(Trigger warning: Emotional abuse, animal abuse, physical abuse, and being a monster in the worst of ways)
So, I don’t talk about it much, but I was abused. Not “a child named it” kind of abuse. Not the kind of abuse that gives you twisted collarbones, or a burned mess where a part of you used to be, or even the kind of abuse that gives you facial scars that are visible to most people. It’s not really appropriate abuse for a stereotype of a Radical Trans Whateverthefuck, all in all. I honestly don’t even remember much. I remember my brother shouting. I heard it a lot, you see.
I heard it while shaking in my bed, I heard it shaking in a corner trying to comfort a shaking dog. From the kitchen, from the living room, sometimes accompanied by a percussion of walls being hit or things being smashed. On one memorable occasion, I heard it while being held up by the skin of my chest on a high balcony after I accidentally got orange juice in my brother’s eyes.
I could write a cynical comment about how a bit more of that premium grade-A shittiness would let him claim the dubious honour of being a Twue Abuser, but I can still remember how I screamed. Oh, how I screamed.
Most of it wasn’t screaming though. There was just the occasional “you’re a waste of space” when I hugged myself behind a chair, a blurted “you can’t do anything right” from my mother. Then she apologised. She just had to apologise. She had to be so nice that I couldn’t just hate her and be done with it, I had to hate myself, because Nice Reasonable People simply can’t be abusive, like your nice, reasonable brother who plays video games with you sometimes. They don’t make you scream, at least not often. And why, when they do, perhaps it’s just you.
You hate everything, after all. Perhaps because this house and this body is your everything. You were expelled from school because you used to vent some of that searing hatred on kids who tried to bully you, and you refused to be near a teacher who lied to you. You don’t go out because you hate the outside even more than the inside.
The only role models you have, experiences you get, lessons you learn, are from these nice, reasonable people who only sometimes make you scream. Sometimes, after mom has been at work all night and you’ve been with your brother, you get up nice and early. Your brother hits the dog, you see, and he is who you learn from. You hate him, but then you hate everyone. On those mornings, you feel so full of that hate that there is nothing else, and you perform that trick your brother has.
It’s the one where you turn into a monster in a split second without looking any different. You sound different though. He shouts. You don’t. You are not angry, you hate. You’ll remember how you sound as a monster forever, how you switched from sickening sweetness to a scraping, icy whisper and back again. It will always be more terrifying than the pale imitations of fictional monsters.
And all that hate darkens and soaks in until it’s a confused, constant hatred of yourself, that doesn’t make you into a monster. You still feel like one though. You will feel like a monster for years, and years, and years, long after you’ve stopped. After that dog rips your hand open, you think that this is a dream, it must be a dream, because monsters aren’t killed while they go about their business, they’re killed while they do evil.
Suprisingly, “I wonder if anyone else is watching Chris Tarrant like this” is not your last slow, dreamy thought while you fall backwards in adrenaline fueled slow motion with a dog ripping at you and someone screaming in the background. You know that common line in books, “someone is screaming, and I realise it is me”?
It’s true. You don’t realise it’s you for a while. “Eternal moment” is right on the dot too. But anyway, you survive. You survive, the dog is put down, and you hate yourself some more. Like your scream, it’s decidedly one-note. Until one day, you’re 14, and you do the utterly unthinkable. You tell someone. And they don’t hate you. Now, were this a cliched shlock movie, you’d forgive yourself and all that shit. You don’t. You just learn to hate yourself less. You tell more and more people, and you hate yourself less.
But you still half-expect every new person to hate you, and you wouldn’t blame them if they did, couldn’t even think of defending yourself. You were a monster, and no matter what you become, you will always have been a monster. You may always be a monster again, if you don’t watch yourself carefully enough. There’s no rational justification for the idea, but horror doesn’t need a justification. It works better without one.
– ChassisBird, on November 11th 2011 and February 5 2012.