Tag Archives: lgbt

The Cellar Boy Returns In Time for Rosh Hashanah

The title of this post is especially ridiculous because I’m not Jewish and I don’t celebrate any of the holidays or observe any of Judaism. The reason I bring it up is because I spent this evening at my dad’s friends’ house, where Rosh Hashanah happened to be going on – the Jewish new year. I find it funny how I just stumble into these things by chance and am happily accepted. Like the Chinese new year a little while ago at my friend’s house. Chinese? No. Part of the family? No. Guest? Yes!  Anyway, I’d heard of Hanukkah and Passover, but never of this one; I wasn’t entirely sure what it was going in, so I tried to look like I knew how to conduct myself. Luckily for me, the family aren’t exactly orthodox. Basically, I observed all the general rules of propriety, such as don’t double dip in the honey bowl and only take an apple slice when you’re signaled to do so, not before it’s served and while everyone’s still talking. I think I did fairly well. The family consists of Dr. Jen and her wife, who is a writer originally from South Africa, and is possibly the nicest person in the universe. Correction, they both are. They had an ensemble of interesting characters over for dinner, who I kind of delighted in listening to. I couldn’t do them justice here, but it was a bit like a scene from an indie comedy, if you can picture it better now. My dad and I, I realized as I sat there, are incredibly similar. We even sit the same way, with our arms resting on the table, and when either of us was addressed we’d look at the other for help. At one point, the man across from us (in his forties, with a shaved head and a long nose, a vest and tie) said, addressing my dad, “So what kind of music do you make?” (At this point it had been established that both my dad and I were musicians.) At his question, my dad looked at me. I said, after a moment, “Well, you make it, not me.” It went on like that pretty much all night.

The kids (there were four of them, including my little sister) were missing for pretty much all of dinner and dessert, playing outside and upstairs while the adults (and me – I’m an adult. Weird, isn’t it?) sat at the table and talked. Initially it was apparently thought that I was a lot younger than I am. There were two kids my age there, an outgoing, round girl with glasses who let us know in an ironic way that she was allergic to pretty much everything, and her boyfriend, an obnoxious fellow with big arms and a silver watch whose comments were outrageous and rude, who everyone took like he was just talking about the weather. Oddly, perhaps only due to everyone else’s treatment of him, I was all right with what he said. Within the family circle it seemed accepted. He made fun of his mom’s dreadlocks (she sat across from me, a small French woman with glasses), and he made fun of who I assume was his sister, a girl a few years younger than me who sat to my side, wrapped up in a big grey sweater.

Dr. Jen’s wife, the writer (a tall, thin brown-skinned woman with long hair), told us a story about how she’d watched the interview of a serial killer and how fascinating she found it. It would’ve been weird if she wasn’t so clearly nice. I was mostly quiet, but I liked it that way. I was happy to listen to the conversation (and form opinions on the people. It was also kind of entertaining to try and infer their relationships to each other). There were no formal introductions, and so my brain organized them by either their features or their personalities. I’m not sure I could translate that into English; it’s just the feel you get from people. I found it interesting, anyway.

The food was good, dessert especially. It was an interesting mix of things – honey and apple for the beginning (and the breaking of the bread), followed by dahl and lentils for the main course, red and yellow beets in sweet vinegar sauce (that’s a very French Canadian thing too, by the way), with some vegetables, two salads, and then a peach upside-down cake with brownies and ice cream. There was no running theme through the whole meal, which I liked. I figured it was the Jewish, South African, and French influences of those involved at the gathering that had gone into what we were eating, rather than any particularly orthodox Jewish tradition. (My dad brought bagels from Kettleman’s for the occasion. Very Anglo-European-Canadian of us).  Besides the honey and apple and the bread, of course. Dr. Jen said some prayers or chants in Hebrew before we ate at the beginning, and my grandpa described what that was like best: it was like singing happy birthday while you bring out the cake. We don’t do it because we’re supposed to, we do it because we always have and we like to. That’s the sense I got from Dr. Jen as she spoke – it wasn’t overly serious, it was more of a comfort thing, though we all went quiet and listened. Her son Motsumi was impatient to get to the honey and apple but he also seemed intent to make sure the ritual was done, and he wanted to be a part of it. He touched the bread as his mom spoke, and he also inquired about if they would hide presents like in Passover. Once hearing that they wouldn’t, he promptly disappeared to play with the other kids. I thought for sure they would show up at some point for the food but I guess playing took precedent – weird. When I was that age it was food first, play later. Also I ate like a garbage disposal service, but you know. (I’m happy to announce it never made me unhealthy, or even that chubby. Notice how I say “that”. All that method of eating really made me feel was bloated, to tell the truth. And then I grew out of it. Sort of).

