Monday, February 16, 2009

Insanity Induced Insomnia

I'm having trouble sleeping because my life is driving me insane. I have so much work that needs to be done, but I feel that there are more important things in my life that need much more immediate attention.

I wish it were as easy for me as it is for her. I wish I weren't so scared--so intimidated by the rest of the world. I wonder when that has ever stopped me before. What is so special about this particular attribute of my present life? Perhaps I'm too afraid of losing a career I don't even have yet. I'm probably more afraid of losing my loved ones.

I'm not even sure if we actually fought tonight. Fights without vocalized confrontation are rather interesting in that you are forced to rely on the nonverbal cues. It's a curious case indeed when one of these situations presents itself. I find that I have a better idea of what's happening in my life when there's no speaking involved...or when the speaking remains at a superficial level.
I live in writing. This voice--the voice that internally speaks to your mind the words I have written--is what I have always considered to be my true voice. No one calls this voice broken or stupid. This voice is not shy, nor is it socially awkward and incomprehensible. This voice is commanding and communicative, able to penetrate hearts and minds with weapons considered mere words by others. This voice is nothing like the person you see out there, desperately trying to sew together in vain the tattered old tapestry of a conversation that has long since gone up in flames; nothing like the person out there who stutters and mumbles and fails at conveying even the most simple of messages; nothing like the one out there whose words fail to flow--fail to evoke any emotion at all other than that which breeds contemptuous laughter.

This voice is who I am and is the person whom I aspire to be to the rest of the world. I've been told that it's just not possible andthat everyone experiences this same sort of personality divide, though I know that the extent to which I am drawn toward this medium is a far greater one than most have known or will ever know.

I wonder if I am doomed to live in different worlds for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stone Butch Blues

Whenever I read a book, I always have a pen and paper next to me. I always know that there'll be a few lines that will grab me and just won't let go, and since I'll never want to let them go either, I jot them down in their own little place, where they can offer me insight many years down the road, when I will have long forgotten the original context.

"But there was something about me that made them knit their eyebrows and frown. No one ever offered a name for what was wrong with me. That's what made me afraid it was really bad. I only came to recognize its melody through this constant refrain: 'Is that a boy or a girl?'"
--I don't know how many times in my life I've heard this. I hear it a lot even today. I used to feel a little awkward, and I'm sure my mother felt that same awkwardness, for I know that she had always been mistaken for a little boy as she was growing up, and I'm sure that it was way more difficult to handle the attitudes of others in her youth. Anyway, the feelings I get when I pass today are quite different, mostly because I'm consciously trying to do so and feel pleased with myself when it happens.

"I thought about my body a lot as I pressed against the resistance of cold iron. I enjoyed getting leaner and harder. Was that a goal the world had taught me? Probably...But as I watched myself clench my muscles while I pumped, I found the weight and shape of my own body that pleased me. I concentrated on my discipline and endurance. I tried, in the best way I knew how, to love myself."
--I work out almost every day. I love to be strong, and I love the way that my body looks. I love being able to see the results of my hard work. The gym is a microcosm of life, for you really do get out of it what you put into it, and sometimes the most painful or strenuous tasks end up making you better overall. You have to look past the present to see how things might be in the future. While I say these things, I'm perfectly aware that I'll never be as strong as a genetic male, and that's a little depressing to me. It doesn't seem fair.

"I will never be able to nestle my skin against the comfort of sameness."
--Yep. Never have, never will. If I weren't okay with it by now, I'd have a lot more problems to deal with than I do. But still, there were always a few things I held in common with the general population, and now that I'm finding that those few things may not exist anymore, I'm scared. I'm scared that things will be more difficult for me, and I'm scared of what my family will think. I don't want to lose them over something that they may not be able to handle. As I said above, my mother is one of the only adults I know that mostly understands who I am and how I've always been, but she is still a product of her generation in an extremely small, Catholic area, and the one time I tried to talk to her about some serious issues I'd been having in a certain area, her reaction frightened me. It stunned me, I should say. I was incapable of functioning for several days, and not having heard anything from her in that same amount of time, I panicked and called her. We resolved our conflict by pretending that I had never said anything--by pretending that I had never felt anything. I don't know if I can continue to pretend for much longer.
At the same time, I wonder if I have to make such a fuss about it anyway. I spoke with a man who is about the same age as my parents, and he has never had an open conversation with his father. They are still quite loving and accepting of him, though they never talk about it. Maybe that's how my life is going to have to be. Still, I don't know how I could handle that after being able to talk to my mother about absolutely everything for my entire life. I'm hoping that one of these days I can tell my older brother. Even though his opinions have been a little out there in the past, I'm sure that he'd understand and be willing to talk to me about it. My only fear on that note is that he won't be able to correspond with me about the subject because of his circumstances.
It's funny how I thought my life would get easier as I grew up and learned all about myself.

"Some people drag their hands through life like heavy weights; others speak with their hands."
--I had just told someone about the very intimate relationship that I have with my hands before I read this. I don't mean that to be perverted in any way, though I would probably intend that interpretation under normal circumstances. As a drummer, your hands define who you are. You can tell a lot about someone's drumming ability by watching his hands (and I use "his" here in the traditionally grammatical way of referring to any person at all). You can also tell a lot about how that person feels when he drums by watching more closely. Can you see a little hesitation? Sweat? Tension? Complete lack of anxiety? Passionate fluidity? As a drummer, you create with your hands. They are quite powerful, and you learn to respect that power over time, and you learn what your relationship to that power must be in order for you to succeed.

