Do you want to be an unhappy person?
“No, but I do feel in an absolutely perverted and unacceptable way I’ve benefited, really benefited, from being quite a dour character. It’s like the wheelchair celebrity syndrome” Morrissey
One of the gay icons in literature is Yukio Mishima http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yukio_Mishima. Nominated 3 times for Literature noble prize and despite he never won, he left a legacy of novels that now, I’m just stealing a title to tell you the story of another person wearing another mask, trying to fit in many dimensions in this world, society and family.
I was world in the third word, in South America. My mother tongue is Spanish but I speak fluently French and English. Since I was 4 years old, my oldest memory is seeing a tv program for kids and staring the beautiful young model girls. They were gorgeous, delightfully perfect, dancing, floating around with grace….and me, watching them, just looking without saying anything and looking and looking again.
Yes, as some of you can imagine, I came to this planet without asking it in a shape of a girl or woman, or kind of, at least that’s why parents thought, specially my mother. It was strange but I remember clearly I was trying to dress like my brother. I don’t know but those days, boys had a sport uniform, blue shorts and white t-shirt. My brother was older than me so I was wearing his old small short. I had long curly hair at that time. I was trying to do everything that my brother did. I remember also he was very upset and angry that I was copy himself like Xerox 80’s machine. He pushed me, punched me several times, he did everything until my teenager years to I do not look like him or being masculine in my way. My mother, when she was choosing clothes in the cabinet from me said “you’re not a boy”. The funny thing she never, never ever she said you’re a girl or a woman. Not even today. After hearing the sentence like of a final trial, I didn’t say anything back, well, I was 5, what could I’ve say to support my pointless way of dressing?
When I was able, not very often, to choose what I wanted to wear, it was always, jackets, pants, t-shirts, never pink colours, always dark blue, brown and the colour that I hated the most (of course thanks to my mother taste) green. I remember my mother trying to buy me dolls and me founding ugly, useless and sometimes forcing myself to carry with me. I always wanted a teddy bear….one Christmas my mom bought me a….dog….what a deception. I should start therapy just when I remember that event. But he was my friend, no choice, at least he was a male, no pants required for him. I loved him despite he had an arm longer than another. Do you know the most incredible thing about the dolls and the plush? My mother in effort, of course useless, to not return any doll, she knitted pants to all my stupid dolls collection. I never chose any of them; it was her and her horrible taste for plastic feminine example of womanhood. A twisted one. At the time it was popular boys had soldiers, the small ones. Once, in supermarket, I went to the toys sections, I saw a big bag full of little soldiers….another kid in the same row looked at me and said “ that’s for boys”. So, mad, I went to look for my mother in another row, crunching my bunny teeth.
The only person who I could rely on those hard kid times was my dad. I saw in my a curious person, eager to learn, to play with his tools collection, asking every single minute about the car, mechanics and learning how to play cards. He knew so many tricks that, as an old school father he was, he had to teach everything to his children. My father loved more than brother, a bored boy, antisocial, bad tempered, stubborn and ugly. But for my mother he was the best in everything, intelligent, good marks in school, awesome in maths and book-eater. Everything I wasn’t.
I remember my mother bought me blue and red cotton jacket, cowboy design, I loved pretty much because it was more my style. And I was wearing a shirt. And I asked my dad to teach me how to do a knot tie. I expected his refusal but on the contrary, he did it. He was serious and didn’t smile, he just did it. I was wearing my pseudo cowboy jacket and a black tie. The same tie my dad used to go to the office every single day.
My idea of being adult in those young years was something like this. Since my dad belongs to the universal Baby Boomers generation, a guy with no further education than high school, working at the beginning as a clerk and retiring as chief of section in his area, wearing a suit and the famous black suitcase, driving a car for going work…my ideal was always being like him. More than once, when I was 6, I was looking myself in the mirror, thinking the only way I could be with a woman should be being a man. As a good day dreamer I was (I’m still I’m) I saw myself wearing a suit, my black tie and the black suitcase, a woman cooking and waiting for me in the table. In my dream, that woman would be loving and caring, as you can imagine, my mother wasn’t like that at all.
I didn’t realize the journey I was, without knowing it, to start, a struggle with my own body, the relationship of love/hate with it.
“Does the mind rules the body or does the body rules the mind…I don’t know” Morrissey.
Everybody, absolutely everybody doesn’t like a part or several parts of their bodies. In my case, it was the entire package. I never felt comfortable with my body. Since I was a kid, because of my dress everybody got closer to me and asked me openly “are you a boy or a girl?” I haven’t told you my teenager years, it was worst. But I have to admit my boy look put in troubles sometimes, especially for going to the bathroom. The teenager years and hormones weren’t pleasant. There was a time I had long hair but it was like feeding a dog with cat food.
At the University things changed a bit but I guess when I met my girlfriend I got a kind of reconciliation with my body. But still, it’s not a love story either. Back in the teenager days I thought the only way to be with a woman it was being a man, or having the role of one. The talkshows were popular in the 90’s and I loved watching emissions about gays and transsexuals. In the 80’s thinking a changing your sex, especially in a poor third country world it was impossible. But that was my dream. When I reconciled myself with my body the idea went 6 feet under. When I started working at the office I used the office style, one colour shirt one colour pants. Elegant and simple, with middle long hair, no questions about my sexual orientation, at least not in Montreal, since in Ottawa nobody asked even my name or my origins.
When I moved here, I got an interview with a drag queen that was doing a thesis about linguistics. The subject of transexuality came out. He asked “why don’t use hormones or try to change your sex?” I answered that I was old and at this point I was feeling comfortable with my single love-cat life and work. Until know, I don’t know if my answer was sincere. But I’m sure, if I would come in Canada in my 20’s, it would have been a good alternative. Now, that I cut my hair again, I miss the suits of my father, once I wore one of them and let me tell you I looked handsome. Probably I’m not a man, but I’m sure I’m a gentleman.
I wore a mask or probably many others depending of time, situation, geography and work. Sometimes I feel ok, sometimes I deal with it, once, I questioned myself, whatever it is, it was it will be, I feel like hybrid, half metamorphosed, half incomplete. I started loving my body slowly, it’s still hard but…things happens for a reason. My self-esteem has a rare relationship between what I wanted to be and what I’m. Sometimes can be difficult to explain to others, like friends or family, but sometimes can even be harder to tell or confess to your lover. Those conversations you only have after having sex, when she looks at you into your eyes…knowing you can’t hide anything because in a relationship the standard is to be honest with that person. Even with the risk to be betrayed or hurt for her.
I’m not imposed my voice, it sounds natural, not like others that pretend to have bass boost, I don’t walk like a cowboy, I don’t seat like a gentleman or a lady, I don’t eat like caveman but I’m not far from that since I live alone. I’m gentle, if I like a flower, I will tell it, I smile and have sense humour, as you see, I’m not the stereotype of the hard dyke, with the James Dean look, now I look like George Clooney with my white hair on it. I don’t need a label, an identity is a thing always in construction, never ending. I don’t know about my look in 2 months, or when I met Miss Right (assuming she exists), for the first time, I just want to be in peace with myself and….with my body.
“I still don’t belong to anyone – I am mine.” Morrissey.