I was dropping a myriad of balls during this season of life. If I wasn’t being mocked for my huge ass hitting a wall whenever I turned sideways, or having radio announcers calling me a girl as my voice figured out what octave it wanted to rest at, I was struggling to figure out how my body worked and if I liked boys or girls or both. This was a difficult time for me sexually. I felt like I was attracted to girls, the earlier introduction to pornography helped speed that along, but my difficulty in navigating my posse – those three girls in my life proved to vex me. As young adolescents often do I was challenged by them to determine which of them I liked liked. I took their question seriously and tried to make a choice. In the end I designed an elaborate code that contained the answer and gave it to them to solve. Even though they figured out the pass key and broke the code within minutes I had already changed my mind so I lied when they told me the answer they had discovered.
As it turns out I just wasn’t feeling it with any of them and I didn’t know why. My male genitalia wasn’t helping either as it quite often had a mind of its own, creating for some awkward and embarrassing moments known only to every other puberty-stricken boy that otherwise never gets talked about. So, having misfiring equipment and hormones that were out of balance I had only my heart to rely on to navigate this tricky thing called attraction and even my heart wanted to betray me. Looking back on this time now, I can see a broken boy, desperate for affirmation and connection and in some ways this still exists now. What I wanted back then and even now was and is male companionship. For some reason trying to obtain this has been as elusive as the flowering of the melocanna baciffera with similar results I might add.
I have no idea why this has been the case. My attempt to find and cultivate a male friendship has been wrought with difficulty. I would find someone and make a tremendous effort to connect with them only to be rejected or determine that I was boring them in some way. Or there may be a tease of something there, some good times but after a quick season that comes to an abrupt end. I have even experienced another man breaking up with me. I was now married, in a solid heterosexual relationship and he was as well but we had made a connection and were enjoying our friendship. It was going very well but now due to some circumstances things were about to change. It was still overcome-able but would require a bit more work. His response? “I’m sorry, but we can’t be friends any longer. It is not you, it’s me.”
No wonder I became a feminist.
Back then though, in that northern city I was trying to figure out who I was in every aspect. My fall from societal privilege was a hard one, my new bad-ass persona was not working for me, and my dad’s work had just burned down. I could see the cracks appearing. The family life was very strained. My parents had lost their appeal to adopt and had now turned their attention full-time on themselves, and separately – carving out their own identities. My brother and I found our own interests to amuse ourselves and part of myself had fragmented – dissociated into X15-QI. It was inevitable, our time in this place was coming to an end. I could tell because I was fucking up everything, leaving the only recourse but to leave and start over with a clean slate.
Trying to figure out my sexual identity in the midst of this, confused from the girls who liked me and frustrated from the boys who rejected me didn’t help. I could feel myself shut down inside. It was easier being X15-QI. It was easier escaping into myself. The darkness kept me company. I welcomed a new companion for my journey called Depression for at least Depression knew how to keep Anger at bay. This new friendship came at a cost though and watching my dad’s workplace burn to the ground was the inspiration. In an effort to self-modulate I began to delete. In this place and at this time this meant systematically going through everything that I had and ceremoniously burning it. Whether it was pictures, or journals or letters or clothing or keepsakes I would find time and opportunity to burn these things. There was such a sense of relief that happened when I would complete that task. It was like taking a giant eraser to my past.
I may not have any idea where I was going but I was sure as hell going to make sure that no-one would be following me.