To get over the wounds of childhood…
The most wounding thing I experienced was the continual dismissal and trivialization of my feelings and thoughts. I talked too much when I was little. I was told at a young age, 7 perhaps, that I only talked to hear the sound of my own voice. I loved the sound of my own voice. At that moment I stopped. I stopped loving in a way. Not only the sound of my own voice but the person who told me that. I started to become a stranger to myself. I started to hate. Though I didn’t know it at the time. I recognize the feeling now. I felt trapped, and frustrated. Imprisoned in my surroundings. Home was not a safe place. My voice dried up. And sometimes, still today, I find it gone. I think I am speaking loud enough to be heard. I am asking a question. I am ordering something and the person I am talking to says they cannot hear me. Speak up. I feel insecure and it is an effort to produce the required volume. Is it the hormones? Is it voice changes? A lot of guys tell me they have to relearn how to project. I think to myself whenever I am not heard clearly, is it worth repeating? The energy of repeating. Am I invisible? Why must I speak louder? Are you listening at all?
I live from the perspective of a survivor. The survivor and the victim are sometimes confused with one another. Childhood is where I learned oppression, humiliation, that I had no value other than the ability to parrot back information I learned in school. I learned I was heartless and queer because I didn’t love my mother like other kids loved their mothers. I wasn’t attached or even interested. I would’ve been happier away from her. Though the irony is, if she had left me completely at a young age, say 2 or 8 or anytime really, I would always be seeking her out. I would long for her. I know this. I would want what I never had. It is better this way. To have lived with her and lived through it. I don’t have to wonder or dream or mourn any lost time. We had our time. I want to leave it there but it keeps coming up.
Working with kids and taking Child Development classes, reading Young Adult Fiction, discussing our childhoods and parents, it is always up. I sifted through my childhood in my late teens and early twenties. I forgave my parents long ago. They did the best they knew how. They didn’t mean to hurt me. They didn’t know they did. What I am dealing with now are the dreams I had as a kid, I want to live out. The desire to tell stories. To make films will tip me over into another life. My first poem I wrote, my mother said, “you sure are dramatic”. I felt dismissed. Like I didn’t matter. I was sharing and reaching out and I was hurting. I didn’t show her any more of my writing for 7 years. What else would I have wanted her to say? When I travel back to that time and she says it, says, “you sure are dramatic.”, I look to her. I say Yes. I beam.
To live the life I dreamed for myself as a kid, an artist life, a creative life. A creator’s life is all that I can do to make peace with those 15-16 years I spent living with my parents. Transitioning and living my life as a man, a beautiful man as some of my women friends say, is entirely unexpected. I didn’t plan or dream this when I was a kid. I couldn’t imagine this. It’s a bit trippy. I feel more authentic and free inside. I feel fresh. I look at myself in the mirror and smile. I feel brave and like the result of some great joke. I deal with stupid stuff sometimes and things I can’t explain in words yet or don’t want to share yet but for the most part it is one of the best things that I have ever done in my life. I thought I couldn’t be myself and live in this world. I was wrong. The thing is, there are still dreams I had as kid that have not been realized yet. I haven’t made a feature film. I haven’t written a children’s book. I need to do these things. I need to get them out of my head and into physical reality. No one can do this for me but if you’re reading this maybe you could send me some encouragement through the ether, a thought, a comment, a prayer.
This was originally written and published in December, 2010. It came up randomly today and I read it and wanted to share.