I seriously have so little memory of my childhood it’s absurd. I don’t know if that’s normal or if I’m blocking things out unconsciously. Other people seem to have myriad and many more memories of growing up than I do. My recall is vague and fuzzy with a buzzing background noise that is irksome and distracting, leaving me with a queasy sense that I should leave well enough alone. I remember so very little of my existence growing up that it really is nothing short of frightening. What I have remembered has popped into the fringes of my consciousness, mostly as I’ve been parenting or while writing this blog. As I was writing my last post about heroes, I had a fleeting flash, an anamnesis of recollection. It took me several days to tease out that glimmer of memory and pull it to the forefront of my mind in any coherent way.
Neither of my children has or has had any imaginary friends. Nina has her stuffed animal (a rabbit named Rabbit) which she has loved to very near extinction. But there are no fanciful friends they play with, talk with, giggle with. They have no make-believe companions. But, I did.
From the time I was very young, too young to even remember, until far later than most children maintain imaginary friends, I had two very dear, very close friends: Dommy and Doseck (though I’m not entirely sure how either name was spelled really since by the time I considered spelling their names they had faded into myth at the back of my consciousness). In any case, I loved those guys! They were with me all the time and a constant source of love, support, encouragement and humor. We were the three amigos! Have you ever seen the movie Drop Dead Fred? Kind of like Fred I guess, but much less whacky. Anyway, my mother was always asking me questions about Dommy and Doseck and even from my youngest age I knew better than to share them with her. They were special to me. And anything special to me she either took from me to be her own or tried to destroy. So there was no way I was telling her anything about my two besties.
Not that I could have told her that much even if I’d wanted to really. I had no way of explaining them, no language to characterize, define or describe them. Certainly there was no one like them that I knew of back then. The best I could do was to say that they were grownups, (pause), had jobs, (pause), and were, perhaps, adult human-sized Mexican jumping beans. Ok ok, stop laughing. That was my abstract depiction of them. And I know, it sounded ridiculous even to me when I was 3! But I couldn’t get a better handle on imparting or reporting them. What I began to realize as I parsed them out from the recesses of my subconscious, is that Dommy and Doseck were, in fact, just like me. No, I am not a jumping bean, nor am I Mexican. But there is a reason I couldn’t explain them. They were transgender!! They were the adult embodiment (so to speak) of what I assumed I’d be like as a grown up. They were a cross between what I dreamed of being and what I assumed I’d be like. They were boy/men. Adult height (in the eyes of a child), lean and stocky, had muscles, and sometimes they wore business suits and ties (oh how I loved ties). While other times they wore those boy clothes I coveted (hiking boots or high-tops, jeans, flannel shirts and baseball caps). They were smooth-faced and gentle, strong, capable and graceful. And definitely male. They sported short hair (as did I) and parted it on the side (just like my dad), which they finger-combed out of the way in a jaunty gesture that I found so, so, boyish.
Dommy and Doseck were by my side all the time. Except, of course, when they had to work. I don’t know what they did for work, but let’s put it this way, they weren’t in the office very much. They liked all the things I liked and loved to play imagination games with me. They flew in my planes, rode in my cars and we saddled up our horses as we screeched toward fantastical destinations. Which was anywhere away from the insanity of mommy dearest. Dommy and Doseck knew me and loved me. They knew my hopes and my fears, my dreams and my ambitions. They knew I was a boy even if my mother demanded that I was not. They made me laugh when she yelled at me or when I had to wear polyester girls’ clothes. And told me it was alright, that they had to wear stupid things when they were little too. They knew my truths and loved me anyway, and that’s all, I told myself, I had to care about. They were my constant companions. They were my sanity. I haven’t thought of them in many years. Remembering is bittersweet. I realize now that they live on in me still, as part of me rather than outside of me. And I am ever grateful for their presence.