Sunday, March 28, 2010

"That book is dumb and getting breasts is a pain in the butt!"

The summer between the fifth and sixth grade years at school just stunk to high heaven as far as I was concerned.  Mom decided I was developing my breasts way to much for her comfort, so we had to have "The Talk" and I had to go brassiere shopping for the first time in my life. 

One:  "The Talk" in our neighborhood consisted of a mother handing her daughter a book (well-worn) to read that was a story about a girl who went out on a date with a boy, rode around in the back seat of a car while out on a double date, got to "French kissing" him and ended up with a baby.  Then the mother would say, "If you have a questions about this, just ask me" while silently praying that the daughter would be so confused she'd not ask any questions EVER.  That book went around the neighborhood to every girl that even looked like she might now have breast tissue or was growing hair under her arms or near her "privates".  None of us learned anything about menstruation from it, except that somehow French kissing lead to babies and that riding in the backseat of a car wasn't approved of by our parents.  Otherwise, the book was pretty useless. 

Two:  Bras were brassieres and they were very serious business.  Moms said so.  "You growing up now.  You have to have a brassiere."  Now, for those of you who have never had to go through this part of "womanhood", this can be a real jolt to your sense of who you are.  One summer you can take off your shirt and just play bare chested like everyone else (read that , the boys) because it was 100 degrees in the shade.  The next summer, you cannot, under any circumstances, remove the first stitch of clothing even if you are in danger of heat prostration because your Mom says so.  The boys weren't treating those of us whose mothers had deemed us in need of brassieres any differently.  That was the pervue of our adult female parents. 

My transition to "womanhood" came all in one hellish week early in June.  Mom had a bunch of the neighbor ladies in for cards, snacks, and to bring their daughters over so we could all be introduced to the "wonders of womanhood" together.  One, the girls and their mothers she invited over were as embarassed about the subject as she and I were.  Yeah, this was gonna be a great experience - NOT!  So, while our moms feasted on sandwiches, punch and played cards the 5 of us sat in the backyard in lawn chairs pretending we were getting suntans in our shorts and middie tops and passing around "The Book" and reading chapters of it aloud to one another...  and laughing our butts off from embarassment and from confusion.  At one point, Pam's mom leaned out the patio door and asked us if we had any questions yet.  Huh?  Questions about what?  Not one word in the book about vaginas, ovaries, cervixes, penises, sexual desire, intercourse or any of the other things "The Talk" is generally supposed to cover.  Just a weird and convoluted story about a girl kissing a guy and getting pregnant.  For all we could figure out, once you got breasts riding in the back seat of a car with a boy got you a baby and that French kissing was something our moms didn't want to explain to us.  The kissing part sounded intriguing, but, if there was no description of it, how could we figure out if it was wrong?  Other than that, the book was pretty useless.

The only common link between all of this foolishness that the five of us could determine was the extra fat on our chests that only 2 of us - me and Pam - were getting.  We decided right then and there that "that book is dumb and getting breasts is a pain in the butt!" by unanimous vote.  We even elected Pam to tell our moms the result of our voting.  The result of that vote was our moms taking all of us out for a brassiere fitting enmasse that very day!  Great, shopping for a brassiere, dying of embarassment, having someone else besides your mom measure your chest naked, and then bringing a whole slew of brassieres into the dressing room for you to try on.  Yepper, great experience, especially when all you were in the same huge dressing room together.  Yikes! 

What does all of this pubescent stuff have to do with being psychic as a kid?  And, what did it have to do with making that summer stink to high heaven?  LOTS!  One, I really knew what the Moms were all thinking and feeling even more acutely than I did before.  Constant fretting and worrying everywhere and about everything the girls and I did from dawn till bedtime and even after we went to bed.  The constant worrying and mental jabbering was overwhelming.  Combine that with the beginning of estrogen invading the bloodstream and it is a total chaotic mess.  I so didn't care that Mrs. V next door worried that her only daughter might see a penis before she "was ready"  - whatever that meant.  Nor did I care to know the innermost thoughts of any of the other moms with whom my parents interacted.  Good grief!  Puberty brought out the worst in their thoughts that's for sure.  And, then there were the thoughts and feelings from the girls themselves.  OVERLOAD!!!  And try as I might, it seemed like closing up shop for the night got harder and harder every minute.  I so wanted to go back to the summer before.  It was much easier and so much less confusing mentally and emotionally.  The changes in my body were changing the way my gift was working and I really didn't like it much.  It would have been so nice to be able to turn it off and just walk away and leave it sit there by itself.  There were times I felt almost psychotic from all the "stuff" swirling in everyone else's heads and in mine as well.  And there was no one to talk to about it at home.  Changes weren't fun and I really wanted this one to go away.  Little did I know it was going to get worse for me, much worse, before it began to get better.

Yepper, that book was really dumb, totally useless when it came to learning the facts of life, and getting breasts was a giant pain in the butt!

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