Roller Coaster Poems

how do you deal with people who hate you?  
Normal Is  
Fear Is My Friend  
There is a fine line
between conformity and seclusion;
that is individuality.
Gender Mugged  
Affirmation & Acceptance  
the lost children of transgender mothers  
Live And Learn  
Give Yourself Some Credit  
Stand Up, Stand Out  
wrong, right?  
It's about me.  
Run For Your Life!
My Unconscious Is On The Loose!
Get Over It  
friend or enemy?  
face value  
Reclaiming / Stolen  
Knife Tip  

how do you deal with people who hate you?
Callan Williams Copyright 3/21/99

If you let people know you are queer,
they will hate you.

They will fear you,
They will cut you out of polite society
and they may even kill you.

Do you understand what I am telling you
Or do you want me to show you examples
so your terror
will keep you on the straight and narrow?

How do we deal with the truth
that if we show we are transgressive
some people will hate us
some people will see us as targets
some people will see us as hurting children
some people will feel a rage boil up
as we mock the sacrifices they made
to kill their own transgression?

How do you feel knowing that,
as an out transgendered person,
some people hate and fear you?

Your queerness is written on your body
Your transgression visible to all.
Do you deserve what you get
or do you find a way to live
        with crushing stigma

I stay blind.
-- I Never see anyone hate me.
-- I pass, so no one hates me.
-- I don't care what anyone else thinks, so don't hate me.
-- I just don't listen to those people.

I stay away, stay hidden
-- I stay in the closet, never show my TG, so they don't hate me.
-- I alter myself to fit their expectations, become normative
        I got my dick cut off to make them happy, and they still hate me?

I stay placating
-- If they know I'm not queer, they won't hate me.
        I join with them in hating queers, in hating oppressors, whoever they hate
-- They need to understand I have no choice. I'm handicapped by the way I am.
-- If I can only explain who I am, they won't hate me.
They can't hate me cause I'm cute!
-- No one hates a clown!
-- I defer to them,
-- I don't challenge their identity by claiming it for myself.
-- I don't taunt or tempt them.
-- I put myself down first. Self depricating, here I come
-- I destroy myself for their comfort

I stay defended
-- I'm OK as long as I always watch my back.
I keep fear around to keep me alert
-- I don't enter their space. (Never go in a place with an Italian or Irish name

I stay angry at others
-- Hate me? Those fuckers can go hate their own selves!
-- They hate me because they are the oppressors and must be changed.
-- The only reason people hate me is because other people out me.
Well, if they hate me then screw them, I don't have to follow any rules.
-- If they hate me, I'll just steal what i need
-- their hate is just envy.
-- they are homophobic assholes.

I stay healed
I pray for them. I pray for myself.

There is a fine line between conformity and seclusion; that is individuality.
Callan Williams Copyright 1998

Dear God
As I walk out of my sanctuary
And into the world
May I trust that
When I come from love
and not from fear
people will see
that honesty
that genuine sincerity
that love
and will respond to that
in kind
with honesty, sincerity and love

May I trust that even when
others respond from fear
my open heart
and shining love
will help me find the protection
that comes from the spirit
that connects us all

As I walk out this door
I surrender my fears to God
I open my heart with love
I trust that my indvidual expression
will not obscure my pure humanity
I know that whatever negatives I get
are fear in the world
I am protected by
that which I am connected to

I walk out in the world
showing the truth of my heart
feeling the comfort & peace
that come from embodying
the message in my heart
trusting that the beauty of my soul
radiates out
and by shining in the world
draws love to me
allows me to be both myself
and positively connected to all things.

As I walk out of my sanctuary
As I go though the door
I give my fears to God
and carry with me my love and faith

that who she calls me to be
is perfect
and when people disrespect me
that's between them and God
And my connection with the universe
continues undimmed.

Pray for those who shame you
for they have not yet found a way
to not be ashamed of how
they walk unconnected with god

fearing that letting God in
will force them to see
where they have made
choices to disconnect themselves
to avoid the pain of socialization
to avoid the ecstasy of love.

