trigger warning for: aftermath of sexual assault and childhood abuse.

9/2/12 journal entry (1st page of this journal, edited for clarity)

“Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…”

He could be in heaven, but I doubt it. I think I’d have gotten a phone call, maybe a letter. I’d like to think there would be a letter. But that seems unlikely, too, come to think of it. What I want is the money. I want an apology, too, even more–but the money might better make up for the way his bullshi8t derailed my dreams. I mean, “interesting” things happened when I went off the college track, to be sure, but it’s just so hard to get back on.

[I pause in between typing and wonder if I was ever on that track to begin with, or if my mental “illness” would have stopped me then.]

After he got out of the navy, he let all of his hair grow, even his scraggly beard and a clumsy mustache. [my mother used to say: “looks like he’s gonna rob a 7-eleven.”] He was a mass of coffee-stained flannel, tangled dark hair, cigarette smoke residue. I can feel him in my bones sometimes, when I walk purposefully, heel-toe, heel-toe, over a hardwood floor in my boots.

Daddy is a powerful word. I started calling him Papi or Pops when I was a teenager–I was trying to take some of the power back. It only worked sometimes, and even then I was quaking inside when I had it, riding fight or flight and expecting the next thump to be my father’s hand on my shoulder, turning me around. [at night] Turning me over.

It didn’t have to happen in this world for it to happen. As it turns out, if your father leers at you and touches you just this side of inappropriate right around the same time you are raped several times over by one of the neighborhood predators, your brain will have a hard time distinguishing the difference. Especially when you’re dreaming.

Things that are going well right now:

  • that relationshape thing with the sweetheart. had the “so, if I medically transition to a more comfortable place where i can be in my body, will you like, break up with me?” talk. (the answer is basically “no. god no.”)
  • job is job-a-riffic. enjoying the constant flux of solving other peoples’ biek problems and being covered in bike grease + honing my mechanical skills.
  • glitter. glitter is pretty much always good, rite? i mean, except if it scratches your cornea or something.
  • ankle is finally noticeably healing and i can kind of dance now and my physical therapist gave me the okay to ride my bike “so long as it doesn’t hurt” and in low doses. YES.
  • house is still a house full of people i like and respect lots. yay house! yay new housemate who likes to organize things and do projects and watch movies.
  • playing the bass. getting fast, learning new techniques!
  • reading books. ordered a good half dozen YA trans* books, reading my way through that stack. book reportbacks to come.
  • it’s fall! the rain is back, the leaves are turning, and…the rain is back. hallelujah!
  • visiting cats. cats are so much cheaper than therapy, and they eat kibbles, too. too bad my housemate is allergic to them, or we’d have three by now :/

Not going as well:

  • so many anxiety dreams, including weird extremely violent nightmares. like, dreamt i stabbed someone in the hand with a fork is on the milder spectrum of my recent nightmares.
  • being anxious a lot about my dad, feeling that spill over to my relationship with [awesome human].
  • feeling disconnected from friends because i can not deal with crowds most of the time, or even groups of more than 2-3 people–except at shows because then we know where our attention is sposed to be, right? yep.
  • dear polys, if you have advice on coping with (mostly unfounded) feelings of jealousy, please tell me about them. i feel like i am losing my fucking mind.
  • tired. so tired. all the time. healing is hard work. still really sore all the time.
  • anxious about getting laid off from job after November. ergh. not much i can do about this one.
  • i am pretty sure my mom is mad at me, and not really speaking to me (much) :/
  • correspondence with the dad-creature has come to an abrupt halt–i think i may have stepped on a landmine on accident? oh fucking well.
  • missing humans who are in other cities. have a lot of weird dreams about missing the train to Portland and ending up in Spokane.

more here and here for folks outta the loop d’loop.

I’m always looking for it. Art that feels like holding up a mirror. Sometimes I seek and find. What I want most lately is art that reflects people of similar genders to mine. Maybe not the same gender, but close enough to home. But sometimes when you can’t find it you have to make it yourself, and thus begins the challenge.

I feel a little bit closer to found in Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues and Lynnee Breedlove’s Godspeed–but even then, I don’t feel like I’m reading quite what I want. These novels center on CAFAB people whose primary sexual and romantic relationships are with women (cis- and trans), and the main characters identify themselves as lesbians or dykes. In SBB there are a couple of characters who are also “he-shes” (Feinberg’s term for masculine CAFAB folks) who love men, but they are peripheral at best, and the object of some level of scorn for some of the supporting characters.

It’s hard to explain the draw that lesbian fiction has for me, despite not actually identifying as a lesbian. My primary romantic and sexual relationships are with masculine-identified folks, and ‘fag’ is a word I use to describe myself, but I have yet to find fiction that delves into non-binary gender identities and presentations the way that lesbian fiction does, and so it feels almost like being next door to home.

My favorite book of short stories is Patrick Califia’s Melting Point, which in essence is a book of pansexual/queer BDSM erotica, but also manages to be compelling from socio-political and literary standpoints, as well. The characters in this book have a variety of binary and non-binary genders, and couple in various kinky and queer ways. I also appreciate that the book actually confronts race and class dynamics in relationships, and I’ve thumbed its pages many times and owned at least 2 or 3 copies by now (maybe more!), and hope it will come back into print some day, or that I’ll find another book of short stories that my thoughtful heart and topsy-turvy libido can enjoy so fully, even with repeated visitation.

But I’m still looking for the art that imitates my life, so I guess I’ll have to make it myself. I read a good interview in the NYT magazine with Junot Díaz (author of the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) recently, and he talked about what feels like a familiar phenomenon, as a writer, needing to read in order to fuel one’s writing:

I’m old enough and experienced enough to know when I’m reading to avoid. And then you gotta get back to work. And I also know — you get old enough, you know when you’re forcing the writing, so you need to go hit the books.

Right now the problem feels like I need more of the literature I am attempting to create!

Well, time to go hit the books. Any reading about non-binary gendered or transgender characters you’d recommend?

-RD