by Bruno Cinti
What defines us, what makes us unique.
All the masks I no longer use must be piled up somewhere, in the realms of the past. All those pieces that never fit together, but managed to become this search I am, this longing for all I will be. This is my puzzle. It’s still unfinished, maybe it will always be.
I am transition. From female to male, from kid to adult, from little boy blue to something like a promise of furiously bright skies. Things not necessarily unrelated.
I am 36, 23, 15, 9 years old at the same time.
I am survivor, a paradoxical light. But darkness loves me and it tends to be mutual.
Should I start from the beginning?
I was a 3%. Legend goes that my mother, in spite of the IUD rendering her womb barren, asked my father for a baby in that moment of impatient and ecstatic madness just before orgasm, when no man can refuse any request. He delivered, taking his duties as seriously as usual. And thus I was a fault in a contraceptive device promising 97% effectiveness, but not an accident.
My father gave me the gifts of imagination, fantasy and this knack with words, which will always be my salvation, my escape from all the horror and devastation. Those stories, which he first read to me and then made up until I was old enough to read and make them up myself, were my strength and shelter, my most loyal friends. I could dream myself as a young Indian warrior or a tragic and fierce Malaysian pirate, explore the Amazon jungle or even plunge to the center of the Earth. And it felt far more true than being that awkward kid, with sad eyes behind the ever dirty glasses, playing by herself but making the voices of the many characters in her intricate games. And it was easier than being the child my mother had asked for, God knows why. Had she mistaken pleasure with life or imagined that tiny spark of optimism would last in her, whose only romance without an expiration date was with her whisky and misery?
The smell of whisky never fails to take me back to my 9 years and that murky golden scent impregnating the drawers where she kept her clandestine glasses. To the vertigo of being too young to understand, but a witness anyway. To my slaughtered innocence.
I should acknowledge her perseverance. Regardless of her divorce, family interventions, my tears, second chances, AA meetings, an assortment of lovers, rehab clinics, her own suicide attempts, her friends’ advice, third chances, all her dysfunctional therapists, fourth, fifth, tenth chances, immature impotent insolent intimidated immoral introverted imaginary imperative interrupts incompatible impolite inconvenient irrational boyfriends, her family’s estrangement, hospitalizations, and the end of the world as she knew it, my mother never abandoned her addiction. I reckon she was wasted even when she jumped on those fatal tracks. I wish the coming train brought her the peace this world denied her. It sure hasn’t brought it to me.
Enough. The picture of my childhood is becoming too bleak, but it wasn’t always. There was tenderness and unexpected freedoms. Magic and mysteries.
It was a time of Playmobils and bikes, cowboys and stories. A tomboy childhood, with a thirst for adventures. Gender still didn’t matter and names would change from one game to the next (though mine were always male).
The first born in my generation, with a curious and active mind, full of promise, I spent most of my time among adults, who marveled at my unusual knowledge. Maybe that’s why they could overlook the fact that I cried each Friday at school, or that I never laid hands on a Barbie doll or was afraid of every shadow. They could turn a blind eye to the fragility of my balance.
My teen years were confusing and rebellious, inside a body that didn’t represent me at all. I only had words to convey that scream inside me, that feeling of being a foreigner in my own skin, when I was 20. There were a lot of words, but not all of them were good. And I, who had always been so good with words, didn’t know what to make of them.
At first it was a secret oasis. Few people knew who I really was, the rest saw a blur. I could only be free between four walls, but I got out to the world and sank at the weight of what I was expected to be.
Ten more years were necessary. So much happens in ten years. I stopped being a kid and became a man, leaving strips of pain and skin on the way.
Five years ago I started T to be able to recognize my face in the mirror. Its been a harsh but amazing metamorphosis. So much changed: my face, my voice, my ID, my way of thinking, my marital status, my body, the way I focus, my temper, my endurance, my dreams, my sex life, my desires, my fears.
Trans life is not an easy road, and it’s much longer than we think. I’m still struggling to break the cocoon and be the one I imagined when I was just two years old and told my father I would break the sky and fly, no matter what the stars said.