if only the next three years would pass as quickly as the last three weeks…

August 25, 2010 at 9:04 am (Uncategorized)

part of it was that i was sick.

what? oh. sorry. i have this annoying habit of starting to articulate in mid-thought. i apologize. what i meant to say is, i haven’t written anything in weeks, and while that’s nothing in the real world, it’s everything online. by now i’ve most likely lost everyone who was paying attention to begin with… and you know what? i’m OK with that. and maybe that’s a bit of why i stayed away so long. the thought that other people were paying attention was beginning to freak me out a little.

but anyway. part of it was that i was sick.

illness has been a part of my life for many years. no, please don’t worry or pity me (oh, well—go on, then…); it isn’t anything serious. it’s just that i can’t seem to get through a month without being laid low by one virus or another. only… it happens so often, and with such an alarming degree of regularity, that i have to wonder whether it’s really illness, or whether it’s psychosomatic.

(good lord. did i really pledge to be honest with you people? where was my head when i said that? it was perverse and mad and wrong. lies. i must have lies. anything but the truth, i implore you…)

anyway, so there was the sick thing. (i always say i’ve got the consumption. it ought to come as no surprise to you by now that i picture myself as a character out of a Thomas Mann novel, pale and frail and wan, stretched out on a wicker chaise, wrapped in rugs, hacking up bits of lung and smiling bravely at my visitors, waving away with a translucent hand the delicacies they offer me and turning my face to the wall… oh, i disgust myself, i really do. and yet i can’t help but find myself so damned entertaining.) then i had to find a new place to live. my sublet ran out. i ended up moving two blocks away. i live in a room now! heh. yes. a room. that’s all. a room in a giant building full of rooms. it looks like something out of a David Lynch movie. i both love and fear it. and i have no kitchen.

did you get that last bit, folks? no kitchen.

this is P we’re talking about here. P without a kitchen. there are dark days ahead, my friends.

but i digress. as is my wont.

so i was sick, and i had to find a place to live, and then i had to move into it, and now i don’t even have internet access because Comcast are a bunch of rat bastards who don’t even have the decency to pick up the phone when i call to try to schedule an installation, which means i’m essentially living at the public library for the free wifi. oh! and my bed hasn’t arrived yet. i am sleeping on the floor. (well. OK. in the interest of full disclosure and that honesty thingummy i’ve been paying so much lip service to, i ought to tell you that i’m sleeping on an air mattress. but that makes it sound like i’m not suffering. and i am. i am suffering beyond belief. you’re just going to have to take my word for it.) i am in Limbo, gentle reader, and let me tell you that the scenery in Limbo bears a stark and uncanny resemblance to the scenery in Hell.

(and, yes, this is going somewhere. i see that look on your face. for pity’s sake. bear with me…. besides, i’ve got you wrapped around my little finger and you know it. if you’re still with me this far, after weeks of silence and 600 words of rambling, you’re not going anywhere, and we’ll both be happier if you just admit it to yourself.)

the thing is—all this time away has given me time to think. about things. things and stuff.   gender-y stuff, amongst other many-splendoured and multitudinous varieties of stuff. and believe it or not, it has not all been for naught. (goodness. an awful lot of not/naught action going on there. i’d best watch myself.) there has, in fact, been AN UPSHOT.

i know. the ladies in the gallery are fainting even as we speak.

you know what? i can’t even be bothered to go back and re-read my previous posts to see what i’ve already told you. (which makes me wonder what the hell you’re still doing here. good lord; you’re such a glutton for punishment.) so let me summarize my position: i have been saying all along that i will not transition. the reasons are kaleidoscopic and infinite. but at the end of the day, they all boiled down to this one true thing: transitioning wouldn’t solve my problems.

why? because whether male or female (Jew or Gentile, slave or free… yeah, nevermind me; thwarted Medieval/Religious Studies major here), i would still have the same issues, and i would be just as unhappy in any body. i am not agender. i am firmly in the binary. the binary owns me. i am the binary’s bitch. the problem is, i can’t choose a side—i seem to be forever waffling.

or so i thought. because there’s the abstract, and then there’s the concrete. the hard, cold, cracked and unsealed concrete. what sounds all right in theory sometimes just doesn’t play in Peoria. and what i’ve found is, as much as i do have a real, pronounced, undeniably feminine aspect— well, my masculine aspect kicks my feminine aspect’s ass with such resounding force that were it anthropomorphosized it would be arrested on charges of domestic violence and sent up the river for a nickel at least. and as such, it is a daily torment to me to be seen and treated as female.

