Me the Mom; Trans-parents pt 3 of 3

I asked this this Jewish guy I’ve been seeing “if you would be anywhere doing anything, past, present or future what would it be?” He gave me a a thoughtful answer about the environment or something like that (a genuinely important topic but not what I was expecting. Then he flipped the the script on me and asked me. 

I sat with my imagination for a few minutes and responded “the fifth birthday party of one of my children.” The images filled my head and heart. I was a mom, a milf. A five foot ten glamorous goddess in heels and a full face of making lighting candles and hosting a birthday party. My child’s birthday party. Beyond the beautiful sight of this happy woman I was celebrating the milestone of the most important relationship in my life. That moment is the definition of motherhood to me. 
I often close my eyes imagine myself in a bath tub soaking head rested on the edge of the tub my eyes peered down looking at my hand that rests atop my ballooned stretched out belly. Eight months pregnant I sit alone meditating me and my baby. Sitting in stillness focusing on my breaths and moving bump. I know this will never be a reality because my body in its existence betrays me. 

I went through years of fearing for my figurative children. What are the repercussions of having a black trans woman as their mother? What horrors will they experience that will ultimately be my fault? 

The positive that gets me through it all is knowing my child could be trans and I’d be the best person to be there for them. I realized all (well most) parents feel so sense of inferiority when it comes to raising their child no matter the identities of the parent no matter the identities of the child. My mom was not a perfect parent to me and I could spend several posts going into a rant on why she wasn’t the most profound fit for the job (but I won’t rant) she was a woman who taught me so much both directly and indirectly. While I have imagined having a different mother I find it difficult to imagine who I would be if she weren’t my mother. 

D.R.E.A.M. ; Trans-parent

“Give me just a little bit longer

Give me just little bit stronger

Give me just a little bit longer

Give me just a little just one more try”  Tory Lanez

 

My legs long like spiders emerge from the backseat of a chauffeured black Rolls Royce revealing satin canary yellow Manolo Blahniks that crunch against the pavement. My cobalt blue ostrich feather jacket dancing in the wind. Sixteen steps from the car to the doorman expecting my arrival. Eyes shielded in over-sized canary yellow cat eye sunglasses.  Lips decorated in Bauhaus pink. Loud clicks of my stilettos echo across the marble lobby to a private elevator. Three….Two….One the elevator opens to a fourth floor suite, the largest suite in the hotel. Three little giggling bodies full of life race around the couch waiting to be chased by their nannies. I sit my Manolos on the floor drop my coat on the table by the elevator and sink into the couch taking in my surroundings as I do everyday when I arrive home.

chrissy-tiegen-luna-milf_pclxfo

 

4,500 square feet in New York City. Fixtures plated in 24kt gold, a grand piano resting in the corner, a chef’s kitchen with restaurant grade appliances, a formal dining room for twelve,  glistening gold chandeliers, a massive marble fireplace, crown molding, heated hardwood floors, three bedrooms, three and a half baths with mosaic floors and wall tiling, a separate shower and claw-foot tub with gold feet, over-sized closets with dressing rooms, wall mounted flat screens and iPads that control both the room temperature and access to guest services. A standard room on a lower floor acts as our closet; clothes filled racks from wall to wall, bags, shoes; such a cluster fuck of shit I had employ someone to manage the room and commission them to create a manifest of each item for organization and easy retrieval. The entire suite designed with the ambiance of Louis XV.

A state of the art fitness room I use to work out alone every night before bed with Beyonce blasting through my earbuds. I’d then retire to an immense king size master bedroom with its own entryway and living room. And my favorite room is the library where the kids use to study and I use to write because for whatever reason people still want to hear what I have to say even though I was no longer the broke, homeless trans girl who could write her ass off. I am an editor,  the human barbie,  human hanger, the cover girl and mom that brings life to the lyrics  “Let me cover yo shit in glitter I can make it gold” (Rihanna). I was so fucking fabulous Merriam Webster included a pull out poster of me in the dictionary under glamorous.

