I finally had my Rae Earl* breakthrough today. I get that this blog post will sound derivative, but considering the fact that I’m a white faggot who moved to New York on Monday to FIND LOVE AND HAPPINESS, it’s just as well that any step forward I take will have already been taken – this year – by a British girl on TV.
I got here on Monday. It’s been fucking terrifying. People think that I’m scared of the city, of getting lost on the train, of being accosted by an ethnic person, but none of that intimidates me. What I’m scared of is myself. There’s less to keep me distracted here. I’ve been walking the streets, wondering what I was thinking uprooting my life and moving here, cursing my decision to expel myself from my community in LA, and deciding definitely that there is no career and no place for me here. I am not wanted. I am an embryo. Just potential with no purpose to serve.
But it’s more than just that. Every day, I vow to change my behaviors that I find repulsive because no man will ever want to be with me once he is exposed to:
My belly from the side
My belly when I’m sitting down
Me in a bathing suit
My digestive mysteries
My need to eat before bed, in bed, at 4 am, and at 8 am
Having to get up and pee multiple times during sex and at the movies
My depressive mood swings, known as Mister Shadow
My mean side
My need to make all lists about me
Of course, considering the fact that I’ve never been in a long term relationship, my constant case for change has become stronger over the years. But when would the day come that I would be in good shape, sit on the toilet once a week, and be super nice to everyone all the time? It’s not coming. And neither is he. It’s been dawning on me in recent weeks that the reason I keep wondering about what man could possibly accept me is because I don’t fundamentally accept myself. And I haven’t for a long time.
I’ve watched My Mad Fat Diary* 2.5 times all the way through in just about as many weeks. It’s life changing. But I couldn’t force its lessons on me. They needed a long digestion period.
Tonight – Kol Nidrei services – was my first time at Lab/Shul, the brand new experimental community in Manhattan. They rented out the Tribeca Performing Arts Center and packed the place. And while IKAR will always be my home, it had long ago made me resign to the idea that temple was not a place to meet men, but instead to meet lesbians. But AH-HAH, they have arrived, in fucking stylish meaty droves – to pray with me! And yes, when you’re about to enter the holiest day of the year, it is still possibly to hold a silent competition of the best asses in shul. I enjoyed it!
Because of my hypoglycemia, a two hour fast for me is the equivalent of a six hour fast for others. I was fucking BUZZED by the first stage of the service. After intense singing, the leader of the community started telling a story and I felt myself levitate to a psychic plane just a hair above our own. I was still in the room, but I was totally unconcerned with everything around me. Without any transition into this line of thought, I summoned my 12 year old self forward and looked at him honestly for the first time in as many years.
After all the tongue-biting, neck-clenching shame I’ve imposed over the memory of this little boy, it’s almost ridiculous to see him now. What’s the problem with him anyways? He’s small, with shaggy hair and brown sun-proof lenses; he’s got flappy breasts and a tubby underchin; he’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt and is chasing popular girls around the Bat Mitzvah party. I understood, finally, that all the fucking blinding humiliation I feel and blame him for was never his fault. I looked at him, the way Rae Earl had taught me to, and let him off the hook.
I WILL PROTECT YOU
YOU WILL BE FINE
DON’T BE ASHAMED
YOU’RE JUST EXPRESSING YOURSELF
YOU’RE JUST FIGURIING YOURSELF OUT
All that hatred around a little boy with a sharp sense of humor who noticed everyone and would do anything to be heard.
With whatever remaining astral strength I could muster, I summoned forth my 16 year old self – the ultimate lesbian – willing to please EVERYONE at all times for approval – and invited him to our circle.
I forgave them both, only to realize that they don’t need it; they did nothing wrong. I let them look me over, and they said the same thing about me.
I started to consider that if a man could accept me for all those things, then he would be treated to
An interesting son
A potentially good brother
A memorable friend
A powerful force on the dancefloor
A survivor of mental illness
A Tel Aviv spirit
A Queer warrior
I see now that the thing that’s missing and that has been missing since before I landed in New York is me, and trust me, I KNOW how that sounds. I’ve been fucking whipping myself down this week because I feel fat and know I can’t do anything, and for what? This is the biggest adventure of my life – with some of my best friends waiting for me out of the box – and I am missing it. I see now – on the new year – that I have a fresh start, a chance to strike out and be deliriously happy and humiliate myself and actually do something for the world other than talk about myself.
I am utterly terrified. But there will be a new way now in which fear doesn’t always grow inward; a future in which I am not the victim AND the perpetrator of every great horror I survive. I’m letting my selves go. It all begins now.
*all episodes of My Mad Fat Diary are on Youtube.