Growing up with three older brothers, an older sister who was the definition of a tomboy, and a lot of hand-me-down clothes were the key reasons I was a tomboy. When you’re a little girl, you look up to your older siblings, and you usually try and act a little like them; sometimes you even want to look like them.

Constantly being around my siblings and cousins taught me that it’s OK to join in with the boys all the time -- especially when it comes to sports. Since sports took up most of my free time, practicing with the guys in my family gave me my best competition and taught me how to be strong. Sports in general were a big deal in my family; we were always at soccer practices, basketball games, playing football on Thanksgiving Day, playing head-it-catch-it in the living room, or playing kick ball in the backyard. Playing sports is the reason I would dress in shorts and a t-shirt every day -- because I wanted to always be prepared for any sport someone would ask me to play.

Being a tomboy when you’re younger doesn’t make you stick out like a sore thumb like some people might think. The innocence of a child comes into play, and you fit in no matter what you’re doing or who you’re with. During elementary school, I would wear basketball shorts and a raggedy t-shirt with tennis shoes, my hair would be in a slicked-back ponytail for a week straight, and I would always refuse to shower. I was known as the athletic kid in elementary school. Recess was my favorite part of the day because I got to enjoy a game of soccer or I would join in on the boys-only basketball games. When everyone got tired of playing soccer or basketball, I would hang out with the guys; I even remember one time, I had a pull-up contest with one of the strongest guys in my grade, and I ended up winning. Recess rarely consisted of me swinging on the swings or picking flowers. The only teacher’s pet I was OK with being was for my gym class. Every time we would have a workout to do or a game to play, I would always be the first to volunteer. During the times we would do the PACER Test, it would be the biggest competition between me and my other tomboy friend and our guy friend we always played soccer with. Everything we ended up doing in gym class was a competition --especially scooter races. Elementary school consisted of me being overly athletic and never dressing appropriate for the weather or picture days.

When middle school rolled around, I was still known as a tomboy. My outfits changed a little bit; I would wear jean shorts or soccer shorts and an Abercrombie/Aeropostale shirt and still plain old tennis shoes. My hair was in a ponytail every day even when I would sleep; however, they started to be side ponytails or an attempted braid. Since recess wasn’t around anymore, my new favorite time of the day was gym class. When we were able to try out for sports in seventh and eighth grade, I ended up trying out for every sport and I played every sport they had to offer. Middle school was a time I enjoyed being a tomboy and playing every sport.

Elementary school, middle school, and with my family were the times I acted most like a tomboy. After middle school, I ended up dressing up a little bit more, styled my hair or wore it down, and didn’t just focus on sports. However, I will always be a tomboy at heart because I know I’m not a huge fan of dressing up, my go-to is leggings and a t-shirt, if I was given an opportunity to play against guys in any sport I wouldn’t hesitate to compete against them, and if I don’t win then I’ll ask for a rematch, and I still hardly do anything with my hair because I’m too lazy to do so. What it was like to be a tomboy was refreshing because I learned a lot in the process and I always did what I loved.