It was nice and I’m glad I got to go. I’m glad it wasn’t too formal, or too orthodox for that matter, because I’m not sure how ultra-orthodox Jews feel about atheist transgender people being at their holidays. There’s a world of difference between ultra-orthodoxy and a lax practicing of a religion. I like the lax people the best. The extreme ones make me feel a bit nervous to be quite honest.


 

So that’s Rosh Hashanah. Now should I talk about why I’ve been gone for so long, or why my last post was a negative evaluation of the pointlessness of getting pictures of Pluto? Well, as for the first thing, basically I’ve been gone for three reasons, only one of which is really viable. The first is that I’ve been lazy. The second is that I sort of lost my password. And the third is because I’ve been hellishly, unbelievably busy.

The biggest thing going on right now is that I’m back at school – not only back, but back full-time. This is for the first time in five years. The last time I was going regularly was grade eight – now I’m in the imaginary grade thirteen. I should’ve graduated last June, but you know… going part-time, and then not at all, and then part-time again leaves you a bit behind.

Now I get to wake up at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m and lug my exhausted, unresponsive body out of the house, down a hill, up a hill, into a bus – then keep myself from falling over for half an hour as I hold the bar next to my face, while crushed against other morning commuters – then I stumble out of the bus, and down twenty blocks to my school, by which time I’ll hopefully be awake. Then I fall into a chair and sort of learn for a few hours. Then I take the bus back, and by the time I’m home, I’m ready to curl into a tiny, comforting ball under something, preferably a mound of blankets, and hide. While sleeping. A nice hide-sleep. Unfortunately, I have to stay awake until a little later, or I’ll pop awake at three in the morning like that one time. That one time that didn’t go so well. It’s a tough thing, going from half-days at school (and a whole summer of sleeping in) to getting up when dawn has just broken, and being expected to stay awake for the next sixteen or seventeen hours, most of which are spent needing to focus, of all things. On schoolwork. Of all the fucking things.

It’s a lot. But it turns out I’m doing it – so far. I’ll check back with you in another two months. If I’m not a harried, shivering little ball clutching onto a Macbeth essay sheet covered in drool and scratch marks by then, consider this whole thing a roaring success.

There are more things to say, of course. I have months and months to fill in here – but I did get a lot of that down, just not here on this blog. I keep a journal so all the inane day-to-day things, or some of them anyway, are recorded. In a hundred years, when someone wants to know what the life of an average Canadian transgender autistic musician writer was like, they can check that journal, and they’ll know. However I doubt anyone’d be interested. Fuck usually I’m not even interested, and I’m the one living this shit.

Til next time. And it won’t be that long this time, I hope.

– Brynn

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Adventures in French Nowheresville (ooh la la)

We drove out to French Nowheresville today for the yearly family corn roast thing. It was a nice day, warm but not unpleasantly so, and the clouds were fantastic, big and puffy and dramatic. We turned a corner on the lonely country highway and were faced with a gigantic one that looked exactly like a penis. Now usually I seem to miss sexual innuendos, but that one was just too obvious, I couldn’t help feeling affected. I kept my eyes on the road and hoped my mom wasn’t looking up. When we passed the little Papanack Zoo, I yelped, “Hey look! Llamas!”

Fucking modern culture got to me, I guess.

Anyway, we turned some more remote corners and got to my uncle’s place, a cottage out in the tamed, farm-covered lands slightly east of the city, and voila! The corn roast faces me down, armed with its various ranks of half-known uncles and aunts. All of them are French, and not just a little French, very French. And the language of Quebec is different, full of slang and weird pronunciations – that on top of the fact that French in general is tough to speak with competence when it’s your second language. So I end up sitting there, understanding most of what’s being said but also terrified to try to speak it myself. My usual strategy is just to say “Bon, merci” when the relatives ask how I’ve been and hope that satisfies them. Rarely does anyone try to engage me in conversation, outside of the small circle of people I like, and who like me back, I imagine – but when they do I get along with short answers and lots of smiling and nodding. I thought that was only a thing in bad TV shows but you know, it isn’t; you can smile and nod your way through lots of real-life things.

