08 January 2015

Windows: If the dress fits ..

s an only child, I was the focus of attention 24/7. That was in some respects good but in others bad. 
Good: I was looked after, fed, clothed, regularly told off, rarely praised (I could be doing my parents an injustice here, can’t really tell, anyway as a kid your biased). 
Bad: I hardly had any real time to myself in the house. There was always someone around mostly of course my mother, but also neighbours dropping in all times of the day for a cuppa tea and a chat. I was always under surveillance, not of your “big brother” Orwellian type; it was just that I was not alone long enough to have the chance to raid my mother’s wardrobe!

Finally the day came when I was old enough to babysit myself. This meant I could stay at home alone, while my parents went Saturday shopping or out in the evenings to friends. They were reluctant to leave me on my own, but I insisted they go. I would argue that I could practice my scales on the piano and they didn’t want to hear that for hours on end did they? 
As soon as they had left I went systematically through everything my mother had. I wouldn’t say my mother had an extensive wardrobe, but large enough to keep me occupied. Did I feel bad for what I was doing? Actually I did. Funny enough not because they were women’s clothes, but because I was trying them without her permission. 
I can’t really remember my feelings at this time, I think it was a mixture of the pleasures of wearing colourful pretty clothes made of nice material and being very nervous of being caught. 

And I almost got caught! 

I was brought up in a small bungalow, no den, no cellar, all on one level and therefore no real place to retreat to apart from my own room and that was not lockable! In trying to minimise getting caught, I had developed what I call “the department store strategy”. 
This was to select some garments, not too many, otherwise I would probably forget where I had removed them from. I would then go quickly to the bathroom, lock myself in and try them on. The advantage of the bathroom was a long mirror so I had the chance to see myself in full frontal, this was much better than just the restricted perspective of looking down at an acute angle to try and see how one looked. 
I would take some time to pose, turn around and note what I liked or disliked on me. I would then undress, try the next garment and eventually return to my parent’s bedroom, hanging the clothes in what I hoped was their original location or neatly folding them and replacing them in their draw. 
If my nerves were still intact, I would then look outside to see if all was clear and then select again for another session. This procedure I repeated regularly whenever my parents were out for a long period of time. 

One day, it must have been in the middle of the first session; I was in the locked bathroom halfway through trying on a dress when I heard the front door open! 
I nearly died. I had this long drawn out sinking feeling with just pure disbelief!
I heard footsteps in the hallway, there was a pause and then my father called me. I answered trying not to choke. He was standing not 3 meters from me, with only the bathroom door between us. He asked me if I was alright, coming out of my reverie I said yes, just doing what one does on the toilet. My panic went up a notch, as he had come back maybe he wanted to use the bathroom and we only had the one! 
Before I could start to think up an excuse for when I came out with an armful of my mother’s clothes, he said he had forgotten his wallet and went to look for it. Remember I was still half way into putting on a dress and I just dared not move a muscle, I just stood there frozen! The top third of the bathroom door had a frosted glass window any hectic movement or noises emulating from the bathroom not usually connected with you know what, may have been suspicious. Not that I though my father would suspect anything, I just did not want to tempt providence. 
After what seemed like ages he came back and asked me again if I was alright. I replied it was taking slightly longer than usual. My father wished me luck and left. I could not believe I had survived this surrealistic ordeal. I gave them a few minutes to drive off, I changed back into boy mode and went tentatively to the front window to see if they were really gone. I was expecting everything by this time. With the car not in the drive, I returned to the bathroom collected the clothes, and hurriedly replaced them in the wardrobe. 
Boy had I had enough for one day, this was utterly unbelievable, I was so relieved to have gotten away with it! After a while and with only a slightly raised pulse, I rechecked the replacement of the clothes just in case I had made a mistake. 

And did this put me off for the future? No of course not, well not immediately that is. I was still growing and the window allowing me to dress “home-based” was rapidly closing. As the clothes of my mother were getting tighter and more difficult to put on I reluctantly stopped. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in a dress being unable to get to the zip at the back or try to wriggle out of one with it busting at the seams. 
I was back to theory instead of practice and resigning myself to looking at clothes in my mother’s magazines. I must admit I was a little relieved that it was over, well for the time being that is. 
What a shame (sigh). 
But all was not lost... 
... I had discovered makeup!

05 January 2015

ObserVation: First Birthday

’ve just realised that it’s my birthday today! I know this because I have two birthday greetings (thanks Daria and Josephine) and one bot birthday greeting in my inbox this morning. Not only that, it’s my 1st birthday! Why the 5th. of January you ask? Well you haven’t asked but I’m going to tell you anyway…. 
Last May I decided to create accounts for Abigale on Gmail, Google and on Pinterest. As I was completing the Google required fields and came to birth date I hesitated. So what was it to be, the date I cried my first cry or think one up on the fly. I’m not paranoid concerning traceability, but Murphy’s Law will kick in whenever it gets the chance. I was a little bit wary at the time and still am, more so and I hope wiser since I started networking. I would have liked to skip this entry altogether so that I could just finish and let the account lay there in wait for someone to stumble over it, but no, Google would not let me. 
As I was creating the account for Abigale I though the “cry” date wasn’t really correct anyway. Ok what date to choose then, a pin in a calendar? No, too impersonal. And then I tried to remember how long Abigale had been around. Well I suppose she had always been there since my earliest days, but mainly in the background having a few adventures over the years. Well ok, but how long has she been around in name? 
I started to reflect. 
I had been thinking about girl names and the idea of giving myself one for quite some time and in choosing one I knew I would get all tingly inside. It would be like stepping over a threshold and confirming at least to myself, that I was going to now take the female part of me seriously and get more active. Giving myself a girl’s name would bypass the outer facade and allow one to talk directly to the girl within. With this in mind choosing a name was not going to be easy, all I knew was that I had to be happy and get a little feeling of butterflies when someone would address me so, or write “Dear …” with it.
And then I remembered the day, it was a couple of days after the birthday of MrsA. We had been talking about the first names in our families and discussing “Namenstag” (names day), which in some parts of Germany are more important than the birthday. Not sure when that evening the name Abigale came to mind, I checked it and it passed the test (see post “Naming of Cats”) and on top of that it just “clicked”. I was happy hearing myself saying it over and over in my head in different contexts: laughing, crying, being called and told off with it. Later alone, I repeated it aloud with “Hi! My name is Abigale” and that moved me to watery eyes in the stillness that followed. 
At that point I knew I couldn’t go back, with stepping over the threshold Abigale was here to stay. And back to what? I’m still not sure, in reflection maybe there was no threshold but a natural inevitable progression. I cannot really say and maybe I don’t need to.
And so I added Abigale’s birth date with the 5th. of January to Google and let her cry her first cry as I hit the submit button.

[Ed: For the birthday cake she ordered online, the auto corrector got the better of her and it arrived with the wrong text. This she only realised after the second slice and so reclamation was not possible]
Are you implying I’m greedy!
[Ed: No, just hasty when it comes to eating]
Same thing! 

[Ed: No it isn’t! I was just trying to say …]
… Do you want a piece? 

[Ed: Thought you would never ask!]