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The Unpaved Road

Robyn Jane Sheppard

Copyright 2010 by Robyn Jane Sheppard

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The Unpaved Road


"One is not born a woman, but becomes one." –Simone de Beauvoir


Looking back on my life, I can see every step that brought me to where I am today. After all, hindsight is always 20-20, isn't it? But at the time, nothing was this clear.

When I was born, and for many years afterwards, my parents believed that they had a son. After all, I had the requisite plumbing, so they raised me—nowadays we'd say socialized me—as a boy. They gave me a boy's name—Robert—the whole nine yards. Boy clothes, boy toys, boy everything.

I hated the name Robert. At least they called me "Bobby" when I was younger, and that was a girl's name, wasn't it? Bobbie?

It wasn't until I was about six or seven that I began to realize that something wasn't right. It wasn't anything in particular. There was no blinding flash of revelation, no epiphany, just the increasing feeling that I somehow didn't quite fit, didn't belong. And when I finally saw my first naked girl (my 6-year-old girl friend's 4-year-old sister), I had my first clue. I looked at the nothing that she had where I had a something, and asked, "What happened to it?" The answer, of course, was that nothing had happened to it; that was just the way it was. More questions revealed the fact that all girls were that way.

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