(have i said that in so many words, by the way? i can’t recall. well, if i haven’t, there it is—hello, P here, female bodied, masculine persona, yes, moving onwards. anyway.)

the decision didn’t come on suddenly, although it may sound like it, and in fact in some ways it almost feels like it to me. but i know i’ve been ruminating over this for a very long time—daydreaming, wondering, pondering in my heart. and the upshot of it—yes, the UPSHOT (sal volatile for the ladies, if you please)—is that i have made the decision to transition. to become physically male. the whole nine yards.

well. or at least six or seven of them.

you see, i don’t really know whether or not i’ll end up going for full transition. hormones and top surgery? yes, definitely. beyond that? i’ll have to wait and see. right now the whole notion of bottom surgery wigs me out a little (having adapted to living without male, er, equipment for the better part of half a century, i’m not sure i’d know now what to do with it, and part of me suspects i’d feel a little foolish for even trying; the fact that i’m asexual just makes it that much more of a moot point); but at the same time, so did the whole concept of any sort of transitioning for a very long while. it’s entirely possible that i may end up transitioning fully at some point, years hence. i do know that since i decided recently to go through with this, i’ve been trying to think about bottom surgery objectively rather than according to my preconceived ideas, and i’ve been finding the thought somewhat less off-putting than i once did. so who knows. only time will tell. (damn that time, anyway. such a nasty gossip. remind me never to tell it anything.)

i can go into further details another day. what i’d like to give you now is the upshot of the upshot. (and the ladies in the gallery are past all help now. i see them being carried out on gurneys. godspeed, fragile creatures.) and that is simply this: for the first time in some two and a half decades, i am looking into the future with something other than dread and sorrow and defeat. the feeling is so new to me that i am not truly able to identify or classify it yet. it is ephemeral, insubstantial; and yet it flutters near enough to me, often enough, that i manage to catch a glimpse of it now and again. it is lovely and mesmerizing. some time may pass before i am able to capture, pin, and mount it; but there’s a chance—just a chance, mind you, but i’m perfectly willing to cling to that chance—that it just might possibly be hope.

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reflections on someone else’s history

August 3, 2010 at 9:48 am (Uncategorized)

i have a confession to make. yes, another one. (forgive me; since i am not currently a practicing Catholic, i really haven’t anywhere else to make them.)

i told you i was going to give you my history; and yet i’ve done no such thing.

i promise you that when i said that, it was my firm intent to do so. but here’s the thing: every time i start to think about sitting down and actually doing it, i come all over twitchy and anxious. and so far, i just can’t bring myself to do it.

i’ve been trying to figure out why this is—whether it’s procrastination, or laziness, or flightiness, or whatnot. but i don’t seem to have any trouble writing about anything else, just my history.

then, last night, i went for a walk, just a pleasant, leisurely walk amongst the gracious, stately homes of Berkeley and their magical gardens teeming with trumpet flowers, bougainvillea, and hummingbirds, and i realized what the problem is.

it doesn’t feel like my history at all. i have no connection to it, no sense of ownership. it feels like it happened to someone else.

and i suppose, in a way, it did. i spent the last two and a half decades hiding behind a carefully-constructed wall of misinformation and misdirection, so that none of the people in my life would find out who i truly was and shun me for it. because they would have. i’ve seen the looks of disgust on the faces of my family when they see a transperson in public or on TV, heard the offensive and insulting remarks they make. and every time they did it when i was around them, i knew (at varying levels, yes, depending on when it was and how far i’d managed to repress my issues; but still, always, i knew) that they were talking about me. it was painful enough to hear them direct those words and those withering glances at someone else; to have had them directed at me would have destroyed me utterly. or so, at least, i thought at the time.