Every three months with the help of a full time staff we pack our things into black Dior trunk  luggage and rotate to the next hotel.  “Living in a fantasy” (Wale). The Royal Suite at The Plaza. The Central Park Suite at the Ritz Carlton. The Dior suite at the St. Regis. and The Peninsula Suite at the Peninsula. Over and over again. The Plaza, the Ritz, St. Regis, the Peninsula, The Plaza, the Ritz, St. Regis, the Peninsula.

plaza_201-0

What an odyssey of experiences for the destitute black trans woman to rise from the ashes to go from being homeless and staying in a public bathroom to now living in hotel rooms costing upwards of 20,000 dollars a night and raising children when there was no one to raise her (in an effective and affirm way). The truth is I don’t care about being a success story or some grand exception I just want a life centered around the two most important things in my life; my children and fashion. My identity as a mom is the most important thing in my life. It’s a dream of capitalism that is also a dream of safety. I am safe surrounded my fashion,  the objects money can buy, my children, bodyguards, a full time staff to attend to all of my needs. In many ways capitalism seems like the only mode of safety for women like me. Money can buy me out of death trans women experience, the catcalling women experience and the overt racism black people experience. Money can also purchase the family I cannot produce on my own.

 

beyoncemoney

These images that replay in my mind, the life I dream to have are what keep me moving. They aid my survival. Material things are the meaning of life to me because that’s what I’ve been conditioned to aspire to. My life will be about them, my children. Raising human beings to be decent people. People who learn to treat others with value and care, the opposite of the way society treated their mother. And one day when I am finally  a mother, finally stable and finally a career woman, I will teach that instability to my children in the most stable way possible; change. I will teach them to never settled too long in one place. I will teach them to embrace newness and change before it is forced upon you. My children and I the most important people in the world to me living in our own definition of security. I wouldn’t know what to do with a space I actually owned and it makes me uncomfortable to be in a place too long so I took that power into my own hands and created the system the cycle I wanted to live in and the cycle I knew how to control.

 
“Remember when I didn’t have a thing baby, I swear man all I do was, all I ,all I had to was, dreaaaaam baby, dreaaaam baby, dreaaaam baby, all I had to do was Dream” – Tory Lanez

Arykah’s Story; Trans-parent pt 1 of 3

This is a repost from the first season of The Cis Jungle nearly two years ago. This three part writing about being transgender and parenthood captures the stories of both myself and my close friend Arykah. In her own words, here is Arykah’s story:
“So Daddy, why did you and mommy get a divorce?” These were the words of my then 11 year old daughter as we whizzed down the interstate shortly after I picked her up at Detroit Metro Airport. It was October 2013 and it had been over a year since the last time that I seen her chocolate face, hugged her neck, orkissed her cute cheeks. After 10 years of marriage my ex-wife had enough and decided to leave and took a job and the kids toArizona, a distant land from Cincinnati. The process of separation, divorce, distance, and the tension between the parents fiscally prohibited visits. While I know that some that read this will object to the existence of God, and I respect that view, I credit God with the circumstances that caused my ex-wife to ultimately relocate to Michigan a short time later, a destination substantially closer and affordable to travel to fromCincinnati than Arizona. So after the question, “Daddy, why did you and mommy get a divorce?,” I told my daughter that I would tell her when the time was right, now was just not the time, and she was cool for the time being. I was not surprised by the question and suspected that she had been prompted to askbecause her mother had threatened me in an email six weeks earlier stating, “SInce you are coming out about being a transvestite, when will you tell your daughter? When will you have that conversation? If you do not, I will have it with her. Her interest and well-being are all that I am concerned about.” I explained that I would tell our daughter when the time was right and that I was seeking counseling to determine the best way to explain me being transgender. I had moved from what my ex-wife knew, and I had never used the word transvestite to describe me but I suppose this was her jabbing at me.

Many individuals know that they are different early in life but are unfamiliar with the term transgender, especially when growing up in the years before the internet, we hid, denied,overcompensated, and ran; this was me, Caitlyn Jenner, and Kristen Beck to name a few. I struggled to fit in and faked it as much as I could to be masculine. I played sports, did scouting (eagle), pledged a masculine Greek letter organization in college, worked on cars with my dad, and at times over dated women to overcompensate for my desire to be a female. Realistically, I liked those things then and they are things that I like now, and girls can do them too. My sexuality was never really in question; it was my gender identity that I struggled with. I ultimately married a beautiful woman and conceived a child, my daughter, the focus of this article.

