The night of St. Peter

I cried.  I was sent to bed.  I cried some more, silently.  I yearned to be confirmed in the GLC when I would have the ultimate salve of holy communion.  That would improve life dramatically.  Until then, I prayed.  I asked god to make me sick overnight so I wouldn’t have to go to school.  I asked to be liked, or likable.  I made plans to run away to New York  and sell myself on the street in Times Square.  I had the money for the train.  I couldn’t think of anything else to do to escape.

Some nights, my self began to rise until I was looking down from the ceiling.  All the pain stopped.  In fact, everything stopped.  Time, worries, the constant voices in my head, all were quiet.  I rested there for a while.

As I floated back down, St. Peter might be sitting at the foot of my bed, big as life.  Scraggly hair, with maroon toga thing, he fiddled with fishnets with big, gnarled hands.  I would tell him my problems as he mended his nets. He came for the two years of bullying, and then he stopped.

So I was a child with hallucinations.  I knew something was seriously wrong and read everything I could find, over and over, looking for clues:  Lisa Bright and Dark, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, The Bell Jar, Sybil, and even Freud from my parents’ bookshelf.  I wanted a name for what I had, and I really wanted to know what the future held.  In retrospect, it’s hard to say if this was the dawning of mental wildness, or a depersonalization response to the trauma of being bullied.  Did the bullying cause some permanent brain malfunction, like child abuse can?  It created deep gouges in the spiral of my memories. The deep voices of worthlessness are among the oldest in my head, the voices of my family as well as the girls who bullied me.  They’re the bass tones in the symphony.

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Ask your doctor: FGM and shock therapy

My psychiatrist’s office.  I have just signed in and taken the questionnaire: Today I am a 21 on the craziness scale.  I am ready for the long wait in my regular spot in the back left corner. Thank god they have wifi.  I am not well, and am missing classes, sleeping 18 hours a day, with voices in my head chanting “die die die”.  It’s about half-way down to the pit of despair where suicide becomes necessary.

10 min.  Google: Dr. M.  He has 2.5 stars. He is 62, Egyptian, and I’ve seen pictures before of his hijabbed family on his shelves.  I wonder if his wife and daughter have had female genitalia mutilation, but that’s more south. The topic of FGM is a dangerous one for me; I’ve seen movies of it, which play over and over in my mind.  But I indulge in it for a minute.  OK.  Enough of that. 

30 min.  Google: “How much education do you need to get an MD in Egypt?”  Six years, aged 18-24.  11 years in US.  At that point, they earn $647/month in Egypt, so, many take their MDs to the US.  At 19 years of age, my doctor decided on psychiatry.  At 19, he decided to analyze Western, non-FGM women’s problems.

45 min.  Google: “How are women treated in Egypt?”  The news shows sexual harassment, intimidation, no basic human rights, arranged marriages of girls.  What does my doctor think of women?   He doesn’t listen to me.  My last psychiatrist was Middle Eastern, too.  He started cursing at me (profane curses, oddly enough, since he wasn’t Christian).  He said my problems couldn’t have anything to do something like menopause — silly of me.    I got a letter in the mail that he wouldn’t treat me any more.

60 min.  Check FB.  Check messages on all three email accounts.  Wait.  Try to read The Infinite Jest .  My doctor pops in and takes another patient.  I am next.  Even if I have the first appointment of the day, I wait an hour, but then I get to watch him come in late wearing a tan camel’s hair coat and ear muffs.  I wonder if keeping people waiting has a different cultural meaning in Egypt.

75 min.  I’m in.  His hijabbed family smiles out at me from the shelves.  I’m unhappy, unable to function at my job.  He asks, “How do you make up the time to the students when you decide just not to show up?”   He says, “Well, you’re not going to be a professor much longer.  You better find a job you can do.”  OK.  More:  “I think you need ECT  three times a week, for a month.” Are other options?  He answers, “I am not going to continue seeing you unless you follow my instructions.”

85 min.  I’m out, paid, and scheduled for the hospital.  If I can’t be a professor, what do I need my brain for anyway.  Fuck it.

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Can men have American thighs

 

Eight years ago Mary and I met on craigslist, Women Seeking Women.  I preferred butch women: the butcher the better.  But even under their jeans my butch women had American thighs.  Mary talked of transitioning.  Several old girlfriends had had passing fancies of transitioning, so this was not new to me .

I was at the hospital when the binding and then the breasts came off.  Then I feared that Mary would die from the surgery.  She kind of did, what with Ben’s emergence.  Ben was a brighter being than I’d ever seen.  His shape of his female American thighs re-adjusted with T.

That day of surgery, my lesbianness also came off with Mary’s breasts.   I’m not a lesbian I guess since I’m married to a transman, not straight, not bi, and not pan.  I’m just not.