Onyx and I are currently in Stavanger, Norway visiting his family. We have already been to London, and are heading on to Oslo, Prague, Amsterdam, and Bridport, England.
The following is inspired by Stavanger, mostly. Though all of our trip so far, really. I forget how unusual I am until I leave Seattle, safe in the bubble I have built for myself. Norway is just as uncomfortable with difference as many places in the US, and moreso than many.
There’s a particular kind of conformity that is demanded in a lot of these liberal European countries. I felt it in Amsterdam the last time I was there as well. Once a particular way of being different is accepted it is assumed we will be normal from then on.
I mostly just feel too damn queer for them.
I see your side eye
your whispers to each other that you may think are subtle
when you think I’m not looking
but I can feel where your eyes are lingering
looking a little longer in my direction than normally considered polite
your face unable to mask your emotion
I wonder which part of me is
interesting/confusing/disgusting/disturbing you the most
is it my size?
this girth of me that is lavish and unapologetic
taking up more space than most people think I have a right to
than I have been taught I have a right to
it has been easy to hate myself for this physical expansiveness I have inherited,
yet I am here.
is it my clothes or my hair?
either darker or more colorful than you would like, or at least than you are used to
a morbidly outlandish witchy blend of cloth atop this large body
strange even when I’m dressed my most conservative
and a shocking swath of teal, blue, and purple coming from the top of my head
a blend of long and soft with short and spikey
much like me
and I am here.
or is it the hair on my chin?
this combined with the protruding breasts and curvy frame may have confused you
am I a feminine man or a masculine woman or some other creature, you may wonder
or you may not even get that far.
that confusion and uncertainty is probably the closest thing to seeing my gender without a conversation or known context
so in some ways you are seeing me
and that is both lovely and uncomfortable.
Now I know I am here.
I’m used to being visible in the other ways
my size and clothing have always been a reminder of the body or desires you want to ignore
of the work you do to fit in rather than stand out
giving up the pieces of difference in your own self instead of reveling in them
even though you may assume it is for attention, it is actually for my comfort
I would be happiest if you didn’t see me at all
until you could actually see me and not your projections onto me.
this gender, though, is growing more visible as my body changes
and I’m as uncomfortable with it as you are
I’ll get used to it, though. Will you?
I am here.