Monthly Archives: November 2013

Winter, Snowiness, Transgender Crap, this is fun

This is how I feel today for some reason.

Now that I’ve got that settled, I can move on. It’s officially winter, don’t listen to the calendar, trust me, I’m right about this – looking outside, I see a cold, snowy neighborhood, and ice clinging to the branches of the trees. We had a big snowstorm a few days ago and most of it is still hanging around, except it’s all solidified, with some rock-hard ice thrown in as well, which means people are slipping onto their butts left right and center, and the walk home from school takes probably 90% more concentration than usual. The temperature hasn’t dropped into the negative double digits yet, at least, but it can only be a matter of time – usually after Christmas is when the -30 degree weather starts to kick in, and us northeastern Ontario people are turned into blocks of ice waddling around attempting to still drive our cars and stuff.

The thing is, the last few winters I’ve been at home, unhappily curled up near the heating vent, encased within the well-insulated walls of the apartment – but this year I’m back at school so I have no choice but to venture out into the cold (at least until teleportation devices are invented). I don’t really mind in the grand scheme of things, but it’s definitely a change from before, when I never went outside, to now having to go outside all the time, and brave the elements in the meantime. I’ve never been great at braving the elements. I had a huge winter coat-snow pants issue when I was little, and it took me years to accept that they just can’t be anything but puffy and vaguely uncomfortable. It’s part of Asperger’s syndrome, being hyper-sensitive to your clothes, and I suffered some pretty extreme winter coat aversion all throughout elementary school, to the point where I threw tantrums because it stressed me out so much. It was pretty silly, but I remember how incredibly angry I was about it, back then. I still have issues with clothes in general, and I’ve been wearing the same sweater at least once a week for the last four years. It has giant holes in the elbows and the sleeves and my mom keeps joking that it’s going to spontaneously disintegrate someday. She doesn’t want me to wear it to school, but my counter-argument is that it’s my ultra-comfort-sweater, which immediately dulls my anxiety. That’s actually true, as depressing as it might be. I’m wearing it right now because I felt anxious earlier. Now I’m not anxious. Ha!

Today school went fairly okay. I did badly on my Shakespeare test because I missed a few days where we were reading it. Among all my scholastic shortcomings, at least I’ve got a good memory for words – and I might be horribly ADD about mostly everything, but not when it comes to Shakespeare. It’s probably because it’s something I like. Anyway, we did some menial activity about relating Othello to other literature in English today and somehow I received the honor, among my group, of presenting our ideas to the class. Good, pick me – nice choice, unknowing tenth grade English class kids. But I really like the one guy, Abraham, and I completely foresee a possible back-up friend situation with him in the future – meaning, when Zoe and Borong aren’t around, I can go to him if I need a partner. It’s nice to have other options, anyway. Zoe is great but I almost feel like I’m cheating when I’m partners with her, because it’s not really challenging in a social way – and then Borong is definitely cheating because she’s the nicest, quietest Chinese girl who ever lived. And that’s saying something because I’ve probably met at least five other nice, quiet Chinese girls during my years at school who were also the nicest, quietest Chinese girls who ever lived.

Last night my cat slept at my feet the entire night. I think he just likes my cozy anxiety-blanket. It weighs a lot, and has little pockets full of beanie-things. He was adorable. I think he periodically forgets that I exist, because when I come downstairs after being in my room for a while he runs halfway up the stairs and stares at me with amazement – then he follows me into the living room and wants me to pet him. Cats have strange little minds.

You’ve now reached what I’ve recently dubbed the “Transgender Crap” section of the blog. I wonder if I should get a little jingle and a slogan to announce it. You know what.

cellar boy presents

I drew this on a sticky note once. ^

“The Transgender Crap Section (of the blog)”

to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

Trans, trans, transgender section of the blog

Gender, gender, gender, gender, 

I am like a frog.

Nailed it. Talk about spontaneous inspiration. I AM like a frog, too, because I’ve learned, through reading random, bad-smelling, ancient copies of National Geographic from my dad’s old basement, that there are some species of frog that can, in the right environment, apparently change their gender. In all other ways I am not like a frog at all, except for my bulbous eyes, long sticky tongue, and skinny green legs. That was a bit weird.

