disco elysium and transmasculinity:

i don't want to be this kind of animal anymore


there is no such thing as a uniquely masculine trait, only those which we have culturally prescribed to be masculine. muscular, tall, strong, stoic. self-destructive. repressive. angry. unhinged. violent. addictive.

i was lucky enough to grow up with amazing male figures in my life. they all treated me with such kindness and care. i effectively had 3 fathers in my life- my actual dad, and my two grandfathers. each were, and still are, undeniably masculine. my father is a gearhead who's worked in factories his whole life. my paternal grandfather is a 6-cup-of-coffee-a-day red-steak-having 2-pack-of-camels-a-day catholic. my maternal grandfather... he's different. just a bit. he has had a million different jobs and a million different lives. he's the platonic ideal of a modern cowboy, a nomad for better and worse. he grew up breaking horses on his family's farm, and his last job was truck driving luggage to and from ski lodges in alaska. doesn't get more manly than that. he's confided in me the deep, dark sadness he's harbored throughout his life. his favorite quote is from henry david thoreau- "most men lead lives of quiet desperation".

i love all of them so, so much.

i've never seen my father cry. i mean, apparently i did once. i was 4 years old when his grandmother, the woman who raised him along with his father, passed away. legend has it i wandered into the living room at night after hearing him cry and did my tiny best to comfort him. i don't remember it. my father is an exceptionally rare kind of man. looks like hank hill, with the patience of a god, and a devastating sweetness. a workaholic, he used to have no less than 2-3 addictions at any given time until his 30's when he decided to quit all of them at once, and it worked. after 3 decades of camels, he now mountain bikes dozens of miles on the weekends. he only enjoys sodas on the weekends. the only stimulant he needs is coffee. it's fucking unreal. it's insanely admirable. i like to tell myself i'll be able to do something similar one day. but i just don't know if i'm strong enough.

harry dubois wakes up face down ass up covered in piss and vomit and full of foggy confusion after drinking himself into amnesia. he's tall, he's got giant arms, he's self-destructed himself into literal oblivion. so much so he doesn't even remember his own name. the first person he encounters outside of the hotel room he fucked himself up in tell him she heard him scream, "i dont want to be this kind of animal anymore" at some point during his bingeful weekend.

i could talk forever about the unique circumstances of growing up as a girl in modern western society. but i have nothing interesting to say that hasn't already been said much more eloquently. learning to hate my body, learning to be afraid, learning that you need to want to be consumed. the eternal unpacking of all the issues a patriarchal society burdens you with. it never ends and never will. but i've at least reached a point where i've done my base legwork. i know the oppression i've fought. it is nameable. i have labeled each and every patriarchal burden like a filing cabinet. none are going in the shredder, but at least they're known. next to that filing cabinet, i have a big pile of loose papers slowly sliding off a desk with the word "masculinity" in neon lights flickering above them. i want to dive into those papers. but the thought of it fills me with such apprehension. i've always wanted masculinity. i've purposefully adopted affectations to make myself more masculine. i smoked camels for 8 years. i drink my coffee black. i picked up a nice little alcohol habit. i've shoved down more feelings than i would ever willingly admit in the hopes to appear unbothered. the only feminine traits i've ever wanted are physical. and even then, it's complicated.

when harry drags his sorry ass out of that hotel room, he isn't free of his past. he has shadows in his mind reminding him of the things he's forgotten. and as he tries to be a good person (or a fascist or a doom prophet or a disco superstar) he cannot really shake the pieces himself that makes him him. and he meets. the coolest dude in the world. another bastion of masculinity, kim kitsuragi is just. rad. immeasurably measured, willful, and kind, he helps you rediscover the world around you as you try to rewrite your tabula rasa'd self. he is firm, but kind. he lets you make your choices and mistakes. and he only stops supporting you when you start fucking up like, literally everything. naturally, there is a lot of fanart of them kissing. both are beacons of masculinity, albeit different sides of the same coin. where harry is physically imposing, kim is slight. where kim is calm cool and collected, harry will break down crying after a brief conversation with his necktie. but both are undeniably masculine.

i want to emerge from a hotel room, at my lowest point, and have the power to rebuild myself. i want a cool man who i maybe want to kiss help guide me. i want to have large arms, and a proud beer gut, and a stupid beard, and i want to destroy a hotel room and drink myself into a beautifully tragic state. i want to have bodyhair and have it be considered normal. i want to get stared at for my gaudy tie and green snakesin shoes instead of my tits. i want become a different kind of animal.

everyone has ideal versions of themselves. gender notwithstanding. there's always been a version of me that i feel like i should be. that version stands tall, with strong shoulders thrown back, an unfaltering slight smile. that version has no tits to speak of. that version has taken up smoking again, and when he laughs too loud it's with a big boom rather than a shrill howl. that version is only ever he. that version isn't ken. it's Ken.