September 10, 2011 is one of the worst days in my memory.
Sure, the next day, 9/11/2011 was pretty bad too, especially after Bush gave the terrorists just what they wanted and went to war with them, but that wasn’t nearly as personal to me.
My birthday is on the tenth of September, and on that day, my sister decided she wanted to take me to see Hedwig And The Angry Inch.
I didn’t want to go. I had already seen the film, and while I enjoyed the comedy and music, the ending left me cold. It was the standard ending for a drag show, where the performer pulls off their wig, showing you “who they really are beneath the illusion.” In the film, Hedwig walked naked into the street, maybe an interesting symbol, but not the basis for any kind of life. I mean, where would you keep your keys?
It’s not really a trans-positive ending, though since John Cameron Mitchell identifies as a gay man and not a transperson, it’s not surprising he would choose that old drag trope.
But saying that I didn’t want to go wasn’t enough. It had been decided. So I trudged down to an empty theatre with my sister, her then husband and a woman who would later try to beat me into compliance with her idea of how I should behave.
The good part about Hedwig is the rock opera bits. I can still put on “Wig In A Box” and get both teary and invigorated.
I was there, the only one dressed up, watching and waiting for the energy to flow. But my three companions who hauled me to this event against my wishes for my own good, well, they were sitting like stones. Not rocking out, but stone cold rock hard.
No playing, no laughing, no swaying, no nothing.
It felt like I had been ordered to expose my heart, and then they had chosen to immerse it in liquid nitrogen, freezing the beat and making it so cold it could shatter with a touch.
It was a bad, bad night. And the worst part may have been that they thought that they were doing something nice for me. I hated it.
I need to follow my bliss, need to have others affirm and reflect that bliss, letting the heat rise. Instead, I just felt naked and chilled, much like Hedwig walking into the street at the end of the film.
It sucked, big time.
Then, of course, I woke up to the World Trade Center bombings and called Rachel Pollack so she could watch the second plane go in live on TV. A chill ran through the entire country that morning, and while I prayed for peace in the world, others prayed that their God would Bless America. Hard decade.
Very few people understand what a tender and bruised soul we reveal when we show our naked trans heart. Very few people share the experience enough to take that beating and battered heart and hold it safely, so it can beat a little stronger, so we can feel a little more vital and free in a world that has tried to quash us.
And that night, 9/10/2011, was just a night when I felt a bit more unsafe, a bit more scarred, a bit more scared.
It was a bad night for me, followed by a bad day for the world.
And yet, my mother in the sky asks me to try again, asks me to trust again.
Bliss, don’t fail me now.