I Am Norman
by Fiza Pathan
Ever since I can remember, I knew that I was Norman. I felt like Norman and acted like Norman and every bit of me wanted to be Norman….but the problem was, everyone around me including my parents were not treating me as ‘Norman’ which was normal for me . . . they were treating me as ‘Nora’ . . . a girl . . . but I wasn’t a girl and I knew it. I was a boy, but my parents didn’t want to talk about it.
My name is Nora Shirley and I am a boy trapped hopelessly in a girl’s body.
When I checked up on the internet, I realized that doctors called people like me ‘Transgender’ or ‘Inter-sexed’. They call it a disorder something to do with what happens to a child in the mother’s womb.
However, I don’t care about all this because I know that I am not a girl. I’m a boy in every sense of the word, I’m Norman . . . but when I undress to have a shower and look at myself . . . at my vagina . . . my breasts . . . my helplessness stares at me in the face. I hate my body and I hate myself but most importantly . . . I hate God for playing such a cruel joke on me, for trapping me in a woman’s body without any mercy.
My name is Nora Shirley however, I want to be Norman Shirley, but my family will not allow me to be who I am. They say it is a phase but it’s not. What I’m feeling right now is not a phase it is reality, then why is everyone turning their backs on me? Is it my fault that I’m transgender? Is it my fault that I feel like a boy? I don’t want to create trouble, I’m not that type of a person but for once I want everybody to know that I am Norman Shirley, a boy…..a transgender boy.
My name is Nora Shirley and this is my suicide letter to the world. I’m 14 years old and I’m tired of living life like a girl. I’ve been living a lie for fourteen years because I had to keep up to the norms of a society which does not consider that a person like me can even exist. I don’t care about that anymore, I’ve already fought all my small and big battles . . . Nora wins every time . . . Norman as a punishment gets to be locked up in a closet. I remember the thousands of times I begged my mother not to put on a dress for me at school and I remember the thousands of times I asked my father to write a letter to the school nurse to allow me to use the boy’s toilet because I felt uncomfortable in a girl’s lavatory. They never listened and they still are not listening. When I got my first period, my mother was very proud of me and thought that now I would start being a Nora. However, the Norman in me grew stronger and I was getting violent.
My name is Nora Shirley but from the day I can remember, I knew I was not the same gender as my two older sisters. My mother and father were happy when I was born to them, for they loved girls. My eldest sister’s name is Nina and my second sister’s name is Natasha. They wore girly dresses and did girly things just like my mother. They would put on make-up, do up their hair, paint their nails and wear the frocks mother stitched for them on the machine we had at home on which even my own mother’s baby girly clothes were stitched by her own mother. However, I did not like wearing dresses I liked the colour sky blue and wanted to wear jeans just like my father. I hated to wear dresses that exposed my bare legs. It was embarrassing . . . it has always been embarrassing. My sisters loved to listen to pop bands while I loved heavy metal music. I learnt the guitar all by myself and wrote songs all about wanting to be Norman . . . my family didn’t like my songs.
Every day was a trial but worst days came in the form of my own birthday. Presents were gifted to me which were all wrong . . . all just totally wrong. I was gifted Barbie dolls and pink stickers when I wanted trains and police cars. Nina and Natasha were my worst enemies; they called me the ‘Ken without a Pen’ all day long and no one bothered to stop them.
I started living in a world of my own. My grades were not so good at school and letters of complaint were always coming home because I used to beat up girls at school who annoyed me.
My name is Nora Shirley but I want to end my life today, for whenever I used to tell my mother that I was a boy . . . she would strip me infront of my two older sisters which was so humiliating, and used to point at my vagina and say that it proved that I was a girl . . . that I had to give up being ‘Norman’ and start being ‘Normal’. I then tried to play it cool for a while. So what if everybody thought I was Nora, in my cosy little world, I could always be Norman.
My father allowed me to dress like a boy to school. He thought that I was being a ‘tom boy’ when actually I was just being myself, I was being Norman Shirley. I love playing sports especially hockey but the boys at school would rarely play with me . . . I was a very good player. I aced tennis too and won many championships. Tennis and the gruelling hard work that went behind it made me forget the gender issue I was having with myself. However, one day I with my sisters was invited to a pool party. I did not want to go, the party was only for girls but my mother forced me to go and to my utter horror made me wear a two piece bathing suit which was a hand down from my eldest sister Nina. I stayed in a corner the whole party, covering myself and hiding my tears, because boys don’t cry, and I am a boy.
I am typing this letter on my computer before I take my father’s gun from his desk drawer and blow my brains out. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to do it, but now I know I can . . . because I’m tired of this constant mental struggle that forms the very core of my being. Girl? Boy? Girl? Boy? Girl? Boy? Girl? Boy? Girl? Boy . . . Jesus, you really made a biological mistake with me which I’m coming back to you to rectify.
I was taken to a priest once to be prayed over; my family thought that I had got the ‘devil’ in me or something like that. That priest slapped me on the face with his Biblical quotes every time I said that I was a boy . . . ‘He Made Them Both Man and Woman’ . . . ‘He Made Them Both Man and Woman’ . . . ‘He Made Them Both Man and Woman’. My family doctor was dumbfounded with my ‘problem’ and he thought I was maybe a lesbian. I laughed when I heard that one . . . Norman laughed, and I think I have a pretty handsome face when I laugh which could make any girl go crazy over me . . . because Norman is attracted to girls because Norman is a boy . . . NOT A GIRL !
After I type this letter and post it on Facebook, I’m going to kill myself. I’m going to kill myself because I am a boy trapped in a girl’s body and by my death, I want others to know that I’m not a freak, that there are people just like me all over the world, and we need to be understood . . . not judged. I will never be able to play my guitar again; I will never be able to play hockey or tennis again; I will never get my first kiss from a girl; I’ll never be able to read boyish comics again or play on my PSP . . . and it is all Nora’s fault because I’m Norman Shirley . . . but nobody wants me.
Once I tried to cut my breasts with a kitchen knife. At the hospital the surgeon called in a psychiatrist and put me on a series of drugs. He did not want to hear about the boy within me . . . he just wanted to prescribe me a batch of tablets which he thought would make me act like Nora again. My mother cried at that point of time and my sisters hated me for making her cry, but don’t you see . . . I wanted to see blood . . . bright red crimson beautiful blood, the blood that ran through my veins . . . the blood of a boy called Norman, not a girl called Nora. It was a morbid poetical expression . . . I know that . . . but it did not work and so here I am today ready to shoot myself and leave this unbearable world forever.
My name is Nora Shirley but today is a proud moment for me. As I end this letter and post it on Facebook I know that I’m being true to myself for once. Many people have treated Norman badly but I think the worst person who didn’t understand Norman was me . . . for if I believed so much in Norman, I would not be taking the step I am taking now. I love Norman Shirley and I will love him forever but tough luck Norman, there were too many odds against you…..but I’m going to set it right with my last breath. When I press that trigger today I will be pressing it not as Nora Shirley . . . but as Norman Shirley, the boy trapped in a girl’s body.
Copyright © 2014 by Fiza Pathan
Image courtesy: Google images/Wikipedia