I have tiny red scissors, Japanese, made of stainless steel, red plastic handles that fit around my fingers like rings just one size too big. With their mean little points, they are for prying off bruise-blackened toenails or trimming long bangs. I was doing the latter last week when I sliced through the pad of my left middle finger. I cut myself quite often when trimming my hair because I cut my bangs vertically rather than laterally in order to create ragged ends. The blood flowed out crazily and for a moment I felt that old adolescent electric shock of my body coming together.
In Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage, the husband tells his wife that he no longer enjoys sex with her because he is sick of fighting the “hard white resistance” emanating from her body. This hard white resistance, this feminine barrier, is how I’ve always experienced the rhythmic bloodpour of self-mutilation. I used to cut myself because I wanted to escape the tyranny of the visual. I hated seeing myself: mirrors. The pour of blood from blade is coming out of the girl in my head, from the prison of my imagination and taking glossy form in the oxygenated external world. But sometimes my gender dysphoria gets so swollen that I can’t stand it, and even the blood pouring doesn’t help. My body just starts spreading out evil and slow out like Exxon at sea. In my head, I am such a contained, specifically female thing—to confess, Angelina Jolie most of the time. I get up in the morning, put myself together to make my body simulate that specific female thing and I just shatter.
Now, I feel like the little outfits I put on are totally inadequate for containing the goo spilling around in myself. I hate skinny little jeans. I hate 70s hippie bellbottom jeans. I hate 50s rolled up jeans. I’m sick of seeing myself. I want to FEEL myself instead. More and more I want to be naked all the time, naked except for maybe the heavy metal bracelet I bought in Providence in May (the girl who sold it to me for $5 couldn’t take the price sticker off so inside the bangle it still has the sticker—except she added a zero to make it, as she says, “seem more expensive”). I want to be naked without mirrors, I just want to be naked in bed all the time, being caressed into Angie by the hands of a boy rather than the crackling zipper of jeans.
The last time this happened was last summer. Let’s call the boy Drew (not his real name): he fucked me into the girl in my head not because he fucked me like a man but because he fucked me like a lesbian. We would fall into bed kissing and he would put his strong arms around me (arms that were harder and bigger than his chest—the common mistake of boys who work out and not pay attention to body proportion work) and pressing down on me like a pin to specimen, he would fuck me not with his cock or even a finger or two but with his kiss. I’m not coyly describing analingus. We were naked, he was on top of me, but his hard cock was simply pressed into my tummy. Flattening me with his weight and muting me with his lips and tongue, he would just masturbate me while kissing me roughly and creatively, making me realize that kissing has like a hundred different positions. He was manipulating my sex organ by making me forget about it, so hard was the kiss and the body that was breaking mine in its embrace.
We stopped dating after a few dates. On one of those last few dates, we went to see the Angelina Jolie movie Salt. I was enthralled (as usual) by the sight of Angie kicking ass: no actress wears a dykey black pantsuit with crisp white shirt as well as Angie. Drew was not so thrilled. He kept cracking jokes about her big lips throughout the film, which irritated me. As we were leaving the movie, I went on about how much I loved it.
“You love these movies where chicks kick ass, don’t you?” he asked me.
“Of course. Don’t you?”
“Not really. Maybe if it was a really good-looking guy doing the ass-kicking I would like it.”
We went back to his place where he fucked me like a lesbian. He fucked like a lesbian but he certainly didn’t think like one. I don’t talk to him any more, and while I do miss fucking him sometimes, I don’t mind not talking to him anymore at all.