The Art of Hating Everything
Anger is the armor that helps me survive in a world that doesn’t understand me
When I was younger, I imagined there was a world waiting for me in which other people liked what I liked. A world far from the cesspool of high school where people had good taste. Where I wouldn’t be alone in liking uncool dead people like Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Henry Miller. Where these interests — which were, in fact, rather mainstream—wouldn’t place the social mark of Cain upon my forehead.
That place was the internet, but I didn’t know it yet.
Like many millennials, I grew up in a weird in-between zone. The internet existed, but in a primitive dial-up format. We couldn’t spend too much time online because we didn’t have our own computers and our parents always kicked us off to do their grownup bullshit. I had an overwhelming sense of shame about using the internet. I didn’t watch porn. I barely did anything but chat with my friends on AIM. Still, it gave me a grimy feeling. The internet was a black hole.
In college, I tried to use the internet to talk to people about my old-timey interests. I wound up connecting with older men on Myspace who, I didn’t realize fully at the time, were talking to me only because they hoped I would shoot them a casual underage nude. They didn’t really want to discuss Buster Keaton. They didn’t really want to intellectually engage. They wanted sex, just like everyone else.
Everyone but me.
At this point, I should clue you in to an important point: I’m trans. In high school and college, I was still largely in the closet. Embarrassingly enough, I didn’t know what trans was until I watched The L Word. To be clear, I was familiar with the term but didn’t know it applied to me. I liked guys, so I couldn’t be trans. Right?
Cis people seem to believe trans folks sprung fully formed from the head of Caitlin Jenner in 2015. They don’t understand we’ve always existed in silence and shadow. I was a trans kid growing up in a very liberal town who didn’t even know how to use the internet to understand who and what I was. I only knew something was deeply wrong and probably wouldn’t ever be made right.