i don’t mean to imply that i was in no way present during those more than two decades, or that nothing about the façade i projected to the world had anything whatsoever to do with who i really am. the friends i made during those years would know me now, and might not even really be surprised to find out the truth about me. it was safe for me to be honest about some things: the books i liked, the music i listened to, the films i watched. all of my tastes were always sincere. but to go beyond that, into the whys and wherefores—for example, why i’ve loved Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album to distraction from the age of 15 but why sometimes i couldn’t listen to it because it made me feel sick and want to cry—all that was too dangerous to talk about with anyone. so i was there, but buried too deeply for anyone, even myself, to find.

the truth—the gut-wrenching, painful truth—is that i was a coward for most of my life, and i’m still paying the price for it. old habits are the hardest to break. i still find myself succumbing to a dizzy, vertiginous fear whenever i am confronted with being honest about myself with anyone, particularly in person, because i have never once in my life ever believed that who i am is acceptable for public consumption. i am blessed enough to have in my life right now a number of people who are beginning to persuade me otherwise, and i am more grateful to them than i can express. but still, it will be a good while yet before i am able to consider myself anything but a rank coward.

i’ve always known this about myself, and have always been ashamed of it. in fact (and i’ve never really talked about this to anyone; at most i’ve only mentioned it in passing, and not in connection to any of this, and certainly not the meaning behind it; so you may accept this as a sort of a promise that i will try in the future to talk about things that are difficult for me to express), more than 20 years ago, i created a way to help me deal with that a little.

i am supposed to be a writer. that’s not to say i do much actual writing; i mean, i do, but it isn’t anywhere near enough, and as yet i don’t have the guts to really put stuff out there publically (P said while composing a blog post). but i have worlds in my head, friends. freakin’ worlds. it would take to long to go into details right now; suffice it to say i have dozens and dozens of stories, some partly written, some almost completely done, some which can only be dealt with at novel length, and they are all interconnected and self-referential, taking place in the same universe. and they all started, essentially, with one character, whom i developed at the age of 15 or 16.

i’d already known for a few years at that point that i had gender issues, and was already actively trying to bury them as best i could. i was also fairly disgusted with myself for feeling the need to do it. i felt like everything i did, every word i said, was fundamentally a lie, by omission if for no other reason, and it was eating me up. so this character, without me realizing it at the time (in fact it would be many years before i understood the whole thing fully), became the better part of me.

he is (and i must speak about him in present tense, because he is still very much a part of me; although i have not visited him much lately, mostly because i know the trajectory of his story, and i worry that one day i will look in on him at the old brick warehouse in which he lives and he won’t be there; i worry that even more because of the changes that have taken place in my own life, and i know that our stories are inextricably linked; but i hope i might at least have the opportunity to say goodbye to him, and then someday write a suitably elegiac memorial for him), to be quite blunt, heroic. he is also celibate (i would have made him asexual if i’d had enough awareness of asexuality 20-odd years ago), flighty, a very good cook, subject to bouts of melancholy, and a little bit vain. he also has a terrible weakness for haberdashery. oh, and he smokes. (well. i had to give us some point of distinction.) but above all—yes, he is heroic. honest, noble, self-sacrificing, all that rigamarole. admirable and good without being a patsy. i made him everything i wished i could have been, and i poured so much into that story over the years, in so many different ways, because it was what i wanted my story to have been. and the fact that his life culminates in a kind of martyrdom was, i suppose, cathartic for me, sort of an expiation of my own faults and shortcomings.

