Large pouty lips doused in Bauhaus Pink and oversized impenetrable dark aviators act as a barrier of unapproachability. My dark world lit in red lights reminiscent of Beyonce’s “6 Inch” music video.
I’ve subconsciously trained and conditioned myself to think independently to be alone, to isolate myself. I was afraid to be hurt, afraid to trust people and I am still afraid. It’s like I live in an urban jungle; a white jungle, a man’s jungle, The Cis Jungle. I am an animal stuck in the middle of a food chain. Sitting on a park bench homeless and lifeless as I gaze over the city that tries to eat me alive and teaches me to be a self-destructing cannibal that eats myself.
I remember vividly the first time I was thrown into the world with nowhere to go. At that time, I had no idea that history would repeat itself at least twice each time I was wising up to the trend. What the hell is a professional homeless person? By the third time, I’d managed to efficiently pack my life into six black identical wheeled duffle bags within 72 hours. I also managed to do it will little to no feeling as if I were a serial killer conducting my after murder ritual; precise, efficient, and with secrecy.
The possibilities are what’s truly traumatizing. Life continues to move around you and never stops for a second. What are you supposed to do to rebuild your life? To recreate yourself? I prefer navigating alone. It is difficult, but bringing friends into the fold in most ways only makes the journey more difficult. Once they actually knew the reality of my circumstances, they instantly saw through the fake smile plastered on my face. And how I tried to fit in to remain the upbeat and fiery soul they knew so well but I couldn’t keep up with the dining out, drinks at the bar, or Saturday night entertainment. By not being able to keep up, I was left in solitary by default. Not being able to keep up wasn’t even the worst of it all. The truly damning thing in the entire situation was knowing while you search for shelter by sunset somewhere in the world there is someone (many someones) on a red carpet with flashbulbs focused on them wearing a gown that costs more than you’ve made in the past ten years. How do I get from here to there? Sometimes I just want to peel back the black trans skin that acts as my shell and live without the constant reminder of my naked body being a contradiction of a racist cissexist world.
It’s equally terrifying and empowering how close each of us are to one another. How one day you can go from having nothing to having it all, or vice versa. Maybe those are the thoughts, the images, running through my head that keeps me alive. Maybe it is the hope that keeps me from slitting my wrists or becoming the next Leelah Alcorn. I could merge my need for escape and love for fashion by breaking into Saks in the middle of the night as a last hurrah before taking my own life in a dressing room wearing the most glamorous dress in the store.
“She grinds from Monday to Friday, works from Friday to Sunday, 6 inch heels she walks in the club like nobody’s business goddamn she murdered everybody and I was her witness.” That’s what I don my 6 inch heels for everyday; striving to be that girl Beyonce sings about.
The sight of sex workers on their daily stroll, their daily grind is so damn admirable. The power, the courage, and self-assurance they have to survive. “She work for the money, from the start to the finish, and she worth every dollar and she worth every minute”. They are easily the toughest most unapologetic women I know. Using their bodies as resources, to aid their survival and many of them don’t even see the activism in their mere existence. They are just existing just being authentic to themselves and addressing their needs taking their own lives from the world that said “fuck you!” into their own hands and truly living.
The Weeknd’s part on “6 Inch” reminds me of a broken record, “She works for the money. She works for the money. She works for the money. She works for the money.” That money may be the root of all evil, but its also the only chance I have at surviving.