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Chapter 3: Idol - 1972 - Age 3

I was now 3 years old and due to Dads constant rages and yelling, I was now living as a boy. The period where I was dressed as a girl was part of my past. To be honest, I did not really think of it. I was happy with the way God created me, and I was happy that I was a boy. Mom still gave me the most attention while my brothers had to concentrate on their studies. I would look at them with their head buried in some book. I could not see how this was fun

Dad was not home much as he had to work a lot at the shop. I do not think he liked it much because when he came home, he was grumpy and always complained about the work. Unlike mom, he paid a lot of attention to my brothers and warned them that if they did not study hard, they would get the same future as he had. I was still too young to understand why Dad could be so grumpy. At this age, I have done my best to keep away from him.

Mom still had a plan for me and high ambitions. She started taking me to dance lessons just after my third birthday. This is where you can say that my freedom stopped and my career started. I now had to learn how to entertain. My charming smile was not enough. I honestly did not mind. In a way, dancing was fun. It was moving to music like a bird flies in the skies. It was being graceful, almost like a fairy.

When I danced, I forgot who I was. I remember the first time that my dance teacher smiled at what I was doing. She told me that I was a natural talent. This praise gave me a lot of confidence. I wanted the dance teacher to smile. I wanted mom to say that she was proud of me. This is where I first learned the power of entertaining. I could make people smile. I could make people want to look at me. This was a feeling that consumed me for the rest of my life.

Of course, the dance teacher could also be a pain. If I fell, she would tell me to stand up and try again. I would practice and practice until she got what she wanted. At times I shouted that I no longer wanted to dance. I wanted to play. The teacher would stamp her foot and say to stop moaning and to continue. At times I really hated her. Then when I figured the dance steps, I would quickly forget and have fun once again.

I wore a leotard and tights at the dance classes. The leotard was pastel pink and the tights were white. Some of the older girls asked was I a boy and did I like pink. Some even called me a sissy. I had no clue what this meant, and I just answered politely that I was a boy and mom picked my clothes. When I told mom that the girls teased me, she said they were just jealous. I danced much better than many of the older girls there.

At home, mom continued to educate me in show business. She told me the story of Shirley Temple. She was doing some small films when she was 3 until some movie studio seen her at a dance lesson. Then Shirley did countless movies and was the most famous child on the planet. They even had a doll that looked like her. Mom said it was her charm and optimism that made her a success. It was a bad time to live as people had no money, but Shirley Temple managed to put smiles on people faces and made them forget that they had problems.

I was a bit worried that mom wanted me to be a modern version of Shirley Temple. She had all the curls and the talent to make people want to see her. I knew I could dance and I knew that I had charm. Granny told me that. I was just worried that I could not be good as Shirley. Looking back at all this, I think it must have been a strange time for me. My mother wanted me to be famous. I did not know what it meant. I just knew mom had big intentions for me. I was not so sure I would achieve them.

To make things worse, Dad and mom constantly fought about me. Dad wanted my hair cut and told mom to stop her campaign on making me a carbon copy of Shirley Temple. Mom would argue that long hair for boys was popular. She admitted she knew that I did not look like Shirley. I had no curls. Yet she tried to persuade Dad that I had a very good singing voice and was an excellent dancer. I could be famous. Dad put his foot down and said that he wanted this nonsense to stop now. There were millions of boys that had my talent and they cannot all be famous.
My hair was cut. The fights continued.

I did not like when mom and Dad fought. I always thought that I have done something wrong. I also knew that I could not please them both. This confused me. I asked granny what I should do. She smiled and said mom and dad would find a solution. I should not worry about it. I was a very special boy that had a special destiny. I had just as much charm and spirit as Shirley Temple had.

Mom took advantage of the long working hours that Dad had. She wanted me to get noticed. So her idea was to enter me in a pageant. This would mean a lot of practice and I would not be able to play as much. Mom explained that it was also a good way to introduce myself to the public. They will judge me on how I looked and my personality. This was important for mom, as I had to have the right image.

