A Journey Into the Desert

by Fire Tashlin

I have practiced human sacrifice. I have been Agamemnon standing over Iphigenia holding the knife, and I have the blood of my own child on my hands.

I was 17 and dating a boy that I had known for several years in October of 1997. For a 17 year old, the sex was good. Not too adventurous, but good. Despite being essentially allergic to most hormonal birth control, I was not nearly as careful as I should have been with condoms. The inevitable happened, as one might guess, and I got pregnant. I was not conflicted as to the course I would take in the least. I found out at three weeks, barely long enough for a reliable result on the test. I had the abortion at five weeks, the earliest that the procedure could be done. The nurse at the Planned Parenthood was actually a little disturbed at my total lack of ambivalence towards the decision that I had made. I was a practical child.

The life of my now never-to-be-born child is not the only life that I have taken to shape my own. I have also taken my own life. When I walked into that sterile and cold office and signed those papers, I walked out of Eden and became a demon myself. I could have given up college, as I was in love with the boy, at least in the way that a 17-year-old can know such things. I could have chained myself to him and given him what he wanted. He did not want to lose the tight collection of cells that would be the only thing that could hold us together in the months to come, though in truth that was his only investment in me. But, I did not. I chose to become a hollow womb, a dark blood stained pool, and I never even looked back at the shining walls of motherhood. I walked out into the desert, and, while I did not know where I was going, I knew I was not going back.

I left home and took my blood soaked body and new self with me. I gave birth to my own demon children composed of ideas and magic, though not totally on my own (I am not a goddess myself, I had help). Together we made our own oasis in the desert, and They did not care that I had taken the life of my own child to be there and be a part of this new creation. I bound myself to a new goddess and a new path. I became a sorceress and I taught others what I had discovered. I learned to weave and bend the energy of the land itself to my will.

I have taken one more life to make myself full and whole. A little more than a year ago, I made the decision to undergo gender transition from female to male. I have nothing in particular against my female self. I never felt sundered, or alien in my skin. I never felt as if I was a prisoner in my body. It was just that the whole rest of the world kept calling me “she” and “her.” It was made clear to me when a co-worker asked me once “How many children do you have?” Not do you have children, but how many. I had offspring, my demon progeny, but not like she was asking. My loins were a desert that had been vacuumed out and sacrificed on the altar next to the white cows and snakes of my youth. How could I explain that to her? I couldn’t. To stay female was to be confronted with this reality with increasing regularity by those around me. This was the first hard shove over the line from ambivalence to active dissatisfaction with my public gender presentation.

So I now have three lives worth of blood trailing behind me like the path of a snail. The blood is warm and I can feel it sometimes, as it runs through my now short hair and down my back, over my legs and into the river of my wyrd the flows out behind me and stretches before me. I can see the blood there, too, in red threads and eddies over paths that now I will never walk.

Lilith and I have been courting for about a year now, and through that time I have struggled to understand what it is that she wants from or for me and why she has shown an interest in a slave bound so completely to another goddess. While I know that I will likely never understand fully, this at least is another part of the puzzle. In this way we are alike. We have been faced with the same realities and made the same choices. We have shed the same skins, and I think that she, like me, looks back at the walls of Eden and, if not regrets her course, at least wonders what the other path might have held.

Originally published in 2010.

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