Dressed Down

marjorie-bertrand-eyzzqAQhcjI-unsplash
Photo: Marjorie Bertrand on Unsplash

 

He eyed her twirling in her tutu and his heart squeezed with longing.

He wanted to do that, too. It was not fair that it was not allowed.

That only girls could.

Be princesses.

Wear dresses.

Put on make up.

Play with dolls.

Paint their nails.

He’d tried, of course, but he could tell that even those who did not outright take things from him or forbid him or call him hurtful names, didn’t really feel comfortable with his choices. There was that look they gave, the forced smile, the way they inevitably ran out of patience and gave him “other suggestions” or directed him toward “trying other things.” He was given gifts that made it clear that what he’d asked for was not acceptable and therefore required others choose for him.

He could tell his parents were ashamed.

They loved him. He knew. But they didn’t quite love that part of him. The part that he loved in himself the most. The part that he hated. Sometimes.

It wasn’t even that he didn’t like sports, or climbing trees, or making mud pies. He did. It was just that those weren’t fun without adding a bit of dance, of looking for fairies amidst the branches, or pretending that the mud pies were part of a birthday bakery for princesses.

They kept saying how “wonderful it was to have such an imagination,” but their body language told him that they’d have much preferred if his imagination didn’t quite go where it wanted to. That they would have liked better an imagination of the kind they felt was more appropriate for boys.

“Do you want to be a girl?” his sister asked. They were in her room for a tea party. She was wearing one of her ballet-princess dresses and the full set of jewelry she’d gotten from Grandma just the other day. She let him wear the crown. They pretended this made him a princess, too, but they both knew she chose the crown because it would be easy for him to take down if someone walked in.

Or say he was a king.

Sometimes he envied her so much that it carved a hole into the center of his being. The ease and confidence with which she could prance around in rustling taffeta and glittery baubles, the smiles she got when she dressed up and smeared lipstick on her face … It hurt. It hurt. It hurt.

She let him into her world, but they both know that it was not his to live in. They both knew that when her friends came for a play-date he would be excluded. They both knew that even with no dress on, and with a crown fit for a king, at any moment someone might barge in, and frown, and find a reason to ‘redirect’ him.

Her question made him cry.

Because he didn’t want to be a girl.

He wanted to be a boy who liked playing with dolls and painting his nails and having tea parties and trying on dresses and decorating mud-pie cakes for princesses.

And yet … it would have been so easy. If he were a girl.

No frowns. No shaming. No overhearing adults talk of how he needed “toughening up” or was “too sensitive” or was “definitely gay-material” or “headed in the wrong direction.” Not having to know that Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa were kind of ashamed of him.

“I want to be me,” he sobbed, and fingered a dress his sister discarded and that he would give his heart to be allowed to put on without fear. “I just want to be me … and I don’t understand why it is wrong.”

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS challenge: dress

 

 

Quite Out of Yellow

busy cooking SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

“Mama, we are quite out of

Yellow

And down to the last

Red.

I’ve used up all the

Orange

And can’t use green

Instead.

We must head to the

Market

Where there’s so much to

Get.

I cannot cook this salad

If

Colors aren’t all here

Yet!”

 

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Groceries

 

Repeat Construction

build SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

Look, Mama! Look at this!

Can you believe how high?!

I did the whole thing by myself

And I will tell you why:

It is the tallest building king

That ever touched the sky,

And I will build it up again

Each time someone walks by.

 

 

 

For Friday Foto Fun: Construction

 

Thailand Playground

Playground2 AdiRozenZvi

Photo: Adi Rozen-Zvi

 

It does not matter

Where you are:

Jungle, mountain

Old or new,

Plastic, wood

Or bamboo, too.

There is play here

To be had

If you wish to …

And you do.

 

 

For Terri’s Sunday Stills: Playground

 

 

Got Wheels

Wheels AdiRozenZvi

Photo: Adi Rozen-Zvi

 

In a mountain village

By a wooden slide

A plastic trike

Awaits a ride.

 

For a playground isn’t

Fully sound

Without some wheels

To go around.

 

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bicycles, Tricycles, etc

 

Come Play!

Play SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

I can play in the tent

I can play with these balls

But to have you play with me

Is what I want most of all!

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Play

 

Not So Hidden

bat cave 1 SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

Grandpa you can’t

See me hidden

In my batman cave,

But try to find me:

There’s a world

To save.

 

For Travel With Intent’s One Word Sunday: Hidden

 

 

Acro-Tot

stretch ArletteLoeser

Photo: Arlette Loeser

 

Arms stretch up

On tip-toes

Sure to reach

A high bar,

For the circus

Of life

Where she

Already stars.

A determined

Tot grasps

Growing strength

To go far.

 

For the dVerse Challenge: Circus

 

 

Legoland Vibe

Lego heaven SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

He stands awed

By the glory

Of his Legos alive,

In a world

Made for children

Where prime colors

Can thrive,

And scaled up

Perspective

Puts dreams

In overdrive.

 

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Vibrant colors

 

School’s Out

School out AdiRozenZvi

Photo: Adi Rozen-Zvi

 

When the last class

Let’s out

A world away

In monk school,

Or New York City’s

Next block,

Teachers

And play-ready

Children

Heft their bags

Smile to match.

 

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Red