Stephen has to win a talent contest, but its good he finds out he is Shirley Temples reincarnation.
Written by Dauphin
You think as a 12 year old boy, that I would be interested in doing homework, or the latest sports, games or even girls. That was not me; I was like everyone else at my school. We were talking about the talent contest at our school. It was a yearly event and everyone tried doing something. However if you won, you were put on the hall of fame. This was just like being a town hero. This was the only thing that people talked about at school and at every home in the town.
Most did not expect to win. They just wanted to have fun. However, it was different than me. You see, my mom and dad won it when they were children and so did my big sister. Everyone in my family was on the wall, except me. This year I wanted to win. I wanted to win so badly. I decided that my picture will be on that wall this year. I would do anything to win.
So I spent a few days trying to sing different songs. That did not work out. Then I tried to dance. That was not good enough. I tried doing magic. That nearly burnt the house down. It seemed like I could do things, but I was just average. I would do well at the competition, but I most likely would not win! I was frustrated and cried on my bed. I would never be on the hall of fame.
My sister Amanda came in and gave me a hug. She was 16 and I must admit she was a good sister. She didn’t think I was annoying or that I was a burden. She didn’t tease me or treat me bad. Just like now, when I was giving up hope and didn’t think I was good at anything. She hugged me and told me that I had many talents. She turned on the TV and there was a film of Shirley Temple singing and dancing. My sister smiled at me and told me that the actress in the film and I have the same curls. I could not see how that girl and I had the same haircut. However she got my attention and she was good.
The next few days, I looked at all the films of hers I could find. It’s great we have YouTube! I was more and more impressed with Shirley Temple. She used her cuteness and talent to impress millions. My sister noticed my new found interest in Shirley and asked me was I going to imitate her at the talent show. I thought a bit and told her I could very well be the reincarnation of the actress from the 1930’s. My sister smiled at this.
That night I dreamt about the talent contest, with Shirley competing. She was singing a song and at the end danced a bit. Everyone was cheering and throwing roses at her. She won the competition and everyone stood up and clapped when she got the trophy. She was a star! When I looked at her on the stage, I could see it was not Shirley. It was me!
The next day we were eating breakfast. My mom asked, “Do you want cornflakes o just toast Stephen?” I heard my mom asking but I did not answer. I just sat there and looked around confused. She asked a few more times and I did not answer. This must have frustrated my parents as you could see their faces cringe. My dad told me that my mom was asking me a question, and he expected me to answer her. I just fiddled with the napkin as my sister giggled. She explained to my parents that I no longer thought I was Stephen, but the reincarnation of Shirley Temple. My dad did not look so impressed, but my mom started laughing and smiling. She said she had a new daughter. Dad sighed.
“Do you want Cornflakes, Shirley?” Mom asked.
After dinner, I went to my sister’s room. She was reading a magazine. I knew that she wanted to be a hairdresser when she was older. So I wanted her to do my hair. At first she laughed and said that my hair was perfect. I started crying saying that it is not what I was used to. I begged her to do my hair as I couldn’t ask mom or dad, as they thought I was still a boy called Stephen. My sister stopped smiling, and said to herself that I was serious about this. She asked me if I was serious about being Shirley. I said I was Shirley. She told me to sit in a chair and within a few seconds, I started to see small pieces of hair fall down as my sister looked at a print out of Shirley, and clipped a bit more. She spent ages brushing it. At the end, she looked at it and said that it made me look like a girl. I smiled at that. I told her my hair was like that before, it will be fine again!
When my parents seen it, they were in shock. Dad sighed and complained that I even had the same hair as the girl. He took my hand and explained to me Shirley Temple was a child star 70 years ago. I am not Shirley. This made me tear away from him shouting that he does not understand. I ran to my room and cried on my bed.
I could hear my parents talk all night. I didn’t want them to get mad at me or think that I gone crazy. However I wanted them to respect what and who I was. I was Shirley and it was important for me that they saw this. I was looking more and more like her; however the transformation was not completed yet. I still had to act more and more like her, and look even more and more like her. I had to be… Shirley.
My sister came in and told me not to worry. Mom and Dad were just worried about me. She could understand why. It’s not every day that a son says he is the reincarnation of someone that was a child 80 years ago. On top of that not every boy would say they are a girl. She told me mom and dad worried because they love me, but I can expect them at school not to understand. They will tease me. Then my sister gave me a hug and said that she will always love and support me.
