Asylum

This. This is exactly how I feel.

This. This is exactly how I feel.

Today I was faced with a problem. As I arrived on-site to set up a client’s computer, I got down into the carpet and began connecting things, and–“What the hell is that smell?”

It did not take long to find the source of the problem: the jeans I was wearing. Around the knees, there was an awful and pungent stench. I have no idea what caused it–they were basically fresh out of the dryer–but it presented an immediate and serious problem: after that client (thankfully, there was no one there, and no one would have been close enough to me to smell around my knees anyway–the only reason I caught it was because I was in the floor) I had two more to visit, and I simply could not visit them like that.

I told my colleague that I wasn’t going to be able to hit the other two clients, because I was going to have to sort out this issue. I only have two pairs of work pants, to be clear. Most of my male clothes are casual–black Tripp pants with chains and things on them, and not the sort of thing a person can wear for work. He told me just take his credit card and go buy some.

As I stood in the men’s clothing aisle at Wal-Mart, it occurred to me that I no longer even know what size men’s clothing I wear. I’ve been thinking in size 7 and 5, Smalls and Mediums, through the last year, and I’ve never bought many male clothes in the first place (a curious thing, too). In fact, my male wardrobe is just enough to get buy. It is exactly the minimum that can be reasonably had. I no longer own a single pair of boxers or men’s socks. I could probably sit and list, off the top of my head, every article of male clothing that I own. There are three types: Formal Work, Casual Work, and Casual. I have about two outfits of each, really. My male shoes are old and needing to be replaced, but I just don’t care about them. My Led Zeppelin shirt is practically grey now, but I just don’t care enough to replace it. One of my casual work jeans has a hole about as big around as a pencil around one of the knees, and I just don’t care enough to replace it.

Compare that to my female shoes.

It's worth mentioning they don't actually look THAT bad. It was muddy today.

It’s worth mentioning they don’t actually look THAT bad. It was muddy today.

So it was muddy today, and I haven’t bothered to clean them since I’ve been home. I’ll tell you about the horrible day shortly, but… it was not a good day. Yes, it gets worse than finding myself wearing a pair of stinky pants that smelled in a weird place.

Compare that to my female tennis shoes on the right, which are spotless and in remarkable shape. I’ve needed to replace (or at the least polish) my male shoes for something like two years, and I just can’t be bothered to. But I won’t let so much as a speck of dust stay on my female shoes.

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Caption!

Of course, you wouldn’t know it from looking, but I wear my female shoes a hell of a lot more than I wear my male shoes. My male tennis shoes literally get worn only for work, and then only for some clients–the more casual ones. This same disparity exists between my flip-flops, as well–I have two pairs, and my female pair is in infinitely better shape. Each night, I put up my female flip-flops out of reach of the cats, because they try to use them as a claw sharpener.

No, cat, that’s what my recliner is for!

On the other hand, I don’t bother to put up my male flip-flops. In my defense there, though, the cats also don’t mess with them.

Right now I’m wearing a pair of jeans that are nicer, cleaner, and better than any pair of male pants that I own, including the ones that I bought today. I don’t give the smallest shit about my male clothing. It is a means to an end, and in some cases I’m actively beginning to hate it. The last thing I wanted today was to buy male clothes, and I made that clear. There’s a reason he told me to use his credit card–because then I couldn’t really object. This one I couldn’t fight, as I could the television and other crap he wanted to buy, because this was more or less necessary for work. However, there was no chance that I was going to spend my money buying clothes that I didn’t want.

“This is ridiculous,” I texted. “A true testament of how insane our society is, and how obsessed we are with the arbitrary values we place in things. I’ve got tons of really awesome clothes. Like really, I’ve got more clothes than I should, and I’m running out of places to put them. But because the angle of the legs on this pair of jeans is this way, I can’t wear them. Because the sleeves on this shirt are angled this way, I can’t wear them. Because the neck is cut this way, I can’t wear that shirt.”

It was surprisingly difficult, even with it being at no expense to myself, to buy male clothes. It felt too much like resigning to continued existence as a male. I didn’t want to buy new clothes, because I want to be escaping to where I don’t have to pretend to be a guy. I don’t want to replace my shoes because I want to move and just throw them away, not stay here for another year. I want to have moved before I have to replace them, the same for my pants and shirts. I give my colleague/employer credit for knowing immediately that there was no chance I was going to spend my money paying for more clothes, and that we’d have difficulties to deal with otherwise, but I’m not done with the story.

While on my way to the men’s clothing, I passed by the women’s clothing and immediately saw an outfit that I wanted. I’m in dire need of women’s shirts, and they’re the hardest things to find online for a decent price. I’m not interested in paying $23 for a shirt. I’m just not. Maybe one day, but I’m way too broke to find that even kinda reasonable. If I’m paying $23, I expect it to come with 3 shirts, at the very least. So sales racks and stuff at Rue21 are where I’d do my shopping for shirts–if I could.

