Oh, yes, I remember that day vividly; in fact it is my earliest memory from my childhood. I remember it darkly. Sadly for it was that day that I discovered a reality about me that would haunt me until now, 57 years later.

Bright, sunny, end of October 1960. I was five then.  I was headed to a kindergarten Halloween party. Mom didn’t drive.  There were no buses then, so our neighbor across the way was taking us to school.

I was in my Indian Brave costume. Simulated buckskin pants and tunic top with fringe. I carried a homemade bow and tomahawk that my dad made, sported some “war” paint designs on my face, and had (I suppose) a simulated eagle feather in my head band.

Mom and the neighbor chatted a bit as I reluctantly made my way to the car in my “stupid” costume.  Why was it “stupid”? We weren’t rich; mom went out of her way to buy me an authentic costume rather than throw something together from what was around the house. I should have been so very happy, but something wasn’t settled within.

I was dark in spirit. I should like my costume, but I was not excited. Why not? I didn’t know, but I just wasn’t.

I climbed in the back seat of the car to be greeted by the prettiest little girl ballerina I had ever seen in my young five years of experience.  In fact, she may have been the only ballerina I had ever seen.

She was perfect. Shoulder length blonde hair in ringlets, a pink leotard, tights, tutu, and dance shoes, and a typical (for that time) mold plastic mask held on her face by an elastic string around head.

And I was confused, so very confused.  Who was this girl?  Why was she coming with us to school? She wasn’t from our neighbor? I don’t ever remember playing with her.

And where was Fred, our neighbor’s son?  Why wasn’t he coming to school with us?

And then she spoke.  Only it was Fred’s voice.

“Oh my, this is Fred!” I realized. This perfect little girl sitting next to me wasn’t a girl at all. It was Fred, who was sitting there as if being in a leotard, tights, and tutu, looking as much like a little ballerina as possible for a boy was the most natural thing in the world for him.

And then I felt sick in my stomach. Then I knew why my costume was “stupid.” For a boy it wasn’t a stupid costume. It was a perfect boy costume, only I wasn’t a perfect boy.  I was a princess, a ballerina, the girl figure skater I watched on TV, the “mommy” when we played house. I really wasn’t a boy; I was a girl.

The Halloween party at school was horrible. Sally, and Gwen, and Nancy, and Joyce, and Kathy;  all of them were there in “girl” costumes. Being little girls they giggled, and squealed, and twirled and skipped; all living realities of what I knew myself to be.  But. . . .

I couldn’t join their group that day. And I wasn’t interested in being part of the boys group either.

Since that day until now I have been in costume every day.  For a boy and now a man they’ve not been stupid costumes.  They have been perfect male costumes, but me, I am not a perfect male.

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Charlene Victoria

The most important bit to know about me is that I have a very strong Bible centered Christian faith. I filter everything in life through that faith. But OH MY!! I am without doubt undeniably transgendered. Have longed for all of my Christian life and before that to be simply that girl (now woman) next door. Balancing these two life realities so that joy prevails over shame and frustration is the essence of my journey.

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11 Comments
  1. megan edwards 6 days ago

    I can relate also. I always loved the little skating skirts the girls wore at the skating ring.

  2. Rose Turner 6 days ago

    WoW ! Verrrryyyy Interesting.

  3. Felion Thomg 1 week ago

    Near Vegas

  4. skippy1965(Cynthia) 1 week ago

    Love your story Charlene! We never really did Halloween in my family growing up but I can identify with your experience nonetheless.Thank you for sharing!
    Cyn

  5. Ashley Elizabeth 1 week ago

    Thank you Charlene you have given words to many of our thoughts and feelings – including myself – as we grew up and as we still live today. You are a beautiful person.

  6. Wonderful story. I can totally relate. I remember Halloween so many years ago – seeing the teenage guys dressed as girls and so wanting to be them. Wished so much I was them. And knowing no one could know how I felt. I feel for you hon, and know what it felt like.

    April

  7. Gisela Claudine 1 week ago

    It’s a beautiful story, Charlene. Really touchy. It reminds me of some solitaire games I used to play then.I invented female characters to mentally occupy their places or take them from children’s stories. Although I did not spend much of my time on it then, it led me to develop the Gisela that today occupies a preferential place in my life. Thank you for sharing it.

  8. Stephanie Rigoni 1 week ago

    Beautiful story Charlene that so many of us can so relate to. It’s so difficult to wear the wrong costume every day, but we do. Let me know if you find that pink pill!

  9. Hope Clark 1 week ago

    Sweet, Charlene, thank you for sharing this tender and illuminating moment of yours. One person of faith you another, you are loved and beautiful.

    Hope

  10. Khloe West 1 week ago

    A lovely and thought provoking read.

  11. Stephanie M 1 week ago

    I can really relate to wishing I could be one of the girls as a young’in

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