“Annie,” my mother stood in the door of my room, “We need to talk.”
“Oh my god mother, what now?”
“I want you to tell me the truth. Are you happy? With the – well, you know, since your changes?”
Blood rushed to my head. “Happy? I went to bed one night and everything was normal. I woke up the next morning – and well, just look. I didn’t ask for this. It just happened to me.”
My mother had tears forming in her beautiful blue eyes. But I wasn’t really sure why
She looked away. “I had hoped – I mean –you seem happier sometimes– when you’re with Jason or Cheryl, and I had hoped – “
I put my arms around her. “It’s fine mother. I’ll deal with it.”
“No!” my mother turned to face me. “It isn’t right.. I don’t want – don’t ‘deal with it’. You don’t have to be the person anybody else expects. Not Me or Jason or Cheryl or anyone else but yourself. There are things that can b done. Either by magic or science. I will help. Just tell me what you want and I will put everything I have into helping you ”
As she got ready to leave the room, she hugged me tightly and kissed the top of my head. “It’s so strange,” she said,”before this happened, I sometimes thought– I don’t know. Get some sleep.”
I buried my head in my pillow and cried myself to sleep. I didn’t really have a choice. It just happened. I didn’t have a choice and I didn’t want one.
The next day Jason picked me up for school. When I got in his car, he leaned over to kiss me but I pulled away. “What’s the matter,” he asked, “Are you OK?”
I told him I wasn’t feeling well, “Girl problems,” I lied.
“Again?” he asked. “Look, I don’t know what’s up with you anymore.”
“Are you gay? Did you like me before I turned into a girl? Or only after?”
“Why? Look, just fuck you. OK?”
“Not tonight dear, I have a headache,” I said. We didn’t speak for the rest of the ride.
At school, I felt all over again like everyone was watching and judging me.
”Is she really a girl” or “Maybe he did this on purpose.” I left school at lunchtime, called Cheryl and asked her to meet me. When she got there, I told her what my mother had said.
“Is she talking about surgery and hormones do you think?” Cheryl asked.
“Maybe. I guess. I don’t know,” i mumbled, “What do you think? Am I still a boy inside or did that change too? Maybe part of the magic or whatever changed me has changed my thinking too.
“I don’t know,” she said,” One minute you seem happy with yourself, then you get all weird and nasty and feeling sorry for yourself.”
“Don’t hold back,” i said.
“You seem afraid to say ‘this is who I am. Who I want to be.”
“This wasn’t my choice you know. Besides,I bought all the clothes and stuff we picked out, didn’t I? And the makeup and everything? I even took that movement for models dance class you wanted me to.
“I wanted you to? No, you said you wanted to move in a more feminine and graceful manner. Now you throw it back in my face, saying you only did it to make me happy?”
“Well fuck you then,” I was yelling loudly, ”and fuck Jason and everybody else that wanted me to be a girl. Because I’m not. I’m going to be a boy again. Because that’s what I’m supposed to be.”
I didn’t see or talk to anybody for almost a month. My mother told the schooll I was ill. Mostly I just hid in my room.
At the end of the month I invited my friends to a “Welcome back Andy,” party. I knew they would come, just out of curiosity if nothing else. Sure enough, they did. I stayed in the other room.
“Thank you all for being here tonight,” my mother announced, “Annie – excuse me – Andy will be a few minutes late. He asked me to read this, ‘I know this past six months have been hardest on my friends and family. I have been nasty and just about as mean as I knew how. That was my way of trying to say – ‘hey, this wasn’t my choice. I’m a victim, here’. But my mother pointed out that I didn’t have to be a victim. I could choose. But doing that meant admitting who I really was and have always been”
Mom stopped reading and I entered the room, wearing a yellow chiffon prom gown with a sweetheart front and heels that I had picked out a month earlier with Cheryl (my girlhood 101 crash course tutor) and earrings that I hoped set off my new hairstyle and coloring. Their applause brought tears to my eyes. “Is it too much? ” there was laughter. “Listen, I’m going to stop all this crying soon, I know I am,” I said
“You see,” I said, “I’ve always felt like I was a girl inside. Always. When this happened –,” I swirled around so that my skirt billowed out, to accentuate the meaning of ‘This’ “I should have been happy, right? But I couldn’t because then I would have to admit it. That’s why I didn’t want a choice. I wanted to be a victim – cursed, forced, somehow, into looking and behaving like a girl.
But it isn’t true. It never was a curse. It was a wish come true, that I frankly didn’t deserve. There are brave people in the world going through hell to live as the gender they know themselves to be. I am very happy to be the person you see before you tonight.”
Somebody yelled “But the invitation said it was Andy’s welcome back party?”
I looked around at all my friends. “Huh,” I shrugged, “Must have been a misprint.”
And that’s my fairy tale. No evil stepmother, just a woman who loved her child no matter what gender the child chose. No curse. Just Magic. And no hero really, just brave people being honest about who they are. But there is one more, rather traditional thing:
And we all lived happily ever after.