I’m sitting here in black leggings, high heel ankle boots & a black twill mini drinking beer and listening to Hedwig And The Angry Inch.
I remember the first time I drank beer. I was in the basement room of my family’s house with Darlene, who ended up with Alice, and it was about 1978. We were the only ones there, and Darlene was playing at therapy. She wanted me to face my demons, and that involved facing the way my mother surrogate-spoused me, keeping me small and close while her husband went away. I remembered the freaky stuff when I was about 18 and she would end up with her robe open, how I never felt safe introducing friends to her, and how my father ran every morning (way from her) while I was dissuaded from feeling my body.
My mother didn’t drink beer, and would tell the story of how she had to drink tomato juice, the only other choice, at every Alberta taproom when she met my father’s family.
I drank beer that night, and I scared Darlene. I didn’t lose control, but I scared her. I was angry.
I remember the last time I saw Hedwig. It was on my birthday, and I was taken there by my sister, her then husband, and her friend who later decided that abusing me would be useful.
I had seen Hedwig before, and I didn’t particularly want to go again. The message was there, but the ending was the end of a drag show, and is anti-trans in ways that are only visible to trannys. I decided that if I ever went again, I would only go to experience it as a rock musical, sounds & thoughts washing over you in a party experience. Hearing the orginal NYC cast album, it’s clear to me that was the orginal experience, but it had to be hardened in a movie.
I wanted that pulse, pounding energy. What I got was companions like stone, hard as rocks, with no bounceback of playful dance energy. It was another slog, not a party, but that’s what I am used to with these people around me, just heavy lifting without visceral engagement.
It was a hard night. And worse, it was 9/10/2001. Like the rest of the country, I woke up to reports of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center, and then live pictures of the second human driven missle tearing up the lives of so many people. Such rage. Just this week, when the latest UBL tape came out, the young man who sold me my soda wanted Osama to have to walk through the streets of NYC, feeling the vengance and destruction by (presumably) being torn limb from limb. I tried to explain the role of the big guy in a bar fight, but he just looked at me as if I was shit poured into clothing.
I feel Hedwig tonight, especially the NYC cast album, so much more intense, so much less literal.
I want to pound it out, maybe go to Women’s Night at the bar in the old American Legion Post, the one where the heroic crippled WWII vet waited until his name was carved in stone to tell them he was gay. I want to get drunk and dance and just be intense & potent.
But I know that I have nobody safe & strong enough to both be there with me and to keep me safe, someone like TBBB (the big beautiful bitch).
I’m not stupid enough to just go do it, to trust that god protects fools and drunks. I’m not stupid enough to let go and let fly, no matter what anyone else thinks. I’m not stupid enough to just surrender to the humanity and damn the consequences. I’m not stupid enough to sweat and flail and kiss whoever looks nice.
I’m just not stupid enough. I’ve never been stupid enough.
And that’s a pity.