This is the challenge
to hold my head high
smile with deep love
let my voice rise
with the notes of joy and love
boldly exposing
the exuberant truth of my heart
though dress, behavior, words and actions
and know that when I do this
I sing the song God taught me
and that song is more powerful
than any of the humilation & shaming
I have been taught to fear

As I walk out my door
I give my fear to God
and as I do that
I know that all that is left
is the Love she put in my heart.


the lost children of transgender mothers
Callan Williams Copyright 07/18/98

hear them weep in the night
their crying turning to wails
all those unloved children
who never felt safe and comfortable
always felt they had to hide who they are
just to get a bit of what they needed

all ages now
still children in their hearts
tiny babies
sobbing for the simple love
that comes with
a mother who sees the heart
not the body or the stigma
that might touch her
the truth that
no one is beyond human
no one is beyond normal
no one is beyond acceptance
no one is beyond love

these are the children
who would have the love
of transgender mothers
big open hearts
that transcend gender

reminding us of
continuous common humanity
opening their queer hearts
to all humans who need the embrace
of difference and diversity
who need to have
their challenging humanity
loved for what it is.

in other cultures
and other times
the shamans were there
odd fellows and peculiar ladies
who reminded us
that even the strangest of us
are just humans
simply members of the tribe.

transgender mothers
carrying the flame
that warms babies in the dark night
holding the unwanted close
and feeding their soul.

you can hear the wails
of children who need
another mommy
their hearts twisted into pretzels
in an attempt to get love
by denying themselves
the love of their own nature.

These babies grow up and act out
their mouths crying for suckle
their hearts crying for love
demanding the nourishment they missed
when they couldn't find a mommy
who had learned to love her own oddness
and learned to love the humanity of others.

And in the same night
all over the world
transgendered mothers
cry for their babies
oh baby, oh baby, oh darling mine
taken away from my heart
by a world that denies me
wrapping me in stigma
that holds me down.

we are here to take care of each other
and the lost children of transgender mothers
and the transgender mothers who lost their heart
cry in the night
while society ponders
what it did wrong
how come so many people are unlovable?

People need love most
when they are at their most unlovable.
The hurting child needs the love
but the transgender mommy
who could be there
is in a cell of her own

who together
could help heal
our world

Stand Up, Stand Out
Callan Williams Copyright 1999

How do you self sabotage?
I asked her.
How do you screw up your life
wasting energy on trivial things
focusing on the details
so you can ignore the elephant
who lives in your heart?

How do you work to stay busy?
How do you work to stay sad?
How do you work to stay victim
Closet of safety pulled around your head?

We choose the little terrors we know
Or the big terror we fear
The terror that puts us out there
Where people can crucify us to silence us
For saying what this world
does not want to hear

We were told years ago
The world didn't want to hear it
hear the simple truth
that there are no exceptions
no matter how many
imaginary walls we build
to separate humans
to rationalize
treating people differently.

Yet, standing up against culture
Lifting our voice against the mob
Speaking the words goddess gave us
is so hard

Stand up
Stand out
in all your imperfections
not singing a perfect song
just a human tune
that comes in counterpoint
adding one more voice to the harmony
of every living thing.

To sing out
is to be vulnerable
To not sing out
is to be in pain
so we find the excuses
ways to play small
ways to self sabotage
ways to not have to face

the face of our creator
staring us in the eyes
smiling and reminding us
to boldly
just sing the song
she taught us.

Normal Is
Callan Williams Copyright 1/7/99

It's normal
to be queer.

It's normal
to be transgendered.

Just a normal male
who has the heart
of a woman.

she said
"you in a dress
seems right."

It's normal in some way
Normal in a way
I have fought all my life.

It's the wrong normal
a normal I had to submerge
in order to appear normative
a false kind of normal
based in social expectations
and not the normal longings
of a human heart

When your normal
is not normative
one or the other has to go:
the quest for fitting in
becoming normative;
the call of a human heart
just normal spirit

Trust in normal
wild and free.
Trust in normative
tame and same.
Trust that your heart
is torn apart
by the demand to be both.

