Relative Secrets

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Well, there was a newspaper article recently that kind of explained why Blair was murdered. We all looked for an obit for him, and any info about the murder, after finding his memorial page online, but couldn't find anything. I almost doubted that he was killed, and wondered if my dad put that memorial up to see if we'd contact him. Yeah, I know that's kind of vain/paranoid/whatever, but, really, even though there are mental issues on my mother's side of the family, there are problems on my father's side of the family that, though not as tangible, seem more... evil, I guess. So we really didn't know what happened, since noone thought we were important enough to tell, but I guessed, and accurately, that it was a drug deal gone wrong. And it was. His killer was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

About the evil: I have written quite a bit about people's hands. There are some hidden memories about someone hurting me when I was small that I can't access yet. One of them almost came to the surface once when I was studying music. Our choir was working on "The Phantom of the Opera," and there's a part that talks about him watching her, and suddendly, in the middle of it, I needed to throw up. So I went to the bathroom, which was very thankfully close to the music hall, and started puking. In my head, an image of the hands sort of swam around, and I flashed to a memory of sitting on a porch somewhere, and it was like my brains were spewing out of my mouth into the toilet. I was afraid to remember, but I desperately wanted to know what happened. I still don't know, but whatever it was is a little more clear. There was an old man's hand that went into my shorts, through the leg of the shorts. I'm a little nauseous right now writing about it, but that is all I have right now.

There are only two porches I remember when I was small. One was my uncle's. I believe it was next to my grandfather's house. I remember the smell of stale wine around my uncle's house, and I've learned that my uncle and aunt drank regularly. I don't know if they drank wine. I can't ask my father, and it's just not worth it to even think about finding him for that kind of information. I don't think I've been on that porch since I was 6, so, if the buried memories are there, that was a long time ago, and I doubt I'll ever remember.

The other porch was at a babysitter's house, somewhere close to Atlanta. I think I was in the third grade. I do know there was an old man who lived there. I remember that there was an old record player on the porch, and that someone used to play "Dock of the Bay" on it. That song hits some kind of trigger, and makes me feel a little sad, a little angry, and a lot confused. There are a few other songs that create a similar reaction. "Angie" is one of them. I'm not sure I heard that song on that porch, though. I can't remember what the others are, but next time I hear one, I'll let you know.

For now, I'm hoping that writing again might help stir memories, but I'm not getting much more than a fogginess. But I can almost hear someone saying, "Shhh, shhh, don't tell anyone."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My last girlfriend was the hottest, sexiest, most intriguing woman I've ever known. The day we met, she walked into the office with testosterone just OOZING. Her hair was short and neat, and I think she may have been wearing men's cologne. I could tell that she really didn't want to train the new girl, and she gave me that look that dykes give hets, the one that says "You just don't know." For a few minutes, I was intimidated. After that, I just wanted her to like me. I knew she was good at what she did, and that everyone in the company respected her. And I remembered her in the company newspaper, the article about how she played pro football. Yum. Anyhow, I had a good idea about how to do the job already, having worked a related job in the company, so, pretty soon she relaxed and realized that I wasn't a total moron. It took her a while to realize that I was flirting, though.

I think it first dawned on her when she came in after I'd worked a shift without her, and the desk was almost exactly set up the way she liked it. She smirked at me, rearranged the pen on the desk, then turned the AC up. Of course, the next time her shift followed mine, the pen was where it was supposed to be, and the room was freezing cold.

Now, I guess, to the unsuspecting eye, that wouldn't look like flirting. It'd seem like I was brown nosing, or sucking up, whatever. But the dynamics between us were electric, and you could just SMELL the chemistry. It wasn't long till we were dating, and she moved a couple doors down from me. For a while, we were inseperable. We were either on the phone with each other, at each other's shifts, fucking, flirting, or asleep.

She had this way of morphing. I could look at her, and watch her change from male to female. One second she'd be sitting there, legs propped open like men do, with a look on her face that I'd never seen from a woman, and the next second, she'd do something, blush a little, tilt her head just a bit, and slide right into feminine mannerisms. It blew me the hell away. I'd be soaking wet just watching her.