So, now that I’m here, I don’t know what to say. It’s kind of my tradition to devote at least a few paragraphs about my various, desperately annoying transgender issues, such as they are – I write about it mostly so I don’t explode from nerves, and I find that it actually kind of helps. Despite opening myself up to all the possible hate of the internet at large, I still do it, if only for my own sake. It’s a really hard secret to keep, especially now that I’ve accepted it’s true and have made my rough plans for the future. (I’m going to grow an old-fashioned mustache, as previously stated, and run away to Alaska to drive dog sleds and hop in train cars. But not actually.) The other day my dad visited, and we walked down the busy street that cuts through the heart of the suburban sprawl, to the Tim Hortons; and we sat down for about an hour talking about life and stuff. I had lots of opportunity to blurt ‘HEY DAD? I’M A BOY!’ but I didn’t. I don’t know how to tell him, which is strange because we’re so close. It has to be a thing he’s considered, he’s super smart and he knows all about my aversion to being girly – but still, I haven’t told him yet. The only people in the world who know are my mom, my psychiatrist, the guidance counselor at school, and a handful of internet people who I don’t care know about it.  I’m not sure if my teachers know, although I’m about 75% sure my history teacher said ‘Bonne fin semaine, mon cher’ today. She’s said ma chere before, which is “my dear” in French, except for girls – but “mon cher” is for boys. I don’t know if she said “ma chere” like usual and it’s just wishful thinking on my part, or if she really did drop the “hey I know about it, wink wink” hint. If so, I don’t care – in fact I’m relieved. She’s one of those ultra-nice people that is so nice you can hardly accept that they’re so nice.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to wait and see about my English teacher. The thing is, the English language doesn’t have feminine and masculine words, so it’ll be harder to know for sure, if she’s not outright calling me “he”. French is great for that because you can slip in little “mon chers” here and there and nobody will be the wiser.

As far as the bathroom problem goes, well, I’ve got my special “you’re a minority!” bathroom on the second floor, which I can use if I really have to. The good news is that I’ve still got my bladder of steel, so I’ll probably get by without needing to. Part of Asperger’s is a general aversion to germs, so even nice bathrooms that are shared with multiple people don’t totally fly with me. I don’t know how regular people do it, how they stomach the grossness and just go. Also I don’t know how regular people can go through life having no bathroom issues at all, and have never stood in front of the two doors really having to pee and thinking ‘Oh no, oh no, oh no, uh-oh, crap, I hate genders.’

Anyways. My appointment with Dr. what’s-his-face draws steadily nearer – though, and this really figures, time seems to have slowed down just to make things more difficult for me. November’s been a slow month, and I feel like December 18th is still a long ways away. Meanwhile, I’m skipping along feeling like Mr. Verve from that video up there – in other words, weird, musician-like, and generally annoyed. I feel like he’s really annoyed about something, and has told himself ‘You know what, screw it’ and that’s why he’s striding down the street knocking into people.

Unfortunately I’m a pretty long way from ‘Screw it’ – I’m still at ‘Things suck and I’m a weird musician walking down a street.’

All righty then. See you later.


Breaking Toilets, Saving Raccoons, and The Hunger Games

Behold the various things that happened today:

My grandpa rescued a dying raccoon, I delivered the killing blow to our now-broken toilet, the first real snow of the season decided to fall in all its fluffy white prettiness, and I had a semi-awkward moment at a clothes store. First, we shall chronicle the tale of Eddie and the Raccoon. My grandpa is great.  He’s sixty-something, tall with thin grey hair and even though he’s getting a bit slower and less active, he still runs ten kilometers, even in the driving snow. His hands are gnarled and shaky with arthritis but he still rides his bike; he’s got Asperger’s syndrome, at least that’s what me, my mom, and my dad think (and I’m pretty sure we’re right), and he actually doesn’t mind Arcade Fire, which is a huge success for me since every relative I get over to my side of the AF bandwagon is another boost to my overall happiness. Anyway, Eddie runs down by the river a few times a week, and he saw the raccoon, thinking it was a cat or something first – two days later he came back and it was still there. According to him, it looked up at him, sadly. When I went over to visit with my dad he was talking about calling somebody to take care of it – eventually we got past our collected social issues and he called the city number to get in touch with the Humane Society. Hopefully that raccoon, as I speak, is currently curled up somewhere warm and safe, instead of dying out in the cold and snow – thanks to Eddie’s kindness. So don’t worry, various wounded animals of the Ottawa bike paths: my grandpa has you covered.

