Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

An attempt at intimacy but it just ends up making me sad again

Filed By Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore | August 05, 2008 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: brokeback mountain, Courtney Love, cruising for sex, faggot, intimacy, names, self-actualization, sexual identity

Okay, so you might remember that I'm trying to regain a sense of hope in my own sexuality and no, it's not working , but what I've been trying lately is to engage every so often in these silly internet cruising sites and one of the things that keeps coming up is my name, somewhere in the cruising, it's Mattilda, and then, well then no longer are we talking about sucking cock or whatever now it's: what's your real name? Some faggots act like I'm totally giving them shade by not divulging my true masculinity my rough-and-tough Brokeback bravado my chest-pumping neck-bulging pancreas-pounding ramrod-raging DNA-as-destiny parental ownership trump card what's your real name, the name your parents gave you the name on your birth certificate is that what your mother calls you no really your real name really?

I wish I could say that this only happens on the internet, but no sometimes it happens after I have sex with someone and all the sudden it's like I smacked him in the face, probably should but that's a different story. Or, people will respond by giving themselves names they think are completely ridiculous, just to show me how ridiculous I am! The other night this happened with these art students -- art students, of all things -- one of them said I'm Courtney Love. Which, by the way, probably wasn't the name Courtney's mother gave her, either.

A name a name and name it's a fucking name, I mean right now I'm not even going to get into all of the other things these faggots can't deal with right now we're just talking about my name, and sometimes they'll act totally befuddled like oh, isn't that a girl's name? I swear -- there are faggots that actually say that shit, I mean most faggots actually, if they don't say it outright they say something else like is that the name your mother gave you? No, you moron, and she gave me a lot of other things I don't want either!

Let's get back to self-actualization for a moment, let's get back to queer possibilities of choosing our gender and sexual and social identities, or let's go way back from there for a second and say bitch, this is the West Coast -- on the West Coast, we choose our names!

Don't get me wrong -- everyone should be able to choose their name, West Coast East Coast inside outside win some you lose some bring some give some take some make some make it up, okay make it up! And yes, part of my name is about making people stop and think for a second, just a second, maybe a second? It's also about living in a world that I can stand. I mean shouldn't that be part of our cultural coming-of-age instead of driving and voting for pointless morons who want us dead and the legal right to alcoholism, it's just a small small gesture I mean a beautiful transformative glamorous and gorgeous, sassy and splendid and delicious and dangerous and vibrant and visionary gesture, so maybe it's no surprise that so many people can't deal.

But I still hate it, even when I act like it's nothing it's a sad let-down almost like when someone you're starting to know says something terrible and offensive and you realize oh. Oh, it's not gonna go any further. And it's gotten to the point on those cruising sites when I don't even want to get to what's your name, it's an attempt at intimacy but it just ends up making me sad again, sad like there's no point to this whole thing and in the limited world of those cruising sites there probably isn't a point, probably I should leave and never come back but remember I'm investigating all the options I just wish they felt like possibilities like my name like when your eyes light up and there's more.

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awh..your growing up...Not to sound sarcastic but thats what your experiencing. The point at which you see that being you and the real world are sometimes at odds. Right or wrong thats whats going mom told me this when it was happening to me...I wanted to wear stripes on my face and funky hair but couldnt get a BF. I had to come to realize that I had to fight my battles and choose what was more important, my stripes or companionship and do it in a way that didnt totally stiffle me.

Im not saying change who you are, but see whats important, not to conform but you dont live in a vaccum and every action has a reaction...

Not trying to be a downer...just been thru it am happy on the other side...

Oh no, the growing-up narrative -- I'll take stripes any day!

Stand tall. Disregard the misunderstandings of others if you've made yourself clear. If you've obfuscated who you are, then shame on you as you're making it tougher on others to get closer to you.

Make peace with the fact that others are often in similar circumstances called the human condition. Save a very few of us, that condition can be horrible on a transient basis.

Then get laid. Have a good time. Be safe. Help somebody feel good, including you. Then move on. Repeat. It's what we do every day. Enjoy it. It can be endlessly fascinating. Pity parties are allowed to be exactly two hours long, and not two hours and a single extra second. Waste of precious time.