We have an ideal model
of human behavior
that does not include
the truth
humans are normal
messy and wild
divine and different
unique and universal

We are taught
to fear the normal.
Normal is
beyond control
of the normative,
creating social cogs
consumers and workers
voters and taxpayers
manipulated with the fear
of threats to normativity
of threats to being one of the gang.

Beyond normativity is normal
where the ease of following orders
is gone
and people become responsible
for their own normal hearts.

knife tip
Callan Williams Copyright 1999

the cold steel knife tip
touches my flesh
pouring its tension
into my heart

'we want it'
the voice said
'we want it now'

'give up your gender
give up your desire
give up the hope
of being desired.
just be yourself
not man or woman'

the knife plays
over my flesh
around my genitals
up to my tongue

'we cut away the flesh
and fleshly desire
without the meat
you can be like us'

my breathing comes harder
as my chest tightens
mind explodes
at the thought of the choice

soar with spirit
but lose the body
remove all the dreams
of loving touch

will no one lust after me
will my lust be amputated
along with the warmth
of human flesh?

the knife moves between
spirit and body
slicing the tendons

i scream as it passes
I jump back
once again avoiding
the choice of a life

Gender Mugged
Callan Williams Copyright 1998

Somebody stole my gender.

Hey, you --
man-in-the-dress --
Let me talk to your genitals
because they define who you are
and always will

Somebody stole my gender.

Hey you --
free spirit --
let me talk to your freedom
because gender is dead.
We killed it, and killed yours with it.

Somebody stole my gender.

Hey you --
neutered one --
let me talk to your brain
because your body is gone
fallen out of the system of desire

Somebody stole my gender.

Hey you --
freakazoid --
let me talk to your craziness
because you turned your back on society
chose to walk away from standing

Somebody stole my gender.

Hey you --
queer --
let me talk to your oppression
because you are a gender warrior
cannon fodder against heterosexist oppression.

Somebody stole my gender.

Hey you --
pervert --
let me talk to your deviance
because you show your sexual lust
a walking fetish unfit for children

Somebody stole my gender.

Hey you --
she male --
let me talk to your sex
because you made them to lure me
you know you want it, bitch

Somebody stole my gender.

Hey you --
let me talk to your costume
because you must be just like me
a forever man in a dress

Somebody stole my gender.

Hey you --
oppressor --
let me talk to your patriarchal privilege
because you attack women
by mocking who we really are

Somebody stole my gender.

Hey you --
drag queen --
let me talk to your makeup
because you paint an ugly face
that reflects badly on we normal gays

Somebody stole my gender.

From left and right
up and down
beaten and mugged
my own gender stolen
because I reveal the contents of my heart
showing borders as illusions

Somebody stole my gender.
I want my gender back
it's mine dammnit
you can't take it away
even if you think your cause
even if you think your comfort
is more important
than who I am

Live And Learn
Callan Williams Copyright 04/07/98

Live And Learn

My every mistake haunts me
Each stupid thing
I have ever done in my life
lies fresh and ready to pop back
at the blush of a sensation.

I feel the embarassment
the humilation
the pain
the separation

long after others have forgetten
living over and over again
in my mind
the mistakes of my life

Tuning this out
becomes a burden
automatic responses
negative and loaded.
"Kill me."
"Marry me."
"I quit."
all pop out
when the switch is tripped

Conciously I replace
those invectives
of destruction and salvation
a different prayer
simple and human

"Live and learn"
is my mantra
My mistakes no longer failures
but rather chances to learn
a better way.

Live and learn
though the hard times
when the abuse taught you
to build some walls

Live and learn
though the acting out
when the words escaped you
trying to perform
emotions that escaped words

Live and learn
though the playacting
trying to learn a role
you were never suited to
being an idiot
for the sake of denial.

We go though our lives
doing and not doing
learning often pushed to the side
Choose not to see
how to get better
how to honor others
how to honor ourselves

The message of learning is simple
we are each profoundly human
messy and brilliant
and when we try to cut:
our hearts
The cost of the cut is to us.