Second thing that happened – not nearly so heart-warming and Christmas-worthy as the raccoon getting saved – is the small issue of the clothes store. We were wandering around the mall after getting dinner (a large plate of stomach-burningly awesome fried spicy chicken and noodles, from the place with the Chinese lady who gets a kick out of me always eating with chopsticks), and I’d mentioned to my grandma that I wanted a new vest, because the one I have belongs to my uncle and is about ten sizes too big, so she wanted to get me one. When it comes to clothes, she’s unstoppable. I think she should be a professional shopper, on one of those fashion shows where they dress up unstylish people in nice things. Anyway, I didn’t need a new one or anything, but it’s better to go along with my grandma when she wants to do something nice for you, I’ve realized, so we went around looking for a good store – the tailor place for men was suggested, but I felt vaguely worried about going into a store specifically for men, in case they looked at me funny, so we went to a men and women’s place, where they actually did look at me funny anyways. We found a vest, a nice extra small thingy because I’m both skinnier and smaller than the average man, and went over towards the change room, the one on the men’s side of the store – a worker with a pen over his ear was nearby, and my grandma said, ‘She just wants to use the change room.’

Barely-there moment of surprise and weirded-outness. The man said, ‘Sure’.

Oh, God, Nana, I thought, taking the hanger and quickly slipping into the change room. You could’ve just said ‘he’ and it would’ve spared us the awkwardness. But I know that would never have occurred to her. I went in, tried the vest on, and it was just a little too tight, which I was vaguely thankful for, so we wouldn’t have to go up and buy it and receive another vague funny look, and besides she wouldn’t have to spend money on me; so I put the vest back and we got out of there. I think I got another brief glance from the worker. It wasn’t really much to get flustered over – the guy was accepting, even if he had that brief moment of being confused – but the part that bothered me the most was how awkward my grandma looked, as I tried on the vest in the men’s change room. She hid it well, and she deserves endless points for always being accepting of the fact that I wear boys’ clothes – but maybe it’s a little different now, since that was a men’s change room, not a kid’s one on the boys’ side. I could tell she was vaguely uncomfortable – but at least she let me do it. How many grandmothers would let their granddaughter do that? Probably not very many. She actually handled it better than I did. I just did my ‘be silent and look inconspicuous’ routine, while in the inside my stomach was doing death-leaps all over my insides.

Goddamn society. It sucks.

Anyway, moving on, a little while ago I broke the toilet. In my defense it was already about to break by itself – the handle wasn’t working, so I took the top off, wanting to employ my abilities of handiness, instead of just running downstairs yelling for my mom, and what I saw was not encouraging. The wax part of the handle was almost completely worn away, hanging only by a thread; I nudged it, and it fell into the water in the back of the toilet. I realized that was not a good thing. That was when I ran downstairs yelling for my mom.

I really am trying to be more handy these days. What I’ve learned is that, contrary to what everyone thinks about me, I can actually fix things sometimes – in fact, I’m not that bad at it. I once rigged up a shelf for my books when I realized there was literally no more space in my incredibly overstuffed bedroom – I got a lid from a container, tied it around with some kind of strap from something using the posts of my bunk bed, and piled some books onto it. It was hard to get it tight, and often it sagged, constantly leaving me with a fear of books falling onto my feet while I was asleep – but they never did fall off. I was proud of myself for that. I also figured out how to get my record player working on my own – which isn’t easy since the technology is so old – and, possibly my finest invention of all time, a bow and arrow that worked for five minutes before it snapped in half. But it worked for five minutes! I found a nice bouncy string for it, made slits in straight sticks as arrows, and fired it against my bedroom wall, making my dad come downstairs and ask me what the heck I was doing. I showed it to him and he thought it was cool. Even though it wouldn’t shoot straight, I could see how actually hitting someone might be painful, and although I would never shoot it at someone randomly, I could foresee uses for it against bad people. No one’s going to bother you if you’re walking down the street with a bow and arrows.

Part of my reason for wanting to be more handy is that my mom still has little faith in my independence – and also I want to prove that I will one day, possibly soon, be a helpful addition to the working side of my family. I’ve been spoiled by my grandparents, so I don’t usually have to do much to help them out – and besides, Eddie insists on fixing everything himself, so there’s no real need for me to get involved. But still; I’ve got skills, usually unhelpful ones (like making bows and arrows), but sometimes helpful ones. I got a computer in the lab at school working just by plugging in the cord at the back when everyone else was stumped. I have my uses, I do – even if my main uses are writing random blog posts and providing my cat with company on stormy, wintry evenings.

