The other day, when I handed in my last assignment, I did it via a post box outside Lock and Load. This was a calculated move being that I intended to then onward into the cool, dark beer garden behind to relax and enjoy the company of K and C as a celebration of handing in my piece of shit assignment.
We ordered cocktails. For K, green and tasty (because she likes the environment). For Me, pink and tasty (because I like pink). For C, a beer (because she likes beer).
The sun is starting to go down and warm light is filtering through the canopy of the beer garden. ‘It smells like summer holidays!’ – C. The waitress is pouring our drinks. She looks like a young Sia. ‘The neighbours smoke reefer sometimes’, she states. How scandalising!
I had to do the thing where I convince myself that I don’t need an entree and a main. Because my learned behaviour at any celebration is to eat up big. This is getting easier each time. But we got a plate of chips to share. A few chips plus my chicken and cous cous was a little much and by the end I was stretched out and complaining. Next time I should be more willing to order an entree instead of a main. Or order a main in an entree size. Whichever. When this works it works because I promise myself that even though I order a small portion I am allowed to order whatever I want afterwards if I am still hungry. I reassure my body that I trust it. But I’m rarely hungry after and my body is often a warm and welcoming place to be.
On C’s iphone we read to each other from the Poetry Graveyard. How grown up and wanky we’ve become. We plan a feminist bookclub to meet moonthly on the days that our menses overlap, we’ll have it here in the beer garden. We’ll read She Comes First, first.
Maybe we start talking about how terrible commenters are on local news websites. C's favourite part of reading blogs and news sites is reading the comments below and the interactions between commenters. She is disappointed more people don’t comment. I get it though, it’s all so personal and sensitive. In commenting at all we betray so much of our own position. Mostly I don’t invite comments or even respond to them that much anymore because I want you to pretend that I don’t know you’re reading. I want to pretend you’re not reading. So I can just say what’s really there for me.
But I see the stats, I know you’re there. It’s ok. We can share these few secrets. I trust you.
A few people have messaged me and said lovely supportive things. They tell me more than I would expect them to in real life. I wrap your secrets up in banana leaves and I put them away. I probably won’t be able to find them later, but that’s ok. Now we are both members of the most exclusive club.
When I was little, maybe 10 or 12 or so, when I’d started to think about these things more, I was scared for a brief time that I was transgendered. Let’s not talk about the cultural implications of feeling like you have to be scared of a realisation like this and instead focus on why I thought this. I didn’t think I could ‘do’ feminine right. Because feminine and masculine are just pantomines – things that we ‘do’ rather than things that we ‘are’. This was all probably to do with my loudness, my Mother’s preference to cut my hair short, my height, and my fat. My idea of femininity was this impossible, willowy, ethereal, Disney Princess kind of thing and I found myself struggling to reconcile this with my ideas about myself. Freckly, mousey and thick. The daughter of a woman who only shaves her legs for weddings and funerals. I never felt sure that I was beautiful or womanly at all until I was at least 19. How odd, for all of these things to lump together, like too much pasta boiled in a small pot.
Androgyny, as described by Bem, is most functional. To be both masculine and feminine and to call on these qualities as circumstances demand, to know the value intrinsic in both. But knowing this doesn’t necessarily free you from a concern that you might have failed as a man or a woman. You’re smart, you already knew this, implicitly or explicitly.
Everybody’s body looks funny naked. I never met a person who didn’t look a little strange without their clothes on. Even the most beautiful people. One time I saw a beautiful person naked and they looked funny. True story.
What am I trying to say? I don’t know, I had a cupcake for breakfast and crashed at 1030. You’re not your body. But you are wonderful and your body and mind are amazing and ordinary and full of secrets and yours. You will be ok.
I am spirit, not matter,
I am not the body, I am not the mind,
I am the eternal spirit soul,
I am only temporarily in a material body,
The body is temporary, I am eternal,
Blah blah blah. Whatever. Now for your viewing pleasure, direct from radiology: Me in a hospital gown.