People always want to know my "real name" too. If I don't happen to be passing at the time, they "hear" my "real name" anyway, since the name I go by isn't that different. I know I shouldn't let other people undermine my identity, but it is really frustrating. Like, "I gave you the name I did for a reason, asshole."

I hope your situation improves.

You bet your trans friends got your back on this. It is the one thing you and us have in common. I love you no matter what.

DDog and Monica, thanks for the understanding!

Although Monica, only one thing??? Aren't I "your trans friends" too?

Mattilda, this is such a wonderful post! The anger feels very here, not distant like you're tired of being angry at all. I like the idea of living in a world that I can stand. And that you can stand!

and all the sudden it's like I smacked him in the face, probably should but that's a different story.

That's the story I want to hear!

And Midtowner, you've got downer in your name! Being at odds with the real world... isn't that the point?

Nick, thanks for brightening up my day! Yay for a world that we can stand! Any yay for the story you want to hear, I promise I'll get to that story...

Where's the Ritalin?!!!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | August 6, 2008 6:17 AM

As a past offender I would like to remind you Mattilda that what "makes people stop and think for a moment" are your ideas.

Beyond just "playing safe" have you considered a sabbatical? Take a month off from the hunt and chase and spend the time really delving into what you wish to express and how you feel about it. You want a world you can stand? You have to think about how and who can help you achieve it. You represent incredible promise for a new definition and understanding of gender. Don't waste time getting to know yourself.

So you do not want to adjust to society you want society to adjust to you. OK, been there, done that. I wanted more things that gave me satisfaction materially as well as emotionally. I chose a more conventional course within unconventional:) I still knew who I was at every point and why I made the decisions I made which helped me control events. Even the word control is wrong, it was really placing myself in a position to react and respond defensively when needed. I know this is less free and open than you might like to incorporate in to your life. Certainly my solution is not right for everyone, but I respect your right to choose Mattilda and hope you live fully free of any regrets. Love is everything.

If you can afford it, you may want to do a little traveling and visit some other cities in the country. A "sabbatical," like Robert suggested. I got a spare bedroom you can crash in if you get to Atlanta. I can show you around here. I'm sure others would do the same for you.

Quick question though - you say you want to make people think and follow up with:

it's just a small small gesture I mean a beautiful transformative glamorous and gorgeous, sassy and splendid and delicious and dangerous and vibrant and visionary gesture, so maybe it's no surprise that so many people can't deal.

So why complain when people ask you about it? It seems like you wanted people to notice the disconnect between your name and how you present.

Once again I say, "We are who we are, and we love who we love, and that's all that's important."

I was thinking just the other day that the struggles we in the LGBT community have to face in order to do that eventually could extend to those not in this group. Recently I saw an article about the father of a man from India who murdered his daughter-in-law because she was African-American. Such a tragedy.

What a nicer world this would be if all of us were just free to be who we are and love who we love. That would be a far cry from what we have now when so-called religious persons encourage disparagement and hatred. Some day....

Some day it won't take so much courage to be ourselves or to love who we love. We'll just do it. Some day....

Robert, yay for my ideas! A sabbatical, indeed -- I've banned myself from that tired internet cruising catastrophe at least until October, and we'll see what else arrives is... But I wonder if love is really everything -- I'll have to think about that one...

Monica, you are incredibly generous! I will actually be going on a crazy book tour this fall, which is definitely not a sabbatical, but I will get to see a bunch of people in different cities -- unfortunately, though, I won't be able to get to Atlanta! But I do love spare bedrooms, so hopefully another time...

Bil, aha -- I rarely mind questions, but "what's your REAL name" is actually not a question at all -- it's an accusation that simultaneously denies personal choice and some parental birthright ownership spectacle. But with a butch intonation, of course.

Shakay, some day indeed...

Meant to say *asserts* some parental birthright ownership spectacle...

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | August 6, 2008 9:32 PM

Have a nice road trip and find special time for yourself.

Oh I won't be leaving until October, there's plenty more time to wish me a good trip :)

I love how everyone turned this into a "plan a vacation for mattilda" thread.

Atlanta has some great book stores who have writers come in all the time. Outwrite is the complete LGBT book store and Caris is more focused on women, including trans women. Your publisists should contact them to see if we can get you here.