Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Frog King

Wer ist Rudi Elsner? Oh, und er ist ein Mann.

Zoe sometimes brings her German work to English class, because she has it right before, and so I get to look at the bizarre pamphlets and worksheets with lines of text where things are randomly capitalized, if I want to. Today she brought a worksheet and I was fascinated by the dopey little pictures of German people on a family tree (Die Familie, it was called) – and one of the dopey little faces was called Rudi Elsner. He had a mustache, but for some reason I didn’t notice and assumed he was a girl; so I have to remind myself he’s not. Rudi ist ein Mann. Rudi is a man. Good.

I was reading the text bubbles, and actually understanding it, through the random snippets of German I’ve learned from being around Zoe for a few months while she’s learning it – and somehow I was able to decipher that the guy was asking where Rudi Elsner was, while the other replied that he’s Daniel’s cousin. (Er ist Daniels Cousine. Or something.) It was very simple, so I got it down, and decided to read aloud their conversation to her. She was very impressed, and went on to teach me a couple of small things, like how “he” is “er”, and “ze” is she, but sometimes not (also it’s “sie”, right?), and that in German you’ve got to capitalize all the nouns. Probably not the language for me, then. But at the end of it all, we were laughing about where Rudi Elsner was, and I told her it was a thing I was going to say from now on. Also, on the way home, forging through the bitterly cold winter paths, and being hit by a particularly nasty burst of frigid wind, I said, half-jokingly, “Wer ist Rudi?”  instead of swearing. Then I giggled because apparently I find myself hilarious.

And by the way, I bet somewhere out there he exists. If I’m ever in Germany, I’ll just walk around lamenting “Wer ist Rudi Elsner?” to the air until somebody comes up and tells me. Or brings me off to the mental ward, where I’ll keep repeating it because it’s the only German phrase I know (that and “Er ist ein Mann”).

So, now that I’ve got the important stuff down, I’ll move on to whatever else is floating around up in my head. In English class we had the most amazing substitute teacher in existence. I love her! She was thirty-ish and kind of dorky, and opened up the class by telling us about how her parents had met each other – her dad was a hippy who didn’t wear any shoes for a few years and her mom was a swim instructor, and I guess that’s a good basis for a cheesy independent romance movie – and she also told us that one of her legs is mostly made of metal because she ran into a rock skiing once, and that she can speak some Japanese. I immediately put up my hand to ask if she’s watched Fullmetal Alchemist (which is a Japanese anime); and she said she has. She HAS. And then I said that she’s got a metal leg and so does the guy in the anime, and she said jokingly “Yes, I’m Edward Elric.”

Oh my fuuuuucking God. I’d kick Mrs. Nutting off a roof if it meant we’d get Mrs. Harrison forever. Well, not really, I love Mrs. Nutting – but holy shit, Mrs. Harrison is just angelic. She knows Japanese, she knows Fullmetal Alchemist, there’s just everything right with her. I absolutely adore her, and if I was not a high school student I’d ask her to marry me. Then we’d watch Fullmetal Alchemist and ask Wer ist Rudi Elsner together for the rest of our lives.

At one point in class I got a call up to 201, which is the student resource room. Two others were called up too, Nick, who is a fantastic writer, and Brooke, the girl who looks at me when I talk and I sneakingly suspect continues to like me. I went out of my way to make a friendly joke or two while we were heading back down to class, but I’m no conversationalist, and the extent of my comic appeal was when Nick asked what time it was and I said “Well, it’s some time in the afternoon”, which trust me, is funnier in context. Or I hope it is. Anyway I’ve been in 201 a handful of times lately for whatever IEP-related reasons, and that’s where my wonderful student-helper-lady is, who’s been helping me figure out my classes for next term, among other things. She knows about the LUBR (Large Uncomfortable Boy Revelation) and the fact that I’m transgender – and today while we were talking she actually shot me a male pronoun, which surprised me. But it was a good surprise, even if it was a bit uncomfortable in a way – and I smiled, and then I ran away. For some bizarre and nice reason the other two were waiting outside for me, and I was so amazed by it that Brooke smiled, and that’s a small but certain victory.

