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Prompts:

1. Regrets and mistakes, they’re memories made

2. Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying

3. We traded in our innocence and sacrificed our youth

BEGIN WRITING:

My father was a wonderful man, the kind of guy that other men want to be and women want to own. He was tall and broad-shouldered, kind and intelligent with a perpetual twinkle in his eye and a smile that seldom disappeared. He was known for honesty and strength of character as well as of muscle. Almost all of these traits he passed on to me.

I, too, am tall and broad-shouldered. I stand 6’3″ in my bare feet and weigh somewhat over 220 pounds. I’ve been told more than once that I would’ve made a damn fine fullback.

Unfortunately, my dad also passed along a tiny little X-chromosome, which ultimately meant I would be born a female. Yes, inside this ungainly corpus is a being that thinks of herself as gentle, dainty, beautiful—in short, someone who would’ve made a damn fine ballerina.

Ah, well. From the time I was a very small child I recognized that there were things about me that were at odds with what I could find in my friends. It wasn’t, of course, just a matter of my physical characteristics, although I soon had to learn that must be extra careful to keep my voice soft and my expression placid just to avoid frightening several of my less-aggresive playmates. A simple game of hide-and-go-seek tended to end quickly in an onrush of surrendering hiders if I let go a bellow: Come out, come out, wherever you are!

As I grew older, you understand, a lot of the problems resolved themselves, and as new ones came along, I found ways to deal with them. Still, the days of junior high school dances were rough, no doubt about it. What boy in his right mind would want to dance with someone a full head taller than he was? But by the time I headed for college I was sure of myself in many ways.

There would always be people who couldn’t deal with me, couldn’t find the ballerina inside the fullback. But I grew to understand that some of them would eventually hear the inner voice of my soul, and for others it would, forever, be “I see your lips move, but I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

I found and lost a love, who saw the real me and cherished it for a while before he moved on. It was glorious, then devastating, and now, after the passage of so many years, there is only muted sadness. Regrets and mistakes, they’re memories made. So, too, are joys and the little daily fulfillments that also make up the canvas of our lives.

My father gave me part of what I would become; my mother, bless her, gave me more. and I have somehow melded everything and tempered all the bits and pieces with the fire of my own experiences. I am content. I am me.

PENCILS DOWN

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