I started my transition in April 2013 knowing that it was going to be a hard road travel, but I was up for it because anything else didn’t have a good ending. I didn’t have a plan but I knew what I had been doing wasn’t working and had to try something different. I was seeing a couple of therapist who were helping me on this journey to resolve some of the unknowns, the largest of which was my daughter. My ex-wife had only a few rules of relationship of which one was “don’t lie to me.” I had lied to her through omission by not tell her about how I felt from the very start, but hell, I didn’t really understand me at the time so how could I explain it to her or anyone else. After divorce, reflection, and research, I concluded that the lesson that I learned was that lying doesn’t pay, my daughter deserved the truth.

It was one month later for Thanksgiving in November of 2013 when I picked up my daughter for Thanksgiving break that she hopped into the backseat of the car, strapped on her seatbelt, crossed her arms, and said, “So daddy, why did you and mommy get a divorce?” At this point I knew that this was not going to go away, nor did I expect it to, I was on a journey and she was with me. I said that we would talk, and as we stopped to get lunch at iHOP I told her that I would tell her during her Christmas break.

I am and have always been an active “father” in my daughter’sand stepson’s life. I can’t take all the credit, but I was instrumental in helping to teach them to cook the basic meals, clean house, drive a car, ride a bike, throw a football, helping with homework, teach life’s lessons, and a plethora of other things. I talk to the kids and am genuinely concerned about what they are going through. I am not perfect, but I am there and learning just as they are. Being a parent is hard and there is no exact blueprint, every child is different and you can paint a pretty picture of what it is going to be, but you have to bringextra paint to the party repaint what it really is.

It was one month later in December that I had prepped myselffor this talk, I had thought about the effects of this on my daughter, and steps to take should she reject me or need help getting through this. I didn’t think that there would be a problem because she is just a loving child, but I needed to be prepared for the worst. I had talked with Trans friends with children in similar situations and I had heard and read the horror stories of friends and acquaintances that waited until their children graduated from high school, college, or grad school to tell them, only to be slapped with rejection. Their children were upset not because the parent was Transgender, but by the factthat they had been taught to tell the truth and be upstanding people, yet here their parent had been lying to them and not living authentically for years. Additionally, my encounters taught me that younger children are moldable, more accepting, and less judgmental; there was room for us to grow together, and society had changed so much in the last 30 years.

She jumped into the car and with that same routine and zeal, asked the question, “So daddy, why did you and mommy get a divorce?” I didn’t want to start our time together on this, so I diverted the conversation until New Year’s Eve. I had told myself that I wanted to start the year anew, so this was it. That morning she made breakfast and I said, “let’s watch a movie,” sowe hopped on the couch with a quilt and watched the HBO movie “Normal.” The movie is about a rural family of four in which the husband comes out as being Transgender. I chose the movie because it was very similar to our family and my story, the children were about the age of mine, and it presented a lot of the issues that families and transgender individuals go through. About half way through the movie I stopped and said, “you have been asking why mommy and I divorced, well it is because I am like Ruth, I am transgendered.” Don’t get me wrong, this was not the only reason for divorce but it was the main one, we had other problems, and according to my ex-wife she has no problem with me being Transgender, her problem was that I lied to her and didn’t give her a choice, fair enough.

My daughter didn’t blink or seem to be phased in the least bitwhen I told her. I explained a little more about me by telling her that I would always be her daddy and that while I might change on the outside, I would always be the same person to her on the inside. I showed her some pictures, and asked if she had any questions, she didn’t. We finished the movie then decided to go to the mall, and on the way she said, “Daddy, I am going to need a picture of Arykah.”
Children are interesting creatures, most simply wanting to express and receive love while being extremely accepting of most things that aren’t harmful. I use to believe that it took both a mother and father to raise a child, and while I still believe there are a few gray areas where this thinking has some value, I also know that given the world that we live in, good parenting, love, time, and attention go a long way regardless of the gender make up of the parents. I still do believe that it takes at least twoparents working together to create balance for their child’s development, and that those two parents know that being a parent never ends.”
To read more be sure to check out Arykah’s forthcoming book.

“In Exile: Beautiful Struggle.” The Cis Jungle will share details of the release as they come! And of course once the book is released I will be doing a review!