All that largely balances out the fact that the girl who sits next to me in History class (NOT called Stephanie, as it turns out) snubbed me today and went to sit with a friend instead. And that in itself wouldn’t have bothered me, if she hadn’t left her bag on her seat so I was sitting there with an empty desk next to me while she sat on the other side of the class. I understand, and I don’t expect much more out of people who I’m not actually friends with. But it hurt my feelings a little bit.

After school, on the walk to the bus, I had to duck into the record store for a bit just so I wouldn’t turn into an icicle mid-stride. I looked idly through the records and listened to the guy there talk over the phone – it’s also a smoke shop, and there’s a lot of intricate-looking pipes sitting in glass cases; and so his conversation had something to do with appropriate amounts of weed that one should smoke, if I heard that right. I thought I’d drifted into a 70s movie for a second, and it was slightly weird. When I turned to ask him if he had any mewithoutYou records I felt strangely, crushingly small (because he was tall), standing there at a poor diminutive 5″5, furry-hatted and high-voiced, trying to get across that I’m not twelve and perhaps failing. I don’t know.  But he replied in a serious adult voice so I figure I did okay. You have to understand that in my mind I’m slightly taller and more impressive.

In German class Zoe watched something about a frog king – I assume it’s some obscure German cartoon, that’s what it sounded like, anyway – the kind you happen across in buckets of cheap-sale “nobody will buy this” foreign DVDs. Or something. Anyway, apparently in the frog king, you throw the frog against the wall and that’s how it becomes a person. (Common sense tells me she was missing something.) So, she compared me to the frog king, and don’t ask me how that comparison was made, but it didn’t exactly bother me – I’ll take being the frog king. Even if people are throwing me against walls, at least I’m the king, and not the queen or the princess. That’s something, anyways.

rudi elsner movie poster


Japanese Movies, OCD, Sea Monsters, and More! (see inside for boring details)

Haven’t been around much lately because I’ve been stuck touching the light switch in sequences of four since the last blog post.

Well, no, not really. But my OCD has been bad lately, due to who knows what – it can’t be stress, can it? Aren’t I doing better? But whatever the reason for it, I have all these ridiculous rituals that don’t involve simple touching anymore, but also sequences and timings and even thoughts – pun intended, it’s a very touchy business. Like always, I have to check the tap to make sure it’s off, the toilet to make sure it’s flushed, the light to make sure it’s off (even though I can TELL it is already), and I have to see that the grate is closed, but not entirely, so that just a little bit of air can get through (I don’t want to freeze, exactly); and then there’s my laptop to make sure it’s closed, and the rug to make sure it’s stepped on just right, and I have to check the time on my iPod before I go to bed so that I can count the hours of sleep I got in the morning. Most of this happens at night – and although there’s less completely thought-oriented rituals going on than there used to be when I was little, it’s not necessarily any easier. Thought-rituals can go on for an incredibly long time, but I can usually tear myself away from the physical ones all right. Not always, though, and sometimes it’s so frustrating that I want to scream and kick things. But if I kicked things I’d have to kick them in a sequence of four. Just joking. I hope I’m joking.

I don’t get why other people like doing things in threes. I used to do threes, then I realized it wasn’t symmetrical, and moved on to fours, so you can have two groups of two. So you see, obviously much more reasonable. Most of this stuff bothers me at night, or when I’m anxious – although occasionally it hits me at school, and I just have to hope that no one sees what I’m doing. I’ve never thought I needed help for my obsessive compulsive stuff before, but now I’m wondering if I ought to, because it’s somewhat intrusive. When I was little I used to have it bad, and then for a long stretch of years it seemed to get less bad, and now it’s bad again. I don’t get how that works, but there it is. I guess brains go through cycles.

So besides that, there are many other things to talk about. Because I’ve been stuck on that light switch for a pretty long time, kind of just mulling around not sure what to blog about. And the phone rang, and nope, I’m not answering you, you’re an 800 number. I don’t want an Indian guy assuring me condescendingly that my computer has a virus like last time. And that really happened, as stereotypical as an Indian telemarketer might sound. I’ve always felt there’s a reason that things become stereotyped – because they actually do happen sometimes, enough to actually BE stereotypes in the first place.  

