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I was 10 when, out of self defense, realizing it was indestructible and would never wear out, I took scissors to the green and white checked (with ruffles) play set (top and matching shorts) my mother thought was so cute. A nice neat hole which I then camouflaged as a rip with artful fraying did the trick. And I felt no guilt. My home life was kind of rocky and at night, though I was a pacifist and had wished on the first evening star since I was seven that the war would end, I was lulling myself to sleep with fantasies of me dragging myself through mud and grenade blasts in Vietnam, sometimes surviving and sometimes being blasted to smithereens with someone like Michael Parks. Only Michael Parks in "Then Came Bronson" was still a couple of years off on the horizon, that's why I say someone like Michael Parks. I wore jeans in those lullaby fantasies. Not cute short sets. Cute short sets weren't appropriate clothing when fighting to stay alive in the jungle.
Pink. I hated pink. I had always hated pink and I was always being dressed in pink. Such as the matching pink ruffled dresses with the big bow at the back and the white scratchy petticoats beneath which my sister and I wore. "But she loves hers! And she loves looking like her big sister," I was told. My sister was 3. I was 11. We were dragged off to K-Mart for Easter photos. My hair was put up in some kind of bow. I cried. This was not Peggy Lipton in the "Mod Squad", a show which I liked for a year before I realized they were narcs.
A couple weeks after my Easter fit I was solemnly told from then on I would be purchasing my own clothes from my babysitting money. That solved many ills but was difficult too as I also purchased all my art supplies and books and music from my babysitting money. Jeans were the answer in Jr. High. I only needed a couple of pairs and could afford to buy those. But this was the early 70s and jeans were not allowed yet at school. I arrived every day in jeans and was told every day they weren't dress code and if I wore them again I'd be sent home. "You want me not to wear jeans, you give me money for clothes," I'd say. Finally the school gave up on the jeans, probably because the jeans were the least of their worries where I was concerned. By high school, no problems, jeans were finally permissible.
I was in my 20s, dressed in my uniform of black and more black and black leather on top of that, and at Christmas I was still opening gifts from my mother (and then my mother-in-law) of big bright pink snow bunny robes and flowery patterned blouses and I always said, "But I hate pink. I never wear pink. I never wear patterns. A black V-neck sweater would be good." And the response would be, "But I thought you liked pink. And, besides, you would look so good in pink." And I'd say, "No, no, I have always hated pink. You're the one who likes pink. I like black. Just get me a black V-neck sweater." It was bizarre as I never wore pink or bright colors or patterns. My hair was half an inch short. I wore black steel toed boots. And I was still being given pink.
Eventually they gave up on pink and rather than contributing to my black habit the clan matriarchs began giving me Avon jewelry. Hearts.
I was in my 30s and every Christmas, as I opened my gift, I heard exasperated sighs of, "Well, I never know what to get you. Nothing I get you is ever right. I know you won't like it and you'll never wear it so just return it. I kept the receipt somewhere around here. I can find it if you need it." But the vastly inappropriate clothing or jewelry was invariably purchased at a store that didn't have an outlet where I lived and as I would be leaving that day I wouldn't have a chance to return it there.
Money was not considered a gift.
Finally, finally, I was asked, "What do you want?"
"Gloves," I said. "Plain black leather winter gloves."
I figured what can go wrong there. Who can mess up plain black leather winter gloves.
It was several years before I got gloves that weren't knit or cloth or light brown.
Finally one night I called my mother into my room to talk to her about these anxieties. Though I didn't think she would have the answers I wanted to know how adults survived the questions. I remember her seeming perplexed I was asking. She said she wasn't really bothered with these things, and she thought I would probably just forget to worry about it all. I believe she also suggested I pray and ask to have the anxiety taken away. I never brought these questions up to her again.
Much water under the bridge later...
My son follows in my footsteps. He began asking these questions somewhere around eight or nine, and I wasn't surprised. Every few nights, then every few weeks, he would call me into his room. "Mom, I'm having a philosophy attack!" And we'd talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.
I don't recollect but he may have been playing "Lonely Dancer".
As for my worst date, it may have been the one when I was 15 that began with the guy opening his glove compartment and pulling out a gun.