Growing Up

We all have childhood stories. At age ten I was laughed at in the locker room changing for gym class for wearing an undershirt instead of a bra. When I told my mother I needed a bra, she laughed. Two weeks later she relented and bought me one, size 28AA. I didn’t need a bra. I NEEDED a bra because I went to school a year early and was always different. If something as simple as that stopped my class from laughing at me, I could fit in a bit.

While I’ve spent 20 years with abandoned and abused pets and feral cats (spay/neuter program) I’ve always had a soft spot for kids and adults who are different than the norm.

A few years ago I got a note from a gal with whom we used to walk to Catholic education classes every Wednesday. She walked with my younger sister. I walked with her younger brother. As they walked behind us they ridiculed him terribly. I stood up for him every time and told him to be himself always. I was eight. I had no idea about about how I was created or that other people were different. It didn’t matter. I was a little kid but wouldn’t allow anyone to be bullied.

Many years later his sister contacted me and thanked me for being kind to her brother and that now they are the best of friends. It’s tough to be different in any way in our society. My husband and I are smart and think outside the box, which can seem threatening to an employer or client. Of course he’s way smarter than me, but when I engaged a lifetime partner, I  looked up and try to meet the challenge every day.

I talked to a gal today on a billing issue and she said she was “Jo.” I asked about her name and she’s Italian and her name is Giovanna, such a beautiful name, as is Deirdre, which is mine. I know you know me as Dee but that’s the name I had to tell the teacher the first day of school every year, from the back row and very shy I’d say after she butchered my name several times, “people call me Dee.” It took me 23 years to appreciate my given name yet now everyone calls me Dee.

When one accepts one’s identity and gains wisdom through parents, life experience, work and marriage, that is growing up. With cell phones and texting I don’t know what kids will be. We never locked our doors or cars but must do so now. We had a land line that my sister hogged for hours every night to talk to a girlfriend a block away.

And I don’t text. Cheers! Dee

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One response to “Growing Up

  1. The note from the sister was an apology for her treatment of her brother and thanks for me for standing up for her brother, who was gay. I didn’t even know about sex, much less gay but I knew he was different, like me, and being persecuted. I know their parents, wonderful people. Brother and sister are now best friends. I like to know I effected change in some ways.

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