Chapter IX: Victor/Victoria
High school was fun......
SEE there is humor in this book.
Genuinely, high school was fun. I'd never had friends, or clubs, or a life I was allowed to participate in without my mother hovering over my shoulder. It was a crash course in personality development, all the while still keeping the allure of me remaining that transplanted new kid for much of my time there as I still had only just arrived to the mid-west to start ninth grade.
Located in rural breadbasket land, near a radioactive waste dump, and a former military facility, this school presented me with every bell and whistle of a 'normal' childhood one could want in the post WWII western world. So, as I often do I steered into the skid. While my extra curricular activities were limited to only one or two during my first two years in school, allowing me to recover from my leg injury, the second half of high school was crammed packed with as much good ole' fashioned American high school fun I could have. That even included, football.
I imagine at this point whether you know me or not, you can probably put it together that I'm not the biggest fan of sports or football. While, I have few peaceful memories from childhood, many were spent watching Gators game's with my parents, and I cherish that. The opportunity to have a feeling of community, to have a feeling of belonging, I craved it deeply, dearly.
Always going overboard and following my protocol and commanding all rooms, situations, struggles I faced, upon what was at first a suggestion made as a joke by a teacher, I took up a grand gender bending challenge, I became the mascot. But the name Victor The Viking just wouldn't work. After all, I was a nearly six foot tall, large breasted, leggy teenager. Being the fagulous creature I am however, I quickly provided the cheer coach with a fantastic alternative that showed my truest colors of my soul at a young age; I would be Victor/Victoria.
A legend was born....
Not really, but I digress.
Victor/Victoria became the vehicle that navigated me through the shedding of the first layer of awkwardness as a being. All of us are awkward as teens.
Maybe Ninja's aren't, but I can say I was in fact a lumpy, awkward teen.
Victor/Victoria was not lumpy or awkward.
Victor/Victoria was strong, unfuckwithable, a juggernaut.
My stature allowed me to walk across the cheerleader laden track during games with such a stride I could command the strongest and drunkest of Midwestern alpha dads to their feet cheering even if we'd only gained a single yard. Victor the Viking was a beacon of light in the dark history of a school that had endured much at the hands of the military and federal government during WWII.
And now, I had modernized him.
It was a feat I reflect upon now even as impressive. How I managed to pull it off then, I still don't recall.
Which brings us to why I regard my feat in such a way.
Being Victor/Victoria was not easy. The costume was heavy, hairy and to be honest, was not designed to fit a woman. It wasn't really even designed to fit anyone over 5'8. In truth, it was meant for a cheerleader. I definitely wasn't that, however turns out, not ALL cheerleaders are bitches. Maybe the ones you went to high school with, but not ALL of the ones I did. Turns out the non-bitchy cheerleaders and pommers actually gave a shit that I gave a shit. I had friends and was socially accepted, but I was still definitely a nerd, and to see a nerd like me giving a shit about school spirit but a little giddy up in their step.
Lacking a gymnastics background, but holding onto the same determination that allowed me to land mid-life crisis jokes at the age of twelve, I performed as much of their routines as could be performed with the costume. Ran the flags out to bring the boys onto the field, across the track for wins. I was a prime specimen of a mascot if I do say so myself, giving my absolute all to every game. I was also however by this time, a kangaroo that had once compromised their leg.
The comical incident of me falling off a bus into a hole I was warned about in New York City my junior year had further compromised my left leg and ankle, making surgery inevitable but not an immediate need.
These series of incidents also led to a need to manage the pain. It was too severe for me to be able to steal enough of my parents pot to manage, and the pain pills got me too high to really function. By the end of my first year as the mascot my pain was unmanageable.
Thankfully, this was the 2000's, and doctor's thought nothing of writing out bottles of sixty count Oxy's to teenagers. Literally.
My first truly glorious year of school, of being popular, of Mom not having a strangle hold over me had reached it's end. My senior year was right around the corner and I was going to head the yearbook and remain as Victor/Victoria. All the while, day by day I was eating larger and larger sums of pills to adjust my tolerance so I could function while still tolerating the incredible amount of pain I was living with. The world didn't know yet. I still had it all managed. The pain, my social life, it was all under control.
I finally had a life that didn't entirely make me want to kill myself, and all I had to do was keep everything under control. That was all it would take.
What foolish things we speak to ourselves as we bring chaos crashing in our own lives. What foolish things.