When I was a little girl

My dad had no sons. Just me and my sister. My sister was the stereotypical girl. I wasn’t. I actually loathed all things girl. So I became a boy substitute for my dad. He’d take my little 5 year old self hunting and fishing with him. I liked the camaraderie. I liked being one of the guys and talking about things that interested me. I enjoyed these trips with my dad. Usually.

I remember once he took me bird hunting. I don’t remember which kind. He shot it and I was supposed to go get it. I’d never been that close to death. It wasn’t dead yet. It was still flapping its wings in confused panic. I could feel its pain. I could feel its terror. I was terrified and horrified and still he urged me to go get it.

I remember being frozen. I refused to move. I sat my tiny self down, put my head in my hands and did the one thing I was taught not to do. I cried. I sobbed bigger than I ever had. I don’t really remember what happened after that. I do know I was never taken hunting again.

This reaction had nothing to do with me being a girl. I’m sure the same thing would have happened if I had been a boy. Both parents taught us a love of life and a love of animals. We were to respect animals. They both also rescued animals found to rehabilitate. So being a part of killing an animal struck me as just wrong.

So it really shouldn’t have been a surprise. But it was. That was the first time I truly disappointed my father. It wouldn’t be the last.

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