Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Testing Our Skin

This week I moved back to VT for my final semester of college, and I've been spending a lot of time thinking about testosterone. I began making phone calls to therapists and insurance companies and naturopaths. One to my ex girlfriend who I wanted to be the first to know about my shift in plans.

It feels so strange that something I qualitatively denied only months ago feels more familiar by the day, like coming home. I've been meditating on what body modification, BDSM and Transexualism have in common. I've been thinking of all the ways we inscribe meaning onto our flesh, of all the events in my life that have marked me against my will. What drives some people to veil those markings and others to display them brazenly?

I think of a scrawny genderqueer lifting up their shirt to reveal the phrase "Faggots Kill Fascists" etched across their pelvis. They told us if they ever go to jail, they want us to raise money to get the tattoo covered up. We joke, what about if we can only raise half? Our our nods build rythms like shudders when he responds, "Let's be honest, the word "Fascist" is what matters here. The others are inscribed over and over in ways I can never erase."

I pause briefly to contemplate what happens in the space where needs converge... the need to make what is felt real, the need to make what is imagined imminent, the need to make what is marked visible. Then, I find a piece of paper as I unpack with a phrase scrawled across it--Where our imagination cannot stretch, we must test our skin--and I wonder if I ever left this place.

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