I am not a young man!
That day, that terrible, nightmare of a day, when my identity was mistaken. The scene is etched in my head forever, the details clear as a bell.
Her name was Sister Virgina, the nun at our church, who ruled the evening CCD classes with an iron fist and a scowl that scared the crap out of all of us.
I was 10 years old, maybe 11, and I was rushing down the long school hallway to make it to my dreaded weekly religion class (to take a nap) when I heard her voice behind me.
“Young man, can you help me please,” Sister said.
I kept tooling down the hallway, furry hood up on my black parka, my frozen hands deep inside the pockets.
“Young man!” she said more forcefully.
“Me?” I questioned, as I slowing turned around to face her.
“Yes, come and carry this record player,” Sister said
As I walked towards her, I pulled my hood down, figuring when she sees me closer, and has a look at my face, my hair, my girly-ness, she will be embarrassed and I’ll be able to ditch her. I was a major tomboy–but I thought I still walked, talked, and dressed kinda like a girl.
No dice. Sister Virgina stared me down, handed me the record player (which was heavy as hell) and pointed the way upstairs to the church office where I was to make the delivery.
I was crushed, just horrified. I was a complete and total tomboy through and through, but still —I was a GIRL.
So I had no choice but to lug the huge record player up a flight of stairs, and into the church office. The secretary nodded me in while chattering away on the phone, so I dropped the record player next to her desk, and turned as quickly as possible to peel the hell out of there. But what does the secretary say?
“Thank you, young man.”
I turned around, eyes a fire, and took one look at the lady and yelled loud as hell;
” I AM NOT A YOUNG MAN!!!”
I got out of the office, down the hall, out to the parking lot, down the pitch dark road towards my house a few blocks away. I remember slipping as I ran down the icy, snow covered street, tears frozen on my cheeks, until I reached the arms of my mom who tried to comfort me as she asked me over and over what happened.
I buried my head in her chest and balled my eyes out for a good 15 minutes before I could even get the story out.
To this day, our family tells this story, and we have a good laugh….but I am telling you, I was devastated. Totally and completely devastated! From that day forward, I grew out my hair, tried to be just a little more girly be there was no way I was ever going through that again.
On the other hand, I am BIG on allowing children have their own personal style. If my son wanted to grow his hair out, or wear a pink shirt, or do some other traditional girly thing ….I wouldn’t have any issue with it, in fact I would encourage it.
How about you?