How Did I Get Here? Part Four: Join ‘Em

Right, so the moment with the ballet guy was awful. I liked girly theatre boys, and so did they. Damn.

I tried to like other boys. I had dated this one boy in early teenhood with whom I bonded over the musical stylings of Meat Loaf. That was almost like theatre. Almost. Not really. Nope. Not at all. The motorcycle factored in too heavily, and would lead my beau down the sordid, masculine path of trucks and guns and bars.

Then I dated a girl. I didn’t premeditate that happening; we fell into it, “practicing” for our future boyfriends, and it turned out that we liked it. The physical part of it. But, as we never discussed it outside of the moment, the arrangement was the opposite of permanent. It was, and then it wasn’t anymore.

But I had two pieces of valuable data: I liked boys who liked boys, and I liked girls who liked boys. Thus, I logically concluded that I should become a boy.

I admit, watching Hedwig and the Angry Inch probably put the thought in my head. You have to give me points, though, for completely ignoring the larger message, which is of course to be who you are instead of chasing after people who wish you were something else. The ignorance to that was all me.

I started mentioning to my mother that I wanted a sex change. She played it off. Then I started mentioning it to her when other people were around, and her laughter got kind of nervous. Her stance on the matter was not staunchly negative, but a more middle-of-the-road: “You can make that decision when you’re a legal adult.” That’s fair, though I knew that she was hoping I’d grow out of the idea.

I don’t blame her for that now. I think she saw that my reasons were self-destructive. She knew about H, and the sorts of celebrities I tended to fawn over, and I’m sure she could add all that up just fine to get the sum of my woes.

I was in love with Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar (I’m an agnostic without much respect for organized religion, but put it in a musical… I’m there, dude. Also, Jesus was all right by me.). I was in love with Joseph and his amazing technicolor dreamcoat. Hedwig. Frank N. Furter (of course). I definitely still liked Rum Tum Tugger, too, because I fell wicked hard for a teacher in high school simply on their similarities.

I missed a lot of socialization when I was out of school for my surgeries. That one boy I did date cheated on me (as much as virgins can cheat) while I was recuperating, citing the fact that we “never do things anymore.” I remember saying, “I’m in a wheelchair!”

So, yes, okay? I was hungry for affection. I was clingy and needy and just really wanted love. I was in love with the idea of love, and my stipulations were that the guy be sensitive, and like what I like (instead of stupid boy stuff), and wear make-up, and like to sing show tunes, and be okay with putting on a skirt for my viewing pleasure. Or, failing that, he could go glam rock. …I love me some Freddie Mercury.

SEE? This is what I’m talking about. What’s a girl to do?

I discovered about that time that Tim Curry was going to be playing Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, live, in New York City. Of course I wanted to go, and of course Mom wanted to take me. She made the tickets a Christmas present to me, and I said something or other about wishing I could meet him.

Mom knew about all that, too, and — in-keeping with her goal to make my life easier on me, for she saw it was hard in other ways — she swore that she was going to make that happen. She gets a look in her eye when she says things like that. I think of it as the “Mama Bear” look.

The show was great, but I didn’t meet him. Afterward, we stood together halfway to the car. I had stopped to cry, and she had taken me in her arms and held me. This was not a common thing… My mom is a fixer, not a coddler. She wants to make stuff right, and has little interest in feeding self-pity. But I’m glad she just hugged me and said nothing. I needed it. Because she couldn’t fix this for me. All she could do was be there.

The next quarter of school, I had my hair cut short, wore a lot of jeans, and asked everyone to please lop a vowel off the end of my name. They did it, especially the guys, and without any mockery that got back to me. That’s nice, considering teens’ capacity for meanness. It didn’t change anything, though, on the inside of me. I had none of the confidence of the men I so idolized, and the confidence was what I really needed.

I determined I should talk to H, to apologize for my letter (I was embarrassed) and to clear the air (I still felt like crap about it). I found him through the wonderful Internet, but chatting with him resolved exactly nothing. He wasn’t mean. The problem was that I couldn’t stop being defensive, nervous, or awkward. It’s like how whenever you go home you’re a little kid again, getting reprimanded and squabbling. You fall back into the pattern. With H, I would always be too young and naive.

Next: Tim Curry, at last.


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