2016

2016 has been an interesting year by far one of the most complicated and trying years to date. I grew into an all new understanding of myself womanhood and maturity. I can remember with clarity how I spent my last New Year’s Eve. In my room in Bed with Grayson (my cat) watching the ball drop in New York City. This New Year’s Eve New York City is my home (and I am not going to time square to watch the ball drop, though its only a subway ride away. )

I struggle to put into words the pain and growth I have experienced in the last 365 days. Trying to cope with the pain of what it feels like to exist in my body. An existence I become more and more increasingly aware of with each day. In 2017 I will strive to focus more on the one person I somehow endlessly neglect myself. I don’t expect the coming year to be the most delightful year because I recognize it will take hard work to begin on the path to wholeness and happiness a year of tireless grinding. Thank you to all of my readers this year for making The Cis Jungle twice as great as it was last year with readership doubling! 

Bell Hooks said “To be a black woman writer of non fiction and to be read is to be blessed and highly favored” and I feel truly blessed to have all of my readers. Happy New Year!

giphy (1).gif

Happy Holidays from the Cis Jungle. We hope you have a Fantastic and Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Please enjoy your holiday season and the end of another year. This take time to reflect on the past twelve months and remember if you are lacking love this season the Cis Jungle loves you and this space exists for you! I appreciate all of the support and my readers. Please continue to share and create conversation about thecisjungle.com
Love, 

C.C.O. Jane 

You Got Trumped

Exactly one month and one day ago the day after the election I left my home in New York and proceeded with my daily routine I took my afternoon break at my favorite coffee shop in Manhattan where I flirted with the Italian owner then retreated upstairs to the sitting area. I felt the quiet everywhere, on the subway, walking through Time Square station, but I didn’t think much of it and it was easy to ignore. As I sat in the corner writing, a different post for The Cis Jungle, I overheard two assumingly cis white men talking about the election. One of them went on talk about how his wife was devastated and spent the entire morning in tears. They sat in silence for a few moments.

I was in some regards taken aback and confused. First to all of my friends who organize, self identify as social justice warriors or consider themselves socially conscious; Why are you shocked? This is the literal manifestation of the oppression we fight against; sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, islamophobia, xenophobia, racism. These fights literally keep some of us employed so why is it that oppression is so shocking? Donald Trump is cis white rich and a man. When did that ever spell out loser here in America?


Second I say Welcome. Welcome to my world my reality every single day without fail. The only reason I no longer live in “fear” is because I’ve become so desensitized to it no longer phases me. I am so cynical many people can’t stand me, I am so delusionally confident I confuse myself sometimes. Welcome to my pain I can’t escape through family time, or date night, or a trip to Bergdorf’s. I have to endure and move on. It’s almost like discovering who your white feminist friends are, has my struggle not been invisible to you? Can you see me, the real me? I partly blame myself for being such a good faker, many of you can’t see my daily struggle that occasionally even begins with finding a motivation to open my eyes in the morning. The injustices of my life extend beyond whoever is in office. It begins with you the people I see everyday talk to everyday or who chooses not to talk. Our injustices start with the people who surround us. Is it bad that it’s easy for me to ignore your pain and tears as my own have been ignored most of my life? I think that part of my heart has frozen over because when I try to reach inward to the empathy I still have it but it’s hibernating. My empathy has to take regular seasonal breaks in order to remain even somewhat functional. 
I never felt free or truly liberated. I thought once I finally moved to New York that feeling of Freedom would overtake me; it didn’t. I am a black trans woman living in America which for many girls like me is a death sentence whether it be by someone else’s hand or our own. In my not so humble opinion freedom has never been truly granted to black and brown people and certainly not transgender people. As Kanye said “Like a light skin slave boy we in the muthafuckin’ house!” Women, black people and trans people we’ve simply become house slaves no longer subject to laboring in the fields, but nonetheless still under rule in the masters home while being paraded and tricked as the favorites. We are simply “new slaves” (Kanye west).
I must say it’s a little entertaining to see these bitches scatter, frantic, running for their lives, planning to move their families to foreign lands, pouring tears. For the first time in many people’s lives they feel what my existence feels like every single day. There is nowhere for me to hide, trust me if there were I would be hiding now. I have to survive, women like me and under privileged and hyper marginalized people have to survive. We must work we must interact we must exist because the alternative is a sure death as opposed to a possible one.

