the disappearance of the girl

(or quod nutritur me destruit me.)

The joke is that I was raised by fandom. When I think about it, the joke becomes more of a sad truth.

Fandom missed giving me the sex talk — I had human reproduction pretty much down by the age of twelve — but it had plenty to teach me about sexuality that I wouldn’t have gotten from other human beings in Podunk, NY. The fact remains that most of the other queer kids were afraid to come out until they were safely gone. (Some safe environment, high school. Great job.) I remember, in my senior year, a handful of freshmen who were finally willing to let their freak flag fly, but I wonder if it wasn’t more for shock value? There was also the new girl who fixated on me a la Crazy Eyes from Orange is the New Black. Vanilla and vanilla swiiiiiirl.

My first kiss was still with a guy, and the girl I liked didn’t take it well when I told her she was great.

So, fandom, where Minotaur’s guide to kinky gay sex was practically required reading, where moresomes with Krycek sat cheek-by-jowl with cheery, romantic Mulder/Scully brain candy.* Fandom had its cliques; true to form, I drifted between them, trawling archives of stories about shows that aired before I was born and an ocean away. The reason I called my man-cat Bodie? The Professionals. I even have a T-shirt somewhere. Somehow I landed in Sorkin-world, where I met the fabulous Perpetual Motion. I was into anime for a while. The love has since faded for the most part.** Yes, I was a squealing yaoi fangirl. Please forgive me.

Having fandom as parents*** exposed me to social justice issues early enough that my growing pains coincided with my actual adolescence. I settled into an intersectional point of view somewhere in my early twenties.**** You know, about when I landed at the corner of Disabled Street, Cis-Woman Lane, and Queer Avenue. (Avenue Q. HA.) Reality bit. Hard.

In trade for the bite, the universe granted me a fantastic partner, who has stuck by me as I’ve sought ways forward. I “left home”. I still visit; my AO3 page is proof, and also my multitudes of bookmarks. It’s just that my interests changed, and with them the way I faced the world. It’s no coincidence that my sense of style shifted out of subculture territory. I outgrew the need to wear my geekdom. I can indulge in a nod to a favored character or series without donning a costume. I’m comfortable in mainstream fashions; if anything, I’m less okay in the jeans/witty tee/sneakers uniform. I look about twelve in it. I look like everyone else in it. This sounds counter-intuitive, but I feel more like an individual in a pair of skinnies, ballet flats, and the right sweater. Maybe it’s because I’m no longer obviously part of anything; I don’t fit any pigeonholes, except perhaps “dead boring”.

I felt old yesterday, watching Nostalgia Chick take apart Grease. Older? But I’m right at home with People I Want To Punch In The Throat. There was a time when twenty-seven wasn’t too young to be married with a kid. I’m not saying let’s go back to the teen-wedding fifties. I’m saying I’m starting to see the appeal, that’s all. I’m saying I could adopt, once I get on my feet. I’m saying I might not mind being part of a household — not my parents’ — in my thirties. I am not saying what that household will look like. Three adults? One? No kids? Someone else’s kids? One of my own, adopted given my body’s foibles?

This weekend I had my first real moments of regret that I’ll never experience pregnancy, followed by the usual moments of terror at the thought of actually experiencing it. Let’s just say that I’d contemplate letting a fetus live if I didn’t know it existed until about the second trimester. I figure if something wants that badly to survive that it’s willing to cope with three-odd months of my meds, my daily Pepsi, and whatever else I’ve imbibed in order to chase away what I will hopefully NEVER KNOW is morning sickness, fine. It wins. But if that happens, my OB and I are having a Good Long Chat about putting me under, delivering via Caesarean, and oh yes taking the uterus while we’re at it. Not something I’d undertake except by accident, in other words. Not at this point. Not enough to justify keeping the works intact, either. I mean, if I’m going to have a sad about not spawning for health reasons, shouldn’t I have a sad from the safety of never ever doing it? At eighty-four pounds, any further decrease in appetite carries a hefty risk.*****

I don’t even feel like I speak the same language I did as a wee fangirl. I used to adapt to the trends and the memes. Now it just grates on me when adults speak more LOLcat than English. I’m not the only thing getting old fast! Is this what it’s like to witness a generational shift? And is everything I liked as a teenager going to be cool again in twenty years? People are actually nostalgic for the nineties.

tl;dr CREAK. CREAK. GET OFF MY LAWN.

So that’s where the girl in those fun Facebook photos went. The vinyl boots wore out — no, really, they did. Maybe the universe thought they’d served their purpose. I stopped torturing my hair with dye jobs and heat styling. I turned curiosity into experience. My pop culture isn’t my identity anymore.

That said, I love me some synthpop, I’m really enjoying this Star Wars game, and Kenzi is my spirit animal.


* I am responsible for some of that brain candy, and no, I’m not telling you which.
** You will pry my Greenwood from my cold, dead hands. I also have a soft spot for Eroica.
*** “The Corps is mother. The Corps is father.”
**** Jesus, I’m only 27 now.
***** Sure, I have options. They’re just not great for anyone involved. You don’t, for example, want a woman who already takes antidepressants on steroids during pregnancy. Knocked-up ‘roid rage! [thumbs-up] Cannabinoids are Category C in the US, meaning that in animals, serious shit has gone down, and also we don’t know what happens in humans. Zofran drip? That’ll get expensive fast. Compazine? Wake me in my second trimester.

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