and i hope in some way he has taught me how to live, at least a little bit. because i can’t rely on him anymore to be the best part of me. in some way, i have to find it within myself, as ridiculously smarmy and After-School-Special as that sounds. but this is a time of transition for me (heh, pun sort of intended, i guess; anyway, figuratively if not literally), and while i am temporarily caught between yesterday and tomorrow in the insipid aspic of today, at least i have something to give me a clear vision of the person i want to be, even if i don’t have a roadmap of how to get there yet. sometimes, when one is walking in the dark, i suppose the only thing one can do is to put one foot very carefully in front of the other and have faith that the path isn’t headed off the edge of a cliff. fingers crossed.

so… maybe you won’t be hearing about my past quite yet after all. or if you do, maybe it won’t be in a literal way, as it happened, exactly, but as my version of events that happened to someone else, someone i don’t even really recognize anymore. and truthfully, it will probably be a whole lot more interesting and entertaining that way. at least, i hope it will be. because in P’s book, the only sin worse than being a coward is being a bore.

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A Second-Hand Life

August 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm (Uncategorized)

ooh, you kinky folk.

i know what you’ve been up to. you’ve been waiting for me to tell about my sultry, provocative relationship with thrift stores, haven’t you?

you are shameless.

shameless.

and i do love you so.

very well, then. there has never been a time in my life, at least that i can recall, when i have not been rendered rapt and immobile by the prospect of second-hand clothes.

i realize that this admission will separate you into two camps: those who understand the pleasures of previously-owned apparel, and those who do not.

well. for those of you who do not—i bid you good day, and adieu.

for the rest of you—

heh heh.

heh.

it’s all a bit pervy, isn’t it? i mean, shelling out one’s hard-earned dough for clothing someone else has already had the pleasure of wearing? and yet, the rewards are unparalleled. sincerely. the joy of finding a heavenly brocade waistcoat or a perfectly-broken-in tweed blazer… mmm. there are simply no words to describe it.

of course, my history with Goodwill (and its bretheren such as St Vincent de Paul’s and Salvation Army, both perfectly praiseworthy in their own right) has not been exclusively connected with apparel. that would have been, frankly, dull. and whatever other allegations may be levelled at P over the course of time, dull simply doesn’t even make the Top 100. so. anyway. if i wasn’t spending all that time buying clothes at Goodwill, what was i doing?…

oooh. erm. hmm….

it’s rather naughty. dare i tell you?

i was buying records.

yes, really.

oh, come on. as if you have any right to judge me. the fact is, i was running in competitive circles in those days. all my friends were collectors. there were a number of us buying LPs and selling them at a profit, either to other collectors or to third party distributors.

except—there was a hitch.

i was supposed to be at University at the time.

yeah. exactly.

well, i mean, come on. it wasn’t like i actually expected to make a living teaching Medieval Studies. i had just as good a shot at success selling mint condition Yma Sumac LPs. i was all about the exotic jazz. my hands have caressed more Les Baxter albums than you have ever even heard of. Martin Denny was my paramour. you have no idea the amount of time and energy i poured into finding the most exquisitely unplayed lounge vinyl imaginable.

just as an example—

there was this guy. we called him Beach Boy Bob. see, back in the day, in my college town (i don’t really mean to keep it a secret; it’s just neither here nor there; ask me and i’ll spill in two seconds), there was quite a large community of Brian Wilson fans and collectors, including Beach Boy Bob, and i will forever consider myself a part of that circle. this was before Brian himself decided to release the definitive Smile CD. (i fully realize most of you have zero clue what i’m talking about now. i don’t care. this is my blog. plenty of outlets out there if you want something to which you can relate; scurry along; i cater to no one.) so Beach Boy Bob was my primary competitor, as far as i was concerned. he had a big blue van. it was unmistakeable. so here was my strategy: i would drive around to all the thrift stores in my college town, early in the morning, until i saw Beach Boy Bob’s big blue van; at which point i would drive to the opposite end of town and start scouring the thrift stores there, with the devilish intent of cheating BBB out of every LP he might possible have uncovered. (there was an etiquette, a protocol, one might say, at the time; anyone who touched a piece of vinyl first had dibs on it; therefore, if one got to a thrift store before a competitor, one had, offically, dibs on the selection.)

