To start off, I’m depressed and I have self-confidence issues. Now that you know that, let’s talk about how I’m slowly coming to terms with it.
Twenty years ago, in a city in China, a little baby was handed to his new parents. He was wearing a pale yellow onesie and had the most confused expression on his face. The people who had been taking care of him for the past nine months were no doubt sad, but happy because this was going to be a new life with new opportunities for the child. Then, with the last few goodbyes traded and assurances given, the baby was taken away.
As you might have guessed, that baby was me and I have no recollection of what happened. I’ve seen the little home video that my parents took — thank god for their obsession with filming me as a child — and it’s always been a question in my mind: what was I thinking? I was certainly confused. I doubt I had seen a white person before, let alone two — and one with red hair!
Adoption is complicated. My family has always been very upfront with me about it — not like they could hide it (though they were told to by several people) — and I appreciate that greatly. It’s never been difficult for me to talk about being adopted, even though I think that I didn’t quite know what to talk about for the longest time.
But today is happy. Today is Family Day.
I wrote this little thing for a D&D campaign ages ago that’s long since ended. Since there’s no more point keeping the backstory secret, I figured I’d share this short story here.
The world is a fantasy realm where demons and celestial beings are common place as well as your standard dwarfs, elves, etc. Artemis, my character, is a sad, sad, sad half-demon who really just has a messed up life and needs a hug.
At some point I’ll make a post outlining what I’ve been up to, but this is long enough as it is. The important news is that you can grab my short story, First, Second, Third in Harmony Ink’s anthology here! It’s on ebook and paperback and you get a ton of other great queer short stories.
It’s me. Duh.
Whew. It’s been. A long time. And I’m so sorry for not updating but — I’m actually doing things! Like things I can talk about and am certain I’ll get done because I literally have to! Unfortunately the podcast that I talked about last time seems to have fallen to the wayside but the short story is still in progress and I’m going to be published this October!
That’s right, your guy Elliot is gonna be a real published author!
I’m in the process of writing a piece for Dear Adoption, a site where adoptees — surprise, surprise — write about some part of their experiences and submit them. Mine is focused on how being adopted has really effected my transition. It’s really hard to explain to people who aren’t adopted and when I can share links to it, I will. I’m excited to have the chance to put my feelings on paper, albeit digital paper.
I think to a certain extent, all trans people feel a bit of guilt at some point in their transition — then again, I really shouldn’t claim I speak for all trans people. I don’t and I never will.
But there’s such a persistent narrative of parents “losing” a child who transitions, or of people suddenly feeling like they have to deal with a whole “new” person. A lot of media seems to perpetuate this idea. And I think it’s further complicated by the fact that — personally, at least — there is the sense of having to kill off your old self. At the very least, you’re becoming someone new.
And while this new person isn’t a lie — they are, in fact, your authentic self — that doesn’t stop outsiders from feeling like you’re suddenly someone new.
I drove back to Arizona with my parents the other night; the school year over, I returned to Arizona and am currently enjoying my month off before launching forward into an exciting internship with East West Players later this summer. The last time I was in Arizona was in early January this year. I was very much ready to return to school but also anxious because I had a lot up ahead. Including, but not limited to, fundraising and scheduling my life around my upcoming top surgery appointment.
Getting ready for top surgery is probably one of the strangest experiences of my life. I spent the entirety of the weeks leading up to it convinced it was a dream, that something would happen and stop me from getting it. The night before, my parents and I had to rush to the only open pharmacy to fill a prescription that I had forgotten about. Yes, I forgot about a prescription. No, it wasn’t on purpose. Yes, that’s how bad my memory is.
I’ll probably write about the time immediately after surgery another day. But today I looked in the mirror as I got ready for bed and I realized — this is the first time I’ve been in Arizona since I got top surgery. Later this month, I’ll be spending time with people who haven’t seen me since I was on T let alone surgery. To be specific, I’m going to my high school’s graduation ceremony since I have friends who are seniors. I’ll see them, fellow alumni, and old teachers. It’s a weird thought.
This past week has been a rush for me with finals, getting ready to move out of the dorms, and mental health problems rearing their head once again. Still, I’ve been doing my best to be productive and of course that means starting another few projects that really don’t have a due date and don’t need to be done anytime soon… rather than working on things that actually need to get done like now. Whoops?
A few big things to announce! First, my play The Grey Teacup Cafe got written about in my college’s newspaper. It has good things to say about it, which is always nice and helps reaffirm what I got from opening night. Find it here.
On that vein, I’m done with theater for the semester!… which isn’t saying much since I’ll be working at East West Players all summer as a production intern, but it’s kind of nice to have school work winding down. Hopefully that means more time to write and work on other projects 🙂
In other news, I just heard that I received The Virginia Princehouse Allen Prize for “outstanding contributions to the activities of the theater department for the academic year 2016-2017.” Basically, people noticed that I did things! Which is always nice.
Now, on the off-chance you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me provide a brief explanation. Fanfiction is the general term for any written work by someone who is a fan of another work. What makes fanfiction interesting is that, while it generally uses characters and settings from an existing work (let’s say, a television show like Doctor Who or a book like Harry Potter), there’s the implicit understanding that the fanfiction isn’t canon. That is, it isn’t official. People who read fanfiction know that this isn’t written by the official authors — in fact, that’s the whole point. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
Fanfiction is part of fan culture and it has a long and rather interesting history, not just with how fan culture has developed over the years (Star Trek being one of the first big fandoms) but also with how authors have treated fanfiction. That being said, I could go on for much longer about the history but I would do a poor job of it. The resources are out there; use Google or your favorite search engine if you really want to learn more.
But as the title of this post suggests, let’s talk about fanfiction and why exactly it’s so important to me and to millions of other people out there. Not just because it provides a good escape from reality, like any half decent work of fiction, but because it allows us to change what really happens. Not literally, of course. But it lets a group of dedicated fans come up with more.
And often times, it’s the more that gets people to read.