Monday, December 13, 2010
Princess Boy (Ang Kabaliktaran ng Tomboy)
I will be looking for a copy of "My Princess Boy" this weekend. The book is about a 4-year old boy who likes sparkly dresses (and other things that are traditionally for girls) and his family's support for his behavior notwithstanding the criticism from the people around them. The book has sparked a debate between those that support acceptance and unconditional love vs. those that maintain that parents need to steer a child along the norms of society.
As a child, I didn't feel I was different, until I was told to change. My father told me to behave more manly. My grandmother also said that I should practice speaking with a voice that's an octave lower. Sadly, these sparked feelings of confusion and paranoia. I gradually saw more clearly how my father loved me less, as my mom and aunts tried to cover for the shortfall.
That said, my dad was a responsible father. He tried his best, given that he was an orphan who did not have the benefit of experiencing a loving family. His main goal was for each one of us to have a good future. And maybe that was in his mind when he told me to change.
I tried to conform to the norms of society, and it did make my teen and college years easier. I gained a wider set of friends and became more popular. But I never felt that any of these brought me closer to my father. Maybe because I was still the most effeminate of us siblings, the only one who couldn't say no to my parents.
My dad passed away around this time of the year. Just before he died, he told me that he was very grateful that I was their son. That among his children, I was the most selfless and the only one who was fearless in demonstrating my love for him and my mom. And that he loved me. It might have taken my dad a lifetime, but it was then that I finally felt I was my father's princess.
photo credit: maximooliveros.tripod.com