Fifteen Minute Friday: My Earliest Memory
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This week’s prompt… My Earliest Memory. You have 15 minutes–go!
It was itchy and no amount of washing would change that, but it was perfect in every other way. My favourite sweater, knitted by my nana, was white, for the most part, with buttons down the front and two small useless pockets on either side at the bottom. What I liked the most about my cardigan was the flowers. If I had my hands in the impractical pockets they were hidden, but when I was walking or standing with my hands at my sides colourful flowers on stems grew from their shallow cavities.
It was the girliest thing I owned.
With this beautiful sweater, I would wear a tam hat made of jean martial in which I placed cheap tourist buttons all over it to weigh it down heavy on my head of short cropped hair. I would wear a plaid button down shirt, not unlike the one I am wearing today but in navy, and a pair of brown corduroy bellbottoms to finish my uniform. I wore sensible sneakers in brown or burgundy as opposed to the pinks and baby blues of the other girls in my class. So my sweater was my disguise for fitting in to the girl crowd when I really only wanted to play baseball with my dad, brother, and his friends.
I had dresses in my closet. I had pictures of myself in dresses. Every Easter and Christmas I would force myself into them and smile for the camera but it was forced and uncomfortable until I put on my flower sweater. I knew that the sweater, a reminder to the world of my gender, was not that at all. It was my armour. With it on, I wasn’t picked on for my shirt buttoned to the top or the colour of my shoes. “I am a girl,” might have been blazoned on those pockets instead of flowers and it would have done the same trick. That sweater warmed me, comforted me, and let the definition of me be what I wanted it to be on the inside of that itchy world. I was uniquely me with a stem full of flowers, likely dandelions, as an adornment. I still blow the seeds off every spring to bring colour to my life even if some don’t think it beautiful, I know that beauty is only pocket deep.
Fifteen Minute Fridays are stories based on writing prompts that I penned in the 15 minutes afforded to me at my weekly writer’s group. They are unedited (except spelling) and are based on one word/phrase. The fifteen minutes includes thinking about your idea, writing it down, and a quick edit if you have time. When we are done our 15-minute writing exercise, we share our stories with everyone in the room. If you played along, please share. If you read my words, please be kind.