Yes, by the way, it’s winter – just look outside. Well, depends where you are. If you’re in Ottawa, look outside, behold the wintry whiteness, the snow which sits on the roofs of the houses and on the bare branches of the trees. Take a deep breath, steel yourself, stuff hot pockets in your boots, because there’s going to be six more months of this.

However! One upside of the winter is, as always, the rinks – with any luck, the rest of November will be freezing, so the old hockey guys can get off their lazy butts and go freeze the outdoor rinks. They usually wait until around Christmas, but if the weather’s going to be as cold as this from now on, they may as well start now – I’d even do it, if I knew how. I don’t think just a lot of water bottles in the trunk of the car will do the trick; you actually need a hose for flooding a rink, and shovels, and experience. I flooded a rink once but someone was helping me – also I’m a random teenage “girl” with no right to just go and flood public rinks when I feel like it. And then, eventually, they’ll get the canal ready, complete with food stands, and yonder lovely beaver tails, sugary and doughy and oh-so-sticky on your freezing fingers, and I’ll probably go down a few times, maybe after school, and skate around a bit. I like being able to skate. I learned via playing with the boys in the house league – the first year I sucked so much that I was totally dedicated to getting better, and I did, somehow; now I love it, even though I haven’t played hockey in a few years. I like just skating, though – it’s tiring, your legs hurt afterwards, and it can be horribly cold, windy, and generally unpleasant on the canal – but it’s worth it just to glide along the ice and feel the pure enjoyment of it. I don’t know who I’d skate with; preferably not by myself. You get lonely, skating by yourself on that great winding expanse of ice – maybe I could ask Devin, although it’s unlikely he’d get around to actually doing it, or Nathan, although it’s unlikely I’d be able to muster up the courage to ask him. I don’t know if Zoe skates, or if she even owns skates – I’d like to go with her, though.

Oh right. We went to see Catching Fire yesterday, and it was great. I loved it. Several times I was on the verge of crying – and I NEVER cry over movies, with the exception of The Road (after The Road I actually full-out sobbed for about five minutes, I couldn’t hold it in, it was a bit weird), so you’ve got to know it’s good, if I get so affected by it. I thought they did awesomely with the casting – that’s the main edge that the Hunger Games films have over other movies, the perfectness of the casting. In this movie I found Gale more tolerable (I hated him in the first one), and Katniss was just as awesome as ever. I loved to see Wiress and Beetee, who were my favorite new characters in the books, played so well by those two actors. It was pretty freaking great.

I’m getting cold. I think the chair and my desk are actually the coldest place in my room, which just figures, since it’s the place I spend the most time at. I remembered to close the window this time, though, and I opened the vent. I completely forgot to drink my tea while it was hot and when I did gulp down a mouthful it was lukewarm, verging on cold, and it made me shiver. Cold tea is gross. Except cold pizza isn’t – cold pizza is way better than warm pizza, in my opinion. I don’t know how you could possibly feel otherwise about that. Except apparently every single person does.

So, anyways. It was a snowy, cold, wintry day, and some interesting things happened, which I felt were worthy of writing down in this somewhat pointless blog thing I have. Well, I shouldn’t say pointless, it’s good to at least get my thoughts out, whether anyone is reading them or not; and I actually would rather that no one read them, while at the same time some part of me wants at least one person looking it over. I don’t know.

Tomorrow is Sunday, so school can go screw itself until I have to go back there on Monday. I actually did pretty good in my two classes – somehow I nabbed an 87 in English and I even squeezed out a 75 in History, which is surprising, since 80% of the time all I do in there is scribble mustaches on famous people’s faces. Plus a few weeks ago I saved a ladybug from a windowsill and it was crawling up and down my hand for the entire class, so you can bet I wasn’t taking in the lesson. Afterwards I took it outside and put it down on a bush. I assume they hibernate. I just didn’t want it to die, stuck in the class – it couldn’t even fly anymore.

Once my dad and I were out for a walk, and we saw a bee, lying dead inside a flower. I don’t know if where you die really matters, but it soothes my conscience, anyways, when I know that someone or something died somewhere familiar and peaceful – and what a beautiful place for a bee to die. I felt that was the least I could do for the ladybug, just bring it back outside so it wouldn’t die on the windowsill and eventually get swept off into the garbage by some uncaring janitor. Maybe it burrowed down in the dirt after munching on some leaves, or whatever they do, to wait out the rest of the winter.

