Bread Crumbs

I was 15. I wanted to buzz my hair like Sinead O’Connor. The woman at the salon said no. She gave me a pixie cut, which I loved. Jokingly called, “My other son.” I loved it.

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I was 14. Meant as an insult, “When you wear a skirt, you walk like a man in a kilt.” I loved it.

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Alanna the Lioness. I wanted to be her. I wanted to live as a man and learn to fight and be underestimated because of my sex and then defeat them.

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I was an alto.

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Just kidding, there’s more to it than that, haha. I was an alto 2. I wanted to be an alto 3. Powerful in depth of voice.

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When my hair started to grow out, I wanted to dress like a Beatle. I found a pair of Beatle boots and still whenever I find Beatle boots, I buy them.

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When I was 14, I found a pair of boy’s dress shoes that fit me at a thrift store. I bought them. I actually had a moment where I thought, “What if this is my style? What if I just wear boy’s clothes?” And then I remembered that I was a girl and it would be weird.

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I founded a theatre company based on nontraditional casting so that I could be John Adams in 1776. And Harold Hill. And Elyot Chase. So I could ask to play men’s roles and it would be in the name of art. Good cover.

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Sophomore in college. Our sardonic History of Musical Theatre teacher was absent for a class and so made us watch Desperate Living while he was gone because he “wanted to show us that John Waters isn’t just Hairspray.” The butch character who asked to have a penis and then showed their partner and their partner was horrified even though it was something that that character really really wanted and so they cut off their penis. Could. Not. Stop. Thinking. About. Them. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if you could put on a penis every once and awhile? And then take it off?

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When I first saw Hedwig. Oh my god, when I first saw Hedwig. Yes. Yes. The pain down in your soul was the same as the one down in mine. To feel like a fraud in pants and a fraud in a skirt and wondering why you can’t be both. The tragic humor of it.

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When I look at myself in the mirror after putting on make-up (not for stage):

 

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Kindergarten. My male friend Jesse was Skulltor. My female friend Vicky was Wonder Woman. I was “a bunny rabbit who could fly.” Genderless.

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I loved Care Bears. I wanted to be Tenderheart, Bright Heart Raccoon, or Nobleheart. Three androgynous/masculine/undetermined characters.

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I remember being told that my favorite color was magenta.

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I’m not disgusted by my female body. I just don’t really know what to do with her.

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I am uncomfortable with my assigned gender role.

 

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I’m five. I’m in ballet class. Teacher asks us all what we want to be. Lots of princesses, fairies, lambs, fairy princess lambs. I want to be Peter Pan. Why? I say Cathy Rigby play him on Broadway and the concept of a woman being a boy fascinated me. I had Peter Pan dreams for years.

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Back to Care Bears. I sorta had a thing for Dark Heart. Maybe I just have a thing for red headed cartoon boys?

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I, uh, sorta want to be Gaston.

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I think I loved Prince Philip because I wanted to be him. No carrots.

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“Grace Kelly” by MIKA comes out. I need to meet him. I do at a Virgin Records store in Hollywood and he signs my album. This song speaks to me almost as much as Hedwig speaks to me.

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Sephiroth and Griffith and Seshomaru and Beetlejuice (the cartoon) and Peter Pan (people I wanted to be/sorta attracted to)

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I realize I’ve always had body dysmorphia, but didn’t know what it was called. And it’s not that I see my breasts and am upset by them, but I have always seen myself as a brawnier person. A larger person with burlier shoulders. I always feel that I physically take up more space than I do. I think I can’t fit in between a chair and a table when I can. I’m surprised when I see how much smaller my shoulders are. It dawned on me today that that is body dysmorphia. I always thought it was because I thought I was fat.

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