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September 23rd, 1979
Whenever I enact sexual fantasies in dreams with my father, I awake to a certain sadness, a melancholy, a sorrowful sense of loss. And a memory of loving him so much, so long ago. I pity the scrawny little boy playing by himself; alone so often. And always pretending to be a woman. And Daddy was so strong, so tough, so powerful. But he was absent from my early life; he never nurtured an identity between us. He never tried to make me tough or strong or confident like him. He was gone so often that, finally, he became an alien, an invader in the world of my mother and me. And the incessant fighting made me learn to hate him. I was my mother’s son– her neutered son, her compliant daughter. I shared each and every abuse and suffering that she experienced at the hands of my father. I was her friend, her ally; I learned early how to suffer like a woman: because it was the only behavior that I was exposed to. There were no men in my childhood– only middle-class housewives and school teachers. By the age of nine (if not earlier) my personality was thoroughly female– by default I had learned my place in the drama of sexuality: there were men, who were stronger and capable and brutal and forceful; and there were women, who were dependent, reliant, weak, and passive. I belonged to the women, only because no man had ever claimed me. The boy-child raised by women. The human raised and suckled by wolves. I became a suffering woman like my mother and all the women I knew; and learned to accept, and share in their victimization.
Even as I learned to view myself in this tortured, distorted way, I was acutely aware of my failure as a boy. Not like the neighborhood boys: tough and scrappy– playing ball and war and being mean to girls. I was the sissy playing alone on our back porch at dusk; the cool grey porch a stage peopled with my own characters involved in elaborate romantic dramas; myself, always, the heroine.
Even now, Sunday morning with Autumn beginning to chill the air; I drink coffee at the kitchen table and remember the dream: the dream of my father holding me and kissing me and loving me. And the sadness of it never being. And I know that I have been here before. Outside the window is the cemetery where the love I always needed is buried.