I've been thinking about my youth a lot lately. One of my thoughts has involved my first love. So, click the link below and read on for more twisted tales of melodrama from your favorite dorkette!
Dorkette Note: I am sharing a personal account of my experience as a teen. Names have been changed to protect privacy. I have also added some photos and used stickers to protect the privacy of others. I want to be respectful to the people involved in this story as much as possible while also being able to share something that I feel needs to be shared. Thank you for understanding.
My First Love: God Only Knows
One of my biggest high school dreams was to have a boyfriend. I don't know why, it was just one of those secret wishes that had been around ever since I saw Cry-Baby when I was in the 2nd grade. My spirit connected with sweet and proper princess Allison and I totally understood her longing for bad boy Cry-Baby Walker.
Of course, life is not like the movies and when I became a teen I realized I was nothing close to being a prim proper princess. The shit hit the fan. I was the last thing any guy would want to date at that time in my life, but I held onto that secret hope that some guy would look past the mess that I was and see something wonderful. He wouldn't let go! He'd fall for my personality and eventually see the beauty in my looks. This was all pre-hormone replacement therapy. At this point in the story I was a super skinny flat chested blonde doing my best to look as close to Gwen Stefani as possible. It was the 1996-97 school year and I was finding my groove as a trans femme. At that time, I was not really aware of the term transgender, but I knew that there was a huge disconnect with my mind and body.
I was pretty clear in my mind on who I was and what I wanted. I just had no idea how any of it was going to fall into place, which I feel is a pretty common sentiment for life during the teen years regardless of what one is dealing with.
Anyways, fast forward to one particular day during my freshman year, I was heading to the attendance office at my school. I can't recall the exact reason, but I know it had to deal with either a recent absence or what would be an upcoming absence due to my infusion for my genetic disorder. That is when I came face to face with Adam. Adam was a part of the same social circle I was in, and he was totally cute, but that day in the attendance office we came face to face and my heart just about stopped. I felt that tingly sensation in my stomach. He was more than just cute. He was drop dead dreamy. Our eyes met and, dear reader, I just felt different the rest of the day.
To be sure, it was a meaningless look on his part. What unfolded though were my attempts at trying to find ways to talk to him more in our friend group. He was a junior and involved with a theater girl, she was perfect. They were a gorgeous couple totally made for a teen drama. I was naturally jealous and riddled with self-doubt. What was it about her, and girls like her, that were never short of admirers or boyfriends? I mean, I totally knew the answer, but I was slightly cursing the cosmos that I was unable to experience that kind of life.
Eventually Adam and I became friends, instead of just the casual acquaintances we had started out as. I think somewhere along the way we both realized we had goofy oddball senses of humor and we also really enjoyed talking to each other at school and over the phone about all manner of things. I was a good listener to his many ponderings and my knack for telling a story in the most melodramatic way possible was amusing to him. I was a friendly ear when he needed to talk about his perfect theater girlfriend. They loved each other but, turned out, they weren't exactly perfect. I stood by and supported their love, regardless of the concerns he'd raise, what else was I going to do? I was not a man eater like Alexis Colby.
One day Adam decided that he wanted to actually come over to my house and hang out. This was sometime during the summer before sophomore year. I was thrown for a loop when he mentioned the idea. Like, what were we going to do? Sure I had snacks we could eat. But I also had V.C. Andrews books and X-Men figures all about, like I just knew he was going to be bored.
Immediately I called my friend JJ over to carefully plan what options I had to keep Adam entertained. "M, you have video games, I am sure he will be fine playing video games." I could only sigh, "Ok, maybe so, but I don't want him to come over and just play video games! Like, he'll just be paying attention to the tv!" JJ shook his head, "You have a thing for him, don't you?" I pretended to be dumb, I simply had no idea what JJ could possibly mean. JJ saw right through me.
The time was soon at hand. JJ and I stood on my driveway waiting to see Adam's big old boat of a car come zooming in my neighborhood. I was so nervous. I wanted him to like me, to like my company. I knew he was not going to like me like his theater girlfriend or the other girls he'd talk about, but I just wanted everything to be a fun time.
JJ could only roll his eyes before leaving, "Call me later and tell me if he kisses you!" My face was red, "Whatever!" JJ and I were both boy crazy and in some ways we lived vicariously through each other's crush worthy tales that tended to go no where. He and I were just too big for the town we grew up in.
When Adam parked and walked up to me, that tingly feeling washed all over my body. I just could not stop looking at him. He was at my house! Standing in my driveway! I wanted to pinch myself. Instead, we went inside. My mom took one look at Adam and pulled me to the side whispering, "You keep your bedroom door open!" I'd had friends over before and I had always been allowed to shut my door, what was she thinking we were going to do?! It was all so silly, but for some reason I was relishing it. I was hanging out with this dreamy guy and my mom thought that there was some romantic teen shenanigans that could unfold if the door was closed. My goodness!
