Tiara Crites

“Stefan”

Dear Mom and Dad,

It’s your daughter.

No, it’s your son–

No, your daughter–

No, your son–

It’s your first kid, your favorite soldier.

The first line of defense against criticism from the other branches of this familitary.

Dear Mom and Dad,

It’s me.

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know the line drawn between ally and enemy territory is sometimes blurry, but

Dear Dad,

Yes, “tranny” is a slur, and every time you use it, another bullet buries itself in the unprotected flesh of my arms and thighs and throat.

Dear Mom,

Please stop asking me why my sports bra is never on the floor. Please start asking yourself why I would take off the only scrap of kevlar still protecting me.

Dear Dad,

If you keep pulling that trigger, one of these days I’m going to start bleeding and I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop.

Dear Mom,

Please don’t ever tell me that I’d make a terrible boy ever again.

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

Please stop calling me “daughter.”

Before you ask if I’m sure about this,

I want to tell you that the answer is no and I don’t know if it’ll ever be one hundred percent yes.

I have been in the trenches with my gender for four years now.

The doubt in my chest has grown exponentially, and now it’s a tank rolled over me, crushing my lungs so I can’t breathe.

This garrote of femininity is starting to wrap around my throat while I sleep.

I am suffocating.

I am choking on she and her and hers going down and he and him and his on the way up and I don’t know what to do.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Please tell me that you can stomach the phrase “female-to-male transgender” better than I can because it’s threatening to come back up.

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

The truth is: I am afraid.

The truth is: I am afraid of you.

The truth is: I am afraid of both of you being casualties in this war I am waging against my gender.

The truth is: the enemy is in my head, sabotaging all of my synapses that react to serotonin, and, on this battlefield, studded with pronoun landmines, I don’t feel like myself anymore.

The truth is: I have been a prisoner of war in my own body, outnumbered by hostiles wearing the faces of people I am close to, wielding stilettos as bowie knives and bath bombs like hand grenades for so long, I no longer know who to trust.

Dear Mom and Dad,

The truth is: I need reinforcements, and my only reinforcements are you.

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know you named me Tiara because I am your little princess, but what if I’d rather be the knight in shining armor?

What if I’m a boy?

What if I’ve already picked out a new name?

Dear Mom and Dad,

What would you have named me if I was?

 


“To The Boys Who May One Day Date My Ex-Boyfriend”

 

Here are a few things you need to know:

i.

He. Loves. Pokemon.

He definitely loves Pokemon more than he ever loved me and he probably loves Pokemon more than he loves you.

When he screams at you that he CAUGHT A PIKACHU while you’re telling him about how much you hate your boss,

While you’re headed down the street to grab lunch,

When you’re trying to sleep because it is three a.m.,

Just understand that, one day, he will catch them all, and you will finally be delivered from this pocket monster hell.

ii.

Your fave is problematic Foster Edmund Collins III:

Uses text abbreviations in casual conversation.

SMH.

iii.

His full name is Foster Edmund Collins III and he thinks that’s rad as heck.

If you do not also think that it’s rad as heck that his family is so committed to his name that he is the third of a kind, you will not successfully woo him, and you should give up now.

iv.

Dat boi is a memelord. Oh shit. Waddup.

v.

Do not ask him for help with your outfit.

He will look you in the eyes and say, “I am not your personal TLC What Not To Wear fashionista. Frankly, I belong on that show.”

You will need to help him with his outfit.

vi.

The boy is a genius with words.

His poetry will make you want to scream with joy and break down into tears and high five him and give him bone-crushing hugs and snap until your fingers fall off and sit in a corner for five hundred years because you don’t know if you’ll hear anything that beautiful again and you don’t know what you’re going to do when he reads his next poem and knocks you out of your chair with his profoundness and his humor.

Tell him what you love about it to stoke his ego.

Tell him what he can fix so that his caffeine-and-ink-laced fingers have something to do.

Do not let his hands be idle.

vii.

No day with him is boring.

Be he pretentious today or rachet af,

Know that his sense of humor is a chisel that only knows how to etch laugh lines on the faces around him.

viii.

I remember holding his hands.

They were that strange mixture of rough and smooth and hard and gentle that only boys who grew up boys can achieve,

And slightly clammy, always.

Get used to it, because they still are.

If you do not use this opportunity to memorize the lines of his fingerprints, you do not deserve the chance.

ix.

I remember wondering about what my first name would sound like followed directly by his last name,

And understanding that the sounds fit well together,

But they weren’t perfect,

Not in the way that romance authors plan out the male love interest’s last name to line up with the female protagonist’s first name just so,

But in the same way that,

despite the way it may sound,

Peanuts and butter are not the two ingredients combined to make peanut butter.

Which is to say that nothing we ever did felt deliberate enough to be called love,

But that didn’t stop me from finding a combination of fierce admiration and utter fondness,

a feeling comparable to love to feel for him.

Or, perhaps, rather, him finding a way to purchase and move into his own corner of my heart.

x.

There was never any way for me to love him in the intimate way that you can,

But I have a friendship with him that survived four years of complete radio silence and that’s something dear to me,

So if you break his soft poet’s heart, hidden behind rock-solid layers of bravado and confidence and pretentiousness as it is,

You’ll never see me coming.


 

“All Of The Definitions of the Word “Practice” I Have Amassed While Learning to Drive”

practice

verb

  1. to perform an activity or exercise a skill repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency
  2. to figure out how many different ways your brain can twist your body around a pole or a tree
  3. to become careless with your hands in such a way that they are removed from your wrists by shards of glass
  4. to be loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
    1. too loose
    2. to lose
  5. to avoid looking at down your speedometer so much
  6. to keep your hands at ten and two and ten and two and ten and two and ten and two and ten and two
  7. to turn turn TURN
    1. into a curb
    2. into a pile of rocks
    3. into a wall
    4. into a tanker truck
  8. to feel your heartbeat in your eyeballs
  9. to not cry and also not have a panic attack
    1. panic attack, definition: a sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety
    2. panic attack, definition: a sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety when you’re not actually in any danger
    3. to just avoid crying
  10. to ask yourself why there’s so much to do
  11. to be unable to catch your breath, not because it is beautiful, but because your seat belt is wrapped around your windpipe, constricting your throat until you can’t breathe
    1. oh god why can’t i breathe i should be able to breathe
    2. “you need to calm down”
  12. to hear your mother say, “oh so you’re afraid of endangering your brother’s life but not your father’s”
    1. i’ll never touch a steering wheel again, i swear i won’t

practice

noun

  1. see? that wasn’t so bad was it?
        1. at ten p.m. on the freeway going sixty-five miles an hour, it’s even cathartic
  2. sometimes i think “you drive better when you’re not stressed” are the last words i’ll ever hear you say

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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