Why must there take so many of us feel the pain to feel our own pain how our own struggles before we are able to believe anyone else. These stories ,these complaints ,their pain, my pain, which is nothing new and has existed for as long as I can remember yet now we are being heard. I am being begged and I am being expected to empathize with a community of people who have a new of my story ignored my pain or taken for granted my existence since the beginning of time. The best advice I can give is to continue living; even if and when people ignore you your skin will begin to grow so thick and tough and over time you will no longer feel it and you too can be painless like me. And so “I’m gonna live my life like it’s the last damn night” (Elle King) because for any black transgender woman in today’s world it very well may be.  

Christian Carmen Olivia, and Jane -Me, Myself and I

Christian Carmen Olivia Jane is the legal name I chose for myself. Four first names to fit the four very different personalities that make me who I am.

Jane is the preppy bougie white woman in me. This is the girl that wants to exist and be happy. Most people don’t see her in me because she’s the one who’s not necessarily supposed to be seen, but rather subtly felt. She’s sort of basic. She’s the one that keeps me qualified as normal to the rest of society. Jane is the Sex and the City girl who loves cosmos and rolls her eyes when people sit too close to her on the subway. Jane and Olivia are the ones who expect the car doors to be opened for them. Jane because she thinks she’s rich and opening the door for her should be common sense, and Olivia because she’s that bad.

Olivia is the “bad bitch” herself. The fixer. The get it done girl. The professional whose wardrobe is as enviable as her work ethic. This is the serious woman within me. The girl who wants it all and expects it all. She’s perhaps the most confident of the four girls. Kanye West taught her that confidence, because we all know nobody loves Kanye like Kanye. Beyoncé was talking about Olivia when she said, “She don’t got to give it up cause she’s professional.” She’s put together and knows how to save face. She’s the one that smiles and laughs when it feels like someone is ripping out her insides. Her presidential (sometimes fake) smile is what everyone recognizes about her. Though each woman has a defined sense of style visible to all around them, much of what I wear is influenced by her and Carmen. The famous Christian “strut,” “prance,” “runway walk” that makes everyone on the streets, in subways, in airports, and department stores stop and admiration was stolen from Olivia. A walk that sends sound waves across the room when her stiletto hits the ground with precision. Olivia is able to glide through a room so gracefully and with such confidence and power, it grants her respect. When people stop to compliment her walk or humorously ask for walking lessons, she’s always sort of taken aback because that walk was so ingrained into her identity she no longer notices it.

oliviawalking

Carmen is the fiery flamboyant life of the party. Carmen is a bit stubborn. She’s humorous, beautiful, and sexy. She is also fairly confident (not as confident as Olivia, but close). My loud quirky uncontrolled laugh belongs to her. This is the girl who isn’t afraid to speak what’s on her mind and she’ll say pretty much anything to anyone. Much of what I wear is influenced by her and Olivia. She is the flirtatious one of the bunch and could be caught in curve hugging silhouettes that showed off her legs and hugged her butt. She dresses this way without even realizing it. Carmen is confident, perhaps delusionally confident. But, when you’ve had a life like mine, delusional confidence is the key to survival.

carmen

Christian is similar to a reincarnated real-life Carrie Bradshaw… but black, and trans, and a size 6 – not a 2. she’s a combination of Jane, Olivia, and Carmen. A little love sick, a bit stuck up, stubborn, and guarded. She’s afraid and fearless at the same. One of her theme songs is “Love Me” by Lil Wayne, because Carmen, Olivia, and Jane were everything she could ever ask for. “I don’t know what I would do without ya’ll. Imma ball til the day I fall, as long as my bitches love me.” She’s the most insecure and unsure of all of the girls. Christian is the only one that feels pain. She’s the messy, clumsy, off kilter combination of the other three girls. The most uncoordinated and hardest to define – which I guess makes her the most human.

