Thursday, March 18, 2010

a boy named ashley.

forgive me PLEASE, as I had every intention of mentioning what sparked this blog!!! I was reading A Mainland Streel's lovely blog entry, when I was reminded of a picture of myself I'd just found a few days before.... While leaving a comment for her, I felt the stir of emotions arise, and I knew I needed to go straight to the blog for this post....

I have very many memories of so much of my life, that often many of my stories are from my past, (or are my venting sessions of the present), either way, they're all true.... all real life experiences as this one was too....

i believe, with all of my heart and soul, that our childhood (or life) experiences shape us into the person we become.... but not JUUUST our life's experiences, but what we choose to learn (yeah that's right, i put it in yellow!) from our life's experiences.... THAT combined, makes us the people we are today....

i don't know when it started.... me being ugly and all, probably pretty much when i was born.... well maybe at like 9 or 10 months, when my head started taking over my body. and then it just got worse with age. my first pair of glasses came at 5 years of age. (as i've mentioned before, i still own EVERY single pair of glasses i've ever owned....)

middle school was when it just got bad.... ugly.... hairy.... REALLY ugly.... i started this "love for my dad" thing, starting right around 5th grade.... planned to go move to tennessee to live with him.... planned how i was going to decorate my room (everything was going to be dogs, dog wall paper, dog bedding, dog statues.... dog EVERYTHING).... one time when he came out to visit us, we went to the swap meet, and bought me a "stussy" hat (remember stussy?) .... i even took up his LOVE for hats.... so after my daily (or every other day) showers, I'd brush my hair (more like slick it) back and pull it through the back of the hat and into a tight little bun.... my hair would eventually dry underneath my hat.... so when i'd remove my hat at my day's end, my hair remained in place (and slicked back).... i started growing (adult) teeth out of my gums before i'd lost my baby teeth.... and finally in 6th grade, i was old enough to have my teeth looked at by an orthodontist.... finally i was going to be able to get braces.... well no one told me that i was going to be put in front of a white wall and have my face mutilated with these clear plastic shoe horns (well that's what they looked like anyway, but really they were just there to pull my cheeks apart) i could have done that and made a really silly face while doing so (of course, my face was already pretty scary and funny looking, so no one would have probably noticed that i was actually trying to make an ugly face, which then wouldn't have made it that funny)....

so anyway.... as i was saying...

the whole "move to tennessee from california to go live with my dad in a dog filled bedroom" idea didn't work out, and i totally changed my mind when my mom broke down crying in her peach terry cloth robe with a towel on her head one morning.... (which is an entirely different story in itself)....
i didn't think she'd care if i left.
i didn't think she'd miss me, but SHE CRIED....
she was totally going to miss me....
i felt HORRIBLY (horrible and wonderful)... horrible for making her feel so bad, and wonderful that she really cared if i left or not.... i never forgot that morning.... we went into this conversation about eric clapton and that song "tears in heaven" and how it was written about his little boy who fell to his death from their building. (ugh! i can't even imagine!)

anyway.... i stayed in california (and ugly) for quite some more time....

the orthodontist took pictures and even the ones without the clear shoehorns in my mouth, still look like i was beaten with the dang ugly stick.

see: "a boy named ashley" below.




THIS was the freakin picture they put on my orthodontist folder, so EVERY time i'd go for an appointment for like the next 3 years, i'd get my folder from the front desk. you walk it to the back of the building and put it in this CLEAR bin in the back of all the other charts.... yeah, well by the time mine came up to the front of the CLEAR bin, this is the picture that everyone saw.... the person would grab the folder and look around for this "boy".... and i'd stand up and they'd always kinda double take (well that was after i slowly started the sex change process to become female) okay, so no, i really WAS a girl, i just looked like a boy... and THIS is the picture that made me STOP wearing hats, and actually go shopping for a skirt rather than my "no fear" boy's shorts....

i do have a rather funny story to tell you about before i made the "back to girl" transition. i used to wear boy's "no fear" shorts. true story. i had this t shirt that my mom got me from san francisco.... it had like 3 fish on it or something like that.... i had my stussy hat on and rollerblades.... my older sister and i were rollerblading over to her good friend Chris's house and we were hanging out on the front porch just chatting and enjoying the beautiful summer weather.... His mom comes home and parks in the driveway, gets out of her car and says from her car "I didn't know you had a sister" (she said that to Melissa, my older sister).... she gets her purse and grocery bags out of the car and starts walking towards the front porch.... the CLOSER she gets, she looks at me and says "oh! i'm sorry!!! i thought you were a girl!!!!"