Learn to treat others
as you would want to be treated
with respect, dignity,
compassion, accountability
and high expectations

Learn to treat yourself
as you treat others
with respect, dignity,
compassion, accountability
and high expectations

Live and learn
Don't live and suffer.
Pain is inevitable
Suffering is not.
Pain brings lessons
messages of where healing must happen
Suffering brings collapse
of the heart and the mind.

I learned to suffer
over every misstep and mistake
I need to learn to learn
to learn is to live
as we live.we learn
Live and Learn

Reclaiming / Stolen
Callan Williams Copyright 1998

What was stolen from us
can never be stolen back
just by a sense of entitlement
just by a demand of gifts
just by an attempt to grab
what we think we deserve

What was stolen from us
must be reclaimed
from the chains it is bound in
the fear and the pain
that sank it down
to the bottom of our heart

where it bubbles slowly
reminding us we are still alive

What was stolen from us
the dreams and the hopes
the fun and the play
the joy and the power
was thrown to the bottom
of our sea of salty tears
that threaten to engulf us
that we fear will crush and suffocate us
when we bring it again to the surface

Stolen and placed
in Pandora's box
the box of fear and loathing
surrounded by fears
fears that are true
fears that are false

We can dive deep and see the treasure
but to reclaim it
we must
bring it to the surface
out of our heart

though the tears
past the pain
above the fears
bring it to the surface
where it almost killed us before.

We try to fill the empty hole
the vacuum that exists
where our joy was torn out,
and locked away,
with things
red shoes and makeup
but they never satisfy

We consume stuff
to fill up that place
We screw up our lives
to stay busy
We keep moving
to forget the pain
from the depths
it calls to us

the piece of our heart stolen
and locked away.

Do we surface that part
we know is vulnerable
Do we move beyond the conscious
the part we have learned to compensate with
Or do we actually open that box
in public?

So much easier to demand what we deserve.
So much easier to try to steal it back
than reclaim what was taken from us
even though we know
it will never fit the hole
like the piece of our heart

locked away
from being shown
to a world
that cut it out
in the first place

wrong, right?
Callan Williams (c) 1998

A topsy-turvy world
where right is wrong
a world I live in everyday
where when I feel right
I know I am wrong

I put on the clothes I choose
considered and coordinated
stylish and affirming
honest and true
woman and male
and my head tells me

Unacceptable. Risky
People will get upset and uncomfortable
You lose the margin of safety
Open yourself up to hurt & pain
and for what?
Just to follow the music of your heart
that picks these clothes
because they are right?

When you feel right
you are wrong.
When you feel wrong
you are right

Right? Wrong.

It's a topsy-turvy world
I live in
where men are women
black is white
man is god
hearts are true
the heart must be denied
for the order to be right

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong
I am only right when I am wrong
only good when bad
only happy when improper
only aware when awry
only relaxed when tense
only comfortable when uncomfortable
in this topsy turvy world
where when I am right
I am wrong

so to be right
I have to be wrong.

That's Wrong.

Run For Your Life!
My Unconscious Is On The Loose!
Callan Williams Copyright 1998

All that
Drag queen energy
Raucous performance
Cutting questions
High drama
Just too damn big for the room

It pours out of me
Past the controls
Installed so long ago
To enforce civility
To keep me small
The controls that define


"Power doesn't work
when it's conscious,"
she said.
Power is from the deep connection.
Power is below the mind
Power is making the conscious unconscious
Power is when the heart is open
And life force just pours out without fear
With amazing love.

Get Over It
Callan Williams Copyright 08/03/98

I'm transgendered.
Just get over it.

Get over the fear
and see me as
just another

After all,
I had to get over it.

I got over the fear
that I was sick
that something was wrong
with the way my heart
was made
and that I had to deny it
for the good of us all

I got over the fear
that came from
shaming and stigma
the pounding to get my heart
to fit in the expectations
society put on
my body.

I got over the fear
that came from knowing
that many would like to
silence me
call me a liar
strike out at me over
the pain they suffered
as they were pounded into
a gender role
that didn't fit.

I got over the fear
that came from knowing
people would want to
disassociate from me
not willing to face the questions
or the stigma
that might come from
standing by my side.

