Today’s prompt is Alleviate. What do I even do with that? What can I possibly do with that on a day like today?
I cried in my girlfriend’s arms this morning. I texted my teenage sister, told her I loved her. Told her to call me after church or even during today, if she needs it. My sister who I’ve already visited in the hospital once, I can’t bare the thought of that again. My sister who my mother wouldn’t let get a short hair cut–a hair cut!–for fear of her maybe fancying herself a boy or a butch or does she even know? No, because she’d never ask, or let anyone else get a word in edgewise. My mother, who spent an hour on the phone talking at me when my sister called to talk about my engagement. My engagement, that was supposed to be a GOOD thing, a HAPPY time, which has become a beacon I cling to, an event I’m going to rush with all my power before they tell me I can’t love her anymore. My love, who I was terrified to love in high school for fear of making her a target, who I am now terrified to love again.
Alleviate? What am I supposed to do with that?
I’m writing for the habit of it, to try to hang on to normal. I’m writing because no matter what else I am, no matter what other horrible thing that apparently half my country thinks is villainous, should be forcibly changed by vile therapies that lead to suicide, or make me less of a human being but damned if I don’t make good tacos, or any number of ridiculous other things–HALF MY COUNTRY hates most of what I call my own. The things I think of when I say “I am”. I am still those things, and I will keep being those things, and I will do so with fear, as I have always done. Less fear than at first but more fear now, but maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe no one gives too shits about my bedroom like I don’t care about theirs. Maybe I’m pale enough for passing. Maybe I’m deplorable for thinking that, and worse for taking advantage of it. Maybe I am absolutely blessed that my disphoria is so few and far between than I’ve never felt the need to transition, so there’s one more thing I can keep under wraps. Maybe, maybe… Maybe these thoughts are awful. And writing them down just feeds them. There is no “alleviate” in this. There is no “alleviate” in me.
I write stories about people with different skin tones, different creeds, all made up. I look at my world slantways, so I can see how awful it is, but cannot dream of a better one without certain changes. Magic, angels, scales, feathers. Gods. Because one god cannot manage this mess alone. I look at the world slantways becausne my mind just cannot conceive of it being a good place as it is. My world is filled with colors and kisses that I cannot see in the one I live in. Is that something wrong with me, that I cannot write in this world, that I want to see a change but cannot believe it? Am I an anchor holding us back?
These are the thoughts that I cannot tame with “alleviate”. These are the circles chasing round and round, helping no one. Words and ideas, words and ideas– they can change the world, and they are changing nothing. Words and ideas. Sleepless and scared.
There is no alleviate in me.