The problem was that it was a girls pageant. Mom explained that I would be wearing dresses and other girl things. Everyone would believe that I was a girl. Mom can see that this confused me. I was a boy. How could I be a girl and wouldn’t Dad get mad? Mom told me it was a game. I would pretend that I was a girl. I would fool everyone.

Mom then warned me not to tell Dad. He would never understand why I should do a pageant and especially the fact that I would be dressing like a girl.

To be honest, I did not understand either. However, practising for it was fun. The first outfit was a gown. I felt like a princess in this. Then it was swimwear. I had a nice floral one piece with a small skirt that was like a tutu. The last outfit was a denim dress and tights. It was the talent part and I practised singing a song. Mom also bought a good quality wig that looked like it was my own!

So when Dad was at work, I was a girl training to be in a pageant. I loved it, even when mom had no patience and was very demanding. I know that this sound strange. I felt so pretty in dresses and with my hair (wig) done. I liked posing and letting others see me. I liked performing. I will admit that it was also fun fooling everyone.

At this time, mom had started to potty train me. She thought I was old enough to get out of diapers. This went very well and it was nearly overnight that I stopped wearing them. Both my mom and dad were proud of me saying I was so quick. I had second thoughts. I missed wearing diapers. It meant that I was growing up and I would be like my brothers. Mom and Dad would have more expectations of me. The days of endless play would now stop and I would have to study and learn to be an adult.

I had never seen mom as happy as when we were practising for the pageant. She had no patience and was very demanding, but she was always smiling and saying how fun it was. After practice, we would cuddle on the sofa. Mom would tell me how proud she was of me and I was a natural performer. I would be famous and everyone in the world would know my name. I would be a celebrity like Shirley Temple.

I did not understand the idea of being famous. I did understand when mom said things like I made a better boy than a girl. She was sure that God gave me the wrong body and I should have had a girls body. This confused me. It made me think that God probably was sick when he was making me and was not thinking right. At any rate, these words from mom stayed with me and were always somewhere in my head for the rest of my life. Did God want me to be a girl? I was happy at being a boy and I was just as happy when I was treated like a girl.

When the pageant, we did fool everyone. They all thought that I was a girl. I loved dressing up and coming out to pose when the audience and the judges smiled and clapped. The largest reaction was when I sang a song. It was Shirley Temples “On a good ship lollipop”. The audience loved it and they clapped and cheered when I sang the last note. I had a huge smile on my face because it was so fun singing for people and seeing their reactions.

I won the pageant which made mom so happy. She told me that my career now has started. Winning the pageant would lead me on to better things and I would be a star. The only thing I asked was if the world would see me as a girl. Mom did not answer this. She told me that she would worry about those things.

I thought a lot about this in the next week. I did not know if I wanted to play the game and fooling everyone that I was a girl. I was only 3 at this stage, and at this age, everything was black and white for me. Up to now in my life, Dad had been pounding in me that I was a boy. I knew that my brothers were boys. They never dressed as girls or done pageants. This made me think about why I was sometimes treated as a girl. Was I doing something wrong? Would God be mad? What if someday, I did not fool someone and everyone saw me as a boy dressing up as a girl.

A few weeks later, we were driving home from Church. I asked mom if we would be doing a pageant again. This made Dad ask more about the pageant. I forgot that I should keep it a secret and told Dad all about the pageant I won. Dad listened calmly as I told him that I fooled everyone into believing that I was a girl. I told him that I even won a trophy.

Dad tried to concentrate on driving the car but managed to say to mom that she finally fooled the world into believing that I was a girl. She also fooled him. Then my parents started arguing. I did not have a clue what they were arguing over besides the normal disagreement if I could wear dresses or not. I suddenly remembered that I was not to tell Dad about the pageant. It was once again my fault that they were fighting.

Then everything went fast, One moment I noticed Dad looking at mom and being very angry. The next I heard was mom shouting telling Dad to stay on the road. It was too late. I heard the car screeching and seen glass fly through the air. There was a lot of noise like metal being scrapped and twisted.

Everything went black. When I opened my eyes again, I was still in the car. I called out for mom to help me. There was no response. I only heard the sounds of sirens.

To be continued

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