Thursday, September 18, 2008

Extravagantly Human

It’s all Jessica’s fault. I came to murkily out of a dream where I was rather half-heartedly whining to my father about him changing the channel to watch football. It sounds unimpressive, but in that Bizarro-land dreamworld context it was a nightmare. I woke up with the thought that it was somehow about becoming the gender I’ve suppressed all this time. In the dream I was watching a station I really enjoyed and had found real happiness in, and I left the room for a snack and returned and the grownups had changed the channel.

It’s Jessica’s fault* because I immediately started “writing” about it – this at 5:22am – and continued to do so until I forced myself out of bed an hour and a half later.

To discover you’ve been living a life in a body someone confined you in, to question, every day “what is it I am, exactly?,” to occasionally want to rip the literal flesh from your bones with frustration and grief in a child’s tantrum of exhaustion and not-knowing, to experience at a molecular level that the only thing, the only source of stability is that vague, amorphous, indefinable, unknowable supremely UNSTABLE divine consciousness whose whim and strange plan you seem to be at the mercy of is to be…is to be me.

I walked into the women’s locker room yesterday like I do every time I go to the gym: with eyes downcast, averted from the granny flashers (old women love to stand around naked at the gym with one leg up on the bench, airing their cooter and chatting away.), the young bronzed UNC athletes, the middle-aged die hards. I’m afraid they’ll clock me; I’m terrified that one day my head will raise and my eyes will accidently meet some unwise and angry crone’s and a mob will form in the locker room and I will be beaten to death by women in various stages of health and undress, with floaties, hand-weights, and bottles of hair product. It could happen.

I’m not ready for the men’s locker room. Internally, yes – I should like to be there. Externally, I just look like a bigger and bigger butch dyke. This has its own un-tender pain too; I’ve never identified as a butch dyke (although others surely have done so) and more than ever I do not feel like one now. I feel the trans-gestalt, my compatriots’ need for unisex bathrooms, for gender neutral pronouns. I’m betwixt and between – and while it’s “convenient” to call myself a guy, even I don’t know what sex I really am.

One of the things I’ve been shown recently is how I have this pattern of attraction for mentally ill women. I know, all our exes are crazy lunatics, but I’m talking clinical. I gravitate towards a distinctly borderline flavor of woman. A woman for whom I am either saint or Satan, who abruptly 180’s, with whom I can never feel truly safe and secure because I don’t know who I’m waking up with, for whom a strong emotion (and they’re all strong emotions) can require days of recovery. When I emerged from my tepid nocturnal tantrum I thought “of course I’ve been attracted to chaos and unmanageability! I’ve been the literal embodiment of those things! My BODY, my BRAINS, my deepest sense of who I am has been held captive by a betrayal for all these years!”

So this is what I know.

The fact that I’m in such dire straights financially, that my jobs have been yanked to and fro, is not at all helpful. I pray for some relief, some comfort, a lump sum to hold back the tide and the exhaustion, so I can breathe an unhammered breath. God, in all its mercy, is a merciless critic and will not let me rest right now. I would like to know a place of ease and comfort from within, so I can stop manifesting chaos without. Will manning up lead me to that place? Will my thickening neck and shoulders, my furrying thighs, the brain that now likes diggers and cranes be that interior place of calm? You tell me, because I surely haven’t got a clue.

The upside is that none of this would be happening if I didn't feel some stability, some safety in the love and support of my dear, dear friends, old and new. That’s the mercy part: that the most genius, most kind, the snarkiest wisest wiseacres will come poke me out of my grandiose transpontification. Thank god for these men and women who all have the capacity for huge humor, or they wouldn’t be with me, who insist on enjoying this moment or at least the next one, and who are willing to sandbag my levees during my stupid hurricanes. I know stability is possible; I get glimmers of it from them and reflecting in that love is some compassion for this little man/woman, this scared boy/girl. Now if it only came with a winning lotto ticket, a tract of land, and a Bobcat I'd be a supremely contented boy.

*Jessica made me start blogging. Made me.


  1. I bet you'd make a killing doing stand-up.

  2. i thought the * would say "because everything is jessicas fault"