Some words, questions and (hopefully a bit of) hope

Thank you to Denise-Marie McIntosh from Fairy Tale Access at Nashua, New Hampshire Public Access for asking such thoughtful questions and for giving me space to speak about my novel, “Everything Grows”.

 

The inside of my body is like a buffet/ but all the containers are empty

Dear Rebel,

I write to you because when we speak, all my words come out in the exact shape as it lives inside me. Everywhere else, my letters bulge and bend inaccurately. My teeth slur. My knees shiver so loudly that nothing else can be heard.

Have you ever been pronounced correctly? What does that feel like. I hosted a party inside my body the other night. No one came; no one else was invited. There were snacks but nothing was touched. Actually, handfuls were taken, but then everything just turned to dust.

My body is a dust storm of uncertainty.

When I was a child, my favorite food was: buffet. All-you-can-eat with more choices than I could ever need. I didn’t have to choose just one option. I’ve never just been one option. I could sample the flavors I was unfamiliar with, maybe even declare something new as my favorite.

Couldn’t bodies, can’t gender, can’t identities be like buffets? An all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of choices and possibilities? I may be in the mood for mac and cheese today, but tomorrow, I may desire beef stew or vegetable lo mein.

Do all these choices have to define me? How are my choices, how is my appearance defining me?

Dear Rebel, my hair has nothing to do with my gender identity. It is long now, gets caught in zippers and, at night, it tries to strangle me. What if I am just this mix-and-match unmatched being?

What if my only declaration is: I have nothing to declare.

I am trying to empty all this out. All of this. All of me. Rinse and repeat.

The inside of my body is like a buffet. But all the containers are empty. And I am searching for what I want to eat now.

The Testosterone Files

If you hunt inside a body/ rummaging past the inflamed mosquito bites/ misspelled doctor’s notes/ collection of scabs and lists of words to look up/ you will find a peep hole toward a reflection/ of a part of you never reached/ sometimes books save lives/ this book/ saved mine

 

Inspired by Max Wolf Valerio’s “The Testosterone Files”