I have a soft spot for animals, even if they’re bugs. Although don’t talk to me about worms. I purposefully avoid stepping on them, which I feel is about the best they can ask for from me – but I will refuse to save one from the pavement. Hopefully it’ll squiggle its way back to the grass on its own; I never want them to die, but I don’t care enough to actually pick one up. Same with ants – my eternal vendetta against them means that I have very little qualms about poisoning them. Spiders, though, I really like – when you pick them up, they tend to spin webs from your fingers – and they eat other bugs, which is a bonus. Daddy long-legs, though, aren’t my favorite – I like the jumpy skittery ones the best. I also like snakes, and I don’t understand when people say they hate them – I touched a garder snake a few months ago which was out sunning itself in the middle of the path – its back was all dry and soft, and it was pretty cute. I’d like to get a pet snake but it’s unfortunate to say I think my cat would eat it.

So, this post has been rambly, even by my standards. I’ve covered all sorts of things that in any reasonable universe shouldn’t be remotely connected to each other… broken toilets, raccoons, the Hunger Games, insects, school. Whatever. Welcome to the inner workings of my mind, as Ms Mr said.

See you later.

A Sentimental Post about Transgender Adventurers and Stuff

Sometimes I have trouble writing these blog post thingies. I get overwhelmed because of all the possible things I can write about – it’s hard to narrow it down to one thing, or even just a couple of things. I feel like every time I sit down to write I’ve got to do a complete encyclopedia of the universe or something, with drawings and footnotes, no less.

I don’t know. Whatever. It’s getting cold – no snow on the ground yet, but it can’t be long. My cat is standing on a box, smelling it. He’s been weird today, I was even a little worried about him; first he licked a chair, then started to chew the side of a book, and then he attacked some black smudges on the floor. That’s not very normal, right? But then we had a nap together for an hour or so, which I guess might mean he’s all right and everything, just a little off his nut today for whatever reason. I stayed home today, and while I don’t regret it exactly, I do regret that it made my mom freak out so much – I thought when you were sixteen your parents couldn’t give you that much crap over not going to school. I thought that was a thing that was supposed to happen. Apparently not. She even sank as low as to call my grandma over, (the very scary French one who I get along great with, but who is also very scary), and had her try to get me to go. I refused. When I need some time off, I need it. I planned to stay home and write and have a nap, and that’s what I did. I mean, I’m glad I have parents who really care – but she doesn’t need to. I’m fine. I’m in a way, way better place than I was a few years ago, anyways – I’m actually going to the freaking school almost every day, as opposed to when I wasn’t, when I was hiding in my room staring at walls.

It’s time for the “Transgender Crap” segment. That’s my new name for it. That appointment I’m supposed to have about it got pushed back nearly a month, which is frustrating, but not even a little bit surprising – I have very little faith in the speed of things I really want to happen. Whenever I’m desperate for something, it takes forever. I’ve accepted that. Doesn’t mean I like it, but at least I’m holding back from getting angry about it, which would be pointless, anyways. I could show up at the pediatrician’s office, cloaked in scarves and bearskins, dragging my team of dogs behind me, and thump on the door without being invited – and exclaim in the voice of a 19th century arctic explorer, ‘Ho! Let me in, I say!’ but I won’t. Anyway, it’s freaking cold outside; we might have to bring out the bearskins regardless. Canada, man.

You know what I’ve noticed? Trans men (that’s female-to-male) sometimes speak with an odd girlish inflection. They come off as gay guys. No disrespect intended, naturally, because I’d be an idiot if I disrespected myself – but am I the only one who’s noticed that? Like Katastrophe, the rapper, and Buck Angel (who’s a porn star, which needs a “blech”, but he’s actually a reasonable guy), they both have this “valley girl” voice that makes me cringe. You’d think they’d drop that girly accent, or just have not picked it up in the first place – it’s just so weird. Trans women have that voice too, but that actually makes sense because they’re women. I know voices mean basically nothing in the grand scheme of things, who cares what you sound like, but it just bothers me slightly. I don’t want people to get the idea that all trans men are flamboyant, which they aren’t. Me, for instance. I never picked up the “girly” way of talking – my mom doesn’t talk like that, my friend Zoe doesn’t talk like that. So WHY do trans men talk like that?

Whatever. Who cares. My cat is still standing on the box. Well, now he jumped down because I looked at him, and he’s walking over, now giving me a stare. He’s all jumpy because he wants me to get him some food. Yes sir, in just a moment – I’ll make you your kibble, with just a dash of water for a bit of oomph, and of course I’ll swirl it around just so to your liking.

