It's bigger news than anybody's been treating it as being, really: My grandmother, known as Oma, moved in with my family today. We'd been planning for this to happen for a while, and hoping she would consent to it and dreading actually having her here, and now it's happened. It hasn't received much attention, really. Shakespeare (we had our first performance tonight and it went really welllllll!!!!) and baseball and toga-making and brainstorming for my upcoming birthday have not been completely overshadowed, nor has my own gender-thing-that's-been-worse-than-usual-for-the-past-couple-of-days. It's odd.
Oma is eighty-four, I think, and not in very good health. She needs a walker, but we've barely been able to persuade her to walk with a cane. She's finally started wearing diapers regularly, but has needed them much longer. Left to her own devices, she does nothing but watch the news, eat bible bread and bananas, and telephone her daughter, my mother, five to ten times a day, not counting the times she hears the 'Please leave a message' and hangs up. Her house - a large house full of the artifacts of a long and interesting life - is in a state of pigsty, with unpaid bills creating a slipping hazard on the floor, dried up chicken bones and banana peels on the coffee table, and myriad pills in myriad places, with or without bottles.
I'm the only person in the family who can tolerate her company or conversation without suffering severe exasperation and a desire to have her sixty miles away with no telephone. It's a sad state. But I just take everything she says as a joke, as it usually is, and we get along fairly well. But having her actually living in this house may be difficult even for me.
So, yes, other things are happening too. Shakespeare for me, baseball for my brother, making togas in preparation for the Latin convention coming up in a few weeks (my mom finished the first toga today; it is beautiful!), planning birthday plans appropriate to a less milestonesome birthday.
And the gender thing. I kind of wanted to talk about it with the Gay-Straight Alliance at the meeting today, but didn't, either because I'm a yellow chicken or because that club is mysteriously unconducive to personal discussion, I know not which. Anyway, I talked to Jude because he noticed me being agitated in the way of wanting to say something but having neither the courage nor the opportunity. And I think he understands pretty well - about as well as I do, probably - and it's good to have him as a friend; I like him a lot but I don't think I love him, at least not yet, and I'm glad, for no particular reason. And we talked about names, among other things, and I don't know whether any of it will actually be of any help, but it was good, very good, to talk.
I changed in and out of my costume (oh, the salamander suit...) in the tool room this evening; I really didn't want to do it in the girls' dressing room. And yet I kind of wanted for somebody to see me in my underwear, to see the genderbending that's concealed by my clothes. I've been packing with a piece of crumpled cloth for a while now - two weeks? three? - and today I was binding as well, with an Ace bandage, because I thought I'd do that on Fridays but now I think I'll give up on it until I get a real binder, if I do.
Mr Anatomy Teacher, who so thrillingly called me by my surname yesterday and addressed me as 'young man' at the beginning of fifth period, called roll soon after, saw my given name, and immediately switched to using it and all female pronouns. I wanted to correct him after class, when all the other students had gone, but didn't know how. What could I have said?
I've been looking at names, too. I don't know what I want in a name, or whether I'll be able to choose one and apply it to myself. Maybe what I really want is to not have a name, because maybe what I really want is to not be a person, I don't know. There are so many things that define a person that I don't have, or think I don't have, or want to not have, maybe my psyche wants me not to have a name either. I don't know. The name MacAvity is mine, but - I don't know how to explain this - it's like, me with a name but no body. MacAvity is me, but also exists only in words - there are no photographs of MacAvity, or at least not his face; the face in the photographs is what needs a name.
I've been thinking I'd like it if the name started with A, because so many of the words to describe me also begin with A - I suppose that's because so many of them are words of lacking. I once wrote a character named Arik, who was at the time supposed to be an older version of a part of who I was then, but either that name belongs so firmly to him and he is no longer me, or the letters and sounds and syllables of the name itself no longer resonate with me. Another name, one I saw when searching today, is Adriel. It's pretty, nice sounds, easy to spell but still highly unusual, male but not blatantly so, fits nicely with either my given surname or my chosen one MacAvity. But I don't see it and go, That's my name. I doubt I'll have that reaction to any name, though.
Notice how I'm also avoiding any consideration of the future or consequences or any such. Just experimenting and seeing what goes from there.
Anyway, I really need to sleep. I never stay up this late, which makes me unusual, plenty of people regularly stay up past midnight, but I value sleep rather a lot. So, here ends the writing, and I know not whether I've said all that needs saying. Valete.