Manhood – Inside Out – Part 13 – Did I Say That? – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Paula Sophia Shonauer (LCSW) continues her continuing memories... If you haven’t read the previous part of this series, click here. It’s at the bottom of this page.
“Sometimes it’s better not to say it, I know that for sure right after I say it.”
The 8th Avenue neighborhood is teeming with children, many of whom are interested in a fire-damaged house next to Jack’s Drainer and a family that has moved to a housing estate full of cannibals. I did.
Every now and then the kids would come to Dad at work and ask him if Aunt Mabel’s death could cause ghosts in his house. He laughed at them and said he would spend the night someday, but they all said, “No, thank you.” But I had proof that the child could survive over and over again.
Surviving in a famous haunted house didn’t give me my position. On the contrary, it aroused sympathy and contempt. As a ghostly child, I was easily triggered, subject to emotional outbursts, sentimental, dark, and “weird”. New neighbor. Same old problem.
It is difficult to identify the origin of the label. Maybe it was a second-hand item from a thrift store that I had to wear.
At one point, I realized that one of the older girls in my neighborhood was wearing jeans and belonged to a girl who was right across the street. The back pocket of the jeans had a peace symbol and a smiley face, hand painted with fabric paint.
“Do you know you wear girls jeans?” ” She said.
Maybe she was trying to make fun of her in a friendly way, but the tone of her voice evoked the idea of ââUncle Jim and his way of laughing. I vehemently refuted his observations. He said he couldn’t be a girl’s jeans because he was wearing them.
“Are you really a boy?”
I couldn’t answer his question. It was a statement rather than a question. My face got hot and I started to cry. I thought maybe I didn’t know if I was a boy.
The boys in my neighborhood have noticed a drop in my athletic performance. Being tall for my age has amplified this maladjustment. If they got me into a streetball game, I tried to dodge it every time the ball came in. Sometimes I would stop the ball, but it was a coincidence, too late to bother me.
When I threw the ball he lobbed the target and it was too late to play.
The worst part was when I tried to hit. I closed my eyes before I rocked and hit most of the time. Needless to say, I wasn’t the first to be chosen by anyone as a teammate.
My parish school arrived 30 minutes later than the public school. By the time I got home, the kids at Borich Junior High School were walking down the street, gathering in groups of friends, and stopping at shops, pizzerias, and the Dairy Queen right next to the house.
Sometimes I would hide in a hiding place to avoid a bunch of rough boys in jeans, purses and leather jackets. Many of them were smoking, showing offensive attitudes and screaming and screaming.
Another time I crossed the street on Jaywalk to avoid them. A month later, they must have noticed my actions.
Near Sparkle Mart on 7th Avenue, some particularly mean guys ambushed me. They jumped up and laughed at my corduroy and loafers, a collared shirt, a blue faux fur winter coat with lapels and buttons, and a coat my grandmother had on me. bought. I didn’t like this coat.
âHey, Little Road Fontlar Roy!
I didn’t know who Sir Fontlarroy was, but I knew it wasn’t a compliment. After that, I was a character in 19th century novels and 1930s movies, wearing velvet and lace, long curls, and looking more like a girl than a boy, at least by modern standards. . I discovered it looked like.
The boys grabbed me, took off my coat and threw it on the snowbank. A boy brought a handful of yellow snow to my mouth. “Eat it, Queer.”
A grocery store worker came out and yelled at the boys. And before I tasted the yellow snow, they were scattered benevolently. Although saved at this point, this harassment was a test that I had endured repeatedly for most of the next two years.
I may have labeled myself.
Sometimes, children from the neighborhood came to visit us and reported on the progress of their father’s restoration work. They wanted to know where Aunt Mabel died like a rubber while driving in a road accident.
My father showed us our unrealistic house. The damage was more than it had been repaired, the walls were blackened with soot and the floor was still dirty. The hole was the gateway to another dimension, full of darkness and morbid melancholy. I could barely see the basement below.
One day in early March, when my mother was at home with her brother, two girls from the neighborhood visited me. I stood outside their little circle and walked around the shape of the door. I listened for fear of announcing myself. They talked about what the place looked like before the fire, what happened was amazing and the sadness of Aunt Mabel’s daughter and her father.
Kim, who has long brown hair and a chubby face, changed the subject for some reason. âLook, I’m starting to show. She pushed her chest outward, revealing two ridges under the white blouse. I saw a bra strap under the fabric.
Another girl, Cindy, shook her head. She had thin, curly blond hair. She turned her chest to her mother. “I’m too.” She wasn’t that loud. Its growth was unclear. It looks like there was a bit of it, but maybe it was padding for a workout bra. Moms affirmed and blessed every daughter. They proudly shone in his acceptance.
I remember my chest hurting. “I would like to have them too”
Mom and the girls looked at me, she frowned and shook her head. The girls did their best to stop laughing and happily rounded their eyes.
Until I witnessed their reaction, I didn’t realize that I was actually talking about my wishes. These words formed in my mind, came out of my mouth without any hesitation, and boiled like a confession.
I crossed the bridge into the living room, ran upstairs, and jumped into what looked like a bedroom closet in the corner, but it was actually a staircase to the attic. ..
I ran to the east attic window, watched the girls leave the house, and laughed as I walked with them.
They must have laughed at me.
This article is the latest version of a memoir by Paula Sophia on her life. I am honored that she chose Free Press as her platform.. The link below is a link to the previous part of the brief.
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Last update: June 4, 2021, 6:25 p.m. Brett Dickerson-Editor
Manhood – Inside Out – Part 13 – Did I Say That? Manhood – Inside Out – Part 13 – Did I Say That?