I am a queer, trans, nonbinary, polyamorous, stoner, acrobatic, drag sex-worker who writes openly about my trauma, and I don’t speak to either of my parents.
How are you?
I have always loved adrenaline. When I was six, I walked in circles around my house on my hands. My technique is much better now, but I could take fifty “steps” on my hands without crashing into the cabinets or the fireplace.
My mom hated anything dangerous. Every time I got hurt, I was told: “see?” I wanted to be a cheerleader my entire childhood, but my mom told me that cheerleaders were idiotic sluts who constantly got injured and had no future.
Little did she know, I was a slut constantly getting injured with above average intelligence.
My mother hates sluts. I couldn’t have turned out to be anything worse (except trans). Cheerleaders weren’t the only sluts, either: blondes, bisexuals, bitches named Joanne; they were all sluts who couldn’t be held down. When my mom thought I might be interested in girls, she told me to wait until she was dead to ever act on it. When she found out I slept with a boy, she told me she wanted to puke.
So, which is it?
Everything about my identity in some way threatens my parents. My childhood friend talked me up for days to venture into the “boys” side of the trendy store down the street. When I came home with an oversized punk-looking polo, my mom was furious.
“Why would you want to dress like that?”
When I cut my hair from a bi-bob to a pixie cut, she said:
“You used to look like you were open to anything, now you just look like a dyke.”
“Hey, mom, I’d really appreciate it if you would start calling me August.”
“I gave you your name so I would like to keep using it.”
That’s when I started painting my face taking my clothes off for money.
I started performing in the Rocky Horror Picture Show in college, but when I moved to New York I found another cast so I could find a gang queer people who could all quote the same movie. My mom only went to one of the hundred shows I performed in. My dad and stepmom got her really drunk and drove her into the city.
My mom kept her distance from me that night, and I don’t think it was my gaunt makeup making her uncomfortable. There were so many half-naked queer people around her, one of whom was my new girlfriend. I can’t remember any specific compliments from her, but I don’t believe any of them were that specific, if there were any. She might as well have commented on the lighting.
My mom did not go to that show; not really. While my stepmom gushed over my performance, my birth mother drank herself into dissociation.
At this point, she didn’t just hate me for my deepest and most private secrets. She hated who I was publicly, too.
I always knew that I was going to have to disconnect from my mother.
Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a writer. My mother told me that I wrote episodes of Rugrats in my small notepad and gave them to her to send to Nickelodeon. She found that cute enough to remind me of the story, but not interesting enough to keep the stories I’d written.
When I entered into a writing contest, I let her read my short story after I had submitted it. I told her to be prepared for a scary ghost story. A young girl gets into a car accident with her mother, and her ghost relives the death of her mom over and over again.
“Do you want me to die?” My mom asked of me. “Why do you always write about bad things happening to me?” That was it. No notes, no intrigue, no comments. Just judgment.
I didn’t win the contest, solidifying my mediocrity.
I knew, even back then, that I wouldn’t be able to write about what I wanted to if she were always looking over my shoulder. I would never be an adult writing fiction narratives: I would always be a child inserting myself into stories about her.
Now that we don’t talk, I can write without checking behind my back. I don’t have to worry that my mom will go through my phone and find my hidden messages and notes. I can write what is on my mind, without the fear of her listening in. She doesn’t even know my name.
So after all the prodding to try to get me not to write about her, I decided to write this blog about her. Funny thing, abuse. The memories come back to you when you least expect it.