She gave me a doll. It was an old doll she found in the attic. It was a raggy doll and smelled of dust. It must have belonged to granny or even her mother. I hugged the doll and said thank you to my sister. She smiled and said she had to get used to the fact that she now had a sister that was finding herself. I held the doll close to me as she was now my best friend. I closed my eyes and was falling asleep when my parents come in. I didn’t want to discuss anymore, so I pretended I was asleep. Mom and dad gave me a hug. Dad then whispered that he did not know what to do. This was totally weird for him. Mom whispered that they should be there for me. There was silence and then dad whispered that he loved me.
I had the best parents in the world.
It was now weekend, so I spent all Saturday practicing to dance. I must admit I was having great fun. I decided to song and to do a bit of tap dancing. I danced before a mirror and sang. Then I looked at the film of how it was done there, and I tried again. My mom looked at me practice and said that it was not good enough yet. My mom smiled and accused me of being a perfectionist.
I was not happy with my performance or the way I was. I looked at the video and I was just as good. Why was I not satisfied? Why was I so sad? I tried to practice so every second was perfect, and I even recorded myself, so I could look at my performance. I was not happy and this made me cry. I held my doll and sat on my bed wondering what I should do. My face was red and wet with tears.
Once again, my sister came to my rescue. She told me to stop crying and follow her. I took her hand and held the doll in my other hand. She dragged me to the attic in the house, where it was cold and dark. We turned on a switch that was a low light that made the attic glow a bit. Everything looked brown and dusty, as we were travelling back into time. She dragged me in a maze of old furniture and blankets and piles of clothes. In the far end of the attic, we found a big chest with the words Christina 1932. We opened it and it was full of clothes. She said they belonged to my great grandmother. For the first time in days, I was smiling. I put my hands through the clothes and lifted them up to see. There were a few dresses that were so pretty!
Did my sister expect me to wear these; is this what my performance needed? She smiled and said I cannot be Shirley and not look like her. Then she took me to another part of the attic and found her old clothes. She said I could also have her clothes. We dragged her clothes and my clothes down to my room. We spent a few hours putting my old clothes in plastic bags and putting them in the attic. The girl clothes were now in my drawers and closet.
Mom came in and asked us what we were doing. I said I was Shirley and had to look like her. I could see moms face turn white as she called for my dad to come and look. By the time he came, I had a nightdress on. It was a light blue one with a rainbow and a cute unicorn, my sister was fixing my hair. Mom told dad that I am now dressing like a girl. He looked at me and I think he was trying to remember the son that I looked like days before. He told mom that he needed a drink. Mom was now mad and asking was that all he was going to do? Mom followed him and a night of screaming and fighting started. I told my sister, that I didn’t want to be the cause of their fights. She said they were not fighting. They were worried. They had a son one day and the next day their son says he is a daughter. They would get over it. She tucked me in. I waited for my parents to come and tuck me in bed, but they did not come.
The next day I did not consider wearing girl clothes to school and my new hair. I found a yellow top that had a crown on it and some shorts. I wore tights under the shorts and sandals. My sister was surprised and said that no one could see that I was a boy. The same happened at school, where everyone knew I was a boy but looked like a girl. They started calling me sissy and girlie and asked did I fancy boys? I wanted to hold my doll so much, and cry my eyes out, but I held my head high and did not shed a tear. Some boys asked what my new name was, only to be in shock and laugh as I told them my name was Shirley. I cared that they teased me as I always liked being popular. I never knew what it was like to be teased. I knew that I would never tease anyone again. I was also worried about my parents. They fought all night and it was because of me. I didn’t want to be the reason to my parents getting a divorce.
Was I selfish in thinking I was Shirley?
When I came home, my parents told me to sit down. I sat down quiet. Dad told me that I could be transgendered, as I feel like I am a girl. But have a boy’s body. He told me that some children feel the same as me, and mom and dad talked about it all night. Mom continued and said that they now accepted that I was Shirley. This does not mean I was sick or weird. It does not mean that my family loved me as much as they ever did, and they would support me as they always tried to. I told them about the teasing and this made Dad sigh. He told me that others will look down at me and tease and make me feel bad. He thinks they do this because they are confused and do not know about why I suddenly think that I am Shirley. They both gave me a hug.
