My elementary school graduation in 1970. I might have been happier in a jacket and tie, but pointy collars were in style.
It was a simple question, an ice-breaker at a meeting. If you could invite anyone over for dinner, dead or alive, who would you choose? We were going around the circle, and I wished I was more imaginative. My immediate reaction was “I’d like to talk to my dad.”
I spend a lot of time thinking about how people see me and what I look like. Not because I am vain and stylish, but because my mother was obsessed with making me look like a girl. We were both unhappy with how I looked; we had different ideas on how to solve the problem.
Every day I struggled to get dressed and go to school. I hated wearing skirts and dresses. I hated wearing tights. I hated wearing Mary Janes. I hated wearing pastels, lace, bows, and anything that had elastic in the waist or a zipper in the back. I threw a lot of tantrums. I wanted to look like a boy not a girl. I could not understand why my mother insisted on putting me in clothes I hated.
By the third grade I had acquired a wardrobe of drab unadorned dresses, and dark Oxford shoes. While I despised these clothes, they were the least objectionable of what was available. I wore them like a prison uniform. The clothes were ugly. but innocuous enough that I could numb out in them. I refused to inhabit them. I daydreamed my way out of them. Continue reading →
This is my post Mother’s Day post. I find myself continuing old arguments with my mother. Arguments that I can not win. I hear her yelling “What is wrong with you? Why can’t you be normal? What did I do to deserve this?”
My mother and I argued from nursery school through graduate school. I couldn’t take it. I gradually reduced the number of visits until I only saw her at funerals, weddings, and Bar/Bat MItzvahs. We could not be seated at the same table. In the end we had nothing to say to each other. We argued silently. Continue reading →