I still don't understand quite why that affected me so powerfully. Maybe it's because that's how I want to be: not quite either gender, or both genders at once. And maybe that's one of the reasons I suddenly stopped seeing her. Maybe I was afraid of watching someone so closely be what I wanted to be that it was too much like narcissism.

Before her, it was a secret to my family that I am a dyke. Sometimes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Thanks to whomever nominated me for blogette awards. If you want to vote for me, go here. Thanks again,
C

I had a dream last night about being a bat girl for a baseball team. I hadn't thought about this for years, but when I was in the 6th grade, I wanted so badly to be on the baseball team. They let me practice with them, and I was damned good, but, since girls were not allowed on the teams back then, I fetched water and stuff for the boys during the real games. It just pissed me off. Not only was I better than most of the boys on the team, but it became a button that my stepmom could push. Every chance she got, she'd remind me that I couldn't play on the team. To me, that was reminding me that I was not really a boy. Of course, noone in my family really knew that I thought of myself as a boy. I couldn't trust anyone with that information, especially her. And, as memories tend to do, this one scrolled me into others, and I began to get angry at her again.

I haven't been angry about her in a few years, and I guess it's time to write about it, so that it doesn't snowball into hatred again.

I don't know how she figured those things out; how she knew that starving us, not letting us get enough sleep, dressing us in pathetic clothes, keeping us outside in the heat, and constantly filling our heads with bad things about our mother would fuck us up so badly. There was no internet, and as far as I could tell, the only books she read were the bible and books about brain injury (my "step" sister is brain injured). So how did she know that those tried and true techniques for brainwashing? Those are all abusive things, but there's one thing that stands out in my mind to this day.

We were NEVER allowed to stay up past bedtime (which was 6:30, weekend or not), but one night, she mysteriously allowed us to stay up and watch Sybil. That's not the best show for a 12, 9, and 8 year old to watch, but we were happy to be able to be up, and not trying to go to sleep while it was still daylight. So we watched it. If you've seen it, there is this part where Sybil's mom would do things to her genitals. That was disturbing to me for two reasons: 1. my mom would NEVER do those sorts of things to us. 2. my stepmom just might. So we went to bed terrified.

And the next day we were kept home from school. She had us strip and put each of us on the kitchen table and "examined" us. The examination consisted of a bunch of random poking, pinching, and general humiliation. She decided that we all had yeast infections, so she shoved some of those monostat tablets inside us, and made us lie on the table like that for what seemed like hours, holding our legs up and together. I guess I should mention that my step brother was also home, and was watching all this.

And here's where it gets really fucked up. The next day, she took us to the doctor and told him that she'd seen signs of abuse while bathing us. She had the doctor examine us, and he said yes, that indeed it looked like there had been sexual abuse. They blamed my mother for this. My mother, who we hadn't seen in over a month.
And, of course, we weren't allowed to tell our father about any of this. It was a secret.

What a fuckin crock of shit. You know, I believe in karma, and, though I don't see it as a thing in which someone is punished for what they do as much as I see it as a system of justice where people learn to be better people, I do hope something bad happens to her. That's not good, and I'm nowhere near the point of forgiving her, but that's where I am right now. And I guess I blame myself for part of it. Why didn't I just kick that bitch in the face? Why didn't I protect my sisters? What kept me frozen in fear of her?

Friday, May 06, 2005

This is something I wrote over 10 years ago as a piece of fiction. Not much of it is fiction. It's badly written, and pathetic, but it describes a part of my life when gender became even more confusing to me. It was a time when I had to pretend to be a girl, to make another girl leave me the hell alone.

