Sunday, June 7, 2009

An Assault On Innocence.

I was nearly four years old, when my mother left me with the Kingston girls one summer afternoon. The Kingston girls were the two sweet teenage daughters of a man and his wife, who happened to be friends of my mother and father. They lived about a mile or two down the road from us.

We were upstairs, in the girl's knotty pine paneled bedroom. Jacqueline had a bottle of brilliant red nail polish, and she and her sister were painting their nails with it. I was absolutely fascinated with what they were doing, and watched with rapt attention. The girls noticed my fascination, and Jacqueline sweetly asked me if I wanted her to do my nails too. Enthusiastically, I said yes, and she proceeded to meticulously apply the fire engine red polish to my nails as well. When she was done, I was positively thrilled with the way they looked. I too now, had pretty bright red nails just like them!

Soon it was time to go home. Jacqueline picked me up, and put me in the wire basket attached to the handlebars of her bicycle, and pedaled me down the road to our house. All the way home, I couldn't take my eyes off of my hands. The bright red nail polish flickered in the light of the summer sun, and made my nails look magical! I was so proud of them! I couldn't wait to show them to my mother, when I got home. Jacqueline turned her bike into our driveway, and when she came to a stop, she lifted me out of the basket, and set me down on the side walk. I ran to the front door and went inside. Mom was sitting in a chair next the fireplace, and I ran up to her with my hands extended to share my joy. As Jacqueline walked in the door behind me, the smile on my mother's face quickly turned to a scowl, and she blew up! Yelling and screaming at Jacqueline for putting nail polish on a boy, she grabbed me by the hand and jerked me up the stairs to the bathroom, where she immediately removed my beautiful red nail polish.

I can't remember exactly what my mother said to me as she angrily removed my pretty red nail polish, and along with it every shred of joy that I had felt moments earlier, but I think it's the first time I ever heard the word, sissy.

8 comments:

Leslie Ann said...

Welcome to blogger, Melissa!

That's a very apt title for your tale. Which is the more powerful memory for you? The joy or the ensuing anger? You make both sound very fresh and vibrant.

Have you ever shared with your mother what an impact this had on you?

So many questions!

Melissa said...

Thank you, Leslie Ann! :) Yes it remains a very powerful memory, both for the joy those two girls gave me, and for the pain caused my mother's rejection of it. It is also my very first transgender memory. My relationship with my mother was filled with similar experiences, while growing up. Mom grew up a very spoiled girl, with a very manly father and four very manly brothers. This gave her a very warped outlook on gender. To her, there were two completely different standards for males and females, and you didn't ever cross that line. Her standards were so warped and ignorant, that she actually thought that shampoo was only for women and girls. Men and boys were supposed to wash their hair with a bar of soap! Imagine being transgendered and growing up with a mother like that. I could never confide in her about my feelings, because I knew I would get no sympathy. When I came out to her about twenty years ago, I told about that day and many of the other biting comments she made to when I was a child, but she has always been in denial, and said she couldn't remember ever saying those things. The best she could do, was an admission that she may have been a little bit hard on me. I think she does feel some guilt, because she is nicer to me today, but it took going on Zoloft to control her moods, for her to get that way.

Melissa

Veronica said...

Thank you for directing me to this entry. What a terrible thing that what you were so happy and proud about was so horribly denigrated.

Cynthia said...

Our Dear Melissa,

I had been wanting to send you a note of prayers and well-wishes, but I wasn't sure where to post it. I caught Calie's note to go to this post on your blog so I could leave a message of good cheer and my most heartfelt prayers for your speedy recovery from this terrible cancer. I remember reading this post previously when I first found your blog. It held some very poignant and similar issues from my own childhood.

You are one of the sweetest ladies to grace the land of blog. Please fight the good battle, Melissa.

I have been praying daily for you and your mother. My brother is currently fighting cancer for the third time, so I am constantly in prayer, for BOTH of you.

I haven't cried this much since I was a small child. My tears are for both of you to beat this demon of a cancer.

I pray that you know the Lord just as you said your sister did before her passing.

Melissa, we all love you and want you to come back to us. If for any reason you would like to, and feel up to it, you are more than welcome to contact me at, fandfmfgco(AT)gmail(DOT)com .

Faith, Love, Prayers, and Hugs,

Cynthia XX

Dru Marland said...

Hello, Melissa. Read about your status over on T-Central. I wondered why you'd been so quiet lately. You are in my thoughts.

Sarah Murphy said...

Melissa,

You have been in my thoughts for a long time, and I hope that you and yours are okay. It was at Callie's prompting that I came here. I remember reading this a long time ago, and recall it triggering a vague memory I couldn't grasp at the time. When I read it again, the memory was now full force in my mind. We are never alone in these things. Whatever we go through I keep finding we are never alone. Hang in there Melissa. ((((( <3 )))))

Sarah

Quay Summer said...

Melissa - It's amazing in a sad way the way we all have such stories from our childhood. I read about your illness over at T-Central, all I can do is wish you the best - Quay

susanmiller64 said...

A great story and such a wonderful memory even though your mom didn’t understand and overreacted. I hope that things between you and your mother are good and that she can accept you for who you are.
Susan