Set to Demi Lovato’s “Cool for the Summer,” I had this reoccurring dream; I’d wake up to the these four individual girls Christian, Carmen, Olivia and Jane, having the time of their lives driving down strip in Vegas. Las Vegas was a land of magic and wonder… A place where anything goes and secrets stayed secrets. It was the only place I’d ever fantasized about all four women together living their fullest selves – exactly who they were and wanted to be in their fullest existence. “Die for each other.” Their identities masked by the night, but thrived in the bright lights that lit the iconic skyline. These are the only moments where the imagery of each girl was clear to me. They were able to run free and be seen in the city of freedom and pleasure.

demi

I used to wonder if I was a little mad. How could anyone who experienced what I’ve experienced at only twenty four not be a little mad or mentally unstable? It reminds me of a concept I learned in psychology back in college: Dissociative Identity Disorder. DID, as it is referred to for short, is a disorder characterized by the presence of multiple distinct personalities, two or more. The aspect of dissociation is thought to be a coping mechanism where a person literally dissociates themselves from a situation or experience far too violent traumatic or painful to assimilate with the conscious self. Being black, a woman, and transgender in today’s world is definitely violent, traumatic and painful. Is my subconscious trying to find a way to cope? Could I be a victim of this disorder?

I existed without a family who supported me or even attempted to understand me. I had no partner supporting me and a small friend circle that I was always unsure about. I never want to be in love because I have no interest in dealing with the feelings and emotions love brings. It’s hard to admit I fear people… it’s hard to admit I always want to be alone… because through “aloneness,” my feelings are reduced and I don’t have to deal with the impact of people. I was alone. I am alone. I was and am everything I have. I’d always been told that my being is the only thing I had control over – and I realize the truth in that statement. It’s maybe the reason I am so obsessed with my appearance and my personal physical transition, because when we are powerless we tend to get crazy with the things we do control.

My name was one piece of my identity that honored my personality(s) and my physical transition was another. Medical transition is such a vital piece of my personal journey – one that balances my mood by psychologically working like an antidepressant, but overtime producing physical results. During this time, everyone I ever loved left me. Everyone I ever needed left me. So I learned to exist by myself. Correction: I’m learning. I have yet completely perfected the craft, but I am well on my way. I lived through it all: “Every fear, every nightmare anyone has ever had” (Beyonce via Warsan Shire). I taught myself crying was foul. It was something reserved for weak bitches. “Suicide before you see these tears fall down my eyes… we gon’ be alright we gon’ live a good life” (Beyonce). I don’t have time to get lost in my feelings because I have to survive. I have to be bionic – something other than human, because this is the only way I’m able deal with things humans shouldn’t be subject to dealing with. I worked to translate the pain into anger, and the anger into productivity.

I’m sure that’s how my obsession with fashion came about through a need to distract and control and love. Through fashion, I was able to do all of those things. I fondly remember going into high end department stores alone and trying expensive designer looks. Flipping through pages of Vogue as a preteen listening to Gaga’s “Fashion” from the Confessions of Shopaholic soundtrack:

“I am, I’m too fabulous I’m so, fierce it’s so nuts I live, to be model thin dress me, I’m your mannequin,

J’adore, vivienne, haillez-moi, Gucci, Fendi et Prada valentino Armani too Merde, I love them Jimmy Choo

Fashion put it all on me, don’t you want to see these clothes on me, fashion I am anyone you want me to be”

fashion

It lifted my spirit. It set me free. It allowed me to escape the trauma temporarily, but none the less it was an escape. For those moments in which I allowed fashion to take over my life, I was whoever I wanted to be. Fashion was how I had control and kept balance and as I grew older I realized it was how I expressed and validated my gender. A validation I needed because the world worked to make sure it didn’t validate me.

Kanye was always there to coach me (or rather coach Carmen) in the field of confidence, providing me with songs and lyrics that touched my soul – because we all know Kanye is the guy to learn confidence from:

“Middle America packed in came to see me black skin” – my life as a black trans female activist (a quote I previously used in The Cis Jungle).

“This is that goon shit, fuck up ya whole afternoon shit” – how I feel whenever people finish reading my writing.

“It’s amazing I’m the reason everybody fired up this evening.

I’m exhausted, barely breathing, holding onto what I believe in.

No matter what you’ll never take that from me.

My reign is as far as your eyes can see.

It’s amazing.

I’m a monster, I’m a killer I’m know I’m wrong, yeah.

I’m a problem that’ll never ever be solved.

And no matter what you’ll never take that from me” – the fucked up song I played on repeat when I was 17 because the lyrics were my exact life at 17

“You see it’s leaders and its followers, but I’d rather be a dick than a swallower” – When Olivia was power hungry (though she’s too professional to ever publicly quote something like this)

kanye

And probably my favorite:

“They said I was the abomination of Obama’s nation

That’s pretty bad way to start the conversation.

