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Posted by Joel Greene on

Memoirs of a Pseudo Life | Ages 0-10

So I wanted to start writing a series of memoirs outlining a few details about myself. I’m going to try and keep them short but being a memoir, I make no guarantee but I do promise to try and spare you the lecture. And don’t let the title fool you, my life was real and very much a part of me growing up. I say pseudo because I’ve come to realize in my older age that the world is not what it seems and many of my childhood beliefs were skewed. I’m trying to avoid the word wrong here, as I don’t think everyone is flat out wrong but we should always practice caution and avoid blindly following what we are told. My life is what it is because of my childhood upbringing and likely if I was born someone else, I wouldn’t have my same opinions or beliefs. Possibly even the complete opposite.

By the way, this is probably not a read for everyone. It’s essentially my ongoing memoirs so be ready for some deep and heartfelt details. You’ve been cautioned.

So as many of you might know, I’m not a normal person nor am I married into a normal life. I wear clothes that are normally identified as feminine, my wife is the breadwinner, and I attend a very run after GOD revivalist church. Basically in better words I’m bit more progressive than most people, at least when compared to those who call themselves Christian. Sadly being able to say that is losing meaning. But I was not always this way.

I was born in Florida in 1986. My parents were your fairly normally 80’s newlyweds with dreams and aspirations like any other young couple in their generation. When I was 4 years old, my Dad moved the family to the south Chicago suburbs to find a better paying job. He worked construction and such wages were fairly poor in Florida. So he learned to drive a semi and has been doing so ever since. So let’s start out with my younger years.

I was very close with my cousins at the time, as my mother’s family lived in the area. I can remember frequent trips to the small subdivision that they all occupied. Seriously, the subdivision was nothing but Witvoets. I was the oldest boy of the cousins, with my cousins Heidi and Holly (and technically Charity) being older than me. I was the only boy until I was about 6, when other boys were born into the extended family. First being my cousin Frankie, then my brother, and then my other cousin Andy. Many other boys were born through my teen years but that’s beside the point. For many years my only real friends were girls but that’s not to say I had no other boys in my life. I had both my neighbor friend Joe and a kid of a distant cousin, Tyler. I also from time to time played with other boys from church. So yes, I had many opportunities with play with other boys my age.

But the strange truth is, I found it incredibly difficult to relate with them. They always wanted to be rough and dirty, while I wanted to play things like house, build sandcastles, or play with pipes and water. I don’t look forward to playing with the boys in my life but I would to keep myself occupied. Instead I would look forward to playing with my cousins, who were gentle and loved playing house. Frequently Heidi and I would be the parents, while anyone left would be the kids. Obviously I was made the husband and it was my least favorite role. Each time my job was to pretend to “go to work” for several minutes and then pretend to come home, only to sit down and be pestered by my fake kids and wife. I remember once or twice finally getting to play the wife, but no one took my role seriously. Also at home, while my parents were okay with me playing with dolls and pretend house with girls, I was never allowed to do so alone, at least I should say it was met with disapproval. Not to say I wanted to play with dolls or other girl toys, like the easy bake ovens or Playskool kitchens, they were just more up my ally.

On a quick note, my sister was born when I was about 4. Around this time she was just getting into the older girls toys and I would play with her as an excuse to play with her toys. She also had a very close friendship with another girl at a young age and this sort of made me jealous. But I digress.

Now I’m about to share a very personal detail and please know, that it’s a very hard detail for me to share. Because of the way I was treated and because I was not allowed to be who I wanted to be at a young age, a door had been opened to the devil and he began to try and convince me that I was a mistake and that I was suppose to have been born a Girl. This lie festered and grew, I had dreams of being a girl for years and the first time I felt comfortable enough, I shared this with my cousins privately. I had a hard time getting it off my tongue but when it finally slipped, I felt better like I huge weight had been lifted, that is until my cousins all out rejected me. They told me I was wrong and I should ignore that opinion. While they might not had used those exact words, that was essentially how I felt afterwards.

That moment was the first scar I had, it hurt deep and I never spoke of it again. After that moment, I buried my fantasies but would continue to dream of the what-ifs. During this time, I had made friends with an mother and older daughter who lived a couple houses down. This was mostly due to the fact that I would try to avoid kids my age and keep to having relationships with adults, it was better that way. I shoveled her walkways and watched her two dogs a few times.

One activity I enjoyed was garbage picking, I know a strange hobby and probably not very sanitary but in my neighborhood, nearly every week something good was in the trash. And one week, I found a bag of old clothes belonging to the daughter of the neighbor and out of curiosity I wore them. FYI, it was only things like socks, shirts, and leggings, so no underwear or bras, in case you were curious. There wasn’t anything colorful or cute but nonetheless it was teen clothes and they fit me. I never wore them for more than 10 to 30 minutes at a time but I would get such a kick out of them. It felt so forbidden.

One day, I don’t remember why, my family had several other families or friends over. One thing we kids enjoyed was putting on plays, you know kid stuff. On this day, we rehearsed a fairly complex play and passed out fake tickets for the show to the parents. I for the most part ran the lights, props, and was the narrator. Well except one part, I decided to play an extra, a female extra, just standing in the background of one scene. I wore both the shirt and black leggings I had found and a couple apples for boobs. My scene came and all went as planned; I slipped off stage and after few more minutes, our play was over and the parents were showing their appreciation. Having time to spare we all decided to try and make up bloopers, those were all the rage back then. We got though a few different made-up bloopers and the parents once again loved them. So I wanting some attention, decided to have a blooper of my own and I reestablished my scene, except this time, I made focus of looking bored and taking one of the apples from my shirt and taking a bite from it. The room went quiet, not a single cheer or clap. Once I left the stage, the parents gave one last cheer and returned to their gathering. While all the kids had tons of fun, I on the other hand as deeply sadden. Once again, I had felt denied as a person. I was about 9 at this time and that last hurt caused me to deny my feeling and conceal myself for years to come. You know, a bit of an Elsa story. Shortly before this time, my Mom rekindled a friendship from High school, we called her Aunt Susan, thou she was not really an aunt. She had a daughter named Stephanie and she was roughly my age, so naturally we became the best of friends. Nothing like any other friendship I had before.

So anyways, that concludes my memoirs for now. Stay tuned for the next part.