I just had to go feed him because he was pushing things off the table to get my attention. He’s actually rather smart, that cat – even though his brain can’t be much bigger than an average-sized clementine.

Outside the balcony windows the sky looks beautiful – dark blue above, pale blue below, and light yellow-white at the bottom, beyond the bare branches of the trees of the forest, past the depressing cookie-cutter rooftops of the new development over the fence from ours. The good news is we’ve still got the forest – it’s right next to our apartment, and a family of deer lives in there. It would be nice to be a deer – do animals have gender issues? I doubt they do. My cat’s fixed so he’s kinda third gender, I guess. I think he secretly likes the neighborhood cat that occasionally walks onto our balcony and bothers, and is overcompensating by freaking out and hissing and stuff every time he comes by.

The thing about life is that often it sucks. I might be spoiled, having grown up in awesome progressive Canada, but I hate that I have to wait until mid-December to see that pediatrician about my transgender stuff. I’m sort of desperate at the moment; what with the everyday strife of being biologically female. And you know. Boobs. Ew. My best way of explaining my discomfort is that it’s like having a third arm – just sticking right out of my face. How do you get past that? You can’t. Everywhere you go, you try to pass off as a regular two-armed person, but everybody’s like ‘Dude, you have a third arm sticking out of your face.’  Really hard to ignore that.

And so it is, being “female”. When I go to see Dr. what’s-his-face, I’m going to tell him straight off that I want to get things done as soon as possible. Boobs must go, very soon, or the cellar boy will blow a gasket – also, pronouns. The mental aspect of this whole thing is going to be the toughest part, but it has to be done, the same as everything else – however, people won’t feel right calling me he if I’ve still got that third arm sticking out of my face. And I don’t want to force anyone to; I want to wait until I look like who I am, and then we’ll go from there.

I don’t feel all that optimistic, at least not yet, anyway. I figure, with the speed of the Canadian health system, I’ll be stuck for years before everything I want gets done. But I could always march back and forth in my bearskin and scarves in front of the general hospital with a little sign on my chest that says Remove these, thank you and wait until they take me up on it. Whatever happens in the future, all I know is that for right now I’m desperate and really uncomfortable and I can’t imagine getting through another summer, without being able to wear sweaters and coats and stuff.

I read the woefully unhelpful Wikipedia page on trans men, and that’s how I found out about Katastrophe, and others. I also happened across a certain Jack Bee Garland – who was a nurse, a writer, and, get this: an adventurer. An ADVENTURER. I get that he lived in the 1800s and adventuring was a thing back then, but still, holy crap! Can I be an adventurer too? I love that he didn’t just want to settle for being a boring old nurse and writer, he also wanted to travel to the Philippines and be a goddamn adventurer. There are no words to properly describe how awesome that is.  You have got to have guts, not only to be openly trans male in the 19th century, but also to go on god-freaking adventures. I feel very inadequate all of a sudden.

There’s also Alan what’s-his-face, who pioneered some sort of medical system – in his picture he held a pipe in his mouth and gazed through a pair of glasses like any old genius scientist. Despite being unhelpful, the Wikipedia page did have a lot of links to pages about really interesting trans men – who did all sorts of things, were professors at universities, scientists, authors and poets, (and unfortunately also porn stars) – but it’s just neat, to me. That being transgender doesn’t have to stop you from being successful and awesome – like in Jack Bee Garland’s case, especially. Some of these guys lived a long time ago, when this stuff wasn’t nearly as accepted, when death was one way of dealing with them – and they still did their thing. They were still successful and, hopefully, happy.

I don’t know, now I’m getting all cheesy and sentimental. But it’s nice that I’ve got some seriously awesome affiliates, or whatever they are – people who are or were in the same boat as me, who absolutely owned their lives and did good. Makes me proud that Jack Bee Garland and I share the same whatever it is, issue, I guess. An adventurer. Wow. I’m no adventurer – although you could argue letting out a secret like this is sort of an adventure – but I’ll just get through it, anyways. I live in modern times, in a progressive country, surrounded by good people – that’s nothing compared to an adventure in the goddamn Philippines.