OHHHHH MYYYYYY GOOOODNESS!!!! say WHAT?! if i've EVER wanted to flash someone in my life, it was at that moment.... (of course 2 mosquito bites wouldn't have been very convincing that i was indeed a girl....) she probably would have just looked at me and thought... "well that was strange.... why did that boy just flash me his hairless chest?" so needless to say, i didn't flash her, but instead just swallowed the huge lump that instantaneously formed in my throat and said "but i AM a girl...."
and i got up onto my rollerblades, and very hockey-playerishly, rollerbladed down the driveway, jumped off the curb and circled around in the street a few times.... (which, again, probably wasn't very convincing that i was INDEED a girl....)

she mumbled something about not having her glasses on.... and i really never forgot that horrible moment, but in fact laugh about it today.... which is good. i LEARNED from that experience that i wasn't a VICTIM, but that i didn't want to be mistaken for a boy for the rest of my life.... that it was a possibility that at some point in my life i might actually WANT a boyfriend....

this was right around the time that i'd first seen jason.... (my now, handsome husband).... i liked him a whole boatload, and he somehow didn't even know i existed.... perhaps THIS is why his mom told me to wait until i was in high school and that we'd probably date then?? whatever it was.... i'm DANG lucky that i have such a studly husband.... i hope and pray that taylor NEVER goes through " a boy named Ashley" phase....

7 comments:

Ms. Anthropy said...

*Smile
I still have some of those "No Fear" shirts, from my kids. (at least you outgrew the so called ugly, I never did... it just got worse)

Bossy Betty said...

I look at some of my photos as a child and shudder, but hey, at some point you've got to love all the people you once were.

Ashley King said...

@Ms. Anthropy. you know, i'm not quite sure i ever outgrew the ugly.... i just made the transformation back to "girl".... =) i'd like to believe it's my heart that matters anyway. ;)

@Bossy Betty. i agree completely.... i think about all the experiences i had as the "ugly boy," and maybe that's why i don't want people to hurt. it used to feel like the end of the world if a boy thought my sister was prettier than myself, or if someone thought i was a boy.... but you know, none of that matters now.... in fact i look back with great appreciation for those experiences. i really do. all i can remember is just feeling so bleh inside, but i look back at some of the stuff i did, and think "well, i had to have SOME kind of confidence to do stuff like that!" and in the end, i'm right where i want to be anyway.... =)

thanks for reading, ladies. =)

Pat Tillett said...

Wow...I could "feel" this beautifully writen story while I was reading it.

The Drunk Mommy Diary said...

oh my gosh, i totally relate to this! i have awful club feet and by the age of eleven- braces, greasy hair, and the worst case of acne. i still have acne (really? i'm almost 30!)and last year i broke a crown (fake tooth) out of my face eating a taquito (like i don't already have issues with food!). i have to give myself daily little compliments like "your love handles are sooooo hot".
my daughter has helped a lot though. i started acting like a girl when she was three or four. no more beanies, i straighten my hair, no black marker on my nails, i give myself french manicures. i actually wear dresses in the summer. (i love your no fear tshirt story! i wore "bad boys club" shirts! hahahahahaha).
and like with your jason- it helps that the men in my life have been fairly easy on the eyes, and someone once told me "pretty people only hang out with pretty people".
so there.
and you are so cute! and you were then too.
ok.

Mainland Streel said...

I got hit with the ugly stick when I was about ten years old too. Public school and puberty happened at the same time, and I was the chubby sweater girl (one sweater, every day, for a whole year)...who also had acne, greasy hair, and a ponytail. And "mom pants." And wasn't allowed to shave. And foot odor. Oh dear. :(

I think the trick is to remember painful times and keep them as a reminder to be kind to others who are going through a patch of ugly (and I don't mean physically). You seem like a very compassionate person, and I don't doubt that a part of that is because you chose not to let these experiences make you bitter.

Plus, we both survived the ugliness and snagged hot men! High fives to us! :)

I love that we blogged about childhood trauma in the same week!

Ashley King said...

Forgive me Mainland!!! I had EVERY intention of including the link to your blog as my emotional inspiration to posting this blog! I had found that picture of myself just a few days before, and had planned on blogging about it soon and "the boy named ashley," however, once I began commenting on yours, all the emotions were fresh and it was the perfect time to blog! and so i did. =) I couldn't agree with you more that those experiences (CAN) give you a wonderfully soft heart (and score you some studly men later! *high five*)