But anyways, on we go with the words and the thoughts and the attempt to get my thoughts down in a readable and vaguely understandable manner. A large amount of stuff has happened lately, and I think the biggest of it all is the fact that my dad knows about the whole transgender issue now. Or, the “LUBR” (Large Uncomfortable Boy Revelation.) He took it pretty well, and he deserves more credit because he’s going through really hard things himself right now. He said initially that he found it weird – not me, just the thing in general – but now it’s more or less back to normal. We’re talking a lot over the phone because he needs to get his thoughts out to someone, and I likewise. So we talk almost every night about usually his things, but he always encourages me to talk about my stuff too, and even uncomfortably says that we can talk about my transgender stuff, if I want. I haven’t really talked much about that with him, though – I haven’t really felt that I have to. He went to the appointment I had with Dr. What’s His Face, and even talked with the doctor alone a bit. When he came out he looked vaguely shell-shocked, but he was all right. I feel awful that he has to deal with my crap as well as his crap right now, but my mom says that isn’t my fault. We all want to feel better, after all – me and my dad, my cat. Everybody just wants to be happy. That’s the root of everything, in my opinion.

So he took it well, and I’m so relieved I feel like screaming, not with anger or unhappiness, but just with the release of all that tension and worrying. Now I’ve got both my parents behind me, plus my French grandmother, who is like THE best person to have on your side – she is a ground-tearing whirlwind of support and definitely the sort of person you want with you, not against you. I feel like with grandmaman behind me I’ll be all right for sure, and even if Rome musters a legion against us. Just fight ’em back with tortiere, grandmaman.

My friends, though, remain seated in a strange world where they call me a girl but probably think of me as a boy, hence the fact that I get little special treatment or awkwardness, from anyone – I play the video games, talk the Pokemon, and am, I feel fairly sure, not very girl-like at all in their minds. I really couldn’t imagine HOW they’d even think of me as a girl, at this point. I know no one else has a girlfriend, but I haven’t gone out with a boy ever, and besides my brief love of Jake Bugg a little while ago, I remain steadfastly on the I-Like-Girlsmobile. I’m probably actually driving the I-Like-Girlsmobile. (And they’re in the back playing Yu-gi-oh cards.)

But shit, sexuality is confusing! Sorry to sound like the opening sentence of a puberty book, but really. Isn’t it confusing?  I used to not be weirded out by the idea of liking boys, and I still think Jake Bugg is handsome (I can’t HELP IT), but now I’m drawing away from that mindset, more or less. Which is not really a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just a thing; I could be somewhat gay. I’m flamboyant enough to wear suspenders, so you know. But if I have to be somewhat flamboyant, I want to be like Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. Flamboyant and awesome – and also a wizard. (I’ve always had an extreme liking for him, even though he’s an animated character from a Japanese movie. No! BECAUSE he’s an animated character from a Japanese movie! There’s something desperately attractive about Studio Ghibli’s way of animating handsome men characters. Shit, the dragon boy from Spirited Away? I just, I can’t even express myself about the dragon boy from Spirited Way.)

Hey, it feels kind of good to be so open about that. I think the main thing is that I just like who I like. I may be into “boy things” and identify as such, and like girls, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a crush on the dragon boy. I should be completely entitled to have a crush on the dragon boy, because who wouldn’t? There’s the question. There is the question indeed. I say I’m generally weirded out by the idea of liking boys, and that’s true, but there seem to be exceptions.

Also, someone in history class started sitting next to me, a girl named Stephanie who I think is actually Zoe’s friend by some amusing fluke of the universe. Why she’s sitting next to me is totally up in the air, and therefore I can put forward all of my stupid hormone-fueled wonderings. Maybe she likes me. When I told my mom that someone’s actually finally sitting next to me, she suggested that maybe Stephanie is thinking to herself “Hey, that Brynn kid, maybe that Brynn kid isn’t so bad.” I hope it’s “Hey, that Brynn kid is HANDSOME, as handsome as the dragon boy from Spirited Away! I ought to sit next to that Brynn kid!” (I’m withholding pronouns because I won’t lie to myself and imagine anyone at school thinks of me as a boy, while at the same time I don’t want to put a “she” in there.) Very possibly she’s just out of people to sit next to or something, and defaults to one of the two loners. There’s a kid in front of me, Jeremy, who’s a fairly nice guy, but maybe more snobby than some would like – and she could’ve sat next to him because he also doesn’t sit next to anyone, but she didn’t. (Why me and Jeremy don’t sit next to each other, as you’d think would follow logically, I feel no one knows.)  Maybe she feels better sitting next to a “girl”, but I’ve got some unfortunate news for her. And really, if a girl wants to sit next to another girl for comfort’s sake, there is NO way they go for me – they go for the girl who actually looks like one, and preferably isn’t hunched over their desk reading The Return of the King with pictures of dragons and demons scrawled all over their history work.