"I grew up believing the way things are now is the way they've always been, so why even bother trying to change the world? But just finding out that it was ever different, even if it was long ago, made me feel things could change again. Whether or not I live to see it."
--I feel like this statement defines social activism. We all fight our respective battles with the attitude that change will happen one day, and the greatest and most influential activists are those who are not concerned or content with immediate changes. They are in the fight to serve a larger purpose--to secure liberties not merely for themselves but for everyone. The greatest and most influential activists have made it so that we can't even see why it was necessary to have activists when we look at the movements through the lens of the present.

"It's a beauty one isn't born with, but must fight to construct at a great sacrifice."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Reason

I'm sitting in Physics class, and I really don't want to be here. Of course, I haven't been paying attention at all, and every time I look at the Powerpoint, I start to wonder what it would be like to understand this material in the way the University expects me to.
I'm not worried. I know that I can learn the material by reading the textbook. I just wish I were better at the subject in general. I feel like a lousy scientist because of my passionate hatred for Physics, and I blame this hate on all of the teachers that I have ever had. I've never had a good Physics teacher. I've never had one that could make me care or understand enough to pretend to care. I do well, but that's only because I'm good at figuring stuff out on the spot. I can look at an equation and the numbers that I am given and make sense out of them because I know what's missing, and with a little luck, I can figure out how to find that missing component. That has nothing to do with Physics and everything to do with logic.
I believe that the real point of most of my required classes is to teach one how to navigate through the system--how to not only pass but excel in things that you technically aren't supposed to. And I'm okay with that.
This is a class that will never be important to me. It will be pretty useless for most of the people surrounding me as well since Physics majors take the Calculus-based class. Almost everyone here is pre-Health, and they couldn't think to make all of the examples relevant to the work we'll be doing. What about the resistance of human skin? What about electrical conduction in the nervous system? I'm sure there are many more cool examples that have never been explained to me, and maybe if they had been, I would have a different opinion.
Does that mean that I don't worry about it? Are you crazy? It's true that I'm not as obsessive when it comes to studying as most of my classmates, but I do well. Actually, I think I do so well because I have a good perspective. I don't drive myself insane with worrying, and I can be focused when it's necessary. (Well, right now my attention is not focused on this class because I know that I will not learn anything by paying attention. My time is better spent reflecting on this experience than putting myself through a torturously boring lecture whose benefit is negligible at best.)
Yet people are trying to force us premeds to care about this shit. Every doctor with whom I've conversed tells me that classes like O Chem, Physics, and Calculus serve no purpose in their respective disciplines. These classes exist to test us, and the test is so much more than one of intellectual ability. They test our ability to withstand the pressure, our ability to deal with the frustrations of balancing the conflicting elements of our hectic lives, our ability to submit to whatever demands they place in front of us--basically, our ability to learn for the sake of gaining knowledge itself because when you get into the roughest spots during these undergraduate years, you realize that that little enjoyment you may derive is the only thing saving you from slitting your throat or running away to join the circus. I do all of the shit that they want me to do because nothing is going to stand in the way of what I want to do. It's worth the price to pay for a meaningful life.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I have once again decided that sleep is for the weak, though I'm sure the strong have better uses for their time, such as studying for rapidly approaching exams. I just took a peppermint bubble bath, using way more liquid than was necessary, as I have always done. (Following directions is also for the weak.) A delightful shock permeated my body as I gingerly lowered my foot into the tub: The water was HOT. Every morning, I wake only to face a torrent of icicles digging into my flesh, a frigid shower that offers not that last little comfort so sought after by those who know what trifles and troubles must soon follow. I landed with a forceful thud/splash combination, just barely keeping dry my borrowed book. Page after page, the water retained its heat, and beads of welcomed sweat strolled through the valleys between my veins to meet their ultimate progenitor in the bath below. My glasses began to fog, and a few droplets found their way into the pages of my novel, and for about an hour or so, I was at peace with my own chaos.


I'm trying to sort through all the fragments of my life these days. I keep trying to figure out where all the pieces fit together, so I lay them out on the ground in all these categories, but the same thing happens to me every time. I always find a few that never fit anywhere, and I'm forced to start the process of labeling all over again. I feel like I've been doing that for years, but I'm realizing that maybe all these pieces don't belong to the same puzzle. Maybe there is no puzzle at all. Maybe my life is supposed to be like this, comprised of these individualized fragments, allowed to exist in their own respective rights. And maybe the only task left is to reconcile myself with each one of these pieces. My only problem with that is that I know that it's not going to be as simple as it sounds--that it could take a lifetime to do something like that. Fortunately, that's exactly the amount of time I have.


A few hours ago, I was very tired, falling asleep on the couch as I struggled to watch a Season 2 episode of House on USA. What prompted me to start reading again was the sound of the turning of my roommate's key in the lock. For some reason, it bothers me to be seen sleeping, in such a state of vulnerability. Maybe that's because I feel like I always have to be on guard, and I know that I cast off the armor of years as soon as I close my eyes. Perhaps I fear being seen this way because the few people who have had a chance to witness my body in minimal motion have been able to see it for what it really is--to see through the body and penetrate the soul. Boy, does that scare the hell out of me.