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"Go and Celebrate"

Posted Apr 05 2009 12:30am
Is what he said to me over the phone that Wednesday afternoon. I was near the courthouse, downtown, hiding in the shadows of some large building. The ticket I'd forgotten about, the one I almost let slide past the 45th day, had been neutralized, thanks in no small part to my father's ability to convince a circuit court attorney that I was "a good student and couldn't afford to have the points on my license." Really, I could have cared less after the clerk at the courthouse told me if I'd missed the due-date, I'd owe the city TWICE as much. My resolve regarding that matter, like so many things I deem beyond my control, was gone, and I was ready to just accept the consequences without any resistance. But my father was adamant about keeping my driving record clean, and managed to help me...I could imagine him, patting himself on the back for another missed punishment, another bit of prestidigitation that forced the hand of those in power. That's how he always worked, always avoiding consequences, and I? When he told me to celebrate, the first thing I considered was buying some booze...what better way to "celebrate?" I told myself. But I wasn't about to simply falter then, though the thought had embedded itself in my mind...

I rode my bike home, went for a run, did the typical things I'd been doing, while trying to focus on the tasks at hand: I had a paper proposal due the next day, and I'd only a vague idea of what I was going to write about. The night wore on, and, I broke, somewhere along the way...I crashed. I decided to celebrate, after nearly three weeks of not drinking, I went totally crazy, downing about six beers that night. Forget about finishing that paper proposal; I was gone.

Thursday, I wake up and decide to skip my classes, and drink (there is more to it than that, but I'll get there). My paper proposal ends up getting finished, but I e-mail it to the professor later that evening. I had to include Deleuze's "Cinema I," for reference to film theory. More booze, and I've passed out at some point early Friday morning. The days have blurred, but I know I have some responsibilities to tend to that Friday. I shirk them, big time. No, I've not been into my schizophrenia lab for almost two weeks. Also, I missed my psychiatrist appointment. I feel fat because I didn't exercise, and I am miserably drinking more and more. I missed the deadline for submitting my poems to an AAP contest and a journal. How could something so important turn so insignificant when I'm under the influence? This only reinforces my self-doubt and lack of self-worth. Oh, and I'm vomitting whatever I do eat...so I'm subsisting off of alcohol energy--not an ideal situation. And I'd cashed a cheque to buy wine...my greatest weakness, to be sure. Friday night--I don't recall what happened.

Saturday morning, I am ashamed, and cannot figure out where I went wrong. The hangover is not terrible, not compared to my regret and lost hope. This is how it has to be, and I'm so close to finishing undergraduate studies. Look at me, a failure. Substance abuse doesn't begin to touch on how I feel though. It's a symptom of how utterly confused I am about myself.

When I met with my ever-plucky therapist on Wednesday, we talked about my family, and how I likely internalized a number of "conditions of worth" that my parents had set up for me, but not for the foster children they care for. I don't resent that my parents care for foster children, not in the least, at least not now, but my therapist said she would have been angry about being raised in such a way, being parceled out to live in a certain way, having two sets of parental demands/expectations split between two discrete groups needing care (biological children and foster children). This discussion was fine and all, but I eventually told her about my gender-issues.

I couldn't look at her as I confessed what I'd begun doing. I related how I'd always identified with the heroine struggle, been drawn to more feminine kinds of characters and writers. This seemed like a sensible lead-in for what I told her next: that I'd been gender-bending online. Maybe that puts the activity too lightly, and maybe it happens a lot, but for me, I was ashamed to tell her what I'd been doing. I told her how I'd played as a female character in a certain online game, convinced players that I was a girl in real life, and to some extent, engaged in cyber-sex with these players. I didn't tell her how one player called me in real life and STILL believed I was a girl. But you want to know the truth? This "game" of passing is exciting, liberating. My therapist considered this kind of gender experimentation good, and since then, I've been falling more and more into a natural sort of stride with this female persona. I told one friend about this, and she thought that meant I should date males, which...I am not entirely comfortable with thinking about. I've made out with males in the past, but...I've not found the right person...I suppose...

But the truth is out: I guess I'm "questioning?" I don't know what that means, AT ALL right now. All I know is that part of me...to be honest, feels more calm playing as a female. In fact, all my characters are female (though I role-play some to different degrees). The identity implications here are numerous and I'm frankly too overwhelmd to think about them.

With this, I'm going to try to go for a run or something. It's nice out, though I should revise a poem I have in mind.

-Mt
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