I’m sort of glad she’s sitting next to me now, because I don’t feel quite so lonerish and weird, and have hope that at least someone in the class considers it safe to enter within a radius of several feet of me (lest I raise my Harry Potter wand and chant some transgender Asperger’s black magic at them?) But anyways, yes, she’s there now, and that’s pretty okay. I somewhat enjoyed my previous isolation, but I suppose this is a decent progression. The first day she sat with me I didn’t even say hi, and then today I said hi and told her I’d just been shy yesterday. She said that was fine by her and we even talked a little about arbitrary school stuff. At least none of us asked What kind of music do you like? Whenever someone says that I feel a desire to shove my head out the window and breathe some fresh air for a while.

I hate what people talk about. Did you get the new iPhone? What classes are you taking? Fuuuuck. There is an infinity’s worth of other topics we could be discussing, us high school students – the oceans beneath the surface of Europa, the sea monsters that might inhabit them (in my imagination); books we like, the colors of trees in the fall, for God’s sake – and it’s always What music do you like?

So we didn’t reach rock bottom. I guess when she asked if I was worried about my exams, that was getting into the region of danger, but it was fine. I don’t mind talking with people even if it’s just for the sake of talking and not feeling alone. And she’s nice, and must be smart, if she’s in gifted – that or just really good at school – so I lucked out in that department. I could be sitting next to the girl from math in grade nine who talked an endless stream of horrifyingly vapid nothingness to her friend.  How do people actually manage to be like that? There are moons with water on them within our solar system that might have _SEA MONSTERS_ in them, and you talk about exams and iPhones and VAPIDNESS. Fuck.

But never mind my snobby views on human beings in general, I should get around to mentioning how I’ve finally gotten desperate and confident enough (a strange combination) to try out a binder thing. That’s for making your breasts look non-existent, and I’ve been having so much trouble with that lately that I talked to my mom and she actually went out and found one and bought it for me. (She’s very amazing.)

Anyways, the binder thing, as it’s officially called by me, is a curious device – it initially felt like a wrestler had gotten me in a choke-hold and was trying to suffocate me, but now I don’t even notice it very much. (That’s weird, how I got used to it.) It’s not fun, and getting it off is like wrestling with an angry cat that has its claws in your head and really wants to stay there – but it works. It really does work. I was doubtful that anything could manage to get rid of them besides surgery, which I of course still want, but this manages, and quite well. Unless someone actually comes up to me and pokes me in the chest, I don’t think you could notice – definitely not in a sweater, and it’s still unlikely in a t-shirt, which is beyond amazing. When I first tried it on I was giggling a little over the absurdity – as in, It was always that easy? And also, Hey, I’m wearing a wrestler that wants to suffocate me just to feel better.  It was all a bit strange to me, but I’m accepting it, and if I could explain how much better it makes me feel – well, if I could, but I can’t, really. It’s like being stuck in bed for months, in the dark, and hardly being able to breathe, and then suddenly walking out into the sunlight. Pretty good.

Although, and here’s where the painful irony comes in – I LOVE how the binder thing makes me feel, but at the same time, I’m worried that people will be freaked out over where the breast things went. (You know I’m uncomfortable because I can’t even name them straight.) Like, I am totally sure that Borong, the nice girl who sits next to me in English, looked strangely at my general chest area yesterday when I took off my sweater. Yes, I took off my sweater in front of actual people. Because there’s nothing visible to be ashamed of. And she didn’t make a big deal or say anything, but she looked, and she noticed, and that was embarrassing. I hope she’s not wondering if she’s totally been misunderstanding English pronouns. And it’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t speak your language too well about something as complicated as being transgender – I know people are transgender all over the place, but what’s the word for it in Chinese? And even when you have the word, how do you explain it? Even in English, that’s hard. Oh, and this is transgender in what Google translate calls “simplified Chinese”:  变性, bianxing. Maybe I should write the characters down and hand them to Borong if ever she has any questions… assuming Google translate didn’t fuck up the translation, which is infinitely possible. Imagine if I slid a paper over to Borong and it said something like “duck” on it. That would be hilarious. And awful.

