Fuck all the limited assumptions and labels
that encourage you to view this body as male
because I am a bad ass transfeminine tomboy.
No, I am not your stereotypical trans princess
and I do not exist to meet your toxic standards
so confident in my femininity and expression.
But there is always a voice that whispers to me
and it claims that my feminine is not authentic
so overcome with internalized hatred and doubt.
So when I tell people to go and fuck themselves
for trying to pigeonhole me to false conventions
sometimes I wonder who needs to hear that most.
My mind is like a fierce torrent
of swirling emotion and worry.
A cascade of turbulent showers
awash with dread and anxiety.
And sometimes it’s troublesome
to catch a glimpse of the sunrise.
But when I am in your presence
your breath clears the dark skies.
Weird is as weird does
and weird does as weird feels
because weird feels wonderful.
So feel wonderful and be weird
because weird is not weird
and normal is not normal.
Weird is normal and normal is weird
so weird is beautiful and normal is crude
and to be normal is to be a prude.
Because maybe weird is who we are
and who we are is fabulous and deranged
so be weird, be abnormal, and be strange.
When you come to mind
it’s like a home invasion,
a trespass in my memories.
When you reach out to me
it’s like assault on my soul,
a reminder of the heartache.
When you hold me close
it’s like being held captive,
a prisoner of guilt and shame.
And a child should never
have to feel this hopeless
about someone they love.
I take all blame
on my own shoulders
even though I know
I am not alone.
I’ve never hated you.
You’ve carried me through this dangerous world,
despite the assumptions, the shame, and the violence.
And yet the world decided you were nothing if not male,
but they never asked you, in all your clarity and wisdom.
They could never understand that you transcend their vision,
that you are far more than their assumptions and stereotypes.
Because you are the vessel that carries my soul home,
towards that luminous beacon on those distant shores.
You are my salvation.
What is romance?
What is this deeper connection
that we define as somehow separate
from platonic care and affection?
How do we draw the lines
between the romantic and the sexual
and how they affect our relationships?
Romantic attraction. . .
Sexual attraction. . .
Platonic attraction. . .
Aesthetic attraction. . .
Sensual attraction. . .
What are the differences?
What are the similarities?
Theoretically I know the answers,
but how do I navigate my own feelings?
Maybe I am not meant to understand
this abstract concept called romance,
and maybe there’s nothing wrong with that.
Maybe I am not broken after all.
Dim light shining through my bedroom window,
the glass covered in rain droplets and thick fog
obscuring the outside world in a sullen gloom.
As the droplets cascade through the dense haze
it reminds me of tears falling from despondent eyes,
of a smog that obscures all bliss and contentment.
And yet this overcast and dismal source of light
is all I have in the solitude of my own bedroom,
isolated in a sea of consuming darkness and sorrow.
My own bedroom is a prison cell with a barred window,
chained and unable to move from the warmth of my bed,
depression and anxiety are the wardens of my captivity.
I’ve been thinking a lot about a line I wrote in a poem called “Desolate Lands” where I explained that sometimes I view myself as “a prisoner in my own vessel.” I wanted to deconstruct what emotions and thoughts I was processing in that moment. I was struggling with feelings about dysphoria and discomfort with my biological existence, though before I delve into the nuance of trans issues and the relationships we have with our bodies, I want to explain more about the methods I use when I write poetry. To me, the creation of authentic and visceral emotion in my writing requires me to allow my various thoughts to travel through me and my writing instrument to fill the page untethered with doubt for what I’m feeling in that precise moment. This means that I will often return to something I have written in the past and learn that my thoughts and feelings on the topic have dramatically changed. This is the reason that writing is so cathartic for me, because it helps me learn about who I am as a person, deconstruct complicated thoughts, and is as a catalyst for me to process emotion and trauma. Writing is a healing activity that allows me to move forward and understand my experiences.
I think we’ve all heard it before, the overtly common and limited narrative that suggests all trans people feel trapped in their own bodies, or as “prisoners in their own vessels” as I described in “Desolate Lands” no more than a day ago. I understand that there are many trans people who might feel this way about their bodies and that’s valid and real. In fact, I know that this is a feeling I sometimes have about my own body that comes from dysphoria, hence the inclusion of the line in my recent poem, and I’m not here to debate the reality of those experiences, quite the opposite. However, I do really want to emphasize that I don’t always feel this way about my body and that many trans people feel comfortable in their own bodies, and that doesn’t make them any less authentic.
There is a quote from Alok Vaid-Menon who explains that “[they were not] born in the wrong body, [they were] born in the wrong world.” This quote has always resonated with me as I’ve tried to come to understand my feelings towards my body. Alok draws attention to a toxic gender status quo and encourages us to move beyond a “Western colonial system that’s invested in categorizing everything about us.” I’ve realized since writing “Desolate Lands” that I don’t necessarily feel like a “prisoner in my own vessel” but rather lost in an ocean of stereotypes and false assumptions about my body and how this supposedly defines who I am or how I traverse the world. There is no monolithic trans narrative, and we all have unique relationships with our bodies. I agree with Janet Mock when she explains that the “trapped in the wrong body” narrative can inevitably function to “place [us] in the role of victim, and to those who take mainstream media depictions as truth [we are] seen as a human to be pitied because [we are] someone who needs to be saved, rather than a self-determined [human] with agency and choice and the ability to define who [we are] in this society and who [we] will become in spite of it.”