I got over the fear
and claimed the way god made me
Not in societies expectation
but in the image of divine
of shamans and seers
throughout human time
who reminded us all
that continuous common humanity
doesn't have walls
even between genders or sexes.

I am a S/He made me.
I am
over the fear
that means S/He was wrong
and into the love
that connects all things.

I'm Transgendered
Just get over it.

Get over the fear
and see me as
just another

Fear Is My Friend
Callan Williams Copyright 1998

Fear is my friend
It comforts and protects me
It holds my feet to the fire
reminding me how dangerous
the world really is.

Fear comes to me
in the night
speaking its truth
people want to hurt me
unless I follow the rules

Fear enforces the rules
of hiding and defense
that protect my tender heart
from the pounding of the world
from the possibility of pain

Fear wraps me in her arms
coddles me with comfort

follow my mandates
and they can't hurt you

Fear tells me stories
of what might happen
if I don't listen to her

follow my heart
and get torn apart

Fear shouts a warning
into my ear and
my beating chest

adrenaline that helps me
hide in the dark

Fear soothes me
Giving me reasons
the pain in my heart
is really the joy
of not being killed

Fear gives me power
the power to lie
to dissemble and prevaricate

to rationalize my choices
into pragmatic truths

Fear is my sustenance
my nourishment, my meat

the strength to go on
in a world that wants
to erase me

Fear is my companion
always ready to listen

about the insults and threats
I seem to see
in every eye.

Fear is my sword
power to smite those
who make me feel afraid
make me feel challenged
make me feel alive

Fear is my thunder
giving me moral authority
to silence every one
who speaks in a way
that makes me feel afraid

Fear envelops me
the comforting terror
the happy dread

the throbbing base note
that reminds me always
I am alive

Fear shields me
from what might hurt me
from what
might kill me
from what
might humiliate me
from what
might scare me
from what
might love me

Fear is not scary
like the unknown
or the uncontrollable

my constant companion
my old battered coat
no challenge to grow

Fear is my teddy bear
to clutch at night

and tell my troubles to
to whisper into my ear
telling me that my choices
are rational and good

Fear is my touchstone
There whenever I need it
Ready to tell me
to hide
or to fight.

Fear is the gift
my mother gave to me

her treasured possession
held close to her heart
passed down to her
polished shiny with wear

Fear is the center
of a life I was given
a warm enveloping feeling
that keeps me safe
helps me play small

Fear is my friend
my only friend
who keeps me company
though the long dark night
of my soul

With my friend fear
I am never alone.

Affirmation & Acceptance
Callan Williams Copyright 04/06/98

(just saying this out loud)

"Well," she sniffed,
nose in the air
"I just don't see it.
How could I possibly approve,
support that kind of lifestyle.
Why accept a delusion
That is clearly against nature?"

All this as she walked
though the mall
saw me pass
a woman born male
dressed well
but with t
he marks of
testoterone puberty
in my bones.

Feel the judgements
People empowered to decide
If they approve of
how someone else lives
The American arrogance
They should understand
They should get
They should approve
of what they see

This is America
Indvidual And Free
Thrown into the melting pot
Where you come out like me.

Do I need your approval?
Do I need your affirmation?
Am I so insecure about
what I am trying to create
that your judgements can cripple me?

At one point they could
Adolescent me
Unsure of who I was
Searching for deedback
Desperate for approval
Of a new expression
That has been called perverse
That has been hidden
under a blanket of fear

I don't need your affirmation now
I have begun to trust
that others can see me
as the woman I am in my heart
That the truth of my soul
can out even in the face of
the dissapproving glances
you somehow feel entitled
to make

You can't rip my identity from me
By deciding it's not up to
your standards of propriety

No matter how much you want
to be able to judge the choices
of others

That doesn't mean I don't want
your support
your caring
your affirmation
only that
denying it
will only diminish you
and not me

Give Yourself Some Credit
Callan Williams Copyright 04/06/98

It glows at me from high above
80 feet wide
20 feet tall
sending the message
to the elevated highway
black on yellow
"Give Yourself Some Credit."

