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Things I Did Because I Had a Crush on a Girl

A little backstory: for those of you familiar with the Game of Life (and for my fellow computer scientists, I mean the board game, not the cellular automation) you will know that as you play, your character can get married and have children. These additions to your fictional family are represented by either a blue or a pink person piece, a man or a woman respectively (the modern game is truly a product of the decade it was invented in). It was expected, also, that if you played as a pink piece, marriage would result in a new blue piece. However, according to my mom, seven-year-old me refused to accept this norm and instead opted to have my family be entirely pink - me, my real-life friend at the time as my “wife”, and the two twin daughters we apparently adopted. My justification at the time had apparently been that I didn’t want a husband, and living with my female friend seemed like the only viable option for a happy life. Nine years later, at sixteen, I came out as bisexual. My mom accepted me with all the warmth and love you could ask for… before then calling me out by telling me that the closet door had been basically glass my whole life.

We have all done stupid things to try and impress a crush, and the gays even more so, because we had no idea it was even a crush. Although it has improved immensely since we were children, the heteronormative ideals of society played a huge part in confusing and invalidating the feelings of young queer people. So many queer people mistake intense attachments to a particular person as just a really strong platonic friendship and disregard the possibility of it being a crush, but subconsciously behave as if it were a crush all the same. In my personal experience, being born a female meant that every boy I interacted with had to be a crush, and that one day I would grow up and have a husband. I had no idea how to understand and process the interest I had in girls, which is part of why it took me such a long time to work it out. My Game of Life moment was probably the first time I ever expressed an interest in girls in a non-platonic sense (not that I was aware of that), but it was by no means the last. So here, I will be telling some small stories of the ridiculous things I did as a kid to impress girls I was crushing on without even realising it.

Pretend to like Makeup Vloggers

In 2015, the British vlogger boom was at its peak, and the ringleader of this was arguably Zoella, who made videos about makeup, clothes, and her lifestyle. She was the go-to for preteen girls, and my best friend at the time was obsessed with her. I, however, didn’t understand why in the slightest. It was five years too early for my “trying out makeup” phase and I never quite comprehended what was so fun about buying these strange creams and powders and putting them on your face. Despite this, I noticed her growing interest with Zoella - always watching her videos after school and coming into class with one of her makeup bags as a pencil case. In an effort to get closer with her, one day I opened up my laptop, logged into YouTube and tried to be interested in it. I even begged my parents for her merch and her books - these objects only ever saw the light of day if I brought them to school, though. Otherwise, they sat in the corner of my room, collecting dust. It never clicked, and I’m pretty sure I gaslit myself into enjoying it, but to be able to have something extra to talk about with my friend felt completely worth it.

Get “married” with a Haribo Ring

It is a childhood rite of passage to have or attend a fake wedding on the primary school playground (or at least I hope it is, otherwise my primary school games seem very strange in hindsight). When this trend started spreading throughout my own year group, I remember jumping at the opportunity to ask one of my female friends to “marry” me, despite having no idea why I was so indifferent to the idea when one of my male friends “proposed” to me. My female friend and I got “married” by exchanging Haribo rings, and the happiness I felt that day should’ve been enough of an indicator that I was having crushes on girls.

Try to like Twilight

Another close friend of mine was obsessed with Twilight, and anything vampire. Similarly to the makeup vloggers, I conceded to sitting down and watching the entire Twilight saga in all its cinematic glory, just to try and understand the hype around it all and to have more to talk to my friend about. I must admit that I truly did enjoy the experience… until my friend asked me if I was Team Jacob or Team Edward. My brain glitched in that moment, struggling to give an appropriate answer as I realised that I hadn’t been paying attention to the love triangle in the slightest - I had been busy looking at Kristen Stewart.

Start Journalling

This is less of a “ridiculous” thing that I did, but out of the blue all the same. I have expressed how I enjoy journaling in previous posts on this blog, but never explained the origin of it. While now a genuine practice in reflection and an amazing tool for working through emotions, my original motivation to journal was, ridiculously, because of a girl. I had noticed my friend sitting on a bench on the school playground, keeping to herself, and I asked her what she was doing. She showed me this notebook she’d been writing in, and told me she was trying to keep a diary. I joined in with this hobby, with her permission of course, and we settled into a really fun routine of journaling and meeting up at lunch everyday to compare what we’d written. Unlike Zoella and Twilight, however, this hobby obviously stood the test of time for me, as I continued journaling after she gave it up. That’s definitely not to say that I wasn’t crushed when she told me she’d gotten bored of it, and that we’d no longer have this exclusive “best friend” activity to do anymore. Healthily crushed, though, of course <3

Be on the Girls Football Team

Anyone who knows me knows that I am easily the last person who should be participating in competitive sports. I have zero hand-eye coordination, have comically slow reaction time, and get overwhelmed if multiple intense sensory things are happening at once. Essentially, sports are like the epitome of everything I struggle with (I struggle in the slay way though). And yet, something possessed me to want to join the girls football team in primary school despite knowing I had absolutely nothing of value to offer the team. That something was so obviously my footballer friend, who I was so obviously crushing on. Obvious to everyone except myself, that is.

These things are definitely not an exhaustive list, but they are most certainly my favourites from my childhood. Hopefully the slightly embarrassing lengths I used to go to in order to impress a girl will reassure you that hardly any of us navigated our gay confusion as smoothly as we hoped we could. But at least it makes for funny stories today, as totally well-adjusted queer adults.

By Freya (she/they) <3



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