Category Archives: gender

Today is April 24, 2017. I am alive and well.

Two friends let me know they wanted to know how I felt in my last blog; how it felt when I broke my wrist and got called a boy. I thought how I felt was implied in the actions I took. They said not.

When I walked myself from the two teachers, without talking to them, to the nurse’s office I felt alone and my wrist hurt as if a big foot had snapped it in two. I was a shy third grader, too afraid to ask for help yet showing up at the nurse’s office like a colt on the way to a blacksmith for the first time.

Dressed in pants with my hair short and my body long I was mistaken for a boy. One particular time, I was walking down the street with my grandfather. We were heading home after getting ice cream. A neighbor called to my grandfather and asked if I was his grandson. My grandfather replied “granddaughter.” The damage was done. I was hurt and embarrassed; a small dog wet from a bath looking like a rat. My grandfather tried to make good by bringing up my report card. He said he was proud of me. All A’s.

I ran into my sister at my psychiatric clinic. I was there to get medication. I heard her say “Kristina.” Looking up from my book, there she was. She had deeply wronged me years ago so I had walked away from her. Until that moment, I hadn’t had any contact with her since my father’s funeral seven years earlier.

Seeing her was terrible. She looked like she was suffering. She looked haunted. A friend said of me decades ago that I look haunted. Now I know what she meant. It’s something to do with the eyes and expression of the face. A child waiting to be scolded for licking all the frosting off the cake.

My sister is a drug addict along with being mentally ill. It has never been more obvious. She no longer has her Sandra Bullock good looks. She is missing her front teeth and the teeth that she does have look rotted. Her face is tanned like that of a person who can’t get away from the sun, who has no shelter. Although it’s not cold, she is wrapped in a blanket. Her pants are hospital issued and her white t-shirt has seen happier days. It is no longer full of air and breeze like soft cotton is when new.

I give her my phone number but am not particularly kind to her. All said, she is still my baby sister. I wish I had been more welcoming. It’s been six days and she has yet to call. If anyone reading this knows her, please encourage her to get a hold of me. I am an older sister wanting to erase some of her strain, wanting to offer her a hot cup of coffee laced with vanilla syrup, wanting to embrace her in a hug that is intended. All said, I do love her. It hurts to know she suffers. It hurts like frost bite on a winter day, so unnecessary if simply clothed. There but for the grace of God go I…..

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Today is April 17, 2017. I am alive and well.

Change the pants and you change the person. I read something similar to this and agreed with it. When I was in first grade living in New York I wore skirts with tights in the winter. On my way to the bus stop one morning I slipped and tore up the skin on my leg, shredding the tights. Had I been in pants, I would not have bloodied myself. This wasn’t enough for me to stop wearing skirts.

In third grade, I leapt form the top of the monkey bars on the school playground. In flight like a pigeon before it lands on a bread crumb. I had done this before. This time, though, my skirt got stuck on one of the protruding metal bars on my way down throwing me off balance. I landed wrists bent in front of my face in order to prevent myself from breaking my nose. Something happened to my wrist. I knew this as I knew the color of my skirt was mint green. I approached the two teachers who were monitoring the playground. They were talking amongst themselves and being the shy girl that I was, I didn’t interrupt them. I took myself to the nurses office and explained to her that I had broken my fall with my hands and that something felt wrong with my wrist. She said it was probably just a sprain but phoned my mother anyway. Mom came and got me and had the where with all to take me to the doctor’s. The doctor took an x-ray and determined that I had broken the two largest bones in my wrist. Had I been wearing pants, this would have never happened. I took to wearing pants.

My hair was cut in a pixie. With my hair short and my body tall, people mistook me for a boy. I still remained in pants like a male skater in gear, warding off the cold and protected should he fall. No shorts. And certainly, no skirts.

Pants were and are freeing. No need to cross my legs in fear that someone will look up my skirt. Able to do cartwheels and stand on my head. Able to fall and get up from the dirt and simply brush myself off.

My person was definitely change with my change of apparel. I gained confidence despite being called a boy. Years later, I grew my hair long. It’s amazing how life changing that simple gesture was, also. Yay for jeans, coordination, and a pony tail. When feeling feminine I will still wear a skirt. Just no splits or cartwheels.

I think this blog lacks charisma. Sigh. I’m still determined to blog weekly. Thank you for reading. Always, thank you for your support.