I’ve been experiencing a lot of grief and loss for The Dyke Sam recently. Unlike ThaManSam, The Dyke Sam isn’t anagrammatic of anything, although the internet says it can reconfigure to “Shamed Tyke” or “Hated Me Sky.” So I’m having the sads a little, and missing her (which is interesting – it begs the questions: where has she gone?). I wish I could get some therapy, for this and the litany of sadnesses and horrors I’ve participated in, but I can’t afford it right now. You may add poverty to the litany of sadnesses if you like.
Narratives about who I am or who I might have been had the world been good and kind and fair are gripping, magnetic even. Several years ago, I stood up into a metal shelf bracket and found myself with a business class ticket on the Fatal Ferry of Fibromyalgia. No, fibro ain’t fatal, although one might wish it were, but to stay on that boat for long could be. I have heard the sirens’ song of any number of compelling disabilities – I identified as “chronically depressed” for so long it very nearly came true.
Fibromyalgia was a gift, a fruit basket given to me by an amalgam of drunken car totalings, sexual assault, an abiding need to shoot drugs to near seizure and/or overdose, et cetera, et cetera, all calculated to disrupt my neurochemistry. It was just wonky enough, when I kissed that metal bar with my skull, to easily slide over to some sort of horrific schizophrenia, where all my neural impulses told me to (via migraine, twitching muscles, fatigue, unremitting neurasthenia, and a non-stop train wreck of agonizing pain) assassinate Gerald Ford, or at least, hurl this bowl of cherries at the backdoor in a tantrum of hurt and frustration.
I’ve been blessed by a ridiculously optimistic personality. You wouldn’t necessarily know that – you have to sieve through my snarkiness - but you will find, among the shark teeth, some candy corn and daisies. But armed with a diagnosis and a deep, dedicated love of drama (yes, Jessica, I am a drama King) I lay upon my sickbed and calculated the losses. I began to meet with others who inhabited this realm of adamant pain. Quickly, it was revealed: this is a world of Us and Them, it was a world of believers and unbelievers. The martyrdom to this diagnosis, however, was unbelievable. This made me sicker than the sick itself.
I watched an acquaintance turn her will and her life over to her multiple diagnoses and identities: bipolar, fibro, assault victim, rape survivor, alcoholic. Thank god it didn’t look very appealing – vanity probably has as much to do with my own survival as optimism or even access to clean water – and my own litany became less of a “who I am” and more of a “things that happened in my life.”
It concerns me that I see a number of transmen identifying as a “survivor” of this or of that. I wonder about the proliferation of disability identities I find on the interwebs. It’s a part of our process, to wade through pain, to pore over and attempt to find meaning in our tragedies. I salute the openness, the refulgent honesty my web siblings shine and I believe our secrets can kill us; I see the importance of frank discussion, of our abuses, our fears, our beliefs, the things that we feel fettered or broken by.
But I worry about us getting stuck there. A brotherhood of survivors is fantastic television but what feeds and nourishes and sustains this trannyboy is my unending, luminant gratitude for those very things that felt like curses. To land on the open sheet you’re all holding and be trampolined, buoyed above my low laying clouds – to see, even briefly, that open, sunny expanse, and then drop down, hard, held by your loving and splendid arms – to know, and I mean really KNOW, that we are legion, and we are loving and loved, and in this is a special place of sanity, the sanity only the gender-fluid can know and that is that we expose the ridiculousness of “him” and “her” even if only for a second and even if only for ourselves.
That luminosity you reflect, sister-brother, THAT’s what I want to hold on to.
I see catalogues of our fear, inventory of our pains – I can share first hand they’re just another bureaucracy. I find the sweetness in the details, the “mundane:” we are kitten-owners, child-birthers, cereal-buyers; no longer are we hanging by a thread of survival, we’re not eating cold out of cans – we’re catering the motherfucking party, we’ve transcended, we’re a celebration!
Know this, Handsome, Beautiful One. You are so much more than your cystic fibrosis, your cane, your Zoloft, your incest, your addictions, your overweight, your longing, your grief and your loss. You are The Sun; you are the most powerful light shining on Earth; you blind me with your radiance. Go out now and blast thee motherfucker, fucking torch down Target with your brilliance. I can’t wait. I’ll be there, shopping for shades, looking fierce in hats, and waiting to be awed.
Your brother in addiction, prostitution, sexual abuse, rape, poverty, domestic violence, fibromyalgia, IBS, IC, depression; making art, making love, finding hope, kissing kittens, brushing unicorns, painting pictures, meeting for coffee, calling you on the phone, meditating and praying, laughing until I pee myself, drinking the best cup of coffee, playing Fireman with Gus, reading a genius writer, loving, loving, loving and dancing with every sweet and open human generous enough to post their version of Beyoncé or Shakira on youtube now and now and forever amen.