Warning: This post will be uncomfortable to read. Mom, if you're reading this, stop right now, and go read This Instead. In fact, the rest of you (all both of you) should go read that instead, as well. This post will contain discussions of my period, of abuse, of bullying, and of insomnia.
I am sitting here, holed up in my cosy bed, having gotten back up for the fourth time tonight. The clock has just turned over, it's now six in the morning. I haven't gotten a single wink of sleep, and I really, really wanted to. I am sitting here, shivering, wishing I had enough money to turn on the heat, but the truth is, I don't have enough money to buy a six-dollar box of tampons. I am on the rag, on my Quarterly Bad One, and of course, of course, I cannot find either of my Diva Cups anywhere. Which means, rather than getting to push some clean, sanitary silicon up my cooch as usual, and then forget that it's there for twelve hours, I am here, with an old t-shirt rolled up and stuffed down my skivvies.
Because I can't afford tampons right now. I have been given a job, contingent on drug test and background check (neither of which is a problem), but right now, I can't afford the gas to get to the lab to get the drug test.
But that's not what I'm going to talk about. That's just the context of why this is being posted tonight. I am pissed off, bloated, oozing blood, so tired I'm freezing cold, and have been reading too much HuffPo.
Now. Let's begin again.
For those of you reading this who don't know already, I'm really big. In just about every sense of the word. I'm 5'9", 260 lbs, shop in the Big and Tall section, and have a personality that can be seen from space.
And I've been picked on about just that, and everything else about me, all my life. It is telling, to me, that I just chose to use the phrase "picked on". There are other words for what I've gone through. Harsher words. Buzzwords, if you will.
I've been bullied. I've been abused, in every way possible. I have been taken advantage of at every turn, and now, I am angry.
Come to think of it, I have always been angry.
I am not a naturally mean-spirited person. I am That Kid. The one who looks terrifying, who the littler kids will hide behind for safety. But not because I would beat up the aggressors. Instead, I would, and still do, simply put myself between the people who need me and the people -- and things -- that would hurt them, and refuse to move. And if violence was threatened, I would simply refuse to let it happen. I am the Gentle Giant, if you will. And I am filled with a quiet, steady, deep rage at the fact that I need to be this way.
There's a reason for this. I have worked hard to get this way. I have worked hard to develop my own personality, and I refuse to let it be silent.
Imagine, if you will, a tiny, willow-thin child in a white eyelet dress with a crown of purple flowers twined in a shock of white-blonde hair. You are now imagining me at age eight. I have photographic proof, somewhere. I was the smallest, weakest, slowest, youngest, and meekest of all five children in a five mile radius of my house. And I was homeschooled, which I'm sure didn't help. I had no real outside contact, just these few kids in my neighbourhood who were... well... rednecks.
I distinctly remember my greatest tormentor singing "Why are you gay" to the tune of "YMCA", and feeling the distinct need to hide the fact that he was spot on. I was gay, in all the right ways.
But I wasn't about to tell them that.
The thing is? It only got worse. I escaped the physical, mental, and sexual abuse of my neighbourhood only to burst into the social abuse of a homeschool outreach centre filled with cute, prefect little Christian children. When I finally did get into contact with the outside world, I had suddenly sprung from being a tiny child to being a hulking, slightly overweight Tween with a stutter and a mumbling problem who was too poor to afford descent clothes and therefore went to school in a terrible windbreaker and the same jeans for a year, going pantsless on laundry day. I though horizontal stripes were my friend, and that shoving my quickly growing, quickly darkening hair under a beret could make up for not having been able to find a hairbrush in a week. I was trying and failing to be conventionally pretty and girly, outnumbered and outclassed by girls who to this day are a good six inches smaller and hundred and fifty pounds lighter. I earned the nicknames "Medusa" for my stringy, greening hair (chlorinated pools right before gym are a bitch), and "Godzilla" for my size and the fact that I was still clumsy and all elbows and knees. Well, I'm actually still all elbows and knees, I just learned how to keep them closer to my body so I can conceal them better.
And make no mistake, those names hurt. I had become too big to physically hurt, but Big Kids have Fragile Feelings. And here I was, still reeling from puberty and a year of so of unremitting agony as my bones all tore themselves apart and added a foot to my height, realizing that I was growing these huge floppy meatsacks where I wanted the defined muscles that the older boys at this school had. I wanted to become myself, and was stuck being someone else's idea of myself. I wanted to play with Pokemon cards and wear swim trunks and date the pretty girl with the mile of red hair. I got to talk about boys. Period. Couple the trials of being a giant, pagan, adolescent tranny in a school where 295 out of 300 students were radically fundamentalist Christian with the crippling headaches I began getting not long after puberty, and I had a recipe for suicide.
I can remember four distinct instances in which I very nearly just inhaled in swim class, stopped only by the knowledge that I was being taught by a lifeguard, and it would only hurt, not actually be effective. I can also remember walking to school over a suspension bridge over the Spokane river, and very nearly just hopping over the edge once or twice rather than go to school.
Oh fuck am I glad that I didn't do any of that. That I just sort of stuck it out and hoped it would all get better soon.
And it did.
If the given value of 'soon' is 'in college'. Well, that's not quite true. I must say this here, and give credit where credit is due. I started highschool, got a few good teachers, and, just as important, if not more, I got real friends. People who were interested in what I had to say, and who understood that I was not, actually, quite as scary as I looked. They have made me what I am today. Zo-Zo, Meip, Graciekins, I'm talking about you lot. I'm talking about the people who insisted I read my stories to them, who dragged me to summer camp, who I can still speak a secret language of small meeping sounds with.
Because eventually, I got to a place where I got too big in personality -- and, more importantly, in spirit -- to be threatened by the people who once terrified me.
Yeah, it still hurts when somebody picks on me.
But now? I can just walk away, and take everyone else with me. I'm a big enough man to be able to stand between the bullies of the world and that little towheaded kid. Yeah, the Little Changeling is still in there, looking out through a giant body he doesn't quite know how to operate, but he knows now what he didn't know back then: Those people who picked on him, who hurt him, who stole from him and used him? They're not all that are out there. There are other people like me: People with hearts too big to let other people get hurt. People who will stand up for the Little Changelings of the the world. I had to have someone to stand up for before I could realize that I was worth standing up for, too, and that I could stand up for myself just as well as for others.
And Godzilla is fed up to here with all this fuckery.
To close, I will turn to song, and cite Les Miserables:
Little people know
When little people fight
We may look easy pickings
But we've got some bite
So never kick a dog
Because he's just a pup
We'll fight like twenty armies
And we won't give up
So you'd better run for cover
When the pup grows up!
And this pup grew up.