State of Mind
As my world burned, they asked for a time machine.
I shook my head and said that is why we have our memories.
I am Cowardice
She has never quite loved me. Yet I badgered her, forced myself upon her until she gave up time and time again.
We formed this love-hate relationship no one could understand. She hated how she caved in, but I loved how I could always control a part of her. She loved me for being her comfort-zone, but I hated that she’s always wanted to venture out.
I hold her back by the wrists, wrestle with her heart and play with her mind. I grab her by the throat and breathe down her neck. I am the fear that makes her choose flight instead of fight. I am the difference between right and wrong. I am a force to be reckoned with, a formidable opponent she can never quite match up to. I am the seed of doubt in her soul, the only one able to stop her in times of crisis.
I am Cowardice.
Revelations in Love - The British Version
These two are written by the @peepshow writers. I thought you'd like them:
1. Isn’t it convenient that out of the approximately three billion adult women in the world, your one true love happens to live in the same block of flats as you, instead of in a village in Mozambique?
2. Oh God she is just so lovely and she doesn’t even realise it. Probably no one’s ever told her. I should tell her!! No, don’t tell her. If she realises, I’m finished.
I am the tap-tap-tapping of nails against your leg
as you walk away from your dreams,
because it’s easier to give up than to risk failure.
I am the clap-clap-clapping of your hands
as you praise those who have betrayed you
because you don’t want to rock the boat.
I am the pound-pound-pounding of your head
as it strikes the concrete yet again,
because mama always said bullies leave you alone when you don’t fight back
...so you don’t fight back.
you don’t fight at all.
My eyes slowly adjust to the dull light overhead. I extend my arms while taking in my surroundings. I try to remember where I am when Nurse Edith enters the room smiling.
“It worked?” I reply confused.
“We successfully removed most of your penis.”
I bring my hand towards my pelvic area and alas, no longer feel a bulge.
“It worked,” I say, smiling with relief.
“We just need to finish up some paperwork as well as issue a new order of prescriptions. After that, you should be on your way. What would you like us to call you?”
Ahh. My name. Even before considering surgery, I imagined all the feminine names I would enjoy being called.
Michelle, as in Michelle Obama or Michelle Williams
Sasha, as in Sasha Fierce, my true spirit animal
Daenerys as in Queen Daenerys, Lady of Dragonstone and Protector of Seven Kingdoms from Game of Thrones
Truth be told, any name would do except for Anthony, the title I have been bearing for the past twenty years. I get it, it was my deceased grandfather’s name but from what I have heard, I don’t think he would approve of his grandson wearing dresses or… becoming a woman.
My parents, on the other hand, have been very supportive. They swore that they knew from the moment I insisted on being a cowgirl for Halloween because I wanted to wear a dress and a wig. It’s only been two years since I told them, despite having these feelings for as long as I can remember. I feared they would dismiss my feelings as childish if I had told them any sooner. When I mentioned wanting surgery, the only worry they seemed to have was the price. And I couldn’t blame them. Between the medicine and the actual procedure, the cost would be around $50,000.
But my desire for this was not like the way one wants a new computer or car. I needed this surgery to survive. For so many years, I had waken up upset and disappointed. When I was still in elementary school, each night, I prayed to God that I could wake up as a girl. That way I could play dolls without being laughed at and sit at lunch with the girls who also liked Icarly. As I got older, the feeling of not belonging intensified. Every time I tried to express myself, I would tell myself that I shouldn’t. My clothes didn’t fit, I tensed up when someone referred to me as “bro”. I walked through the hallways lacking a purpose and didn’t see why the world even needed someone so abnormal as me.
So, when I first read that surgery was possible, I cried. It had only taken ten years but God had answered my prayers. I told my parents I’d get a job and dedicate all my savings to undergoing the procedure. I also chose to attend a state school even though with my 1560 on the SAT, I could have attended a private, but much more costly, institution. My wonderful parents chipped in a decent amount and one year later, I sat with Nurse Edith for my consolation.
A lot of estrogen and anti-androgens later, I am here. I’ve already ordered plenty of underwear from Victoria Secret and different dresses to hopefully compliment my curves.
“It’s a tough choice, isn’t it? I’ve always loved the name Lily. I was going to name my child Lily but he came out a boy!” Nurse Edith chuckled.
“He could still be Lily, right?” I winked.
Edith gave an endearing smile and as though she was taking my order at Mcdonalds asked, “So, what will it be?”