I wrote that line on a brochure
for that college
in 1982.
So long ago

And now it confronts me
"Give Yourself Some Credit."
A message from my past
A present to my present.

How few of us
give ourselves credit
for the power in our hearts
for the possibilities in our soul

I have never given myself credit
for gifts I saw as handicaps
afflictions, embarrassments
that had to be hidden
that were debits
in my life

Who gives themselves credit
for talents school says are worthless

for gifts mother says to put in the closet
for possibilities that take us into the unknown
for callings that move us out of normal
to excellence

Who gives us credit
For what they don't value?

We need to give ourselves credit
for the gifts of the heart.

Maybe that's the message
simple and easy
Give yourself some credit
For all that is you.

It's about me.
Callan Williams Copyright 05/13/98

It's about me, you know
Everything is about me.

I know that because
my mother told me so.

It's who I am at that affects everyone else
My responsibility for how other people act.

They think I don't know
that when they drop my plate on the counter
with a little clatter
that they are telling me they don't like me
they wish I would go away
they have judged me and found me wanting
those bigots.
It's about me, you know.

Every person who doesn't smile
or who looks at me a certain way
I know that
those looks are about me
The same way they don't use my name
or use it too much
or use it in a funny way
that's all about me.

The people at work
The people on the street
The people in the restaurant
The people in my building
The way they act
is all about me
what they think of me
messages to me about how they loathe me
messages to me about how they hate me
messages to me that I'm not good enough
It's all about me.

The world screams at me
And I know what it is saying
because I have heard it so long
a song in my head
everybody singing a note
about me

about how they are prejudiced
against people like me
and I can't trust any of them
because without them saying it
I know what they think about me
and its degrading & offensive.

I know the place they want to put me in
Far away from good people like them.
Hatred and disgust oozes from them
when they bump into me on the street
when they watch me walk
when they say "Excuse me"
when they mean "Fuck you!"

It's about me
It's all about me
and people like us
Everything designed to oppress and hurt us.
I know it's true
because momma said it's so.

friend or enemy?
Callan Williams Copyright 05/29/98

Are you friend
or enemy?
Tell me now

I need to know
If you are on my side
or one of them
one of those people who challenges
people like me
who attacks us
because you are just
and conservative
or whatever label
I want to put on you.

label you as
the enemy

sometimes my lover and I
stay up late at night
talking about all the people
who want to attack us

who are our enemies
the people on the street
the people at work
the people on the net
even our parents
attacking and oppressing us
with their offensive comments
about our freedom

We need to be ever vigilant
to keep our freedom
to be queer
in the face of those who
want to hurt us
acting like judges
or parents
or even shamans
who see.

There is a cost to
keeping the defenses up
but it's a cost I am willing to pay

to stay free
and separate
and apart
from so much of society
who wants to confront us

the problem is
sometimes those enemies
get inside my head
and i can't keep them
outside the walls
and when they are there
they ask me questions
about how i feel
in this fortress
protected from my enemies
protected from their love.

i do dream of being normal
just one on the gals
with no more protection
than a white picket fence
swapping recipes over coffee
but those dreams are
vicious lies
grounded in a culture
that wants to erase
people like me
and my sweetie

Their voices ring inside my head
and I feel the pain
of what I give up
what I am forced to give up
to stay protected
I kick harder
to keep them out
from where I feel vulnerable
to keep out the truth
that they are my enemy
and they are my friend.

I have been though many levels of hell.
It's just the next one that always terrifies me.
Callan Williams

face value
Callan Williams Copyright 4/9/99

I just want to be able
to take things at
face value.

Look at the cover and understand the book
See the package and get the contents.
Glimpse the symbol and
know it means what I think it means
nothing more
nothing less.

Is that too much to ask
that everything
-- and everyone --
is labeled clearly
so I can rely on
my judgment of
face value?

Look at the face
see the sex
see the color
see how they look like me
see how they look like them
and value it
no surprises
no work
face value.