And tomorrow is more school, involving an English exam, Zoe, and all average things between. I’m not exactly worried about the exam, because English is one thing I can do – the only part of it that worries me is having to focus on the stupid thing for a long time. I don’t like focusing when I’m not interested in something. I hope that Ms. Nutting chose a decent short story this time around – the last was pretty good, but we’ve done two that just utterly sucked. I was so pissed off at one of them that I didn’t do the work of talking about it very well, and subsequently got a bad mark. But I feel somewhat justified – there’s only so many decent ideas that you can wring out of a bad story and put onto a page.

You know what’s rather weird? I’m actually looking forward to the spring. Usually I am, in a mental way (just because it’s brighter out and actually non-frigid) – but I haven’t felt comfortable about the idea in a physical way for years, ever since I first got girl-chest-things, and hated them, and walked backwards against the wind so they wouldn’t show so much, which was a thing that I did, unfortunately. But this year it doesn’t scare me! I actually want to wear t-shirts and not bother with the whole winter coat/boots/sweater shebang. It would feel inarticulately nice to go outside in just a t-shirt and pants (oh, and socks, and shoes, too) and not be desperately uncomfortable, for once. But of course there’s always the issue of my hair – I feel like that’s about 100% Asperger’s related, and it really has nothing to do with gender dysphoria – and how I never like it. I’m considering getting it chopped to above my eyes so it’s just out of the way and I don’t have to think about it. Although all the boys at school seem to have short hair, like it’s a thing now, and I don’t want to come off like I’m trying too hard to fit in. Whatever. In any case I just want to be able to SEE things, you know? That’d be okay.

I don’t want to stop writing, though. Finally I’ve managed to do a post, after all that time touching the light switch – and I think I’ve been working on this one since about seven thirty, and it’s nine now. I really spend a good chunk of time on these things. But writing takes a while; because each sentence has to sort of fit. Sometimes irrelevancy is fun, but you’ve got to really think about things, most of the time – and that takes more than just a couple of minutes. I have a folder of stories on my computer, and I didn’t know this, but apparently the system is keeping track of the editing time – and on one of those stories, one of the longest, I’ve written for 59 hours. (Or more accurately, I’ve had the document open for 59 hours.) That’s a crapload of thinking. (Plus the thinking I did when I didn’t have the document open.) It doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good, it’s just that I’ve worked on it for a long time – and anything worthwhile, in my opinion, must be worked on for a long time, or it’s empty. (Side note: depressingly, I’ve spent 102 hours on Skyrim, which is one of my video games.)

Anyway, so, these bloggy thingies take much time. I think I need to write them, though, to get all the crap out of my head. Heads aren’t meant to store all the crap that floats around in there unchecked.

I wonder what’s going to happen now. Well, I know in the immediate future I’m going to get ready for bed, probably take a disgusting drought of poisonous-looking green Nyquil to sleep (because my nose is stuffed up to the heavens); and then I might be able to read some pages of The Return of the King before the medication knocks me out, and I’ll sleep, have the usual variety of weird dreams, and wake up for school tomorrow, which will probably be as vastly unexciting as usual, complete with English exams and girls that suddenly sit next to me in History class.

In the late future, though, well: I don’t get to see Dr. What’s His Face until the beginning of February, but at least then I’m going to get some tests done to get ready for the Lupron stuff that I’m going to be taking, which won’t change me much, just kind of freeze me here so I don’t get any girlier, and so my girl-hormone levels fall, to get ready for the next phase, which is the terrifying wonderful thing we here at the Cellar Boy call MBDs, or Magic Boy Drugs, or testosterone. So that’s in the late future.

In the middle future, however, which we may call the next month or so (and that feels unreasonably long to me, just thinking about it), I fully expect nothing at all to happen. Life will progress as slowly, painfully, and normally as it always does, and I’ll write blog posts and pet my cat and stare at trees. Or whatever I do.


Really Really Good News (and Minecraft)

Happy New Year, spam bots.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmjakinUu3c&feature=youtu.be