oh—wait a minute.

what was i supposed to be doing during this time?

yeah, right. going to class. heh. sorry. that may be part of the reason i never actually graduated…

anyhoo.

i collected a lot more than records. Whitman Teen Novels (enough material there for another day’s post, i can assure you), etiquette books (mmm, yep, there too…), amateur art, religious iconography, 50s kitsch, etc. really, if it struck my fancy, it came home with me. remember: i’m asexual. which left me ample opportunity to bond in a salacious and improper way with all manner of inanimate objects. i’m just lucky there wasn’t a surveillance cam in my apartment. i’d be paying hush money to this day if there had been.

and yes. there were clothes too. i can’t begin to tell you some of the passionate attractions i have had to previously-owned clothing.

well. first of all. i have always had an indefensible affection for clothes that look as though they’re made from upholstery fabric. i mean, let’s be blunt here. they make my eyes roll back in my head a bit. i am not ashamed. (HOW DARE YOU JUDGE ME.).

anyhoo, encore.

yeah. well. i have had umpteen examples of these items in my closet over the years. corduroy. vinyl. tapestry. naugahyde. tweed. leather. pleather. PVC. brocade. damask. shantung silk. you name it. if you can put it on a sofa, i have put it on my body.

fine. i have an upholstery fetish. it makes me a little hot.

like i said: I AM NOT ASHAMED.

ahem.

i am more at home in thrift stores that i am perhaps anywhere else on earth. i’ll admit that freely.

and how does this connect to my gender issues? well.

no one ever judges me at Goodwill. no one ever has. probably no one ever will. no one has ever looked at me twice. i can go there and go about my business—looking at records, at books, at home furnishings, at clothing in whatever department—and no one will say boo to me unless i ask a question, no matter what section i’m in—men’s, women’s, whatever. and truthfully, that’s the way i’d like to live my life: never being questioned, left to go about my business, embracing what i love and eschewing what i do not love, wearing gorgeous wingtips and jaw-dropping tweed coats, perusing 70s interior design manuals, fondling ghastly amateur art, surreptitiously squeezing squippy grapes (you know the kind: the seductive, sensual plastic variety whose siren song invites us to make jaded fools of ourselves pinching and swooning over them; if you don’t know what i’m talking about, then screw you, you plebe).

i am at home in Goodwill as i am nowhere else, and it is there i hope to die, pickled in mothballs amongst the terrifying mauve taffeta prom dresses, or swathed in plastic and stood upright amongst the gravity-defying 70s floor lamps in the home furnishing section. i am not entirely sure i would feel at home anywhere else. i am as much an anachronism, a write-off, a reject, a donation, as anything else there. and in that respect, it is my home, in a way nowhere else quite is.

God bless Goodwill. in my mind’s eye, i see them shutting off the banks of fluorescent lights tonight, turning off the bad 80s synthpop over the speakers, and leaving the whole place in a hush of peace and darkness. i’ll be over there in the corner, sacked out on the orange plush floral sofa if you need me. but, honestly? if it can wait, let me sleep in. it’s been a long day, and all i want now is to sleep. if you see me twitch, it’s only because i’m dreaming sweet dreams of mint condition Arthur Lyman LPs.

a domani, my friends. goodnight.

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a room with a view

July 30, 2010 at 9:38 am (Uncategorized)

frankly, i’m not sure quite where to go from here. i do intend to give my history; but it occurs to me that in order for you to put my past into context, you need to know my present. of course, many of you reading this already know my present—goodness, some of you have even visited it—but i mustn’t operate under the assumption that everyone does. so, dear friends, here’s the situation.

although i’ve known i have them since about the age of 11 or 12, i avoided dealing with my gender issues for decades, for a variety of reasons i’ll address at a later date. i did a fairly good job of repressing them and was almost (almost) able to convince myself during that time that i was normal and cisgender. but i have learned that the more force with which something is pushed down, the greater the havoc it will wreak when eventually it does come back up.