“I love it” Edith grinned. “Any reason why?”
“Well, to make it a little easier on my parents I wanted to keep the “An”. And, Annalise Keating from “How to Get Away with Murder” embodies all that I want to be in my new life. She is confident, intelligent, and makes me proud to be a woman.”
“Ok Annalise, I will be back for you in a moment.”
I put on my lacy underwear, my pink training bra, my Forever 21 dress, and a wig (as my hair has not yet fully grown). I use my iPhone front-camera as a mirror to apply lipstick and mascara.
“Here is everything you need. For the first few months, you are going to need to return to the hospital so we can ensure the surgery went okay. It will be a little annoying but”
I interrupted. “I don’t care. Yesterday I was in a body that wasn’t mine. For the first time in twenty years, I am excited to take a walk. I don’t mind coming back to the hospital especially if I can wear a dress.”
“Where whatever you want. See you in two weeks” Edith chirped.
I slowly exited the hospital, taking everything differently. I am now living my life as a woman. Will my dress pull a Marilyn Monroe and fly up if there is a rush of wind? Will I be the victim of the hideous cat-call? Will I get to strut the streets like Beyonce in her truest form?
I reach in my bag to call my mom.
I hear a man exclaim, “Excuse me, miss” and keep walking. “Excuse me, miss.” Wow, whoever he is talking to must be clueless.
Then I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn. “Excuse me, miss. You dropped this.” He hands me a crumpled dollar bill.
My eyes begin to water. “May I hug you?” I stammer.
“It’s only a dollar ma'am” he admits as I wrap my arms around him.
If only he knew.
Throughout all the years I’ve lived,
All the life I’ve had to witness,
My greatest regret
Remains ever the same
A loss of time
With those I cherish,
Minutes, hours, years,
That I wish would replenish
For the hands of the clock
To turn back and replace
What I’ve lost,
My lingering doubt,
The pain residing
Deep in my heart,
Would finally vanish
"You can give a person knowledge, but, you can't make them think. Some people want to remain fools, only because the truth requires change."
I’m sorry that I couldn’t give you what you needed. I don’t know think anyone could give all 27 of you what you needed, but there are people who could have done better. I should have been more open, more loving, known what the fuck I was doing and been able to give you all what you needed. But I didn’t know what I was doing, I was dropped among you, beaten down by the systems that beat you down. We were stuck together for a year, 30 people in a room, we carried our wounds and weights and we hurt each other with them. I tried to soak up that damage give space for that pain to be let out, but I wasn’t enough and I wasn’t willing to give myself to that cause. I wouldn’t let you see my own weight and wounds, wouldn’t confidently be myself. We grew new wounds from each other and our classroom was no longer able to be the place of safety you needed. You were all alone. I was supposed to be there for you, be someone unabashedly there for you, your trusted friend and mentor. And then I was supposed to leave you after a year. I couldn’t do that. Couldn’t bear to be there and then gone like that, maybe it was the grief, or my own emotional bullshit, or just weakness. So I held back, kept a distance, only offered academic support and intelectual emotional support. Then when one of you would let a desprate crawling need show I would then call up something in a hopeless response to try to ease that pain. But there was nothing I, the emotionally distant asshole, could give you, I only sat there in your pain, got further beaten down by it. I tried, I worked, and maybe I helped, but I wasn’t enough. But I never could be, nothing I could have done would have been enough, as much as I want to hate myself for my fuck ups and failures throughout that year, they were as meaningless as my better moments against the vastness of the shittiness of what you have to deal with. You shouldn’t have to deal with what you have to. You shouldn’t be stuck in a class of 27 students. You should have a better teacher with more patience and a better grasp of what he was doing. You should have more councilors and social workers and administrators, working to help you deal with all the shit you shouldn’t have to deal with. You should have parents who aren’t as run down, beaten down, over worked, underpayed, and under loved. You shouldn’t have to be told that your dad died from taking too much sleep medicine because he over dosed. You should be able to get help for your emotional issues even if they only disrupt your learning and not the learning of the whole class. You should have a better cafeteria and better school lunches. You should have some one other than an idiot in a red jacket for a year to cling to for love.
But here we are, you don't have what you need or what you deserve, and I couldn’t give you anything resembling a replacement for any of it and I have to just live with that. I have to move on, because I can’t go back, can’t try to fix a little bit of the mountain of unfixable problems. I have to try to honor your suffering by working to improve systems that won’t improve. I have to do all that knowing that you don’t get to. You’re stuck there for another year, for more wounds and more weight to be given to you. You will stay there being beaten down constantly, and I just have to hope that you’ll have someone better next year. Someone who knows what the fuck they’re doing, can give you something, can help.
