remember it as a charming, unusual film, a faux documentary set in Philadelphia ...

Gay News

Lesbian Super PAC endorses Marie Newman in Illinois Dist. 3 Dem primary 2018-03-12 - Washington, DC- LPAC, the country's only lesbian political action committee, today announced its endorsement of Marie Newman for U.S. Congress, Illinois District 3. ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.