L’homme sur la croix

This comes a little late, I know Remembrance Day was on Monday – but I just finished it up, and I figure somebody out there might want to read it, even if it’s a couple days after the fact. I wrote it for my French history class. I was just thinking about war, and how horrible it must be, and how life might be when you get back from it. I have no idea really, since I was never there, but sometimes I think it’s worth it just to try and figure it out from someone else’s point of view. Anyways, Remembrance Day always makes me sad, especially when they air the ceremonies on TV with the veterans standing in their crisp military uniforms, with medals on their chests, or sitting in wheelchairs, looking up at the memorial downtown while the guards march back and forth. Yesterday I watched a little bit of it. Snow was falling softly from the sky, whirling in gentle flakes onto the shoulders of the men and women watching, and it was solemn and beautiful. When there’s so much emotion in something, it can never be anything but beautiful – and horrible, and painful. But beautiful, too.
Here’s my poem. I hope you like it.
Je suis assis sur la croix
Mes vêtements ne ferai rien
Avant l’hiver si grave, si froid;
Peut-être je va mourir ici
En regardant les gens, si petits,
Endormi dans leurs lits.
Comment pourrais-je fermé les yeux
Quand, dans ma tête,
Brûle cette feu?
Je regarde le soleil
Et les petits gens qui se reveil;
Rien de feux dans leurs têtes
Tout petit, comme des petits bêtes;
Je suis assis sur la croix
Dans l’air, sur l’église, tellement belle
Je tourne, je pousse l’échelle
Bien; maintenant, je dois sauter.
Je souviens, quand j’était petit,
J’avait un illusion de la paix
J’ai penser que,
Rien ne va jamais me arriver;
C’était un temps si simple
Nous avons jouer;
La guerre était un jeu.
Jouer avec nos mains, comme des fusils,
Si amusant; si facile.
Maintenant, rien est facile,
Mais ici, en haut de l’église,
C’est calme. Docile.
Je panse pas que je veut sauter
Je veut attendre la mort
En regardant la soleil, les oiseaux,
Les couleurs dans le ciel
Si belles, comme elles était peinturer là
Par un pinceau.
Et touts les petits gens,
Qui, en bas,
Luis aussi, attend.

Migraine Wishes Me a Happy Sixteenth Birthday

Well, it was my birthday today. I’m apparently sixteen. I don’t know why “apparently” – no, I’m definitely sixteen, even though it doesn’t really feel like it. Sixteen feels much too stereotypical for me. Maybe I’m nineteen. Okay.

I’ve got a migraine, I think. (So naturally I go and stare at my computer screen to help it feel better.) I want to crawl into bed in a little ball of pain, but I also want to write. I’m kind of torn. I think what I’ll do is I’ll just write until I’m physically incapable of looking at the screen anymore. All righty. Sounds like an excellent plan. So I turned sixteen – weird to think I’ve been alive for that long, and that I don’t remember most of it, actually – and now I’m a sort-of adult. I can leave school and nobody can force me to go, and I can drive a car, and you know, have romantic exchanges with other people, legally. Not as if that’s going to happen in the foreseeable future. It’s strange, a few years ago I would have given anything to be able to leave school, but now I actually sort of want to go – partly to get the stupid thing over with already, and also because the idea of staying home constantly and going insane again doesn’t really sound like that much fun.

I got some good stuff for my birthday. A real microphone to record songs with, an Arcade Fire t-shirt, a couple of books and a really neat hand-made journal from France. Apparently monks made it. It looks awesome, like it fell through a wormhole from the 17th century.

Throughout my life I’ve realized most of the fancy things come from my grandparents – the electronics, the music-related stuff, whatever. Money doesn’t matter to me and I don’t care what presents I get – although presents are always nice. They got a big balloon that looks like a jellyfish for me (it says Happy Sweet 16!), and it has ribbons attached to a weight so it won’t float away; my cat eats ribbons. There’s a problem with this, you see. My mom put the balloon up high and, using a cleverness I didn’t even know he had, he jumped up onto his little cat stand and then onto the bookshelf, and got to the ribbons to chew on them. Now the balloon’s in my room, safe from hungry, stupid ribbon-eating cats. We can’t let him eat them because he gets sick and throws them up – once he ate a string and obviously he didn’t digest it very well, so it hung out from his butt and he walked around with it for a while. There’s your gross anecdote of the day.

I don’t know how I feel about the supposedly important milestone of sixteen – actually it feels remarkably the same as yesterday felt. Now all that’s different is the knowledge that I’m sixteen. I can get a job, a driver’s license, and if I really felt like it I could put all my things in a bag, leave a note on the table, and run away to Alaska to live with bears in a cave and dance on street corners for a living. I really want to jump on a train like a hobo in an old movie someday, if that’s even something you can still do.