The corn roast was long and fraught with mosquitoes, but otherwise it was nice. Everyone was friendly. I’m not sure to what extent the family knows of my LUBR (Large Uncomfortable Boy Revelation) and I’m also not sure how the future will go, as I duke it out with backwoods Quebec. Honestly it unnerves me, to imagine how they’ll face the fact that I’m going to grow up and become a man, not a woman. I’m not exactly front and center in the family, I imagine my place is off to the side somewhere, a floating speck of no particular importance, nice and quiet and inoffensive – so I guess they could all just ignore it and let it be. Everyone has always seemed basically nice, and have never been rude to me; the opposite, they’ve always been friendly and I hope I’m a positive figure in their minds. But they’re also conservative and traditional, excepting a few of the younger aunts, uncles, and cousins, and excepting my grandma. And it’s hard for anyone to accept the thing I have, even people like my English grandparents, who have always been kind and intelligent and progressive. I’m worried about when the hormones I’m taking really kick in and nobody can imagine away the fact that I have a thing and it’s actually going to affect them, in whatever small way. For instance I literally can’t even begin to imagine a certain great-aunt I have ever doing the pronoun switch, not even when I have sideburns and a deep voice. And that is going to be extremely difficult, when it happens, because I’m so sure she won’t switch. I just don’t want to be alienated. I like these people, even if I only see them once in a blue moon; I really do like some of them, and I’m happy that I can go to the corn roasts and be accepted and everything. I never want that to end, I appreciate it and I appreciate them.

But that, as well as many other things, I’m learning, is out of my control. I can send everybody LGBT leaflets – every obscure aunt and uncle from here to the northern end of Ontario – but in the end how they react is up to them. I guess all I can do in the meantime is worry about myself and my immediate friends and family, and hope it works out without me.

You know I think I’ve talked about this before, but I want to go over it again – the thing about sexuality, how it’s not related to gender, but how everyone thinks it is. First everyone thought I was a lesbian because of how I dressed. Then, coming out as transgender, people slowly began to assume that I really did like girls after all, being a boy. Now I have to explain to them that I don’t, in fact, explicitly like girls, but in fact just sort of like who I like, with no real preference. I bring it up because of a thing that has happened recently: it’s that one of my friends (take note, he was the one who told me he had a crush on me in grade five) sent me a cat emoticon with a heart over its head in a Facebook message after we had a conversation about me being transgender. (He asked me slyly about it after I sent him a story I’d written.) Now, before you shake your head (I see you beginning to think about shaking it, or perhaps you already have), let me tell you that no, I don’t put much store in cat emoticons. I think they’re pretty cute, but that’s not relevant, is it. It’s just that of ALL the cat emoticons, why the one with the heart over its head? Sure, you could say it’s an expression of support, of caring (by the way I had a small heart attack of relief after he said he was utterly fine with my big revelation), but could you not also come to the conclusion that it is an expression of liking? Well? You know, I hope it is. I’ve had an on-off liking of him for years. And I’m tired of Zuko being my pretend boyfriend, a real one would be great. A real girlfriend would be great, too. I kind of maybe have briefly entertained fantasies about the ridiculously cool girl at the video game store downtown who looks like she jumped right out of Scott Pilgrim v.s the World. If she doesn’t seem like she’s maybe twenty or so, and if I was less Asperger’s, I would ask her out in a jiffy. Then we would play Zelda Twilight Princess and watch artsy movies together all day. That would be great.

And also, wouldn’t you know, school approaches. Oh yes, indeed, she does, upon her chariot of death, eyes aflame, wielding the scythe of misery in one cruel hand! Cower before this demon – all ye children hide yourselves, ‘fore she sweeps upon you and steals you away, to suck the lifeblood from your lovely veins and deposit your creaking bones ‘pon the bed of heartless society. That was a bit over the top. I think school is more like a wolf, and we are sheep, running blindly from its snapping heels and losing ourselves in the wilderness of vapid education. Although last year’s English class wasn’t so bad – I happened upon a pretty great teacher, not one of those badly-constructed androids that seem so common. Anyway yes indeed, I’m headed back to school in nine days, although my brain won’t process that reality quite yet, and I’ll be trying for my last English credit and my first arts credit. Should be anxiety-ridden and horrible as always, but at least I’ll see my friends.

Anything else? I’m pretty tired now, it’s almost midnight and the corn roast sucked most of the life out of me. I wrote all this on my last 10% or so. I apologize for not doing any posts for the last couple of months – sometimes life is very hard to fit into a 1000-some blog post that a handful of people may or may not read, and besides that I get lazy and overwhelmed. I’ll try to write more often again, but no promises – in fact when I make promises like that, more often than not they just make doing it harder. I do write stories, as ever, although most of them I end up abandoning for one reason or another – and I’ve also been doing some stuff on my music blog, darksideoftheroom, if you happen to be interested in that, and if you’ve been reading this far. Oh and also, I made an album on my Bandcamp, you can buy it if you want, or you can ask me if I can send you the link to it for free so you don’t have to pay, which I’ll do. Is that it? That’s it. Do come again, and thanks as always for taking the time to read this large mess of words.

moiatcornroast

(Psst: I don’t always wear sunglasses, but when I do, they’re rainbowy sunglasses.)