At the end of they day goddammit I’m killin this shit.

I know damn well ya’ll feelin this shit.

I don’t need your pussy bitch I’m on my own dick” – a literal word for word translation of how I feel. An unapologetic declaration of my transness, in gender, identity and physicality and confidence without need for validation.

As a senior in high school, I was obsessed with the Pussycat Dolls. Carmen loves the Pussycat Dolls, specifically their hit single “When I Grow Up.” The music video depicted a group of leggy bombshells in full burlesque walking down the streets of Hollywood, dancing on top of cars and climbing up construction structures to perform these elaborate dance numbers because, afterall, they were dancers. A whimsical, playful sound, an almost childish and cheery beat:

“Boys call you sexy and you don’t care what they say you see everytime you come around they be screaming yo name,

Now I’ve got a confession ha ha ha ha

When I was young I wanted attention ha ha ha ha

And I promised my self that I’d do anything ha ha ha ha

Anything at all for them to notice me ha ha ha ha

But I ain’t complaining

We all wanna be famous

So go ahead and say what you wanna say

You don’t know what it’s like to be nameless

Want em to know what your name is…….

Cause see when I was younger I would say

I wanna be famous, I wanna be a star, I wanna be in movies

When I grow up

I wanna see the world, drive nice cars, I wanna have groups

When I grow up

Be on tv, people know me, be in magazines

When I grow up

Fresh and clean, number one chick when I step out on the scene”

pcd

Indulge me for a while and picture it with me; my name in lights: CHRISTIAN CARMEN OLIVIA JANE. You walk past newsstands and there I am on the cover of multiple magazines. My name on billboards, buses, benches, Christian Carmen Olivia Jane is all you see. My PR team celebrating with me singing, “Cause the whole world loves it when you don’t get down… and the whole world loves it when you’re in the news…” (Outkast). It sounds like narcissism, but I didn’t see it that way. I saw it as almost a sort of reparations for such a traumatic and undeserving past. I lived through the hurt the pain the misfortune and this is the way for the universe to balance everything out. The reality was I living.

beyonce-you-vs-me-gif

rihannayoume

One friend always made fun of me, reminded, and sometimes shamed me for referring to the relationship between me and my onlookers as a celebrity and the paparazzi. While a certain level of vanity perhaps did play into that response, it was a way I managed to cope with being objectified, gawked at, and in some cases chased down in admiration. It was a humorous reminder of those memes you see on social media “me” (always someone fabulous doing something fabulous) and “you” (always some laborer, peasant, foolish, or desperate looking person).I fondly remember dancing  around my apartment in my most fabulous dress to gaga singing “A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E”

“Give me that feeling that I love, I’ll turn the lights out put your hands together make ‘em touch touch, I live for the applause applause applause I live for the applause-plause live for the applause-plause live for the way that you cheer and scream for me live for the applause applause applause.”

I tried to channel myself in this place of fame and fortune. The reality was I am living for the applause, the thought of millions of people chanting my name, the fame the clothes, my suite in the plaza hotel I called home, it is what gives me the energy to continue on. The fantasy aids me.

I used to say I am becoming the woman I always wanted to be. But I was wrong. I am becoming the person I always wanted to be – beyond my womanhood, beyond my blackness, beyond my queerness. I am growing in mind and body and, while I would never have had the courage to wish some of the lessons I have learned on myself, I am able to recognize like Kanye “that don’t kill me can only make me stronger.” I don’t know what the final chapter is because I am hoping this is not all life has to offer me. When people asked me “How do you do it all?”, for years I didn’t know the answer – simply because I didn’t have the luxury of taking time to ponder how I managed to do it all. But after demanding and allowing time for myself to understand and reflect on whom I am today, I know with certainty the only way I am able to do it all is with Christian, Carmen, Olivia, and Jane.

“It’s just me myself and I solo ride until I die cause I got me for life. I don’t need a hand to hold even when that night is cold I’ve got that fire in my soul. I don’t need anything to get me through the night cause that beat that’s in my heart yeah it’s keepin me alive. I don’t need anything to make me satisfied cause the music does me good and it gets me every time, my heart is too cold to break” (G- Eazy)

SZVN8058.jpg