During primary school, I had always fit in with the girls. I liked the color pink. And I even liked dressing in my mother’s clothes. But the boys at my school picked on others who acted “feminine”. At the time, I knew I had a different lower half than the friends I hung out with. But that never crossed my mind that I was supposedly different.
My female friends went to the movies. I went to the movies. They went shopping, so I did too. We laughed at the same jokes and ate the same food. I felt the same way my friends did. “You know, I’ll accept you if you’re gay, right doofus?” My Brother had said one night as I was writing in my frilled journal. Being only eight, I only heard the term “gay” from the male classmates at my school. I knew that the term most likely was used as an insult. But that term didn’t click with me. The only thing I saw myself as was trapped. A trapped feeling I couldn’t explain. Until I figure my emotions out, I’ll remain a sunken ship, glued to the bottom of the sea.
Seeing Teddy, my only brother being buried, I couldn’t describe how it felt. My mother and father were crying their eyes out beside me while I just stood there. You were the one who had told me that life was amazing, that people get along and have fun during parties. That bad things never happen to those who pray. But look who ended up in the ground. You lied Teddy. Bad things do happy to good people.
“Hey, Louis do you think you could help me out today with the paperwork?” I can remember him saying those exact words, almost every month before he rehung the papers on the bulletin board throughout town for his charity. I didn’t really mind helping him, just seeing him all happy was enough to get me through the errand.
But now coming back home in my sopping black shirt, I began to remember how good of a person he was. He didn’t deserve to get in that car. To get hit by that drunk. To go flying through the windshield. You lied Teddy. The best people do die.
Red Linen Dress
Only the most beautiful of women wear linen. That’s what I read in a magazine once, given to me by one of my friends from primary school. Only two more days left until Cherry’s sleepover. All of us called her cherry due to her tongue always being beet red after eating lollies. I was so excited nonetheless.
The night before the big slumber party I had packed a few of my sister’s dresses to try on. Frilled, laced, red to violet. She had too many dresses, so of course, I had to borrow a few. We’ve never had a fashion show before. But I really wasn’t scared to wear a dress. Who cares if I’m a boy, I surely don’t. I mean it’s just fabric, right?
Dress after dress everyone had come to a conclusion. The red linen dress was everyone’s favorite. “Ooh, girl you look so fine!” Cherry usually was very vocal about her opinions, so I knew that that meant only one thing. This dress was made for only me.
Louis has never been a name that I’ve been proud of. I mean, I’m no Louis Armstrong. How could I be? I lived with my brother and sister, two dogs, mom and dad. A pretty normal family if you ask me. My grandfather was also named Louis so of course, I had to be too. He was a pretty cool golfer, until that time he broke his arm and stopped playing. Started cursing. Started dying.
I don’t intend to live the same sad boring life my grandfather did. Why would anyone want to live the life of another? So why name me Louis. Why not Pumpkin, or Candy, or Marie. Something different that could strike up any conversation. “So what was going through your parent’s heads when they decided to call you that?” Now that would be interesting.
But all I can wish for is Lara. A name I had decided for myself back in the beginning of Middle school when I chose to be more like my Primary friends. To be able to express myself as someone who’s comfortable with being me. Someone who didn’t shy away from others. Stood up to sexist white boys. Just Lara.
Me Myself and My Father
You know telling others not to do something will only make them more prone to doing that exact thing. I’ve tried to explain this to my Father over and over again. Yet he never seems to listen. Never seems to care. “Why can’t I go to school in the clothes that I want to wear?” I had passively asked crossing my arms seeing the steam flow out of my father’s ears. “Do you really want others making fun of you, kicking you down, spitting on your girly clothes, huh Lou?” “I already told you, it’s Lara. Dad please just let me go to school I’ll be late.” He still wouldn’t leave that damn doorway after countless explanations.
Dads never understand. After you tell them the truth and they accuse you of lying. I had enough of his opinions. His so-called strong masculinity always seemed to be in the way of what truly matters. Why can’t he understand that I’m just trying to be me! I don’t want to be like Teddy or Brian who works at the supermarket. But Lara, the average girl trying to find her place in this opinionated world.
Change Of Location
Every month or whenever I had the time, I usually went to visit my brother’s gravesite. Cleaning off the moss, the litter young children threw, and of course the goose feces. It’s horrible to even think that people spend so much money on the casket, the funeral, and even finding the perfect location. But after they’re buried it’s as if that person has finally disappeared from your life. Well, not my brother. I think of that rascal almost every day. How his smiles were almost perfect, except that he always had gum stuck to the roof of his mouth.
But now I can’t visit him all the time. Seeing as my father kicked me out and me not even living in Virginia anymore, how was I supposed to visit Ted. The mere thought of him forgetting me, forgetting the yellow flowers I always placed to the left of his headstone brought tears to my eyes.
I like to recall the happy memories of my past. The slumber parties, my brother laughing, and the old books at the York Avenue book store that always smelled of paint. Recalling my past helps me remind myself of all the things I’ve overcome. Especially now Taking Estrogen and T blockers. The voice cracks are always surprising, especially when I forget that my voice used to be so husky. But it always brings a smile to my face, seeing my father’s shocked and angry expression as he kicked me out of the house I grew up in.
It sucked at the time, having to basically restart my life. But that restart is why I am here now. In all honesty, it’s because of my dad that I have such caring friends and an amazing community to live in. But that’s besides the point. My parents didn’t take my choice of wanting a sex change as something well . . accepting. I wish I could say I was surprised but seeing how I grew up without being in the blind spot of God, I knew that that day was bound to come.
Goodbye Virginia, it was one hell of a ride. It sure was. But most importantly, goodbye Louis. The fun was great while it lasted. Now opening my arms to a more accepting world, hello Lara.