and oh, my friends, the havoc… the havoc…

it had been coming for a long time. a long, long, long time. there was no one precipitating factor, no single transformative event. it was more of a slow burn, if you will. but the upshot was that a few months ago, in full knowledge and acceptance of the fact that my gender issues were consuming me to the point that my health and even my life were in jeopardy, i made the heartbreakingly painful decision to leave my family, friends, and home behind and move to a place where i might be able to figure out exactly who and what the hell i am in peace and freedom.

it was not a tender parting. it was a stark, brutal, and violent severance—an amputation, if you will, in which i had to cut off an infected portion of my life lest it grow septic and kill me in time. and it hurt just that much. i moved about a thousand miles away, to a place where the only soul i knew was a fellow transperson i’d met on the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN—and yes, hello, AVENites; i do believe you’re the only ones listening at the moment, although i hope that won’t always be the case). it’s a lovely place, to be sure, but as yet it still doesn’t feel like home, and the wounds i sustained only two months ago are still fresh and painful. so at the moment i am at an uneasy point vierge between a half life and a full life. a three-quarter life, perhaps? at any rate, many days it feels like nowhere at all, neither Heaven nor Hell nor even really Purgatory, but simply Limbo. (mmm. yes. i’m a Medievalist and a Catholic convert, by the way, so gird your loins for many religious parallels and theological metaphors in the course of—well, i nearly said our dialogue, but i suppose it ought to be this monologue, oughtn’t it? and i really don’t care whether you roll your eyes at me since i won’t be able to see it.)

as an example of the stressors i’m experiencing at the moment: i am trying to find a job. now, i have a great many skills and an extensive job history with superlative recommendations. however (and there’s always a however), there are some problems. problems, plural, yes, but mainly this: one of my reasons for coming to a place where no one knows me is so that i may have the liberty to find out how i wish to present myself without everyone who has known me my whole life giving me lip because the person i actually am doesn’t match up with the person they thought i was. it is a grand experiment, yes, but a daunting one. i am very much identifiably my biological sex—i know this because as soon as i set foot out the front door of my apartment building, people begin addressing me as it—yet very little of my presentation shows that i care to identify with it in any way. when it’s just me, or when i’m with people who understand and accept me, i feel quite comfortable with my appearance in general (for, although i experience body dysphoria from time to time, it isn’t the overwhelming and debilitating horror for me that it is for many transpeople, partly because i do identify as an androgyne and accept that i am able to contain elements of both the masculine and the feminine within me). but meeting new people and, in particular, potential employers is unnerving for me. my confidence level is very low, because since i am not yet wholly at ease with myself, i find it impossible to be wholly at ease with others. i am aware of the constant temptation to assume that they are judging me, and invariably in a negative light. (this is a problem i have anyway, though, and always have had, and it isn’t specifically related to gender; this is simply a shiny new manifestation of a very old and dull issue.) the conundrum is that the whole point of me seeking to change my appearance to make it more closely match who i really am is so that i can be more fully myself. and yet, at the moment, in certain situations, it makes me anxious and self-conscious to the point where i find it nearly impossible to be myself. if i can get to the point where i can be confident enough to be completely and honestly P in all situations, i do believe i can set this world on fire and re-mould it in my own image (my fellow Transyadas will nod knowingly as they read this, as they share my insatiable thirst for world domination). the challenge is finding a way to make that happen.

so that is where P is today, at this moment: in a maroon-and-mustard-striped velour 70s housecoat, sitting on someone else’s futon in a sublet apartment in the Bay Area, wondering what the hell is going to happen over the course of the next few months and why hasn’t it started to happen already, damnit. the funny thing is, now that i’ve articulated it, i have to wonder if maybe it already has, and i just haven’t realized it yet.

hmm. provocative. stay tuned.

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well, we must begin somewhere, i suppose.

