Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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25 Years Ago, I . . .

Since this survey has been making the rounds of LiveJournal for at least three years, it's somewhat amazing that I actually don't think I've done it before, but even if I did do it before, the 25/20/15/10/5 years ago would all fall on different years now, so I shall do it again.

25 Years Ago, I:
1. was 2 years old
2. was still an only child
3. had begun learning how to talk, but mispronounced everything so badly that no one but my parents and my baysitter could understand me
4. was babysat by a retired pediatric nurse who told my mother that in all her years of experience with children, she'd never before met another two year old capable of having such profound philosophical conversations as me
5. was consequently administered IQ tests weekly by my mother from a big book of IQ tests designed for children ranging from ages 2 to 4, and thought they were a very fun game, which in retrospect I'd have to say was about all that the seriousness they deserved to be taken with
6. declared that I wanted to wear dresses every single day for the rest of my life (and I still do)
7. had already made it abundantly clear that I hated all green vegetables (even as a newborn I hated baby food made from green vegetables, and I still hate all green vegetables)

20 Years Ago, I:

1. was 7 years old
2. drew a self-portrait for my mother to copy with needle and thread onto a pillow as a gift for my grandparents, and then was appalled that my mother had faithfully copied a mistake I'd made in the shape of my skirt (and my grandparents still have that pillow and the mistake still annoys me)
3. was asked by my teacher to change desks, so I took everything out of my existing desk and put it into the one I'd been told to move to, but after I was all finished my teacher exclaimed, "Oh, I didn't mean for you to do that, I just meant for you to push your own desk over to where that one was!" and then I felt so humiliated that I hated that teacher forever after (also, this teacher never treated me as her teacher's pet whereas the previous one had been extremely obvious about doing so)
4. briefly experimented with wearing pants for the only time in my life, but only one pair of pants had earned the right to have this rare exception made: they were white pants printed all over with green frogs, that came with a matching bright yellow shirt with a single green frog embroidered on the pocket, and they merited an exception because I was out to educate the world about the fact that being a girl does not make me not love playing with slimy amphibians, reptiles and insects; what I really wanted was a dress printed all over with little green frogs because I wanted to emphasize that this love of slimy creatures could coexist simultaneously with femininity, that I did not have to temporarily disclaim my gender and cross-dress like a boy on the days I played with slimy creatures and then somehow become replused by the slimy creatures again on the days I wore dresses; but since the clothing industry did not provide me with any frog-printed frilly dresses and I did not know how to sew my own, I settled for alternating the frog pants with frilly dresses on different days
5. spent the majority of my free time at the tops of trees, reading, sometimes accompanied by cap guns and Barbies
6. opened the cardboard toy oven in my cardboard playhouse in the garage one day and discovered that our cat Misty, who was two years old and had never had kittens so we'd thought she was sterile, had suddenly had kittens and had collected them all in the toy oven with her; declared that she was a very bad mother to put her kittens in the oven
7. declined to be given another perm after my previous year's one had grown out, and declared that I didn't want my hair cut, curled, dyed, or changed in any way other than washing and brushing ever again (and it hasn't been)

15 Years Ago, I:
1. was 12 years old
2. had my first crush, which was on this guy, and was exceedingly obsessed
3. owned only three outfits that fit me anymore, due to puberty growth spurt, and was immensely annoyed by this decimation of my wardrobe
4. was just about the only girl in the entire school who didn't have her bangs hairsprayed into a vertical fan shape four inches above her head
5. was finally in a school with a full-time honors program instead of just a ridiculous half-a-day-per-week of getting bussed to a nearby elementary school for a truly pathetic so-called honors program that was really just an arts-and-crafts project
6. was immensely shaken by my initial difficulties grasping Algebra I after having skipped there directly from 6th grade math
7. was brutally scorned by my former elementary school friends and equally brutally scorned by my future high school best friend whom I was desperately attempting to befriend already but would not succeed with until high school; therefore, I spent every lunch period wandering pathetically between the ex-friends and the future friend and getting shooed away by both of them and trying to find anyplace at all on the school grounds where I could just hide and not be seen to be all alone and abandoned

10 Years Ago, I:
1. was 17 years old
2. had just gotten glasses
3. was dreading high school graduation because I knew it would separate me from all my friends, because they were all rich and went to more prestigious colleges
4. was madly in love with my best friend Christine, who was the same best friend who'd been shooing me away from her every day at lunch back when I was 12, and who was inconveniently heterosexual
5. for the first time, met someone else who I knew was queer (a substitute teacher announced that he was, while telling two students to stop making homophobic remarks); this was after I'd already been queer for two years and spent those two years being the only queer person I knew of
6. was pretty damn severely annoyed at my parents' homophobia
7. had decided I was going to major in English and become a novelist, and was hoping I could get a novel written and published before graduating from college (ha ha)

