Since I cannot run after a girl, I decided to run after a cheap soccer ball. I didn’t know happiness could cost 7$, well, you know, a kind of happiness, a bracket of joy and overall, an activity to do on Saturday afternoon. I spent all my morning doing some shopping for my cat (she needed her own ball too) and checking some other stuff, cooking like crazy for lunch, speedy due to my 3 coffee shots, I went to the library, I bought litter for my bitch and finally…I decided to kick the ball.
Probably you don’t know what it means for a Peruvian girl playing football (what in US and Canada is Soccer). Football is a man’s sport. Macho sport, you run after the ball, you fight other team players for stealing the ball, you insult your opponent, you become temperamental and so other incomprehensible things related to man’s behavior, I mean, things associated to masculinity or masculine gender.
And there I was. A woman playing with a ball, which is unthinkable for my Peruvian gender, homo sportivus, running from left to right, kicking the ball against the wall, feeling my legs could run faster than the ball…it wasn’t just doing an activity, it was like defeating one fear, just one, I dared to do something it was forbidden or bad seen in my own country. Of course, now I’m in Canada, soccer is a girlish sport, men play hockey, breaking bonse is more masculine than just look after a ridiculous ball and share it with other 11 team players. In Peru, when a woman plays soccer everybody laughs and think she’s a butch, they say “you should go back to the kitchen”. Now it’s different, but still, that way of thinking still remains. Many lesbians play soccer, so, if you don’t want to be insulted or if you want to remind hidden or invisible, or if you want to protect yourself, because show up can be dangerous, don’t run after a ball.
When I was running behind the ball, I got the strange sensation …I was feeling comfortable, with myself, with my identity and with my masculine underwear (which, by the way, it very comfortable and sexy). Suddenly, I remembered when I was a kid, when my mother, at the time, thought it would be a good idea to cut short and short my hair because in her mind, that would make stronger and thicker my fine dolly hair. I remember I wanted to play football with the other kids, of course, there’s always someone who yells at you “that’s not for girls!!!” or “you’re a girl not a boy”. I remember once, when I was at my aunt’s house, a group of boys got confused and invited to join then for playing a football game…and my cousin’s just pissed me off saying “she’s a girl!”…damn, can we have surprises in life? They got one, and I was feeling like uncovered. Well, I was 8 years old. There were many times after that episode people thought I was a boy not a girl, I was skinny with short hair. I don’t know if I’m still skinny, but 55 kg. are ok on me.
All that for saying kicking a ball has a gender connotation in me. Once, I wanted to fly a kite. So, I asked my dad to buy one and go to the park to play with it. My father was a bit mad at me and he said “That’s for boys, it’s like you brother wanted to play with dolls”. Honestly, my brother is so useless in all senses that playing with a doll it would have been an incredible odd activity, most of his time he spent it reading things even stickers on cans or whatever thing with any information on it. Boring life, well, his life, not mine.
I’m discovering myself, I’m feeling I’m building my real me, my real identity, which is not only a gender issue, it’s more than that, it’s feeling comfortable, oneself, confident, visible, honest, the real me or at least what I want to be.
I’m kicking off the ball now. Now people can see me and I’m not scared to show up.