Saturday, 5 September 2015

I don't wanna be like anyone

everybody is standing staring at me
and they presume there are common goals that bind between us
but all i wanted; a break from mindless boredom 
to be special takes a better mind than you or i – Urusei Yatsura, Kernel

Urusei Yatsura are one of the defining bands of my teenage years and early twenties. As a teenager, they were one of the bands I would listen to obsessively in my bedroom when I first got into lo-fi, obscure indie music that no one else liked. They were a Glaswegian indie rock band named after a Manga comic. That sentence may sum up a lot about the nineties. There was a sincerity and simplicity to their lyrics that I really related to and their music was both hard and gentle, like harshness could have a soft underside. That’s a notion I still cling to today. What else can we do to survive in this world? Of course their themes of outsiderdom were something I really related to, never feeling at home amongst my family or at school. I had a difficult relationship with my parents and was severely bullied for being 'different', for being myself really, something that in all my years of therapy I don't think I ever got over and as a result I have never quite been able to feel at home anywhere, so Urusei Yatsura are still important to me and I get their songs in my head at different points in my life.

Yesterday I started on testosterone. I try not to talk about it too much because I don’t like to reinforce this normative idea that to be 'properly' trans a person has to take hormones, but after much consideration and hand-wringing I decided it was something I wanted to do. Then I freaked out, wondering if I was really doing it for me or because it was what was expected of me as a trans boy of sorts, and wondering if I was just trying to be like everyone else. I got 'Kernel' in my head.

i don't wanna be like everyone
i don't wanna be like anyone

Another person I admired greatly as a teenager, and still do now, is Jarvis Cocker. He was my male role model growing up, so different from my dad or the boys who bullied me for looking too much like them, and of all the people in the world, the person my gender felt closest to. He was a man but not masculine in the conventional ways. I also saw myself in all the vaguely effeminate boyish indie types, this was before they were all Shoreditch twats, perhaps before Shoreditch was even gentrified. I didn’t see any difference between myself and those boys. I never felt the need for any substance to make myself more like them, I’d never even heard of trans, I just was me. I never worried about pronouns or labels or whether I was read as a boy or a girl, I was just me.

Getting back to my indie pop loving roots at Prima Vera this year after a really difficult time with my mental health, I remember being in the sun with my friends thinking, I feel so happy right now, I’m not sure I want to take hormones, I don’t want anything to change. I felt like myself. Admittedly my antidepressants had just kicked in and I was at a stage where I just felt really happy to be alive, so all usual anxieties subsided, that feeling hasn’t lasted forever.

So my first day on T I had my doubts, thought maybe I don’t care about any of this, maybe it doesn’t matter how anyone reads me, maybe I don’t care about being whatever fucking gender, maybe I’m just me. Why is it now I care so much about gender or anything when I didn’t used to? Am I just doing what I’m meant to?

Of course, however one feels, negotiating the world is a different matter. The me inside my head is pretty different to the one a lot of other people see and I guess my real hesitation with T is the not knowing whether it would make me more like the me in my head or less.

I don’t know what I’ll do, if I do take it I will not be making a week by week videolog and if I don’t, I probably won’t write much about that either. So don’t watch this space. If you need me I’ll be listening to Urusei Yatsura again, letting the jagged guitars wash over me and trying my best to be me, whatever that may or may not entail.