When I first got into high school, I tried to fit in. Â It was like dressing in costume everyday. Â When I look back at pictures of me trying to be a girl, itâ€™s like seeing me in drag, but without a drag queens sense of style. Â I wore make-up and let my mom help me pick out clothes at the JC Penny store and thought for a while that I might be able to do it, might be able to fake it enough to make it.
As hard as I tried, I couldnâ€™t fool the kids at school any more than I could fool myself. Â In fact, I think the only person who was fooled was my mom, who desperately wanted to believe that I was coming out of my tomboy phase and entering the phase of â€˜young womanhoodâ€™. Â My mom was quite a dreamer.
School kids arenâ€™t very kind when they sense insecurity and I was a bundle of it when I entered my freshman year with carefully coiffed hair and laboriously applied make-up and some blousy thing featuring pink. Â God, hard to even replay the memory.
On the bus into school, I kept my head down, reading a book. Â One of my few bus friends sat next to me and looked as nervous as I was. Â She glanced at me and asked what classes I had but mostly sat quietly staring at her lunch sack.
Once inside the halls, I was already sweating from the nerves made worse by the fact that I was having trouble with my locker combination. Â The day was a blur of getting lost in the unfamiliar hallways and having to listen to my given name used by every teacher and snickered at by most of the students. Â People had been calling me â€˜Buddyâ€™ since I was a in grade school. Â The worst thing, though, was people Iâ€™d known since kindergarten acting like they didnâ€™t recognize me.
â€œWell, hello there.. are you new to the area?â€ came the high mocking voice of Mary Pleasant (who was anything but).
â€œOh my god, a new girl in our school, whatâ€™s your name, honey?â€ that was Cheri Bordeaux, one of Maryâ€™s disciples in all things bitchy and superior.
I glared at them and slammed my locker shut, storming away in the opposite direction of my class.
â€œWell, thatâ€™s not very lady like is it, Cheri?â€
â€œNo, Mary, sheâ€™s got a lot to learn about being a lady, thatâ€™s for sure.â€
I stuck with it for about a week, god knows why, but one day I came home and threw all the make-up away. Â I took all the girly clothing and shoved it into bags in the back of my closet. Â I pulled on my jeans and a t-shirt and threw myself on my bed with a huge sigh of relief. Â Â I was done with the girl thing, it never felt right and no one was gonna believe my costuming anyway. Â Big waste of time and money.
At dinner that night my mom looked at me and pursed her lips but said nothing.
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