I think I’m getting close to not being able to stare at the screen anymore. I fixed it so it’s less bright but my head still hurts. I swallowed a huge, scary Tylenol and everything, but it came back anyway. I find headaches are the worst kind of pain, the kinds I get, at least, and they’re made even worse because sometimes you get nauseous and shaky as well. I’ll never understand people who say they can go to work and do normal things with a bad headache – when I have a bad headache, I want to curl up in a ball in the darkness and cry.

School was fairly nice. My History teacher likes me and it’s almost a little bit embarrassing – she knows I’ve got Asperger’s syndrome and that silly IEP thing, and maybe she also feels she should protect me from the mean boys in the back of the class who weren’t nice to me a few weeks ago. Even though it’s embarrassing it’s also nice to have a teacher on your side – much better than when they’re against you. I was doing a test I missed out in the hallway, and tried answering all the questions by memory alone (most of my history class memory is taken up with doodling pictures and mustaches on Mackenzie King’s face), and when I realized I couldn’t, I may have cheated and looked at my notes (which I’d conveniently taken into the hallway with me, along with my bag. I figured if anyone asked me why I had my bag I’d say I didn’t want anything to be stolen from it while I was away.) So, while sneakily checking my notes, a teacher strolled by – I looked up at him, probably with a nervous expression, and he paused and said carefully, but nicely, “Are you supposed to use your notes?”

I stared at him, and then nodded. He smiled and said “Okay”, and I smiled and made some sort of choked laughing sound. He strolled away again and I felt like a freight train had just zoomed past three inches from my face. The thing is, I’m not averse to cheating – especially when it’s acceptable cheating – like I have taken the notes in the first place, and the only reason I don’t remember them is because I never looked at them after initially writing them down. Anyway I did better on the test than one of the girls out in the hallway with me (I may have glanced at her paper when she wasn’t around), which makes me feel vaguely better about myself, even though I cheated. And what does it really matter? Why do I have to memorize exactly what the statue of Westminster was and how it affected Canada? I’m sure it was riveting when it happened, but that doesn’t come up in job interviews, I’m fairly sure.

English class is also going pretty well. Although we had to watch Mean Girls, which is a very frustrating movie – it comes very close to being actually good, and narrowly escapes being utterly stupid.  They exaggerate high school and the only good characters in the whole thing (the main character’s two friends) don’t have big enough parts, and nothing satisfying happens with them. The gay guy doesn’t dance with a guy at the prom, and the girl isn’t a lesbian, which is disappointing. Although she did wear a suit for the prom, which made me happy. If the prom actually still exists in real life and I actually go to it next year, no doubt I’m going in a suit. And a top hat, maybe.

Yesterday I had my friends over and we played a board game I made up (like Dungeons and Dragons) for a couple of hours. They’re my two best friends – small, serious, black-belt karate master Josh, and awkward, goofy, smart Devin.  I’m fairly sure Josh is gay and I don’t know what Devin is, exactly, just that he’s going through an anime and fairy phase right now, and it’s really funny. I support it a hundred percent though my friend Nathan is against it – Nathan was also against me coming to school for Halloween dressed as “Robert”, the British exchange student from 1920s London. Ouch my migraine is bad. Yikes. Anyway, I dressed up as Robert partly because I’ve been doing “exchange students” on Halloween since grade four (and Josh thinks it’s funny) but also to maybe slip in a hint that I’m not as much of a girl as they think I am. I’m scared of one day having to tell them I’m transgender, and part of it is that I still kind of like Nathan and I can’t imagine he’s into boys – unless he is. I dunno. He liked me in grade five, after all, and that was when I hadn’t hit puberty and could be passed off without fail as a boy.

I feel nauseous, and it’s not because a boy has (or had) a crush on me. Sorry to whine and everything, but gawd, what an awful headache – why does life have to hurt? Both physically and mentally. Life is mean sometimes. Really mean.

I want to write more, but my mom just came in, saw me curled up with my hands over my eyes, and suggested I get off the computer and take an Advil. Well, she’s probably right. In my experience, parents are often right, just like they say they are. My foot is falling asleep, and I’m shaking. I think I’m dying.

Or I’ll be fine. I’m just going to lie down for a while.

Thanks for reading, if you read it. If you didn’t read it, then you aren’t here. Okay. Makes sense. Good night.

– The Cellar Boy