Going Postal

So about 7 weeks ago, the first anniversary of the beginning of marriage equality in Australia whooshed by. Seeing as Australian society hasn’t actually imploded, you may not have even noticed it. Some very clever people, driven by Quinn Eades and Son Vivienne, put together Going Postal, an anthology of writing by clever people about marriage equality written during the shitty marriage equality campaign. They made an actual book out of the collection too! My very first The Roxy Epoch blog post was selected to be included in the book. As you could imagine, I was super stoked by this. My piece is on pages 74 to 76 inclusive. The collection is 265 pages long, not including introductions. I was all set to promote the shit out of the book’s publication locally, but I unfortunately had an anxiety attack that persisted for weeks, so I kinda hardly left the house if my livelihood didn’t depend on it.

Using the time honoured Better Late Than Never Approach, seeing as my emotions now seem to be all settled down, well … as settled down as they will get seeing as I am driven by oestrogen these days, here is the official website for the book.

It’s got a blurb about the book. It’s got some cool Instagram posts of the book in various poses in various places with various people. It’s got the bios of the editors. It’s got a list of the writers. It’s got a picture slideshow of the writers, including yours truly. It’s got a list of the book launches that I missed out on, but lots of other people went to. Best of all, it’s got various links where you can buy either the physical book that someone can then conveniently bring to your door, or worst case scenario put one of those “attempted delivery” slips in your letter box, plus it’s also got links where you can buy FOUR different types of electronic versions of the book if that is your thing! Please buy a copy for yourself and a copy for all of your friends and relatives.

Ah … teenage memories

It’s simultaneously both revelatory and utterly fucking disturbing that so many old memories have insisted on bobbing up recently. Revelatory, because I’m incrementally, a teeny smidge before I hit 50, getting closer to working out who I actually am. But it’s also quite disturbing to be constantly reminded just how powerful denial can be when it’s tyres are being kicked by trauma. Of course I get that to have realised who I was back when I should have realised who I was, would have most certainly led to me suffering far worse trauma, yet I am still often left wondering how I have made it this far, having managed to, even if only temporarily, stuff so much of what quintessentially should make me me into a collection of unmarked boxes and then abandoned them in the deepest storage levels of my brain. 

One of my most recent flashbacks was to either a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon in early 1986. I was 16. I hadn’t thought of that particular afternoon for many years until several weeks ago when Youtube’s algorithms helpfully suggested that I might like to watch a music clip from the mid 1980s. It was spot on. I was a huge Mental as Anything fan in my teens, and in early 1986, their member Martin Plaza had just released his monumentally successful solo cover of Unit 4 + 2’s Concrete and Clay. I had somehow managed to get my hands on a promo poster for it, which I guess, with hindsight, must have come from a friend’s copy of Dolly or Cosmopolitan. I remember looking at the poster that I had just blu-takked to the bedroom wall (shared then with my younger brother), almost nearly recognising that my universe had just rotated a little, yet it has still taken me until now to realise what had actually shifted that afternoon. Martin Plaza had just become my first nearly-outward man crush, yet my denial was so strong because of the time-and-place layers of my existence, that it has taken me another 33 years to be able to visualise myself in my teenage bedroom gazing longingly up at Martin Plaza gazing longingly back at me. He was sexily clad in a pair of mechanic’s overalls and his face and hands were liberally smeared with grease. To perfect the scene, both of his hands were tightly wrapped around the biggest wrench you have ever been lucky enough to clap your eyes on. Swoon.

Until 2 years ago, my attempts to retrieve memories of my life up to, and including, my late teens had mostly drawn a blank, especially where my gender and sexuality were relevant. Thanks to some stellar help from my most excellent psychologist, and some really intense memorial excavations on my part, the past two years have witnessed a deluge of returning childhood memories, all neatly slotting into place in my psyche like a game of Tetris, all helping me to contextualise the trauma experienced from attempting to squash my gender into the ultimately misguided binary male/female model. I am confident there are many more memories and revelations still yet hidden, possibly memories that will cause even more trauma in their resurfacing. 

On the one hand I want them all to resurface now. I feel that the more memories I have Tetrised, the faster I will be able to get on with the rest of my life. On the other hand, the sudden resurfacing of each additional memory brings with it the trauma that it was packed with, like so many foetid foam packing peanuts. As I am limited in the amount of additional trauma I am able to process simultaneously, I have decided that it is probably best to sit back and let them rise up at a time and place of their choosing. I have crossed my fingers that they are clever and kind enough to self-organise in order to pace themselves out.




Money can’t buy you love and acceptance, but at least it can buy your lunch

Today a young shop assistant remarked on my red finger nails, and how she wished she could achieve the nail length I have. I smiled and thanked her, but admitted that I need to use shellac polish as the hormones I am taking cause my nails to be extremely brittle, and that they otherwise too readily, and too often, peel, shatter and split past my quick. Despite my extensive reading beforehand to search for all possible outcomes, I don’t remember reading any references to the possibility that a drastic reduction in testosterone could interfere with my body’s ability to lay down keratin in my nails. My hormone specialist has promised to trawl the journals to try to find a solution for me, bless his little cotton socks. It is unlikely, though, due to the dearth of studies on cross hormones and transitioning.

The shop assistant replied “oh … the hormones my boyfriend takes cause his nails to be really hard, so he struggles to trim and file them”. It took me 0.25 second and several blinks of my eyelids to realise that she had just very probably told me that she has a trans boyfriend experiencing the effects of vastly increased testosterone. I wanted to ask, but there were others behind me waiting to be served. 

I left the shop, sat down in my car and promptly started crying. I shed tears for how comfortable she was in telling me … someone that she sees for a matter of minutes not even once a week, and someone who’s name she doesn’t know. I shed tears for the joy that future generations of trans folk, generally speaking, in Australia at least, will have vastly improved and much more fulfilling lives than those that have beaten this path before them. I shed tears because … well that’s just who I am now.