Bears



"Look at this one, Gramma," Morgan said, touching a t-shirt. "It's got a tear at the seam. You can get them to knock the price down. And it's already on
sale." Morgan knew how to shop with her grandmother.
Her grandmother slid the frilly, colorful dresses back and
forth on the rack inside Sears. Morgan tried to pull her toward
the t-shirts.
"But these dresses are so pretty. Don't you want to wear
pretty dresses like your friends at church?" She kept flipping,
but looked back over her shoulder at the sign above the t-shirts.
"Let's see," she finally said. She checked the rip, making sure
she could repair it.
"Okay. You have some purple pants that will match." She
took the shirt off the hanger, hung the hanger on the dress rack,
and walked toward the underwear section. "You need some panties
too."
Morgan rolled her eyes and walked down the row of tile that
seperated the carpeted departments, dragging her toes, then
squeaking the bottom of her sneaker with each step. It sounded
like a donkey. She wanted plain white panties, but every year
her grandmother tried to talk her into getting flowery ones or
pink ones, or the kind with lace.
When she caught up with her grandmother, she was going
through a bin of silky ones with big colorful flowers. Some had
lace, some didn't. Maybe I can at least get some without lace,
she thought. She reached over into the bin and found three pair
that weren't as loud as the rest and handed them to her
grandmother. None had lace. She looked at Morgan like she'd
never seen her before, then at the panties, then back at Morgan.
"Okay, honey." She walked to the register, put the t-shirt
and the panties down, propped her purse on the counter and leaned
on it with her moley elbow.
The cashier took a deep breath, steadied herself against the
cash register. She remembered Gramma.
"There's a rip in this shirt," Gramma said. "We want this
shirt, there's not another one like it, but I think we should get
a discount since I'll have to go home and fix it."
"How about ten percent, Mrs. Lacey?" Carol knew how she
ticked too.
"Fine." She rummaged through her purse as Carol rung up the
purchase.
"What grade this year, Morgan?" Carol asked, putting the
clothes in a brown plastic bag.
"Fourth, but that's because they put me up a year." Morgan
clicked her dirty fingernails on the counter and drummed the toe
of her shoe against the carpet.
"Good going. Six twenty-eight." Mrs. Lacey dug for the
exact change.
* * *
Everything was still and hot on Lacey Mountain. Crickets
and birds were probably too hot to sing. Morgan lifted a brick
out of the wheel barrow and held it out, waiting. Her
grandmother swiped at the mortar once more, took the brick and
pressed it into the cement, then wiped the extra off with the
splattered trowel. Sweat dripped down her face and she wiped it
off with the back of a gloved hand. Her dyed strawberry hair
curled out from under the brim of her flowered sun hat and she
stood up.
Morgan looked down the long wall they were building. They
had been working a month and only half the land was bricked off,
and it was only three bricks high. She tried to pull the handles
of the wheelbarrow up, but it wouldn't move. It was
time to head back the other way, adding the fourth brick. Her
grandmother wanted it ten bricks high. That would take. . . too
much math, she thought. A long time.
"Hey, Gramma."
"Yeah?" She drank from the gallon of water they had frozen
the night before. A chunk of ice thumped against the side as she
put it on the ground.
"Can I have the sewing room?" There was room for a bed in
there. And her cousin's night games made her sick; she had been
throwing up every night that week.
"The other room's big enough for y'all. And I need all the
space in there." She shifted the bucket of cement closer to the
wall.
"We could move that old TV in Phyllis' room. That bed in
the closet would fit there." She leaned against the wheelbarrow.
"We'll see." She dunked the trowel in the bucket and
slathered mortar on the two top bricks.
"Gramma. I don't want to sleep with her. She makes. . ."
Morgan closed her mouth and lifted a brick out of the
wheelbarrow, handed it to her grandmother.
Gramma took the brick, turned around, stopped, then looked
back at Morgan and narrowed her eyes. "She what?" The brick
hung limp in her hand and a slight breeze came through the trees.
A bird trilled and flew close. It was gray.
"Nothing." Morgan looked at the mortar on the wall.
"Don't tell me 'nothing.' Whatever you hide from me, God
sees." She dropped the trowel on the ground.
"She makes me sick talking about Donny Osmond and the Bay
City Rollers. And that loud Wolfman Jack man."
Her grandmother raised her eyebrows and started to smile.
Morgan's vision swam and she threw the brick she was holding back
into the wheelbarrow. "I just don't like the music she listens
to."
Her grandmother took a deep breath, frowned, and scratched
her head with her hat. "Okay, we'll move that stuff tonight."
The wind picked up more and blew a few leaves against the wall.
Morgan looked over at her grandmother's house. It looked small
and dark through the thinly forested valley.
* * *
Clouds blocked the sun for a few cool seconds. Morgan ran
through the woods toward the wall, her cousin chasing her, a few
feet behind, falling back some. Morgan reached the wall, vaulted
it, kept running. She was headed for the garden where her Big
Wheel was. Bushes and dead limbs scratched her bare legs and
pulled on her overalls as she mad-dashed it down the hill, into
the clearing.
She whipped through two corn rows, skidded left, then ran
down the row, snatching her faded orange Big Wheel, dragging it
up the next hill, toward the pear tree. It seemed like there
were more rocks on the way up. It seemed steeper; the sun was
hotter and the Big Wheel was heavier. She had to sit down and
rest before she could make it to the top. She breathed, wiped the
sweat out of her eyes and off her forehead, and breathed.
Phyllis had climbed over the wall and was coming out of the
forest, stepping over brush, pushing branches out of the way.
She was afraid of spiders and messing her hair up.
Morgan got up and pushed her Big Wheel the rest of the way
up the rutted hill to the pear tree. She kicked a few pears
around, found one without wormholes in it, picked it up and bit
into it. You couldn't get the crunchy kind at the grocery store.
Phyllis had crossed the garden and was coming up the hill.
Her makeup shined and her brown hair stuck to the sides of her
face. Her face was red. She reminded Morgan of the goon on
Popeye, the way she swung her heavy arms and walked slumped under
the weight of her huge breasts.
Morgan dropped the pear, jumped on her trike and yelled,
"Coming down the hiiiillll!" Phyllis stepped out of the way as
Morgan bumped by, holding her too-long legs straight out, gaining
speed.
She put her heels lightly on the ground, then dug them