Adam liked my room. At that time it was a shocking lime green. I had movie poster clippings from the newspaper taped across the walls. I loved movies. Basically there was just this explosion of pop culture in my room and Adam liked it. We talked some, he noticed some of my drawings and quickly wanted see them all. I learned that he really liked drawing as well. "Can I draw you?" He asked in total sincerity, no cynicism or anything of the sort. He wanted to draw me. I was caught off guard, but I said yes. I tried not to think too much into it. I have a hard time with that mental process, so I totally ended up thinking too much into it. Like, why did he want to draw me? It seemed romantic. Of course, I was 15 and knew absolutely nothing about romance and we were just friends. This was not Cry-Baby.
As I posed for him, he began to draw and talk. I found out that his theater girlfriend was bothered that he had made plans to hang out with me. That seemed entirely too strange to process, why on Etheria would she be bothered by me?
Adam finished the drawing and soon left after that, but that experience led our friendship to a different level. We talked more, every night we'd have a recap of the events of the day. If plans were made with our friend group, he made sure to include me. We were always hanging out at my house or his.
Eventually the relationship with the theater girl ended, she was soon seen canoodling with a new guy, continuing to live out the picture perfect 90210 episode. Adam was fine with the breakup. A new world of dating possibilities was available to him when we started the 1997/98 school year. Girls everywhere swarmed all around trying to get a rose.
Seriously, it got to a point where life felt like a dating show. Our closeness was becoming stronger than ever. I was doing an excellent job of hiding my jealousy, but there was a weird dynamic growing between us. Our friends would joke about the choices he would need to make with all these girls, and I'd be lumped into being one of those choices. There was this unspoken thing happening and people were picking up on it.
One night we went to a Valentine's Day party and it was essentially a couple's party. We seemed a little out of place, but at one point in the evening the girls started giving their boyfriends lap dances to a Sneaker Pimps song, and before I could make sense of what my eyes were seeing, Adam motioned for me to give him a lap dance too. It was the weirdest moment. Like, what the hell were we doing? One guy called out to Adam, "Damn, M knows how to move that body!" It was all so weird and normal at the same time.
There I was, this trans femme giving my best friend a lap dance around a bunch of straight couples, and it was like nothing out of the ordinary. Looking back I don't think any of us needed to be involved in lap dances, we were so young! But, we were all trying to be more grown than we were.
On the ride home that night we were a little quiet with each other. It was still Valentine's Day and I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I loved him, but I remained silent. Instead I casually tossed out, "Well, that was different tonight. I am surprised you went along with that." Adam shrugged, "It was just a lap dance, no big deal." I quickly replied, "Yes, but like that was something that like a girlfriend and boyfriend should be doing, we're just friends."
"Come on M. We are more than friends." My heart was getting all kinds of twisted, "We are more than friends?"
"Sure. Of course we are. We're like soulmates. We just can't be together in that way." Oh. That statement set in. It stung. Two very different truths were slapping me across the face. I asked for more clarification.
"M, we would be perfect together, but you aren't a real girl. And I don't think anyone would understand if we got together with the way things are. People like you, but I have friends that are going to give me so much shit if we were to date. We live in the wrong town. Maybe if we lived in a big city or another state with more openness. I don't know. I don't want to hurt you. I just can't be in a relationship with you."
I am fighting back tears as I type this. I don't even know why I am revisiting this portion of my life. I have to though, it feels important to me for some reason.
Anyways, he dropped me off and I walked inside my house. There was some validation that my feelings were not one sided, but the reality was so complicated. I was never going to physically be the right fit for him, but emotionally, we were something special.
Adam called me that night. He was worried that he had hurt my feelings. I'm one of those tough as nails chicks, so I didn't let him know. I was fine, and that was the lie I was going to tell. I often wonder if there were any lies he told himself or to me. I am sure there were a few.
Our closeness would reach many highs and lows. Shortly after Valentine's Day we would have a tender moment between us. Somehow we found ourselves in a conversation about having a song. A song that would be that special song connecting two people. We were in my room, spending the day listening to music. I had the Boogie Nights soundtrack on and The Beach Boys ‘God Only Knows’ started playing. I love that song and remarked about it.
"It's our song. That will be our song." I looked at him, trying to see if I could understand what he was getting at or secretly trying to say. There were no answers, only the hope that the song gave me. Even though we lived in a town full of '90s level ignorance, our feelings for each other would overcome everything. This was what I kept telling myself.
There's a reason the young are considered foolish. And no one was more foolish than me.
I think that is where I want to stop for now, I had planned to tell this story in one post, but I think it is going to need more than that. I'll return with more soon. Thank you for taking a moment to read this. Maybe as I write more I'll understand why I am wanting to share it.
Until next time.