– Brynn


Some Thoughts on Equality, Hatred, Cruelty, etc.

Why are people assholes, especially online? Huh? The incredible Cellar Boy gives his rainy, depressing Wednesday thoughts about it. Also he apparently switches to third person for no reason.  Right here.


What Lupron Does

About three weeks ago I sat in a small room at the hospital and a  lady stuck a needle in my leg filled with Magical Degirlifying Potion (that’s the technical name) – and I was ready to roll on the floor with agony or cry out helplessly to the sky, but I didn’t even feel it. Some mild sensation like a pinch, and then she’d taken it out and I was staring at her stupidly. Then they set me free and I limped home. The pain wasn’t bad, it was just stiff for a bit; and I made sure to run around a little bit because they recommend activity after shots that go directly into your muscle. Two days later I felt no pain or stiffness, and there was no sort of bruise.

Then followed about a week of walking around in agitated circuits of my bedroom, stuck inside because of missing school and my mom being in the hospital (she’s much better now, recovering, laughing, eating, getting mad at me, all the normal things) and waiting desperately for something to happen. I’ve been told that Lupron will degirlify me – meaning, as far as I understand it, my MGT (Monthly Girl Thing) will cease, my body fat will redistribute itself (I imagine it like a lot of little people inside me trudging to other places of my body with suitcases and bags over their shoulders) and I may or may not get more hair in more places. For the first week, nothing happened besides a lot of anxiety – then I started to go through a form of menopause, because that’s what all boys yearn for, and it’s still somewhat ongoing, meaning bizarre hot flashes at inopportune times and some fiddly stuff going on with the MGT that I’ll try my hardest to explain for the reader’s sake. I’m assuming you’re interested, in the effects of Lupron, or in transitioning from “female” to male. What happens is, Lupron decreases your estrogen if you’re “female”, and that’s what it’s doing to me – it means my MGT will go away, supposedly, even though it was just fairly bad, accompanied by hot flashes and mood swings and a desire to punch things that has thankfully gone away. This MGT that I just had should supposedly be the last, ever, meaning it won’t happen next month. But there was some extra MGT stuff that happened after the usual 4-5 days, which I don’t know how to explain; I asked my mom and she says it wasn’t anything to worry about.

The main things I’m feeling right now as I sit here writing anxiously in the twilight of a warmish March evening is a desire for this stuff to happen quicker, and make me feel better. Lupron’s effects so far have been bad, and there’s none of the good effects that I’m waiting for. I’m waiting for the MGT to go away for good and for that fat redistribution thing to run its course. (I have lost weight, I should mention, and I can’t quite tell but it might already be happening, the redistribution. I say this hesitantly, and only because my favorite jeans that I outgrew fit me again.)

Meanwhile, either my deodorant is expiring or I smell more. I think I just smell more. I noticed it at the Arcade Fire concert I went to (read about the awesomeness right here on the music thing that I write sometimes), where I was dancing a lot. I remember being smelly in the days where I refused to wear deodorant because it was a grown-up thing – but then I started playing hockey and the pure necessity of it drove me over the edge, so I succumbed to societal pressure and have used it since. To the best of my knowledge, it works very well; I haven’t smelled much at all for years. Now I smell again. That’s great.

Another thing which I feel must be a side effect of Lupron and decreasing hormones are my mood swings. The other day like I said I was so angry I almost felt like I’d throw up – and my mom saved me from myself by dropping me off on the curb and telling me to walk the rest of the way home. (She’s smart, it worked.) Part of that anger was, I’m positive, because of how frustrating and horrible this whole thing is, and how desperately I want to get through it, to the other side – but there’s no excuse for just how angry I felt. I’ve rarely felt that heated, and I’m worried this is going to be a trend with my messed up hormones.

A third, and admittedly dubious aspect of Lupron is hairiness. Staring at my non-existent blond mustache today (see older blog post) I noticed most assuredly existent blackish hairs where the blondish hairs had always been, alone and sad. These blackish hairs were just visible where I’m 90% sure no black hair has ever been seen before. Now, you have to put some faith in me here, because I take great pride in my non-existent blond mustache and I know all its ins and outs – so try to believe that I’d notice when more hairs came to be. I do believe, therefore, that those blackish hairs are new.