It seemed so easy. Just walk by when there were no huge, burly, bearded dudes around, right? Quickly grab the outfit I was looking at, throw it in my basket, and reposition things so that they were covered as I went to check out. Simple, fast, easy.

So many people don’t get it when I talk about this. They say things like, “Just grab it. Fuck what people say.”

I can only shake my head at such things. Walk a mile in the shoes of a transgender Mississippian, and then come back with that. If I want to buy clothing, then I have to get a female friend to accompany me. I simply can’t stand in the aisle and inspect things, hold them up to see how they’d fit, or whether this top would match with those shorts.

“They don’t know they’re not for your girlfriend,” is another common statement.

Um… And?

Even if there were tons of guys running around Wal-Mart, Rue 21, Target, and Marshall’s shopping for clothes for their girlfriends (something the girlfriends wouldn’t appreciate, either) (and there aren’t anyway), it would be a flagrant denial of reality to say that people wouldn’t instantly guess that the clothes were for me. People aren’t that stupid. I knew when I went into the shoe store months ago and bought these awesome shoes that I’d get weird looks, not just for shopping for women’s shoes, but for buying a size 13–actually oversized, as it turns out I’m a 12, but it’s not like I could try them on…

The scathing, contemptible looks.

Of course, by this point I’m used to them. I’ve been getting hateful looks from people since being a goth kid in the ninth grade. However, the vitriol takes on a decidedly more lethal substance when you’re transgender. It’s not just people who don’t like my appearance or who don’t like my lifestyle; it’s people who feel threatened by my lifestyle. It’s not the female cashier that is the problem. It’s Bubba shopping with his girlfriend behind me. It’s Wyatt who is walking by. It’s the guy with a can of Skoal in his backpocket. It’s the guy who looks like he fell out of an episode of Duck Dynasty. These people are rare outliers in other parts of the world; in Mississippi, especially these more rural areas, they are the norm.

And there are tells, as I learned a few weeks ago, when a random girl at a store to which I’d never been asked me out of the blue if I preferred to be called “sir” or “ma’am.” That someone even asked this question should tell you right off the bat who we’re dealing with: southerners, for whom “sir” and “ma’am” are second nature. I don’t even think about it. A man older than me gets called “sir,” and a woman gets called “ma’am.” It’s one of the few things ingrained in every single southerner, and a dead giveaway to people in other parts of the country where you’re from.

I wasn’t doing anything odd, and this random person picked me out. No one will assume the clothes are for someone else; they will all intuit that the clothes are for me.

Even big dumb Bubba.

Seriously, Disturbed’s “Asylum” could easily be about being transgender and forced to repress it for so many years.

Release me

No remnants were ever found of it
Feeling the hot bile
With every fake smile
Though no evidence was ever found
It never went away completely

I try to hide from the unholy sound of it
Another day gone
Another night’s dawn
Dark forces pull me underground
They never went away completely

How can I feel this empty?
I will not recover this time
This loneliness is killing me

Will I never know peace of mind again?
I don’t believe it
I can’t achieve it
I think it all is just another sign
That never went away completely

Terror is coursing in me
Dreading the final moments
When I have to dream
And feel you die
([Background:] Death inside of me keeps a diligent watch on everything.
Keeps a terrible hold on my belief.
Just waiting for the moment when I…)

In Asylum (I live a lie)
Don’t you know I’m in love with you
And I wasn’t ready
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
To let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
Your Asylum (Forgive the lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
For the loneliness is killing me

Death’s images are all around again
They’re right behind me
They’re gonna find me
Judgment for the immortal sin
That had enveloped me completely

I know I’ll never know a peaceful night again
Afraid they’ll hear me
They don’t fear me
Punishment for the immoral crime
The debt was never paid completely

Terror is coursing in me
Dreading the final moments
When I have to dream
And feel you die
([Background:] Death inside of me keeps a diligent watch on everything.
Keeps a terrible hold on my belief.
Just waiting for the moment when I…)

In Asylum (I live a lie)
Don’t you know I’m in love with you
And I wasn’t ready
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
To let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
Your Asylum (Forgive the lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
For the loneliness is killing me

In the end there will be no suffering (more suffering)
In the end you will find out everything (not anything)
In the end you may question your belief (what belief)
In the end you will realize someday
How you were deceived

This has gone on too long (too long)
No more demonic dreams
Destroyer come to light
Because the memory is killing me

In Asylum (I live a lie)
I let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
(without you) this world is not fulfilling me

Don’t make me live in Asylum
I live a lie
Don’t want to live in Asylum
I live a lie
Don’t make me live in Asylum
I live a lie

 

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