I am a 52 year-old woman and mother of four. A wife for almost twenty-six years but I wished I had been born a boy.
Probably until I was well into junior high and maybe even high school I was fairly convinced God had simply mixed me up with John Mark, the name my parents had selected if I had been born male.
You see, I am over six feet tall and very large framed. I wear a size thirteen shoe. My hands are as large as any man my height. I was always told I had a pretty face but because of my height I was able to carry a lot of extra weight without looking fat and the fullness on my frame tended to make me look less pretty and just attractive. Still I never felt pretty or much less feminine.
So for many years I wondered. Did God make a mistake?
As I watch and listen to the coverage of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and the many stories of gender identification concerns, I wonder what life would have been like for me if I were growing up now rather than in the sixties and seventies.
Back then when a girl like me came along they called me tomboy. For the guys the term was sissy or girlie.
I suppose it was probably easier to be a “tomboy” rather than a “girlie” or “sissy” guy but maybe not. Just like the guys opposite me, I was having trouble finding comfort in what God made me to be.
But that was part of the journey He had for me.
It’s a journey I am thankful was accompanied by parents, peers and mentors that taught me God does not make mistakes.
Life was very difficult at times and the scars of adolescent taunts, a very low self esteem and deep, deep loneliness took its toll for many years but that was the journey God had for me.
I am so thankful I was not approached by anyone that might have worked to convince me I was not what God made me to be and I wonder often, what if?
What if, in my adolescence, my deep loneliness, a girl had kissed me and I liked it?
Think back to your own adolescence.
Remember how the slightest intimate touch induced chills?
What if someone of the same sex had touched you? Could the flutter and chills of your adolescent senses have possibly been misinterpreted? Leading you to a destiny not planned for you?
My heart aches for Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and those who have walked a similar journey. If he were my friend or part of my family I would simply love him.
My concern is for what we are doing to ourselves as we seek to continue down a road that tries to recreate our lives into what we want them to be rather than what God created us to be. The road we are paving for our children is so confusing and hard and it doesn’t have to be.
I am so thankful my path was exactly as it was.
I am so thankful that eventually it was a path that led me to a man, my husband, that filled the deep loneliness with a love so complete I can’t imagine life without him.
I am still a tomboy. I struggle to identify with many of the women in my life.
I had a conversation with a co-worker just last year. I was concerned about my inability to connect with a couple of the women I was working with. I told him I could not understand why they seemed to not like me, why they almost seemed uncomfortable around me. His response still makes me laugh. He said, “Well LaVern, you’re basically a dude! You’re intimidating as hell.”
So still, as basically a dude, I am completely and fully a girl, a woman.
Fully and completely comfortable with who and what God made me to be.
I still detest dressing like a woman. I hate dresses and frills.
I spend as much time as possible in my favorite muck boots and weathered tattered clothes working outside, getting as dirty as possible.
I’m proud my hands look like hands that work, not like a man but like a woman.
A woman that may be a bit rough around the edges but make no mistake, still one-hundred percent woman.
The woman God made me to be.
Perfect but flawed.
And praying without ceasing for those still on the journey to find peace and understanding of their own flawed perfection and the perfect plan God has for them.
God Bless and Laus Deo.
A career long broadcaster, most recently with The Blaze TV, LaVern Vivio is an author, speaker, and works in ministry and community outreach programs throughout the Christian community. She attended Freed Hardeman University, graduated from David Lipscomb University and served as an adjunct professor and High School teacher part time. Her website is http://lavernvivio.com