5 Years Ago, I:
1. was 22
2. had just moved out of my parents' house three weeks ago!
3. had just gotten hired at my current job, after nine months' unemployment following college graduation
4. was briefly back in contact with Christine after a year and a half of not speaking to her, but would permanently re-sever contact about three weeks from now
5. had a not-at-all-serious infatuation with someone named Ruth, soon to be followed by a more serious though only two months long online relationship with someone named Alberta who would end our relationship by suddenly getting religion and vowing to become an ex-gay (and incidentally, I just searched Google for her name and it came up with a new last name tacked onto the end of it so apparently she's gotten married)
6. was only a little over one month away from founding the queer by choice mailing list, whose formation would be prompted in large part by my loneliness in the wake of Christine's permanent departure from my life
7. was rather disturbed by the fact that after about seven years of wearing size nine and a half shoes, my feet had suddenly started growing again so fast that I could barely buy new shoes before immediately outgrowing them again, and my feet did not stop growing again until they got to size eleven

3 Years Ago, I:
1. was 24 years old
2. had not been kissed by anybody since age 21
3. was madly in love with Frank A., who was inconveniently homosexual, and was disturbed by Frank A.'s recently decreasing willingness to talk to me, but was trying to have faith in his statements that this was purely a temporary effect of his coping with his father's recent death
4. was also fairly in love with Frank E., who I had only a few months earlier finally succeeded in getting to know noticeably better than before, and who amazingly enough actually wasn't exclusively attracted to males, unlike just about everyone else I'd been attracted to in the past ten years, damn it
5. found it altogether amusing to be simultaneously in love with two people who were both named Frank, both had fathers named Frank, both born in New Jersey, both spent years living in NYC, both of Italian descent, both with last names whose spellings had been altered by immigration officials, and who both performed on stage regularly
6. was very very very very severely exhausted from arguing daily for the past year with the idiots at PFLAG's national headquarters about why their organization had a duty to actually help queer by choice people's parents love us, too, and stop telling our parents we're insane or confused and should not be taken seriously when we say we chose to be queer
7. was relieved to note that at least my crazy feet had finally stopped growing, and on top of that there was finally even some decrease in my acne

1 Year Ago, I:
1. was 26 years old
2. was attempting to recover from the disastrously unexpected vanishing of Jeremy from the internet and the ending of my relationship with him
3. was really very miserable as a result of the massive emotional crisis cascading through my entire social circle while everybody who knew Jeremy was simultaneously catastrophically shattered by Jeremy's vanishing and we all took it out on each other
4. was still declining invitations to get into a sexual relationship with Mikie, but had become exceedingly close friends with em
5. knew about half of you who are currently on my LiveJournal friends list
6. was reading Native Son by Richard Wright
7. was decorating this skirt

Yesterday, I:
1. went to work
2. edited stuff
3. was given cookies and brownies made by the owner of my company's mother
4. argued with an annoying person who ridiculously refused to acknowledge that it's at all reasonable to surmise based on the text of her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin that Harriet Beecher Stowe opposed slavery
5. was inspired to feel particular gratitude for the privilege of being acquainted with Morgan and Juliet
6. read part of the novel Quicksand by Nella Larsen, a writer from the Harlem Renaissance who is making me question why the hell everybody usually names Zora Neale Hurston as the great African-American woman novelist of that era instead of Nella Larsen
7. slept odd hours

Today, I:
1. washed my hair (this is connected to sleeping odd hours; when I sleep normal hours I wash my hair in the evenings)
2. ate ramen for breakfast (this is also connected to sleeping odd hours; when I sleep normal hours I don't eat breakfast at home or, basically, at all)
3. was switched (at work) from editing one book to editing a different one
4. attended a staff meeting
5. have eaten a small portion of a chocolate pastry
6. should really call the car dealership and set up an appointment to get my car's air conditioning fixed
7. will make myself a dinner, quite probably consisting of more ramen

Tomorrow, I:
1. will celebrate the 12th anniversary of the day I turned queer
2. will mourn the horror that is having spent 12 years queer and kissed four people in my life and still not having managed to get kissed by a woman
3. will remain too damned picky to settle for just anything that moves and possesses ovaries or breasts or a degree in Home Economics or whatever's the trendy definition of femaleness these days, and thus will continue not being kissed
4. will go to work again and edit some more
5. will probably eat another chocolate pastry
6. may very well eat even more ramen, because my tastes are just that boring
7. will be looking forward to a three-day weekend, except that one day of it will be spent at my grandparents' house in Vallejo
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