Friday, October 22, 2010

Thank You, Young Man

When I was in second grade I had very long hair.
Like Rapunzel.

One day my mom took me to have my hair cut.
While I was there, I saw a picture of a girl with a very short hair style.

So on a whim, I decided I was going to cut all my hair off.
My mom allowed this, because she was nice about letting me make my own decisions.
Even though I was 7.

She asked me if I was sure several times.
But my mind was made up.

So the haircut was done.

I was very excited. A weight had been lifted off my head, literally.
Everything was breezy!
I was just like Mary Anne in that Baby-Sitter's Club book where she cuts her hair and starts wearing make-up.

Except that Mary Anne was much older than me.
She had boobs.

People could easily discern that she was a woman.


So begins a very traumatizing experience in my young life.
I was constantly mistaken for a boy.

Just when I was beaten down enough, wearing dresses and girlish clothes ALL THE TIME, I had to run the attendance sheet to the front office at school.

I remember what I was wearing - an all-purple outfit, in a floral fabric. With a little vest.

I handed the sheet to our front desk woman.
She said, "Thank you, young man."

I was immediately crushed, I mumbled "I'm a girl."
There is no way she heard me.

Not too long after that I was waiting in line to use the restroom.
The other young girls began screaming, "There's a boy in the bathroom, aaaah!"

At first I didn't realize they were talking about me.
Then they started pointing and saying, "This is the girls bathroom!"

This time I was louder.
"I AM a GIRL."
But they did not stop.
So I kept repeating it all the way to the stall.

Then I got a perm.
Like Annie.
It did not help with things really.

The hardest part about this haircut was that, while I did not want it anymore, it was impossible to grow out.

It looked like a mullet.

A mullet, for whatever reason, was much worse than being mistaken for a boy.
So I kept hating it and getting it cut again.

Eventually I resigned myself to growing it out.
Pictures of me from that time are...upsetting.

It finally grew out and I was a girl again.

But some sort of crucial self-image damage had been done.
For the rest of my life, even now, there are times when I feel like a dude.
And I think that everyone around me thinks I am one.

This usually only happens when I am with a group of girls.

I don't know how to talk to them.
In some part of my mind, I think I still worry they will suddenly start yelling "There's a boy!"

Like I'm that coyote that dresses up like a sheep to fool that dog.

It's probably why I don't have many girl friends.
It's definitely why I won't cut my hair shorter than my chin.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Your Horrible Injury

People enjoy describing their various injuries to me in graphic detail.
I don't know why this is.

But I do know that it causes some sort of impossible panic for me.

Part of this might be the disturbing visuals that my brain projects while I listen to a story.
If you say cupcake, I see a cupcake.

If you say, broken bone protruding through skin.
I see a broken bone. Protruding through skin.

This is not a pleasant visual.
It will bring on waves of nausea for me. I will feel like I'm going to faint and I do not know why.
I assume it's a panic attack.
There's no fast beating heart to cue me in though.
Just nausea, dizziness, and the feeling that the world may end.

But often I can't tell someone to stop telling the story.
I'm frozen in horror.

Like the time I was temping for a woman who was going to be out with an injury for a month.
She felt that part of my training involved telling me why she would be out.

You see, she broke her toe.

But she didn't know it was broken. She had recently taken up jogging and thought she might have strained the muscle.

She thought she should continue jogging. But stretch the toe out before and after. With her hands.

That made it hurt much worse. So she went to the doctor. He explained that forcing the broken bone to stretch had caused the bone to splinter and go everywhere.

She was now in danger of a blood clot being created. From all the bone splinter stretching.
She had to be on bed rest for a month to minimize the risk.

During this entire story, I prayed I would not faint, even though the blackness was starting to come in at the corners of my eyes.

Somehow I made it through. I didn't even throw up.

I earned that temp gig.
But the cost is remembering that story in detail, all the time.

Note: If we're friends, please do not take this as an invitation to tell me your horrible injury stories. I really don't handle it well. This was not a dramatization.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant (the show)

Did you know there is a reality, re-enactment style show on cable called 'I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant?
Well, there definitely is.

It is the most horrifying show on television.

On the show, different women relate the stories of not knowing they were pregnant and then suddenly giving birth. They are not all overweight, like so many urban legends would have us believe. 

They become pregnant and have absolutely no symptoms - no weight gain, they still have their periods, etc. Then one day they are in horrible pain and a baby falls out of them.

This scenario is pretty high on my list of the most scary, most awful things ever.

First of all, pregnancy in general upsets me.
The idea of something living and growing inside me, eating my food and making me crazy is not appealing. It just reminds me of Aliens.

Then one day it bursts out of you, destroying all sorts of you inner lady parts.

Some women have to have stitches after. Guess where I don't want stitches?

I'm sure you're thinking, alright maybe that part is awful, but afterwards you get to have a baby!
You can hold it and squeeze it and teach it things for the next 18 years!

Sure, that's one scenario.
It's far more likely that your child will be several awful things as it approaches adulthood.

At first it will be a baby, that screams and cries and steals your sleep.

In its toddler years it will still scream and cry, but now it can RUN.

Around the ages of 9-12 it will be a ball of awkward energy. Talking too loud in public and becoming overly emotional at every turn.

Then from 13-18 it will be some variety of teenage mess, most likely resenting and avoiding you. It probably does secret drugs and has secret rendezvous with other teenage messes, secretly.

Maybe by the time it's done with college it will have decided it doesn't hate you, that you didn't screw it up that badly and you can go on about your lives as adults.

Or maybe it will be some sort of depraved, sex maniac serial killer that you have to bail out of jail on a regular basis. It will use guilt from childhood to make you let it sleep on your couch.

So you can imagine my horror at the thought of one of these things hanging out in my uterus WITHOUT ME EVEN KNOWING.  And it happens to enough women that they can base a whole show around it??

I had to stop watching that show, but that doesn't mean I stopped thinking about this life-ruining scenario and all the horror that it would bring. 

...can you tell I don't want kids?