Then they said to get dressed, as even though it was a school night, we were going out to get a burger. They told me to find my sister. I wanted to practice for the competition, but a burger could not be turned down. I ran up to get my sister.
I told her everything that my parents said and she smiled and said she knew everyone would be happy at the end. She said this was something to celebrate and told me I should wear a dress. I thought a few minutes and then asked which dress? We found a purple dress. I wore tights of course and Mary Janes. We rushed down and said we were ready. Dad joked saying its hard being surrounded by so many princesses. I blushed.
We went to the mall. A part of me knew this would be fun being with my family, but I also knew that it was a test for me. It would show me if people seen me as Shirley or the boy I was a week ago. As we entered the mall, I held dads hand very tight as we walked through a crowd of people and past the shops. My feet were very weak but I knew that I had to do this. I became more and more confident as people were not pointing at me and teasing. They actually thought I was a girl. Some older boys and men even gave me a strange smile. This made me smile as if they only knew.
My best friend from school George was there. He told me that he has something important to say to me and pulled me away from my parents, my mom said it was nice to see him, and we would meet at the burger bar. George was welcome to come and eat with us. I thought that could be fun.
When we were alone, George asked what has gotten into me and why I was suddenly a sissy. I tried explaining that I was Shirley and he would understand after the competition. This made Georg loose his cool. He shouted that I was a boy and my brain was telling me I was a girl. I had a boy’s body and thought I was a girl. He told me to look at myself when I am in the shower and ask myself do I look like a girl? Then George started to panic and asked did I stare at his privates in the showers. He asked me was all this because I was gay?
He pushed me and called me a freak. An old woman seen this and slapped George across his ear, saying not to treat his girlfriend like that. George yelped when she hit him as he shouted telling her and half the mall that I was a sissy boy. I was on the ground and didn’t notice that the dress was hiked up so the woman could see my tights and the boy’s tent. Everyone was in shock and I stayed on the ground crying and calling for my mom.
George went away and told me we were no longer friends. This made me cry more. My parents told me we would go home and get a take away. We do not need people pointing at us and judging.
When we home, I was in a depressed mood. I never knew that George was so mean. I thought if it was him that was dressed like a girl, I would accept it, or would I? I was so confused.
Dad came into tuck me good night. He told me he wanted a son that played football, had girlfriends and wanted to be a rock star. Now he had a daughter that was the reincarnation of a child star that was famous 80 years before. I was hard to accept but he did not love me less. When others had time to understand and accept it, they would still love me and want to be with my friends. He told me the next thing was the competition the next day, and gave me a kiss on my forehead telling me to be brave.
The next day, I was dressed in a white petticoat dress and ankle socks and Mary Janes. My sister put flowers in my hair. When my mother saw me, she started crying telling me how proud we were. Everyone was silent as they seen me. No one smiled or said hi. They just stared at me, as if I came from the moon,
George turned around when he seen me. He looked the other way and did not even bother to wave or something. My family whispered to be brave.
When I went on scene and looked at the audience, I could see their faces again. Many faces were confused, while others were in disgust, a few were smiling. I looked down and wondered was this a good idea. The music started playing and I started singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop”. As I looked down at the audience, they started to smile more and more. I think this helped me perform better, especially when they saw my tap-dance. They clapped in beat to the tap-dancing. The performance was only 5 minutes, but it was so fun. For the first time, I didn’t care if I won or not, especially as I got a standing aviation.
I won the competition. I got what I wanted. My picture was now on the hall of fame.
On the way home, my dad was saying how amazing it was. He said no one was happy to see me before I came, and after my song, I was the hero of the night. Mom said that I needed to see a special doctor. She heard that transgenders should get blockers and hormones. She would make an appointment tomorrow.
I told them no need. I asked sister if she would help me get my boys clothes back so I can be myself again.
There was silence for a bit and mom screamed asking if I did all this just to win a competition? My dad was quiet as he did not know what to say. My sister was worse saying I used her.
As for me, I cried and said it was like something that swept me. I wanted to win the competition, and the only way I could do it is if people thought that I was not just imitating the girl, I wanted them to believe I was her. I apologised if I they thought I played with their emotions and tricked them.
There was silence.
My sister asked would we put back all the dresses?
I said no, as Shirley was part of me, which was not the plan, and she will want to visit her family once in a while. I also wanted to keep the doll.
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