So saying, we can assume Lupron actually does make one hairier. Which is interesting to me, because it’s not a hormone – it’s literally an anti-hormone, and is driving out bits of the estrogen in me. But whatever. I’ve got a non-existent REAL mustache now. That’s an oxymoron, heh.

My next injection is on the 28th (just ten days), and then I’ll have two more injections before, in an ideal world, I can force the medical people to throw me my MBD (Magic Boy Drugs) and begin the “actual” transition. Meanwhile in the social part of the issue, I’m feeling a lot of stress, but a lot of support, too. Zoe’s dad has been super nice to me, as well as Zoe herself, and her family. My mom has been uncertain about pronouns, and it bothered me so much the other day when she was purposefully not saying one that I blew up a bit (probably Lupron instigated? Or not) and now she said she’ll try to do “he”. I felt bad for getting mad. But it is incredibly weird to have your friends and family switching constantly from “he” to “she”, being awkward when they say “he” and being equally awkward when they say “she” and trying to catch themselves. (It’s also really nice of them. But really uncomfortable for all of us.) On a walk the other day with the dog my grandpa referred to me as a young lady, even though he knows about the issue now. It may have slipped out – he may be in denial – or he may have no actual idea what to do. Probably all of those. My mom referred to me and Zoe as “the girls” a few days ago, and then caught herself and said “Zoe and Brynn.” I don’t mind what people call me right now, because everyone’s having to come to grips with it. But if it goes on a lot longer I’m going to go insane. I feel schizophrenic, listening to my competing identities fight each other for supremacy.

me and zoe

 

Old Brynn with old Zoe, in Montreal, 2011. I was 13.

jake bugg

 

New Br – oops, that’s Jake Bugg. Hold on a second.

photo (24)

New Brynn, 16. This is my Arcade Fire concert selfie to show off my goggles.

Funny how it comes full circle, huh? In 2011 I went with Zoe to see Arcade Fire; now a couple of days ago in 2014 I went to see them again with her. As cliched as it may be, so much really has changed in the three years since then. I’m not a new person – I’m just me understanding what’s going on with myself. Lupron of course is making me feel pretty weird right now, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. I will post if I grow another head.

– Brynn/Cellar Boy

 


A Review for a Disappointing Book About Dragons and Gender Identity and Shit

I posted this thing on Goodreads first. Goodreads where no one reads my good Goodreads reviews. Heh. Info about this book down here: it’s written by Alison Goodman, it’s about identity and gender nonconformity, and WAIT! Before you dive out through a windowpane, it isn’t as bad as you’re imagining. It has dragons and shit.

eon_harper_collins265

 