July 29, 2010 at 2:44 am (Uncategorized)

hello. my name is P; i’m very pleased to meet you.

 please consider this my first official post. the previous one was merely an attempt at working out my ambivalence at having finally capitulated and set up a blog. i think that’s out of my system now.

 i think.

 but now it is time for me to introduce myself. this will be a little bit of a challenge. to anyone reading this and encountering me for the first time, it will all be new to you. but i know my first readers will be people who already know me to a certain degree, and it’s my firm intent to provide something new for them as well. we’ll see whether i’m able to do so.

 the most important thing for you to know about me is that i am confused. in general, really; but specifically, as regards gender. you see, i’ve known at some level for more than two decades that my gender does match my biology; but for a variety of reasons, which i will address at various times in this blog (oh, lord, cannot we agree on a better term? diary? online journal? anything but blog? my self-respect demands it…) but not in this particular post, i pushed my issues away and refused to deal with them. and it all came back, as they do say, to bite me in the ass. i would be tempted to say ignoring my issues ruined my life, only… that isn’t actually the case. in fact, ignoring them merely put my life on ice for awhile, and now that i’m finally beginning to attempt to address them, i may actually end up truly happy for the first time in my life.

 i plan to devote this next week to telling you my story, in installments. i promise to make them as juicy and provocative as possible; although, as will quickly become apparent, your definition of juicy and provocative and mine may differ substantially. nevermind. they shall be entertaining nevertheless; i would be too mortified to publish anything that wasn’t.

 so what do you need to know about me before we begin? well, essentially, this: i currently identify as an androgyne. although whether that remains the best description of me longterm remains to be seen. so what exactly is an androgyne? goooooooood question. truthfully, i’ve had trouble finding a satisfactory answer myself; for example, Merriam-Webster—who really are my online go-to folks for most word stuff, to be honest—disappoint me terribly by defining an androgyne as “an androgynous person”. well, maybe, maybe not, at least insofar as androgyny is typically understood to be specifically linked to gender presentation. (oh, lord. see? you’re already learning more about me than you wanted to know. i am a stickler. i am a word snob. i am the person who sits in the back of the classroom  and raises their hand every 15 minutes to say, “ahem, point of information…” bear with me, please. you’ll be glad you did; i’m also such a nice, charming person, i promise.) but it’s about so much more than that. the definition i found that sold me—i found it on Susan’s Place (www.susans.org), which is a transgender resource website, although i have paraphrased their definition slightly as their wording did not meet my rigorous standards for grammar and specificity—is this:

 the gender identity wherein the individual identifies as both genders/ inbetween/ neither binary gender/ a complete other gender, and does not necessarily experience gender dysphoria. not to be confused with androgynous gender expression.

 why does this definition work for me? primarily because it is so all-inclusive. pretty much all that is required for one to identify as an androgyne is for one to feel uncomfortable with the binary—that is, with the assumption that every person falls neatly into a category of either male or female–and not necessarily to seek to change their biology, which is an important point for me. (and this seems like the ideal moment to state that while i have been struggling in some way with these issues for my entire life, i am relatively new to the terminology, and have already been guilty of making the occasional misstep by using transgender terms imprecisely or without cognizant regard for their implications. believe me, as a word person, i find this mortifying, and i assure you that i am more than teachable—those of you who already know me may be surprised to find that humility is in fact one of my virtues, but even so—and once corrected i am invariably chastened, especially if the correction is handled with kindness and goodwill [oooh, Goodwill—there’s a topic for another day…])

 if you, dear Reader, are familiar with the term genderqueer (which the loathsomely convenient Wikipedia defines as “[a catch-all term] for identities other than man and woman”), you may wonder why i do not simply identify as such, as it seems in my experience to be currently the more common term for those who identify similarly. well, here’s the deal. i am old-fashioned; you’ll learn that about me very quickly. i’d just as soon call myself a hermaphrodite—at least spiritually; my biology is, to my chagrin, woefully specific—because by training i’m a Medievalist as well as a nominal Classicist and the term makes sense to me on an archetypal and symbolic level. but i have quickly learned that it is a loaded word for most transpeople, and understandably so. it’s obviously a word ripe for use as an insult. but the thing is, it’s also a very old word with a noble implication. (i fully intend to write more about that at length at a later date, dear… er… shall i call you Rosemary the Weary Decadent? lord, this pseudonym thing is going to be harder than i anticipated…) it connotes a harmonious union of both male and female, an ideal to which i aspire. however, since it has come to be considered a term of condemnation, i will eagerly accept androgyne in its place, as it means essentially the same thing but is somehow inoffensive and even, dare i say it, cool. to be blunt, genderqueer is too “modern”, and frankly, that is my own worst insult. androgyne it is, then. onwards.