So I’m sorry, sorry for everything you have to deal with, sorry for all of my mistakes, sorry for everything. I hope you can forgive me. I hope you can survive these years. I hope you can stay strong, stay kind and keep some joy alive inside you. Because all I can do right now is hope.
A Beer With Buk The Puke
Charles Bukowski and I are stumbling into one of those dark lit, cigarette-stained dive bars where the beautiful and damned and ugly go to raise a glass to giving up on everything. One man with his face hidden by a black ballcap sits at the end of the bar, leaning against death, staring into his tall cold and gold beer like he might find peace of mind at the bottom of the round, when he's really just watering the dark seed of his own insanity. Willing himself into believing it will work out any different than half-baked fever dreams hatched up with some liquid courage that dry up under the bleak hungover sunrise of another day back on the grind, chasing a paycheck at half speed. A young gone woman with sad blue eyes that could drown you if you look into 'em too long without a lifesaver spelled out as a-l-c-o-h-o-l, dances and moans against the bar's dusty jukebox. She put on the Rolling Stones, and they're deep into singing about how you can't always get what you want. Nope, you can't. But you can wash up here, carried in on the Tide of the Disillusioned, and get drunk enough to learn it doesn't matter, or even worse, believe it does and is within reach.
Bukowski growls and barks at the tall, bearded, bartender who has long black hair that falls down to his shoulders and looks like he's some tormented Messiah of the Underworld. This is our underworld, our chosen hell. It's nice, no ventilation, halitosis in the air that could be another lost soul kicking the bucket behind the locked bathroom stall door cause the powder they railed had a little something more they never saw coming. Oh well, it's all gone to hell. Pull up a seat and grab a whiskey! Yes, yes, here we are. Bukowski and I found decent enough company in each other while we sit at our stools and squint our eyes, and curse the heavens. The glow of the beer under the sun escaping through the window is heaven enough for us. He's really on one now. He's ordered his sixth green bottle of Heineken. We've been here for 30 minutes. I don't know where he finds the room. His eyes are almost closed, while his blinks might be drunken naps, before he wakes himself up to take another sip. I'm clenching my barstool with a white-knuckled grip, falling off the face of the earth, and drinking with a reckless bloodthirsty abandon like enough whiskey might make me forget about how fucked up we are. Don't close your eyes now, or the spins will kickstart. Bukowski's going on about the music of the crowd, how people make him sick, and the pity he feels for those folk that never go truly crazy, and what terrible lives they must lead as a result. You know, the ones who don't just wake up, but jump out of bed, with a healthy pink glow of well rested vitality painted on their faces, no hangovers, shakes, dark hedonistic cravings like another bump off the key when nobody's looking, just an empty white sandy beach mind of complacency. To show up on time with a hot, steaming coffee -- room for almondmilk -- and a full tank of gas with a paycheck looming on the horizon is enough for them. Maybe they invest, diversify their portfolio, save for decades later, smile stubbornly through quarterly meetings, meet friends for a reasonable sole cocktail once every few weeks when they really cut loose, and all the while get caught up in the blur of riding down a straight-edged life never given over to the jagged, jarring tumbles off the cliff of insanity.
Bukowski and I have taken a tumble or two. He managed to find insanity and forge his art, his word, the way, as the flames danced around him, and his insides shriveled up, and he shot blood from every hole in his body uncontrollably. The doctors told him he could never drink again in that time, and the first thing he did when he got out, was to grab a sixer. And he's never stopped. And along the way he's lit up the blank page with words of raw and bloody truth about the darker sides of life that anyone would've crossed the street to get away from. I look over at him, and he's silently weeping. Tears falling slow down his face. He could be the happiest or saddest monster alive. I grab the bartender's attention, and before I can order up another round, he's grabbed a bottle of whiskey off the shelf, opened it, and left it in front of us. He's either trying to kill us faster or numb the pain as we freefall from sanity once more...
Victorian Love Story
I walked down the dimly lit alley
And there you were
Leaning against a wall.
Come with me,
Quivering, I did
To a dim damp bed
Where your baby lay dying.
But I’m not a doctor...
The baby can’t be saved,
But I can.
So we lay on the bed
By the dying baby