The Lion Called Fear

The Lion Called Fear

With Halloween upon us, my sweet son is starting to learn about monsters. Even those monsters and ghouls we think are benign can be terrifying to a child who is just learning the world is not as safe as he … Continue reading

Hot Mess Jess & Awkward Conversations with Children

I am working on a book (in my free time, haha). Not sure what will become of it. But here is an excerpt. This is a rough draft, so sorry for errors and improper formatting.

And, yes, this actually happened…


[On Halloween night]

A girl in costume approaches my front porch.

“Hi there! Are you a character from Harry Potter?” I ask. Finally, a costume I recognize.

Girl nods.

My mind starts racing. Who are the characters in Harry Potter? Never read the books. Never watched the movies.

“Are you Harry Potter?” I ask. Ok, surely you didn’t just ask this poor girl if she dressed like a boy for Halloween. I mean, no, you don’t know any other Harry Potter characters. And, yes, she looks like Harry Potter with slightly longer hair. But she is still a girl. And no girl wants to dress like a boy for Halloween…Well, most girls don’t. But maybe she just really likes Harry Potter. Maybe she doesn’t care if she’s a girl dressed like a boy for Halloween. I mean, it isn’t politically correct to be gender specific anymore…Then again, maybe she isn’t a girl at all. Maybe she is a boy with really long hair…Gasp!

“No,“ Girl (or boy with long hair) say…and looks confused.

“Of course not, you’re a girl,” I say a little too loudly. Did my voice just go up at the end as to infer that was a question and not a statement of fact?

“You’re the girl in Harry Potter! What’s her name?” Is it just me or is it unseasonably warm for October? I start to sweat.

Girl mumbles the name.

“Her-mi-un?” I pronounce awkwardly. “Her-mine.” I try again. It is like I am speaking a second language.

Girl mumbles the name again, correcting me.

“Her-mi-un.” Ok, I just pronounced it the same as the first time, but slower.

Girl looks annoyed.

 Do eight year olds get annoyed? Is she eight? Maybe she’s, like, 12. Really? I can’t guess this kid’s gender OR age?!

“You know what, I don’t watch Harry Potter movies so,…” I put my hands up defensively and shrug my shoulders. Why am I defending myself? And what is wrong with me? You don’t say that to a kid who likes Harry Potter movies…who dresses like Harry Potter characters…who you just insinuated may look like a boy. It’s a slap in the face. I might as well have said, “Your world isn’t important to me,” OR “I don’t care about what you care about.”

“You know what…have a few more spider rings and a Kit Kat!” I drop another handful into her pillowcase.

Girl walks away. I muster an awkward wave to her bewildered parents who are, right now, silently planning how they will help her through the terrible trauma of being called a boy on Halloween night by the lady at [house number].

“Happy Halloween!” I exclaim, a bit too cheerfully. Then I eat another Kit Kat.