We moved 45 minutes away from our small home in Seattle to a rental house outside Bellevue in Carver Hill.
Carver Hill promised a shorter commute for Dad to work (not that I understood that at 9), and larger houses. And, it had schools that had already dealt with 'the patch' with clear cut policies of acceptance. Not that Seattle schools didn't have a policy, but our particular Seattle school apparently hadn't dealt with it or failed to implement it properly (not that I entirely understood that at age 9, either).
You'd think I'd have great concerns about moving, but I didn't. My friendships in the old school were, as I see it now, tenuous at best. And I had the great hope that maybe, maybe, I could change my identity sooner than age 11 if this area was more tolerant. I didn't express that to my parents, but I had real hope. And that hope had me happily moving into the Carver Hill house and leaving Northeast Seattle behind.
The house was a large 3-bedroom, one-story, L-shaped house that was halfway up a slowly-curving street that ended in a cul-de-sac. It had a large, open floor plan between the living room, dining room and kitchen (that had solid wood floors throughout), two and half baths and three bedrooms that either looked out over the backyard (which sloped down and away from the house 100 feet back) or the uphill that was the sideyard. The driveway curled up in the front of the house and fed the two car garage that made the house an L shape. In the morning, sun came in the tall windows in the living room, dining room and kitchen, warming everyone as we ate breakfast.
It was during the move, though, that my lower back started to hurt. I didn't know what to call that part of my lower, lower back, so I called it the "butt bone." At first, my mother gave me a light dose of ibuprofen for a few days. But it came right back as soon as the ibuprofen wore off. She had me do stretches, tried having me sleep somewhere different for two nights (the living room couch, amid the boxes of things we had to find time to put away from the move). It just continued to hurt.
On the fourth day, we were back at my doctor's office in downtown Seattle. He did a thorough physical examination, ordered bloodwork, and sent me for an MRI. He also prescribed a prescription strength ibuprofen. Then, he told us something that, I guess, I had noticed but hadn't really thought about (again, being 9).
"Did you notice the extra skin around your groin?" I remember him asking me, because no one had used the word "groin" with me before, and I only understood it by his hand motion. I think I answered with a shrug.
"Your body is trying to grow girl skin over your boy parts. There's a flap of skin starting to grow over your scrotum, and there's a small flap forming above your member that will eventually start aiming it down or covering it. We cannot allow it to completely cover everything, or you won't be able to pee. You also need to keep those areas clean so you don't develop any type of skin infection. I want you to let your mother check you every couple of days. You just keep everything clean, and if the skin flap gets too big, we'll look at other options."
I didn't know what he meant at the time, as I was a bit euphoric about the fact that my body was trying to cover my boy parts. But, my mother gave me a bit of a lecture on the way to the MRI provider about making sure I kept my skin clean. She would, she told me, be checking on me.
The MRI I don't remember very well. It wasn't scary, but lying on table hurt my "butt bone" as I hadn't yet taken my prescription ibuprofen.
The results were back in 3 days, and my doctor (Did I tell you his name was Dr. Greenberg? I don't remember) called to tell us that my tailbone was changing.
The structure of a girl's hips are different than a boy's, as is the width of their sacrum and, in most cases, the tailbone direction is different. In boys, the tailbone curves inward a bit further, and in girls it doesn't to allow for a birth canal. My tailbone and hips were undergoing changes as I grew, and it was going to painful for a while.
So, my summer prescription was: ibuprofen, no running, no jogging, no jumping, no jolts, no bouncing, no bike riding, no roller coasters and only sparing car rides. They even gave me a donut-shaped pillow to sit on that took the pressure off the tailbone.
But, as things seemed gloomy, Dr. Greenberg brought some light. The last thing he said on the call, as we all listened on the speakerphone, was "Now, Mom & Dad, Jules is doing well. She's actually ahead of schedule. She's not far enough along that we can legally have her declared female. But, she could 'present' to the school as female and be asked to be treated as such. I know the Carver Hill schools will acknowledge student who identifies as a different sex, and the teachers would treat her as Julianna."
My parents, of course, said they had to think about it and ended the call. But, I think when they saw me sitting on my donut-pillow, looking (as I must have) ever so hopeful and pitiful, they agreed:
I would start the new school in Carver Hill as Julianna, if only in name and dress.
That would pretty much make the summer of pain and restrictions worth it.