I’m a huge Mass Effect fan. I recently found the Mass Effect subreddit. It is, sadly, filled with people who play BroShep, the male incarnation of the series hero, and posesser of the most bland and uninsipiring character design and voice ever committed to silicon.
Every time I am reminded that meatheads play Mass Effect, I am sad.
So let’s get this straight once and for all:
Mass Effect is about an emotionally scarred lesbian who saves the galaxy and finds love along the way. It is not about a bald space marine with a dick and cardboard personality.
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
— Bene Gesserit litany against fear
So a week ago I’m standing outside a bar in NW Portland, about as scared as I’ve ever been in my life. (See prior entries for scale.) Inside there’s a meetup group, a whole gaggle of lesbians from the Internet who have gotten together to get drunk and talk. I desperately wish to make more friends. But I’m terrified of going in there, introducing myself, and sitting down for a drink. It doesn’t help that I don’t see any other trans girls in there. I look like a boy in a dress. I know I can’t back down. I will feel like shit if I do.
I trade some panicked text messages with my ex, and she convinces me to step up and take my chances. I do. It is painful. And awkward. Terrible, really. But eventually I feel not so self-conscious. The whisky helps a lot with that. Some nice women from Seattle make an effort to make me feel safe and included. I spend a pleasant, but no more than that, two hours in their company. It’s too far out of my zone to be truly comfortable. At the end I go home, drained and shaken and glad I went.
I feel like shit for the next three days. Tired, withdrawn, nervous. You can’t do this stuff for free.
I’m looking for another group to go to, to do this again. And again, and again. As many times as it takes until I can do it without needing someone to reassure me. As many times as it takes until I can do it with grace.
Since I started wearing skirts in public, I have become a connoisseur of strange looks from straight people. Here are my favorites.
The Silent Walleye
The “I’m Not Staring”
The “I’m Confused”
The Eager Ally
The Abrupt Silence
The Nervous Smile
So I guess some of you wanted a bit of happier news. Here it is. I wrote 2000 words yesterday. I’m probably going to crack a thousand again today. I suddenly have a real, live book on my hands.
I don’t know what it is, but I just got a relatively large spike of readers from Norway. Greetings from the United States. It sucks here. Send more hot blondes.
My writing is back.
For the past six days I have been writing like a maniac. I’m up to 9,000 words on a new manuscript. It is pouring out of me. I don’t know what happened. The change has been so abrupt my head is still spinning.
Words cannot describe how gratifying this is. How good this feels. The closest approximation I can think of is it is like getting a superpower back.
I am so intensely happy.