further in as she got near the garden. Her heels started burning
as she dug deeper into the dirt, but the trike kept going.
Gramma's going to kill me, she thought, as she barrelled
straight down a row of okra. She hit a big plant, flipped to the
side and landed in the beans in the next row. She jumped up and
brushed herself off, breathing in through her teeth, blowing a
jagged scratch on her arm. Her legs were scraped up, her knee
and forearm were bruised, but she itched more than anything. She
tried to brush the okra fur off, but it got worse. She tore up
the hill, past the pear tree to her grandmother's house. The
hose was already on and she turned it on stronger. She put her
finger over the opening, making it spray harder on her legs.
* * *
"Come let me read to you," Morgan's grandmother called from
the living room.
"I'm looking for Wolf." The Bible scared Morgan. She stood
at the sliding glass door, looking at herself, listening to her
grandmother read out loud.
"The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed,
mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. . ."
Everyone kept calling her a girl. She looked like a boy.
She didn't have breasts like her cousins and her grandmother.
Her black hair was cut short all the way around. She smiled a
fake smile. Her missing tooth, her nose and her bland hazel eyes
looked like a boy's.
Phyllis stepped behind her, her breasts almost resting on
Morgan's head. Morgan stepped closer to the door, cupped her
hands around her eyes and looked out at Wolf lying curled around
his stainless-steel dish. Phyllis stepped closer, almost
pressing Morgan against the glass.
"There are bears out there, Morgan."
Morgan closed her eyes.
Once a bear had come to eat the dog food on the back porch
and Morgan had listened to the fight from her bed, afraid to
move, stiff, listening. She heard the back door open, a gunshot,
then a loud moaning scream. Her grandmother cleaned, stitched
and taped Wolf's wounds, but Morgan would never forget the sound
the bear made as it went back into the woods, toward the top of
the mountain. She knew that bear wouldn't be back. But others
had come. She heard them sometimes, rooting the silver bowl
around the back concrete porch.
"Yep. Black bears. They don't eat people," Morgan said.
"Nope, they eat dogs." She put her hand on top of Morgan's
head.
Morgan's back tensed and she opened her eyes again. She
stared out through the trees, looking for moving shadows. A
skinny elm was bent over next to the porch. She had ridden it
too much that week, would have to let it rest and straighten up
so she could ride it down again.
"Wolf's tough. He's half wolf." She wiggled, trying to get
Phyllis' hands and breasts off her head. They smelled bad, like
cheap soap.
"But you're scared. You should sleep with me tonight."
Morgan closed her eyes again. "I did last night."
"If you don't sleep with me tonight, I'll tell Gramma about
last night." Her nasal voice spilled a rotting smell down to
Morgan, and she gagged.
She didn't care if she went to hell, but she didn't want to
sleep with Phyllis. But she didn't want her grandmother to know
she was going to hell. She bounced up and down on her toes,
bouncing her cousin. "I did the dishes. You said that if I
did the dishes I wouldn't. . ."
Their grandmother walked into the kitchen, her heavy
footsteps rattling the glass door. "It's time for bed, girls."
"Morgan's scared again. Can she sleep with me?" Phyllis
backed up and looked at Morgan, daring her.
"I don't care where y'all sleep, but you need to get in bed
now." She walked back to the living room.
Phyllis shrugged and smiled at Morgan, then walked to her
room humming a random-sounding tune. Morgan's stomach flipped
and she took slow, small steps down the hall. Her face burned
and she ran her hand along the wall, across the bathroom door
toward Phyllis' room.
Posters--red Mustangs, Donny Osmond, beagles--collaged the
walls. A pink towel hung across the top of the closet door.
Shoes, clothes and bent magazines covered the floor; coathangers,
albums and a beanbag spilled out of the closet. The console TV
was covered with makeup: powder, blush, dried up mascara.
Phyllis had her shirt off and her breasts pushed out over the top
of her too-full bra. She reached back to undo it.
"You get to be Donny tonight," she said.
Morgan stepped back, looked down the hall, heard her
grandmother say, "Blessed are the meek for they--"
"Shall burn in hell," Morgan finished with a whisper.
Phyllis leaned against the swirly brass headboard of the bed, the
covers pulled to her neck, her bare shoulders white against the
tarnishing brass.
"I have to pee," Morgan said.
She stood in front of the full-length bathroom mirror,
looking at her new panties. They had huge yellow flowers with
even larger green leaves that stretched from one side to the
other, down, then up the back. She rubbed the silky sides of
them, turned around, then back around. They looked strange, like
the ones on the mannequins, but they felt soft, not too slippery
like she thought they would. She pulled them down, looked at her
bare front, then pulled them back up.
* * *
Phyllis and Morgan rolled around under the new quilt their
grandmother had just finished. Morgan was pinned on her back,
sweating, straining as hard as she could to turn Phyllis over.
Her right shoulder was off the bed, and she felt Phyllis' arms
start to shake. She was getting tired. Morgan whisper-giggled,
pushed harder, throwing her head forward, gaining.
Phyllis whispered, loud, "Stop playing around. I don't want
to wrestle. Let's play." She pushed harder, but Morgan was
getting more desperate, stronger, still giggling and kicking.
Phyllis reached up and grabbed Morgan's hair, right behind her
ear, and yanked. Morgan started to yell, but Phyllis slapped her
hand over her mouth. She held her hand there and reached down
with the other, sliding it down Morgan's stomach. She got to her
panties, froze.
"Silk? What the fuck?" she whispered, and drew her hand
back out from the covers. "Take those off," she said, raising
her fist, casting a gargoyle on the far wall.
Morgan slid down in the bed and slipped them off. Through
the window above the bed, the moon's light reflected off the silk
and it looked like a shiny puddle on the floor.
* * *
Red clay sucked at Morgan's shoes as she stomped, running up
the driveway on her way home from Greg's. Morgan had been
helping his mom put up apples all day. She didn't like Greg, but
his mom paid her a dollar fifty for each bushel she peeled.
Morgan thought about what Greg had shown her before she
left. He had walked with her a little way down the road. He
stopped, but she kept walking.
"Hey, look at this." His pants were down to his knees.
Morgan blushed, laughed, then turned and ran toward her
grandmother's.
"I'm a girl," she yelled, loping through the mud, not caring
about her shoes or clothes. "I'm a girl!"

