A word used instead of a noun. (Websterís New Collegiate Dictionary)
Shila is doing well with binding or I am trying to think so. It is hard because I have always thought of her as woman. She has the mentality of a woman. Men and women give off certain vibes. She gives off vibes that fit a woman. I have not found a man who gives off the same vibes. She is always experimenting with different things to bind with. I have to keep and eye on her to make sure that she doesnít start cutting again. I consider it an addiction. Shila talks about it at times and says that she likes it but knows that most people wonít understand why it kills the pain that she feels because she is not able to pass when she binds.
Saturday night and Shila and I are sitting in the living room. She is reading song lyrics from this new cd that she just bought. It is from this artist named Dar Williams. I am reading the paper. Shila keeps on playing this one song. It is kind of getting on my nerves. Anything gets on my nerves when it is done repetitive.
" Why are you listening to this song so many times?"
" Because it calls me to it."
" Whatís wrong?"
" Listen to these lines."
" I won't forget when Peter Pan came to my house, took my hand I said I was a boy; I'm glad he didn't check." (Dar Williams, When I was a Boy).
" I wish this was me. I wish I could tell someone that I AM a man and that they would listen to me."
I could tell that by now she was in crisis mode. She is down and some how I need to get her up so that she does not hurt herself. I walk over to the couch where she is sitting and hug her. I as well put her in a headlock and ruffle her hair. I am trying to show as much affection that I can. When she gets to this level I really donít know what to do. I have been at this level for different reasons and this seems to work for me.
" I. . . " she cries as she tries to articulate. " Remember when I was young I wanted to play football. I really did and I donít think anyone took me seriously. I remember the evening when I came to the dinner table topless, when I was only 8 or 9 and my mom got mad. I never liked to wear a shirt. I only did because of my dad."
"We all want to do stuff like that when we were young."
"I really wanted to do that stuff. I wanted to play basketball when I was in middle school and the boys tried to keep me from doing it. They wouldnít pass me the ball. I was kind of crushed. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be the tough one. The one that no one could beat up."
I hold her tight. And think in my mind that donít we all have a period in our life when we wanted to do something but we couldnít because for what ever the reason we just couldnít.
"I think we all have been there. There is and always have been someone telling us what we can do and what we canít. I remember when I wanted to wrestle and my parents were against it. I wanted to be part of the WWF and throw people around in the ring."
" I really. . . I wanted to do these things. I have had to fight every day to do these things. Some of them had to do with what type of bike I had as a kid. I wanted a boys bike. I donít know why but I wanted a boys one. I wanted to go off curbs stuff like that. The only difference between the girls and the boys was where the bar was. Nothing major. To me it was major."
" Do you want to know. . ." (sobs) "Know why I shop in the menís department?"
"Tell me I would love to know dear."
" I donít know why. OK. I donít know why. I hate womenís clothes. But I donít know why that is. When I was younger I liked dresses but I was more turned on to jeans or to pants. It could have been because they had pockets. I donít know."
"I have spent time in the Menís department. What is weird with that? Some women do use the menís department."
" I have always hated womenís shoes. I have always wanted to shop in the menís shoe department. I was so happy when my dad let me get shoes in the menís department. It could be that I hate the color white or the color selection is better in the menís department."
"I like menís shoes as well. You know that. We have discussed that a little. You arenít the only one canít stand the color white. Many of my friends who are athletes like the men shoe department better."
Some how and I donít know how Shilaís breathing slows down and she starts to fall asleep. I bring a blanket from the closet and put it on top of her so she will stay warm. I wish I could make her happy. I really wish I could. Sometimes I wish I could just give her a pill and then everything will be better.
I go over to where Shila put the book of lyrics. I find the song that she was reading the lyrics. After I read it, I even start to cry. Now I know what she feels. I think I do in the end. All of us girls were boys at one time or the other same as all boys were girls at one time or the other whether we will admit it or not. Yes I did make forts in the back yard as is discussed in the song. I remember my childhood and how I was a tomboy and my mom wanted a princess.
Later this week, during dinner Shila clears her throat and says, "I have something to say. Or maybe I should say to ask of you. I know that this will be difficult but I want you to do this for me. What I want you to do is. . . how would you put it. . . I want to go by the male pronoun. I really want to go by he. You donít know how happy I feel when someone refers to as he. I canít really find a word to describe it. It is nirvana I guess you would say." she tries to explain and I readily say yes in my mind.
"I will, but you will have to realize that you will have to give me space to fuck up. It is hard to do when I have known you for so long. I respect your wishes and will do anything to make you happy."
"So are you going to ask people at work to call you by he?"
" Yes I am going to, but not now. I am going to give it some time. I am going to call John first thing tomorrow."
"Why not now dear?"
I really want her to open up about this, but I still donít want her to get hurt. I am still afraid that she will get hurt. She and I discuss whom she should come out to and who she shouldnít come out to.
"When will you come out to your parents?"
" I am not going to come out to my parents. You have to be joking. They will think that I am a freak. It is one thing to be a dyke, but it is another thing to be trans."
"Well you are going to have to come out to them sooner or later you know. You will have to atleast when you start ĎTí. They will start wondering what is going on when you start growing facial hair."
"Well ya, but that wonít be for a while."
"I want to also go by a more masculine name. I think I will go by Tom. Short for Thomas. What do you say about that?"
" Hold it isnít that too much for one day? I donít know if I can handle two things in one day. You are going to have to give me time OK?"
Two months pass and Tom slowly tells his friends and they more or less accept his decision and his changes. Some of them have trouble coping. He is constantly being referred to as maíam. It doesnít help that he has trouble binding if I may be truthful about it. He is starting to get very frustrated because he feels it is taking too long for people to get use to his change of name pronoun. A few people remember but most have trouble.
One day he comes home in tears, "I have decided that I donít care what pronoun I go by." he sobs. "I feel that I have tried everything that one can do and it is not working. I have decided that it doesnít matter. So you can call me whatever."
" I am still going to call you Tom. That is who you really are. I am going still honor that OK? I still love you."
" I feel no one understands."
" Some do understand. You need to find folks like you go to. There is also a conference that is coming up."
I make him some coffee and we sit together on the couch. Him laying against me stretched out on the couch. There is some tranquility among that night as the two us try to unwind.