I am the youngest of two children. My older brother, Stephen, is almost three years older than me.
Growing up, I wanted little more than to be just like Stephen.
He played soccer; I played soccer.
He made machine gun noises with his mouth; I made machine gun noises with my mouth.
He burped on command; I forced stomach acid back up my esophagus.
He gleeked; I shoved my tongue against the back of my top teeth and tried my hardest to shoot saliva from under there.
It was almost like looking in the mirror.
In our neighborhood, most of the kids were boys. So I was a tomboy.
We climbed trees, fished crawdads out of the creek behind our house, played baseball and tag football. I was just one of the guys.
At least in my mind.
Except for one glaring difference.
When we were playing baseball across the street at Michael’s house and one of the boys had to pee, they found the nearest tree, took care of business, and were back in the game in no time.
I, on the other hand, had to run all the way home; trek inside the house; into the bathroom; sit, go, and wipe; and then reverse the steps to get back in the game.
I wanted to pee like my brother. Like the boys.
It wasn’t the first time either. When I was little, my mom snapped a photo of me sitting backwards on the toilet, trying to pee like Stephen.
One summer afternoon, when I was around eight years old, I was playing baseball with the boys when nature called.
I ran home.
I did not go inside.
Instead, I pulled down my pants, squatted in the front flower bed, and relieved myself.
It may not have been anywhere near a tree.
It may not have been close to the baseball game (I needed some privacy after all).
But it was outside.
Just like my brother.