* * *
They were in Sears again, and Morgan tore through the
dresses, looking for the frilliest, laciest ones she could find.
She found a yellow one with green lace around the neck. The
pricetag was perfect--$3.50. She took it off the rack and threw
it at her grandmother.
"Slow down," Gramma said, catching the dress, then looking
at the tag. A red one with a huge silk bow in the back was four
dollars. And a lacey blue one, with a bonnet, was six-fifty.
That left room for leotards.
* * *
She bounced out of the bathroom in her new blue dress. Her
hair was up in the bonnet and it looked like she might have long
hair tucked inside. The wobbly, shiny white shoes clunked on the
hardwood floor. Phyllis was outside.
Morgan walked down the hall to the sliding glass door, slid
it open and stepped outside. The tree was straightening out now.
She reached up. She'd have to climb it to get it down. Phyllis
sat on the rusting propane tank next to the house, her eyes wide.
Morgan looked down at her white leotards, back at her
gawking cousin, and smiled. She skipped around in a circle,
swinging her dress, singing "London Bridge," going faster and
faster in a wider and wider circle, kicking the first autumn
leaves. She twisted her ankle on a root, but kept going, the
pain popping into her eyes, slowing her some, then boosting her
faster. Phyllis' face got whiter every time she made the circle.
She started to slide off the tank, but Morgan swung straight
out of the circle, and slammed into her, knocking her back
against the brick house. She heard Phyllis' head hit and watched
as she slid backwards, getting lodged in a V between the house
and the tank. Morgan yanked Phyllis' sneaker off and started
tickling the bottom of her foot. Phyllis could barely breath and
there was blood on the wall where her head had hit.
"I'm not sleeping in your room anymore. A girl needs her
own space, you know." She kicked the tank and listened to it
echo as she went in to tell her grandmother that she wasn't going
to hell.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

