Growing up in Utah as a non-LDS lesbian woman by OddOneOut.
Clay C*****, my best friend. I’ll never forget this kid, he was my first best friend and we were best friends for 4 years. I was a tom-boy (like every lesbo claims) growing up, football and basketball was life. I played b-ball for 12 hours a day, only breaking to eat and use the restroom. I wasn’t only good for a girl, I was good all around. You can bet that on the schools playground court I was always team captain, sinking jump shots and 3’s and barely being 5 feet tall at the age of 8.
Then, on to the slightly sloped grass field we used as football field, with my #26 Woodson Pittsburgh Steelers jersey, firing off first downs and touch down passes. Concocting plays during time-outs with blades of crab grass and tiny rocks, and absolutely loosing it when they worked! Dog hooks and hail Mary’s, who said you can’t learn anything from video games? Sports were my life, as they were for my best friend, Clay.
Clay was a lean not so mean, hardcore ‘cheesehead’ (packers fan) this was when Brett Farve was blowing up the NFL…before the Wranglers commercials. Clay often ran home crying to his mother if he got tackled to hard, if he missed a catch or a play….shit he ran home and cried if he lost a game. This was almost every day during the summer he was very sensitive, he was the biggest pussy on the planet, but still he was my bff. Clay lived with his mother, an obese mormon house wife that always smelled like ear wax, and his older brother Sean. Sean constantly had a nasty nose infection, it wasn’t uncommon to see green froth coming out of one of his nostrils. It was disgusting, because he never blew his nose, or wiped it.
Clay’s father was a cop for the WVC Police Department, he wasn’t around too much because Clay’s parents split, I can’t tell you why. We were kids, as heartbreaking that was for Clay we still remained light-hearted together. This was at the time my dad was still alive, life was full of endless possibilities as long as you have your best friend by your side.
The C*****’s were (and probably to this day still are) very dedicated members of the LDS church. The worst day as a kid for me was a sunday, because I knew Clay couldn’t even watch T.V. let alone play catch, it was their sabbath. My mother and his mother did NOT like each other, Clay’s mother (we’ll call her) ‘Karen’ always thought she was better than everyone who wasn’t LDS, yes she was one of those. They exist, every religion has them, they walk around with their noses in the air, they don’t talk to you at all only when the absolutely have to, and when they do they never look you in the eye. As if their souls would burst into flames if they ever conversed with you, a “non-believer”.
I won’t go into the history of my family, but I will tell you this. Not a single person in my family fathers side and mothers side are mormon. Not a 1! Mom was born in Detroit,to a tough german man and a beautiful Portuguese woman, and dad was born in Rose Park UT, with roots from NM and Mexico. You don’t need to use your imagination to understand that we were the most un-mormon family in the MOST mormon state…but that never bothered me. I like everyone (at that age right?), no problems with anyone. Race, religion, vegan, meat-eater, nerd, jock, gay, straight I just wanted some one to play sports with, and so did Clay. We fit together like 2 peas in a pod.
Until one day I called up Clay from my LAN line NOT CORDLESS phone (millennial’s will never appreciate communication), he answered and sounded awkward, like he was in trouble. You know that tone when you are kid, stuttering. Before I could fire off with ‘hey when are we gonna play ball?’ Clay responded, “my mom said I can’t hang out with you anymore”. I didn’t say anything, I was so confused I quickly hung up the phone and cried like a baby.
I thought over in my head, “what did I do? what did I say?” I blamed myself briefly because I thought it was because of me. I was the reason his mother didn’t like me. Clay being the pussy momma’s boy he was, would never disobey her. It’s not like he couldn’t have just said “ok mom” and turned around and disregarded her. I mean she was morbidly obese she never left the house except for church and to get groceries.
I played by myself after that, my favorite thing to do was throw a football or soft ball onto the roof and have it roll back to me, (yeah I know pathetic, I played catch by myself). I went on too learn how to skateboard and made other friends, Eventually the C****’s moved. I still don’t know what ever happened to them, it was very weird because I didn’t think they would ever move out of Utah, I at least expected to see Clay in high school, or JR high but no I never saw him once they moved. Even today with the technology of dredging up the past, a simple Facebook search fails to show a Clay blank. Its worth mentioning that after I graduated high school, I left home at age 18 for the United States Marines, and the rest is history. I don’t like to talk about my service, in fact I hate hearing war stories from anyone to be honest.
I write this looking back now laughing about it, but I also write this feeling melancholy for the little 7-year-old me. That once was a rough and tumble tom-boy (still a tom-boy :), just looking for a friend. Even today I dream of being social, having many friends, always having plans, always having someone over my house hanging out. I dream of being social butterfly, being famous for having friends. If you know the real me maybe thats what you think, working in ‘radio bizz’ helps keep me out of the house, out of the shadows. But the reality is, ever since I lost Clay, and being constantly moved around in the Marines, from unit to unit and being moved away from my guys in Iraq…. I have never felt I belonged anywhere.
I am a black sheep for eternity.