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Idol - 1971 - Age 2

The baptism shocked everyone. People could accept that my name was Dakota, even though many girls had the same name. The shock was my middle name. My mom gave me the same name as her idol... Shirley Temple. There was of course a fight when we came home from Church. Dad was shouting that I had a sissy name, and he wished that he was consulted. I was told that I just slept through it all.

The good thing was that mom was out of her depression. She now started taking care of me and granny was no longer needed. She still dressed me in girl clothes and even bought more. She would tell her friends that I was too pretty to be a boy and she wanted me to get used to wearing dresses. Her friends did not know how to respond, but they did agree with mom that I was a very pretty toddler.

My brothers did not play with me. They thought it was strange that I had a boys body and yet mom was treating me like a daughter. They were 7 and 9 years old, and by now knew the difference between a boy and a girl. They must have thought that I was strange. I was a boy and living as a girl. I do not blame them. They did not know how to be with me. Despite that I was being treated as their sister, they were jealous. Moms full attention was given to me. If the family had extra money saved up, it would be spent on clothes and toys. Dad was the only one that paid any attention to my brothers.

Even granny spoiled me. This could be expected. Granny wanted mom to be famous and this failed. Now she thought I was very special and the whole world should know! Of course, I did not understand a lot about moms and grannies plans and ambitions. I just knew that I was loved and that I had lots of toys. Like any other toddler, I knew nothing about fame. I considered myself already the centre of the universe.

Dad got a new job selling men’s clothes in some posh shop. He did not like the job as it was his old friend that opened it. Dad would never admit it, but he was jealous. It was because of his help that the shop did not go bankrupt. This may not have been true, but it is what Dad thought. I think Dad was disappointed the new shop at least was not a partnership. It meant that Dad worked long hours and was less at home.

I was slowly learning how to speak. This opened the world for me and in a way put me more in the centre of attention. Both granny and Mom love that my voice seemed so clear and they thought it was so cute that I had a lisp. I didn’t care. I spoke nonstop and wanted people to pay attention to me. This often made Granny smile and say that I was already becoming a Diva.

By this time, Dad had very little patience. He told mom that she must treat me like a boy and stop pretending that I was a girl. He demanded that I get boys clothes and toys. God created me a boy and If mom continued down this road, she would end up giving me huge identity problems and society would never accept a sissy. Was a future of being looked down on and teased something mom wanted for me.

Dad put his foot down, so I had no choice but to wear boy clothes. To be honest, I did not care, as I did not know the difference between a boy and a girl. I did not even know what I was. All that I know is that I did not want anyone to take my dolls. I cried and screamed when mom tried to take them. I even had a tantrum. Mom told Dad that it would be a crime to take away something that I love so much. So I was allowed to keep my dollhouse and dolls.

My brothers were now at a stage where they thought it was fun teasing me. They would ask me if I was a boy or a girl, and I would tell them Dad said I was a boy. Then they would laugh and ask why I had a girls name. Dakota was mainly a girls name and Shirley was a girls name. I knew they were smarter than me and I would believe them when they said I was a sissy.

Dad got very mad when I told him once that I was a sissy. He thought it was a sin to want to be something else than God created me. This confused me a lot. I did not know what to believe in. My brothers were telling me that I was a sissy and Dad told me this was a sin. I was a boy. Why did I have a girls name if I was a boy and can boys play with dolls? Luckily, I was still a toddler, so if I was confused, it would only be for a short time.

I slowly understood that there was a difference between boys and girls. Girls wore dresses. I could have been a girl as I used to wear dresses, but now I was a boy. I would be like my brothers. They could do everything and were ever so smart. They did not even have to take naps and did not have to go to bed early. They also didn’t have to wear a diaper. I wanted to be like them.

I could see that Dad also demanded many things from my brothers. They had to look what he wanted them to look like and not like the hippies that he thought were losers. Dad wanted my brothers to be smart and intelligent. They had to get good grades at school and work hard at homework and being smart. This was hard as I would get into trouble if I wanted them to play with them and they had to do homework.

Mom and granny could still forget that I was a boy. Sometimes when Dad was at work and my brothers were at school, they would play dress-up with me. They would dress me in frilly dresses and try to curl my hair. I did not complain or question it. I was confused after hearing Dad say so many times that boys did not wear dresses, that mom would put me in one. I will be honest, I liked these games. I pretended that I was one of moms dolls and she was dressing me up. I liked the frilly and pretty dresses. I liked when Granny and Mom would say I was pretty or they would call me princess.

Dad came home one day and caught me in a dress. He lost his temper and started screaming. I was crying and who could blame me? I did not know what I have done wrong as I was just doing what I was told. Mom was crying and Granny was trying to get Dad to calm down. Mom and Dad were yelling and screaming for hours. I sat by my playhouse and wondered what I have done wrong.

It was shortly after this that a man talked to mom while she was shopping. He looked at me sitting in a trolley and asked mom did I want to be a model for toddler clothes. Mom was so excited that she could hardly speak. So some days went and mom received a contract through the mail. When Dad read the contract, he said no way would he ever permit it. Dad never said why, but mom was certain that it revenge or a punishment for her dressing me a girl.

A huge argument followed. Once again I knew it was about me and it made me cry when I heard my parents yell. I wanted to beg them to stop arguing and I would promise to be more behaved. They were so consumed in their yelling, that they did not even notice me crying.

I went to my brother’s room. They just say on their bed and said that I was not special. I would never be famous. I had no clue as to what being famous meant. I just hoped my parents would stop arguing so we could go to the zoo the next day.

To be Continued

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