And Before That...

I guess I was a pretty normal kid before my father left. The pictures seem to say so. There's some fuzziness about one little incident, but nothing that I think would have been life-changing, had things remained the same. But when he left, things changed, big time. Mom was very vulnerable. Oh, she worked like a horse to support us, but she was emotionally vulnerable. Much like young boys whose fathers leave, I began to try to fill his shoes. I took care of my sisters, told Mom things would be okay, and generally FRETTED about life as it was, and worried about how to fix it. Big job for a six-year-old.

I think this is when my ideas of gender roles and where I fit began to shift. Sure, I knew I had the same parts my mother and sisters had, but my role was different. By the time I was 12, I was supplementing the income of the house, doling out discipline for my sisters (how fucked up is THAT!), and making decisions for my mother. There were some other factors involved, such as the fact that my mom was schizophrenic, and I discovered real early that moving would snap her out of an episode, but my role was important. I was the Man of the House.

That didn't even change, years later, when I had my daughter. Yep, I gave birth to her, but as soon as I had healed, and had left my ex, I was out, earning money, and my mother and sisters took care of Xi in the daytime. Of course, there was a lot that happened in between times that influenced my idea of gender role. I'll post about that soon.

I am me and you are you and we're a bunch of witches!

Strange title, I know. I ran across some song lyrics that were sort of like that and it reminded me of when I hung out with a bunch of witches in the woods. I wasn't really Wiccan or anything, but we did a sister circle and sang fun sing songy songs, and banged on the ground and stuff, and it was fun. I think it was the first time I ever really bonded with a group of women.

Before that, I usually had one best friend/lover who was female, and the rest of my friends were guys. Before that, I also hated god. I felt like he stuck a male in a female's body, you know, just to laugh at or something. (hmm, wonder why I have tomato sauce on my shirt. Oh well, nevermind) But that month in the woods was pretty eye-opening for me, in a lot of ways. My perception of god changed. "He" was no longer one being-ish thing. He became, in my perspective, a force, a something much bigger, a not so purposeful thing. And I began to open up to the female who was inside.

It's kind of funny how these things happen. After I left the woods, 7 months later, I went back to college, and suddenly found myself surrounded by the most amazing women. Mothers, professors, students, caretakers of parents, musicians, artists, psychologists, athletes. Life was really good, then. We cooked and ate together, raised our kids together, danced, talked, shared. I began to think about things differently, and I grew in ways that wouldn't have been possible without the influence of those women.

But it made things harder for me, in the long run. There began to be a conflict at that point. Before then, I was a boy. After those years with those women, I didn't know what the hell I was. I started having what I call "modes," or phases, when I'd feel more masculine, or more feminine, and they'd last for short periods of time. I had two separate wardrobes, and would wear whatever fit the mode of the day. I was happy, because of my kid, and because of all my friends, but I was confused, and conflicted and unsure of who I was, and what I wanted to be when I grew up...

Okay, time to split some of this blogging up. I'm going to keep the general family secret type stuff here, and the BDSM stuff in another blog. That should help. Ha! Prepare for updates.
C