Review

I did a review for this a long time ago, but it feels outdated now, and besides, my perspective has changed a lot since back then. I always was interested in this book, but now it relates more sharply to my own identity struggles, so I think I’ll be able to wring out a better review.
So, I got the book many a year ago, courtesy of one of my friends for a birthday present. He probably read the sleeve where it says how Eon, our conflicted main character, is a girl under the guise of a boy in order to compete in a thingy where you may or may not go home with a dragon. But not in the way you’re thinking. Goddamn it, I hate sexual innuendos. Anyway, he must’ve read that, and immediately hooked it up with me – fair enough. I like dragons, I dress like a boy. It’s cool. You know what? I AM a boy! And that’s where my great issue with this story comes into the light…
Immediately I sympathized with Eon for her difficult situation. Gotta be a boy, gotta get that training done, gotta win that dragon. (Gotta catch ’em – all? No, don’t put that reference in here, why would you do that?) She’s struggling with an identity that, sigh, has been forced upon her, and that she didn’t necessarily want to accept. Also she happens to have a crippled leg, and so that makes it extra hard for her to keep up with the boys in the training sessions she’s going through in order to… mm… right, be the Dragoneye. Gotta win that dragon.
However, she does it. Mustering her awesomeness, she gets through the training – and SPOILER! – happens to win not just the wussy Tiger Dragon’s favor, but the super cool MIRROR DRAGON’S favor, which is a dragon that’s been – like gone or something, for a long time. I can’t remember the specifics, but it’s a honking big deal. So now, with all the attention on her, all this business of passing herself off as a boy becomes of paramount importance. Because girls can’t have dragons, and they can’t be important, and they can’t do anything, really. We’re in ancient Japan-China here, I should mention; people aren’t totally nice or accepting.
So it would be horrible if anyone found out she was a girl. So she drinks fancy moon tea to deal with the period thingy that girls have, and pretends to be a eunuch so nobody finds it weird that she looks like a twelve year old boy, and will forever. She goes to this palace for some reason I sort of forget and that’s where the BORINGNESS hits.
It had me pulling out my hair. It’s so boring. Do you like – paving stones? BOY, I hope so! There’s certainly a lot of them! And drinking tea, and long pointless rituals, and a few totally uninteresting deaths, and soooo much nothing happening that I just don’t even know why it really happened in the first place. This book’s thick, you know, like five hundred pages. And it really doesn’t have to be.
But, if you struggle through the three hundred-odd pages of blank boredom, you’ll be rewarded with some small high points. For instance, Ryko the eunuch and the transgender woman (I forgot her name), and – no… that’s all. Okay, Ryko and her.
Honestly… Eon/Eona is not very wonderful. She’s a bit cold or something. Her personality doesn’t exactly shine and sparkle off the page – it just sort of sits there, bland and somewhat interesting. She has no sense of humor and that bothered me. Certainly she’s in a very bad spot, and her life hasn’t been easy – she’s an orphan, crippled, and unhappily struggling to just get through things while having to suppress her identity – but come on. One joke? One light observation? That’s all I really want here.
However, the book is well-written. No doubt it is. And there are enough action sequences to at least make up for maybe a quarter of all the boringness. What I didn’t like was the magic concept – it wasn’t well introduced, or well flushed-out, and frankly, it made no damn sense whatsoever. So some boys compete to be the favored apprentice or something of the magic dragons that correspond to the Chinese zodiac – … but why? As far as I understand it, after you get them you just sort of sit around drinking tea for the rest of your life.
That’s great.
If there wasn’t all this crap about magic, I think I would’ve liked it more. Which is odd, because usually I hate realistic fiction – but this story would’ve benefited from less dragons and auras and general badly-explained magicky weirdness. I think I get that it’s supposed to be a part of the world, subtly in the background, but it was too difficult to understand, and didn’t really fit in with what was going on.

The two best characters were Ryko and the transgender lady. Both defying the norms of gender, which I really enjoyed, and both honestly more likable than Eon herself. Also I think there’s a romance brewing, or previously brewed, between them, which was interesting – waaaay more interesting than Eon’s fleeting crush on the prince. Luckily by the end she elbowed him in the throat and that was that.

So, on to the biggest part. My major, all-consuming gripe with this book is that at the end (spoiler) Eon accepts the identity of herself as girl. I found it annoying, because I thought that it was really all one big drawn-out buildup into her accepting herself as a boy. And then, nope. She’s really a girl. Wonderful.
But not wonderful, because that’s where I lost her. Up until that final resolution where the Mirror Dragon accepts her once and for all (not so subtle message for accepting oneself!) I’d been completely relating to her, inside and out, on every level (even while not completely liking her personality). Here was the ancient China-Japan magic dragon-world equivalent of me. Finally I was represented truthfully and respectfully in a real book, and it made me happy. Then at the end she goes and wants to be a girl, after all the trouble she went to – and fine, shut up, most girls stay girls all their lives. But some don’t, like me.
So, Eon/Eona, I’m sorry to say I’m not happy with you. What’s this book about, if it’s not about defying gender norms? I mean there’s already a transgender character in here, why can’t you be that, too? I almost feel like Alison Goodman bailed out at the end, like she was really thinking about keeping Eon a boy but then something stopped her. Or maybe her plan was just to do what she ended up doing all along. Either way, it displeased me. Displeased is a good word. Sebastian, make me some tea.

At the end of the day, I guess Eon is a good book. The messages are all correct and good, and the truthfulness of everyone’s problems is actually astounding – Alison Goodman doesn’t shy away from going into detail about how people are feeling and suffering. The transgender woman is not treated respectfully. Eon is distrusted for being a cripple. This author, much to her credit, faces down issues that most authors would swerve right off a bridge to avoid. For that, Eon has my approval, even though I don’t like how it turned out. 3 stars, therefore.