 oh, goodness. there is so much more to say, so much more for you to know. i can see already that this poisonous, ignoble, and repugnant venue is going to to be an outlet for me like no other. i apologize in advance for my logorrhea. if you think it’s bad here, trying talking to me in person. seriously. but the rest of it will have to wait for another day, i’m afraid. i am too weary, and to wary of wearying you, to proceed tonight. if you have struggled to make it this far, you will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief. if you are eager for more (you glutton for punishment, you), i can assure you that your thirst for knowledge of P will not only be sated, but inundated, to the point where you will cry out for mercy and respite. i pity you, sincerely. anyone who submits to be P’s confidante shall live to regret it.

 you mark my words.

 (oh, and P.S.—War [you know who you are; i haven’t the patience to come up with a more creative psuedonym for you at the moment], i am either proud or ashamed [take your pick] to acknowledge that i have the same penchant for parenthetical remarks that you do. i can tell already that this is going to be both a hallmark and a hindrance for me. i would say that you are a sour, reprehensible influence; except i was like this anyway, long before i ever met you. damn. and i do so love a scapegoat.)

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in which i shake my head wearily and in resignation.

July 28, 2010 at 9:29 pm (Uncategorized)

oh dear.

do you know how long i have resisted this? do you know?

people have been telling me for ages i ought to have a blog. i have smiled politely, thanked them, and demurred each time. and each time, i told myself i would never be one of those people. after all, if i had my way, we would all still be writing with quill pens. i see the internet–and indeed, all technology, for that matter–as a necessary evil. i employ it because i have no choice, not because i find it laudable in its own right.

and yet… and yet…

i am prolix. wordy. annoyingly verbose. even hypergraphic at times. and i find i simply cannot say everything i need to say in the fora available to me at the moment. i am currently attempting to work out a great many issues regarding my gender identity and my place in the world, and i am fortunate enough to be able to do it with the support and assistance of a number of like-minded people, most of whom i have never met in person. but i simply can’t say everything that’s on my mind to each one individually, and i find myself having to repeat myself continually, which is tedious–not in the sense of saying the same things over and over, because i am inordinately fond of my own voice and hearing it is nothing but a delight to me i am sorry to admit, but simply because i get weary of typing the same words over and over. plus i frequently forget to whom i’ve said them, which on occasion makes me look like an idiot when i end up saying the same thing for the nth time to someone who fancies themself the sole recipient of my wisdom. i end up looking like a senile old fool. which isn’t far from the truth, to be frank. but i digress.

i’ve got no business having a blog, not when there is such an exasperating preponderance of them out there as it is. but upon reflection i find it both appeals to my vanity and may serve a certain purpose in helping me to clarify and articulate my thoughts all in one place, rather than scattering them amongst the multitude. and i promise steadfastly to those with whom i am in correspondence that our conversations will heavily influence the content of my posts here. i may even assign you all covert, secret pseudonyms and let you guess which one you are. that would be fun, wouldn’t it? wouldn’t it? hmm. perhaps it would only be fun for me. nevermind. that’s always been a good enough excuse for me to do anything.

i cannot justify myself any further at the moment. i am too heartsick at the fact that the disturbing epithet blogger may now, legitimately, be hurled in my general direction. i had better duck and cover. more soon, dear friends. and i promise to introduce myself more thoroughly to all future friends in the next post.

good lord. i think i need a drink.

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