REPOSTED FROM THE TRANS-SCEND BLOG 2015
What did finally end what was a very fun childhood was adolescence. Unfortunately for me it came roughly two weeks before my 10th birthday. I remember distinctly when I got my first period. It was in the middle of a storm in 1982 where we went several days without power. We were to the point where we had to boil water to use any and we cooked over a camp stove. I had no idea what was going on with my body and was horrified. Even more horrifying was my mother’s response that there were tampons upstairs with no explanation what-so-ever. I sat there crying as I read the box on how to use them. Even if I had been a "normal" little girl I think the super tampons would have been a little much, for me it was devastating to have to face all of it all at once and all alone.
It wasn't, however, the only experience that led me to hate my own body and to start a mental separation from who I thought I was to who everyone else told me I was. Around the same age there were several other events that caused me to lose the grip on who I believed I was. My friends started asking me out, which I thought was odd since I had no attraction to boys at all. I was even more confused when one or two of my female friends kissed me but then didn't want anyone to know. I thought it was normal for us to kiss but soon gave in to their idea that I was a "girl." the same with my male friends only wanting to go out with "girls," it was beginning to sink in that others saw me differently than I saw myself.
One day, while waiting for class, a boy pushed me up against a wall and put his hands on what were developing breasts. I remember him saying something to the effect of me liking it, which I thought was odd. Even odder was as I gazed around me, in almost a slow motion, no one seemed to notice, find it odd or be outraged. I wasn't even quite sure what to make of it myself but I do know that this one event while it never truly haunted me it was the start of my turning in on myself and not expressing much to others, even when I didn't like what was going on.
All of these things really led me to begin to hate my own body and myself. I was no longer who I thought I was those years leading up to that. I struggled at home and school to gain some kind of identity but everything was changing. I no longer was picked first for teams nor was I even wanted on them. Going from being one of the first picked for kickball and football to that was humiliating in my eyes. I thought it was some cruel joke where they had just yanked my real life out from under me.
I started playing with knives, and started daring myself to hurt myself. I started cutting very early but never did it on a consistent enough basis that my mother figured it out. Instead I would punch myself or throw myself against a wall or a tree. I would beat myself up and scream how I hated myself in my own head. It became my form of punishment for myself if anything seemed to go “wrong” in my life. A lot of things go wrong when you are a kid and even into adulthood.
Failing grades also came out of this. I was a very smart kid but I didn’t want more eyes on me than necessary so I started asking to be taken out of the advanced classes. One such class had a teacher that one point thought I had plagiarized a book report I wrote, I hadn’t but it didn’t seem to matter. On my report card I received a lower grade for one of my classes than my mother had expected and so between my mother not listening to me and giving me more attention, I thought, in my head because of the lower grade and my own disgust in myself I started not caring about anything and would try and fail just so I would get her anger and what I believed was hate just like I was getting my own.
In high school I attempted to take my life several more times. The cutting got worse and I began to do some light drinking and drugs, with more to come in adulthood. None of it did anyone ever seem to notice. My favorite grandparent, whom I would go to for the only love I really thought I ever got when I was growing up, had died a few years before and I just wanted to join her. I started using the phrase “I want to go home.” To me, my grandmother was home and it would be a place where I was loved for who I really was, although at that point I really still wasn’t sure exactly who that was.