Building 45

Literary/Arts Journal

A Small Defiance

by Bridget Conklin

I’m in the outfield, and I’m scratching my balls. Well, no. Not really. I’m only 11. Also, I’m a girl; I don’t know what balls are for. I have my hand down my pants, though, because I‘ve picked up this habit from my brothers. I don’t know why they do it so much. Maybe it’s fun for them. I do it because it relaxes me.

I’ve had this itch between my legs for weeks. I thought that if I scratched at it, then maybe it would go away. Yeah, right. It’s worse than ever now. The only way to make it calm down is to touch it, and that only works some of the time.

No one sees me doing this. I can’t believe it. Actually, maybe I can. No one pays attention to me…unless they need someone to bully. That’s why I’m in right field, the position for the player who has no value. I want to ask the coach if I can pitch or if I can bat. Then I won’t have so much time to think. I’m too shy to talk to her, though. It would just be a waste of time. She knows I suck at softball. I know it, too.

Now I can feel myself getting lost in my head. I wish I could stop, because I’m afraid of what I’ll find out, but I don’t know how.

My body has been strange for about a year. It tells me that it wants, but it never says what thing it’s asking for. For a few months, I thought I was just really hungry. I gave myself too much food. I was never hungry, not really, but I didn’t have to think about the other things if I ate. Then everything got worse about a month ago when the itch started. That’s when I realized that I didn’t want food. I wanted (still want) something else. Something that makes the hairs on my arms stand on end whenever I think about it. Something that I can feel in my stomach and in my thighs and in my groin.

I don’t know what to call this want, but it’s bad. It’s the worst thing. Somehow, I know. It’s what those disgusting men dream about when they watch little girls and boys having fun on the playground. It’s what those creepy vampire models in magazines beg for when they take of their clothes. My family has a name for people with this sick want : pervert.

Now I’m scratching even harder. It’s an angry reaction that I can’t seem to control. I am so sick of people telling that something is wrong with me, that I should be a different person. The girls on the softball team ask me the same question every day: “Kelsey, why don’t you act like a normal girl?” Adults want to predict my future. They like to say, “One day, Kelsey, you’ll outgrow this tomboy phase. You’ll blossom into a beautiful young woman; then someone will steal you away from us.”

The most terrible voice comes from inside me. My skin goes cold when my conscience begins to scream as loudly as it can. You’re going to hell! Good girls don’t think about these things! You little pervert!

I remove my hand from my groin. I’m not scared anymore. Now I'm just pissed off. I’m thinking about the other things, the stuff I just want to forget.

I hate my coach for not kicking me off the team.

I hate my parents for signing me up to play softball in the first place.

I hate all the girls on the team for planning parties, telling me about them so that I knew I wasn’t invited, and then leaving me alone to cry in my room afterwards.

I hate all of the teachers from St. Sebastian’s Academy. I don’t go there anymore, but I still remember what they did and what they said. They made me feel small and worthless for liking cartoons, superheroes, and fantasy books. They made think that I was bad, because I didn’t pray as much as they thought I should. They filled me with guilt for things that weren‘t my fault.

I hate God, because He hates girls. He gives them all the dirty parts - breasts, butts, thighs, soft nipples - but then He punishes them for thinking dirty thoughts.

Most of all, I hate everyone who calls me a girl. If I was a girl, I would want to have breasts. I would want to wear stupid clothes that are too tight and stupid shoes that are too small. I would love the color pink. I would want to read books about other girls, real girls who like to shop and gossip and giggle. I would go to sleepovers and let other girls paint my nails, even thought the smell of nail polish makes me want to puke. If I was a girl, I’d be sweet and innocent.

I will never be a girl. But I’m not a boy, either. I’m Kelsey, and I don’t have a gender. I’m Kelsey, and I’m dirty and disgusting. I’m Kelsey…and I’m a pervert. Everyone hates me. But that’s fine. I like the way I am. That’s all that matters.

In defiance of a whole damn world that hates me, I shove my hand back into my pants. And scratch.