Originally posted on Medium.
Honestly, I don’t remember much of Josh. We were friends as children, two little four year olds brought together by neighboring homes and brothers who hung out. That’s how many of my friendships started as a child—through simply having a big brother.
Josh was built like a football player, even at four. He was burly, maybe a little chubby, and had the classic “wittle kid” voice. He tended to be rough with his brothers around (who were older and equally/more built) but he always treated me appropriately. I was still pretty small and thin, and we played accordingly. It wasn’t because I was a girl, we just weren’t rough-housing friends. It’s amazing how simple friendships can be.
We attended the same preschool. My mother was driving us home, and for some reason, we were bickering. I’ve never liked being told what to do, but apparently four-year-old-me was not having any of it that day.
At the time, it didn’t matter that he was a boy vs a girl telling me what to do, or whatever the context was. I was too young for that social perspective and lived my life as a person, with a lack of labels or expectations according to my gender/socio-economic status. I was just Brynna. I liked drawing and cats. That was all I really needed to ‘define’ me.
I’ve let people be the boss of me since. My persistence has been worn down by the world, but I’ve returned to the four-year-old’s mentality. He wasn’t the boss of me then, and nobody is the boss of me now. Not even my boss. I can quit my jobs, but I can’t quit me.