To live in a world
where understanding is hard
and I have to look for meaning
which might be hidden
in irony or twists
in subtext or context
in subtleties and nuance
is a pain the ass
and demands too much

Keep things at
face value
and label things clearly
when they contain

so I never have to taste
stretch my own comfort zone
use my own brain
to find out I am more
than what the world tells me
is my
face value


It's not leading you
"to the place
I hoped to find you"
that is the point,

rather it is a surprise
now and then
that keeps you open

open mind and
open heart

to the possibility
that things are not what they seem
and require more than
assumptions & expectations
trusting self-serving definitions
to see
new ways to claim

Callan Williams Copyright 4/9/99

Excuse me, sir.
I think I'm in the wrong line.
This one is for celebrities, for stars and for heroes
for people who have become public property
and that's not me.

See, look right here.
I wrote it all down
I just want to be a pretty girl
with a nice sweet pretty life

where things are nicely all under control
and I have space to hide

I have a lot to hide you know.
Just look at this body
All covered with the scars
of human frailties
and of my own foibles
which have been some doozies
thank you very much.

I mean sure
everyone thinks about being a star
dreams about being adored
the center of a million dreams
but those dreamers think they own you
the part they own
is a little piece of themselves
projected onto me.

Don't let me be full of myself
the Kato Kalin with transgender urges
some parody of a figure
who gives up their life
for empty fame
a quick 15 minutes
leaving people laughing and pointing.
I don't need Rush Limbaugh
to remember my name.

You see,
I like being connected
being one of the gang
not taking the abuse
of people who haven't yet found
their own power
and think its easier
to pull down
those who have

To be famous
is to be separated
isolated and alone
at the whim of
and in service to
people who think
I have stolen what they deserve
I should do what they ask
I should be their punching bag
I should be their salvation
I should be another notch in their belt
I should be stepped on in their rise
I should give myself to their cause
I should, you should, you should, you should

all my life
what "i should do"
has been told to me by others
all sorts of people who said
I should be a boy
I should fit in
I should cut off my heart
instead of my penis

I wasn't thrilled with my own
dysfunctional family
why would I want
anyone else
to cast me in theirs?

I don't want anyone else
to have a claim on me
I barely survived
the people who felt
they had a claim on me
when I was growing up

they still haunt my dreams
I see the scars of their knives
when I take off my clothes
and look at the body
that they said
denied me following my dream
of being pretty, sexy
and a girl.

It's the wrong line, sir
I'm no celebrity, star, or even a hero
just me
sweet and pretty
oh please, sir?
someone as bright and as handsome as you
someone as wise and as gracious as you
can let me slip by
without having to burn up my life
being a star. . .

Not threatening
Not scary
Not big
Not public
Just -- cute!

Why should I be a star?
get too big for my britches
too big to fit in
the comfortable spaces
I have learned to feel safe in.

To be a star
is to be exposed
and I know from my life
that exposure is painful
standing there naked
betwixt press and fans
everyone wondering
how they can use me

abuse me.

believe me
growing up trans
is enough abuse
for a lifetime.

the attempts to fit in
that twisted and tore me

the losses I felt
of what I held dear

the erasure of what
I knew to be me

I learned to believe
my essence was wrong
and accepted abuse
that would drive that demon out

If I become exposed
they will do that again
one crucifixion in a life
is more than enough
thank you very much.

So can't I just slip into another line
one without the exposure
of being a star or a hero?

You don't know how it feels
or how much energy it takes
just to be seen as much as I am,
how much healing it takes
to keep myself sane.

I can't be a shaman
who takes away the pain of others
if I do that
where does the pain go?
It goes into my heart
where I feel it live
then I need healing
myself and again.

Let me play small
one step at a time,
not get in the crosshairs
that come with fame.

I can't be a star
because with one more scar
I might not be able to walk
or breathe

Please sir
can I get out of this line?

I'm sure it's not the one I'm supposed to be in


stardom is an obligation, one that takes more courage to accept than to reject. it is hard, hard, hard -- but for some of us, it is the hero path. the real courage is to not want attention and still claim stardom, because its part of the work you need to do. it's the difference between people who fantasize about being a big name author and those who want to be writers -- the latter is the minority i enjoy.