You’re Not Alone: Bloody Noses and Short Hair

My first memories were of me at about 4 and again at maybe 5 or 6. I forget when I started kindergarten, that was one of the memories.

My earliest memory is of grandma sitting on the edge of the bed, me in her lap with my back against her chest. There was only a lamp to light her bedroom. She held a tissue. “Blow!” she’d tell me. I’d try. I’d receive a slap in the face, right on my nose. “Blow!” I’d try again. Another slap. Hard. This would repeat until my nose started to bleed. Then the day’s lesson was over and I was sent to my room. That went on for a while. I can’t remember when she finally stopped.

Some years back I had a cold or allergies or something. I was sitting in the living room of my mother-in-laws house sniffling. Eric looked at me and said “Why don’t you just blow your nose?” I burst into tears. He was lost for words. He had no idea what he’d done to make me cry. I told him the story. I think if he could have grabbed my grandmother and killed here right then and there he would have, and he would have enjoyed it. You see, I hadn’t blown my nose in all those years. I tried a few times, but the physical discomfort and the crying it would induce stopped me. I’ve since learned, but I think telling my story was part of what made it finally possible for me.

My next memory is my first day of kindergarten. There was a photo, so I was able to see that reality matched my memory. I was dressed in a velvet two-piece outfit. It was red with a lace collar. No child would ever be sent out in that. It was like boys were dressed in ages ago. Fancy rich boys. I also had very short hair and boy’s shoes. Grandma had me at the bus stop and a woman came up with her own child. “What an adorable little boy you have there!” she said with a smile. Grandma took no steps to correct her on my gender.

For a long time grandma dressed me like a boy, cut off my hair and clipped off my nails. I did not have girl things for many years. See, girls were whores and they were dirty. So she didn’t want me to be a girl. She tried to make me at least look like a boy. What few toys I had were those you’d give a boy too. I guess she thought maybe she could train the femininity out of me. Did she want me to become a lesbian? Who knows. She never would explain it to me. I was not a happy child though.

These memories make me aware that children can be horribly abused and misled. You need to keep your eyes open for abusive parents or caretakers. You never know, maybe that kid who sniffles all the time does it because they’ve been slapped in the face too much. Maybe they avoid the bath because that’s where they’re molested.(I was not) There may be reasons. Pay attention.

As for the gender thing… I still struggle to wrap my head around that. Never, NEVER try to make your child or any person be something they’re not. They are what they are. Forcing them to be something else is abuse. Yes, making a girl look like a boy or a boy look like a girl for whatever your sick reasons are, is abuse. And the repercussions can be very long-reaching. I will never know if my gender identity and sexual orientation issues are a result of my childhood or my biology or both. No one should have to grow up facing that. You should love a child for who they are and nurture them always.



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