The year I became Peter.

I’m on a roll. I’ve decided to bare all my dirty, dark secrets with the world and her ancestors 18 generations and beyond. Ok perhaps not dirty and not that dark but anyhoos.

Why, you ask. Because I think I’ve come to terms that I was a strange quirky kid, and if I don’t tell them myself, people who heard it from others (namely my siblings) are going to get a distorted, more embarrassing version than what it really was. You’re going to learn of these stories right from the horse’s mouth.

Today, this horse would like to take you back to 1994. When I was 10, my mum already had three girls. I’m not sure if she was disappointed that she didn’t have a boy or it was something else, but she used to bring me to cut my hair like a boy.

A was 12, and like all pre-teens, she was going through an I’m-cool-therefore-I-will-do-the-exact-opposite-of-what-you-want-me-to-do phase. R was only two and was therefore technically a baby. Therefore the weight of the world fell upon my tender shoulders.

Of course I tried resisting, but my efforts were futile. My mum, having given birth to me, knew exactly which buttons to push. These buttons being the 1) praising Sab you’re such a good girl!, 2) the eagerness to please ones. Believe me, just two buttons were/are more than enough.

I was (still am in some way now) suffering from the typical middle child syndrome but was always so eager to please everyone that I might as well be sent to the circus and jump through hoops at the crack of the Ring Master’s whip.

Back to the hair. Mum brought me to a salon one day and ordered the stylist to “chop it all off”. I could tell he was reluctant to cut off my long locks but mum still won in the end. She even got him to shave off the back, calling it ‘a slope’. Fuck. It was more like an avalanche seeing how disastrous it was.

It was really bad. In photos then, (which I long to burn) I look like someone put a mixing bowl on my head and cut around it. Shortly after, mum also thought it would be funny to call me Sebastian instead. By the way, I now detest that name for bringing back those awful memories.

Then out of the blue one day, I woke up and wanted to be a boy. Very badly. I refused to wear anything girly, frilly, and only wore t-shirts and berms. Funnily enough, mum still wanted me to wear dresses. So revolutionary for accepting a she-male child.

Till this day I’m not sure if it was the not so subtle hinting from mother or something else. Perhaps some things are influenced like osmosis.

And I decided I wanted to be Peter. I told everyone to call me Peter and stopped responding to my given name. You could call me Sab all day and you might have better chances of a wall responding. Except for the hours I was in school. I even started to behave like a boy and looked at girls.

I must have done such a good and convincing job at being Peter for a cleaning lady once stopped me from going to the female toilet.

Thank goodness I snapped out of it a year or so later. I have my father to thank. He forbade my mum to cut my hair and made me grow it out again. It was like magic. Once my hair started growing longer, VOILA!, I was back to being Sabrina.

By the way, I now hate the name Peter too. I wonder sometimes if I had lesbian tendencies back then or was just confused. These days, I love being female and ogling men.

The only issue now is how do I stop others from regaling others with my stories. I suspect my friends are not really my friends once in a while. Like if I date a new guy and he’s out with us, someone will suddenly pipe “have you heard about her Peter/slipper (another story for another day)/insert other embarrassing stories story?!”

It’s also no wonder I’m still single. I need to reiterate that I no longer have such weird quirks but I have been dismissed because of my “tainted” past.

Note to all parents: Never scar your children like that. They will grow up traumatised.



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