The Wheels Are in Motion

Words, as inadequate as they are, could not properly express how much I don’t want to go to school tomorrow. In my defense, school just took a steep turn downhill – in fact, it even broke the fence and went plunging down off a cliff. I’m taking math and science (because that’s the epitomeeeeeee of fun, twitch, twitch) and I don’t have any friends in either class, despite some vague acquaintances in science. I shouldn’t complain, because there are several good things going for me this term – but I’m complaining anyway. You can suck it.*
I mentioned it all briefly last time, I think. But I can’t even remember most of what my last post was even about. (Again, reference to the gaping hole my brain has become.) So I’m going to talk about it again.
I’ve had a weird couple of weeks; there’s been a lot of things going on, but at the same time I feel oddly disconnected from it, like I’m seeing it all happen through a lens. It’s a familiar feeling to when I lived at my dad’s house and my stepmother was mean to me – they call it dissociation, I’m fairly sure. I think it’s your brain refusing to accept the difficulty of your situation, and so it puts a veil between you and the world so things don’t hit you quite as hard. That’s my theory. I think it’s why, even though all this stuff is happening, I can only feel it at a distance – or that could be my medication, which I’ve always had the suspicion makes me a little fuzzy. Maybe it’s both. The thing is, this time, my brain is trying to protect me from something that isn’t necessarily bad – the thing being coming out to the world and letting them know I’m transgender, and that I actually plan to go through with it. It’s not bad, it’s just momentous. The stuff with my stepmom was bad, yes indeed – and this isn’t, it’s just I feel vulnerable, and if someone turns their back on me, whoever that person is, I don’t know if I can take it. So far, there’s five people close to me who know – my mom, my dad, my grandma and grandpa, and my aunt. (Not counting the therapist, doctor, school counselor, etc., etc.) We’re five for five. But now my other grandparents, my uncles and aunts, and my friends have to receive the news, and I’m downright terrified of what it’ll change. Hopefully nothing. Probably something, and what the fuck do I do about that?
Six close people, my bad. Zoe knows. I already said that last time, didn’t I? Well, she knows, and her reaction was fine, even though I hid behind the couch again when I had to tell her. I haven’t seen her since, and I’m worried that next time I see her something will be different; although she’s Zoe, one of the most wonderful people on earth, so I can’t imagine anything major will have changed. I want to go to look at the dumb ice sculptures at Winterlude or something like her dad was suggesting, just to put my mind at rest. Then I can say “Look, a dumb sculpture” and not have to mention being transgender ever again.

Why are supposed good things bad? I’m only doing this so I’m not miserable. If I had to live the rest of my life like I am now, I’d go insane. I don’t WANT this – I mean I don’t WANT to be transgender, it would be really damn great if I liked my body in the first place – but because it IS the case, I have to fix it. Someone with a broken arm gets a cast. No one argues with that. Really it’s the exact same thing here, except it’s in my mind, or my DNA, or wherever it is, and people think it’s crazier for some reason. At this point I have no time or willingness to listen to anyone arguing against it (not like anyone close to me has); I just want to do the whole stupid treatment, and be happy, and never have to think about it again. I hate going through this, of course, but I almost hate having to put other people through it more – because they suffer on my behalf. They probably worry, and don’t quite understand. Or just the act of <em>trying</em> to understand is hard. I don’t want people to feel bad.
But moving past that, even if they do, I can’t just turn back and forget about it – the wheels are rolling, like my mom says, and we’ve started down the track; now, and here’s the thing, now I’ve just got to impale myself with a needle for the rest of my life. Nice payment for happiness, right? I didn’t know that you have to do testosterone shots your entire life, but apparently you do. Apparently you do.
Fine, though, I’ll do it! I’ll hate it, but I’ll do it. All this because I was tossed into a body I hate. Thanks a lot, nature, God, universe, whoever’s in charge of these things. You did a beautiful job with me, you certainly did, thank you muchly for your time.
I could get spiritual about this. But my spirituality would eventually boil down to “if God’s real then he’s a GODDAMN IDIOT.” Which I think is true. It’s not enough to throw the daily pains and agonies of life at a human being, you also have to be in the wrong body while you’re at it.
Not to say my life is worse than everyone else’s. Certainly not so. I live in a nice country with nice people, and the only evil people in the vicinity are my evil stepmother, my crazy aunt, and my crazy uncle – otherwise, it’s clear sailing, as far as I know.

Then moving back to school, because it’s tomorrow – in twelve hours, about, all the poor souls in this city will drag themselves pitifully out of bed and meander to their morning class. I’ll meander to my first class after lunch, when I meet my friends, who are ignorant of the giant flashing sign hovering over my head that says BOY, which everyone politely ignores, even though it’s bright enough to sear their eyeballs. Except Nathan, that terrible package of intuition, has intuitively begun to figure out what’s going on with me – or that might have been the transgender sticker I had on my bag last term, which I forgot was there, and also forgot I would be bringing to school. Anyway he made a reference to some teacher who has a trans butterfly tattoo at lunch the other day, which is MUCH too coincidental to be a coincidence, if you get what I mean. Nathan is undoubtedly on to me.
What do I DO about that? My instinct is to hide. Behind the couch, if I can.
Except there’s no couch out in the big scary world (unless it’s one of those couches people leave on their lawns to be picked up by the garbage truck.) But one day, possibly soon, I’ll have to let my friend know. I have no idea how I’ll do it, especially without something to hide behind, but I have to do it. Fuck all this. But I still have to do it.
And in the meantime, wonderful math and science, with teachers I’m not totally sure are going to honor the guidance counselor’s command to use boy pronouns. They seem fine, and they haven’t thrown chalk at me or gave me angry, bigoted stares yet – in fact I like them both a little already, and am pretty amused that the science guy looks so much like Jack Black – but it’s too early to know. They haven’t even referred to me yet, since it’s only a week in, so I don’t know if the pronoun thing will be used or ignored. The thing is, I don’t feel, outwardly, much like a boy – on my own, in my room, you can bet I do – but out there in the world, it’s different. You get extremely conscious of every aspect of what you look like. I may have shortish hair and I may be wearing the equivalent of an angry boa constrictor around my chest, but I’m no GI Joe here – I don’t have rippling muscles and five o’clock shadow and size thirteen boots. I feel little and skinny and the farthest thing from manly when I’m there in class, surrounded by twenty-odd people who don’t give any shits at all what I am, and at best write me off as that weird androgynous kid who scribbles needlessly terrifying monsters all over their math folder. That’s not the worst thing ever, but well, you know. I aspire to at least be like that short Icelandic guy which nobody knows about but that I’m referencing anyways – cool and interesting, short, but clearly not a girl. That’s all. Thanks. Short Icelandic guy, that’d be really great.
Look at all the nice whining. Well, nobody has to read it, that’s all right. Or the spam bots can, if they’re so inclined; just again, I ask for no more women’s weight loss websites spam. I understand some women would find that helpful (well, probably not, since it’s spam), but I for one do not require it, and it also wounds my unreasonably sensitive sense of self, which is, right now, hovering painfully between some weird boyish lesbian and a short Icelandic guy. It’s not pretty over here.
Well, <em>sometimes</em> it is. When I convince myself the girl with the glasses at Shoppers thinks I’m good-looking. And that’s only in moments of sudden pointless optimism.

Whatever, whatever! Be positive, I can do it. Grrrr. That was a manly growl, by the way.
I can get through it. Yes, I can. Five more (five more??) god-freaking months of school, and then summer, glorious summer, rendered all the more beautiful because I can wear t-shirts again, thanks to my boa constrictor – and, assuming the system doesn’t screw with me like always, I might get the Magic Boy Drug in about three months, after I finish with the pointless Lupron stuff. Then it’s clear sailing, man, all the way to glorious September 2014, where I’ll be headed into school again, guns a-blazing, wielding my three months of testosterone and what I can only assume will be an even better Jake Bugg impersonation, and bam! With a great explosion of rainbows – no, not rainbows – shrapnel and hot coals! – I’ll be headed down the long path of Life as the actual me.

Sounds wonderful, but that’s six months away, and I haven’t even heard back from the doctor about Lupron yet.
So, we’ll just sit here reading manga, then. Lots of manga. I’ve shredded my way through seven volumes already since yesterday (they’re pretty thin, though, maybe 100 pages, and mostly pictures, of course), and I’m one volume away from finishing the whole series. Although, naturally, the library doesn’t have number 27. Just, because. I expect nothing less of the world. Also I need a new series to read, not manga, just of anything; I feel like I’ve exhausted Earth’s supply of good stories by now, but I may be wrong. I just have to carefully comb the library or the book store now to see what comes up next – and if someone tells me it’s that one about the secret society of teenagers living underground and fighting demons again, I’m just not going to believe them.

And school? Yes, yes. It’s tomorrow, which is a surprisingly short amount of time from now – and after that, guess what! More school, you’ve got it – unless I run away to Alaska. It’s getting awfully tempting.
I wonder if things will stop sucking soon. We can hope, as unlikely as it seems. I have to keep that image in my brain – that one of me going to school next year, not as Brynn the Girl, or even Brynn the Androgynous Kid – but as Brynn the Boy, well and truly, for once. And when that happens, Jesus Christ, someone’s going to get a huge kick in the shin, I don’t know why, exactly – I feel like running up to everyone I’ve always disliked or not gotten along with and just smacking them good. As if to say “There! You’re an idiot but I’M happy!”
Or something. Well, here we go, beginning down the track – the wheels are in motion.

 

*Sorry.


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