Down Inside Me I'm A Real Man

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


Written back in 2006, this was a post on my MySpace Blog. It seemed to me that MySpace just up and wandered off into the Mystic one day. I was using it a great deal, so you'd think I'd have noticed
it had reimagined Itself as a Music platform. I could not understand it. But I saved my work and here is one of my stories. Obviously, that IS the year I died - and everything changed. What is
interesting is what I have to say about the Invention of Selves and the nature of Identity.

Submitted: June 09, 2018

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Submitted: June 09, 2018

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Down Inside Me I'm A Real Man

By Alexander Guinevere Kern

Copyright A. Kern, 2006

 

"I created my own Reality"

~Frida Kahlo

 

 

When I first endeavored to translate the library of stories inside my demented head to paper, I possessed only a battered old typewriter at my disposal.  I was quite attached to that old clunker . . . and fought the emerging technology, this intimidating computer business, even when my last ex assiduously attempted to explain to me how much easier it would be to use a Word program. I cursed Bill Gates with every typo, every FILE NOT FOUND, every FATAL ERROR.

 

My ex-husband was correct, however – and now the earnest Luddites will have to pry my cold, dead fingers off my marvelous, interactive machine.

 

And then AOL arrived on the social scene, a perky little package in the mail with occult power to connect my mind to the minds of human beings around our spinning Rock.  Except when the service was down for maintenance or seized up in the computer version of a hissy fit.  My daughter very much wanted us to join this parade into the digital future.  Her friends were already using it; she encouraged us to hop onto the latest trend so she could chatter and brabble all day to her cohorts, rather than be strapped to something so old-fashioned as a pager and dial-tone phone. I understand people role-play and engage in computer games with fellow gamers around the world in real time. Will wonders never cease? I hope not.

 

Being computer illiterate and generally lame in the brain, I resisted. I did not understand what AOL was, how it worked. I could not conceive of such a device, and that it would, my friends, serve as the entry point into an entirely novel experience which was, and remains, one of the most transforming and mystical experiments of my life.

 

I told my friends and family the day would never arrive when I would purchase clothing or other goods online.  How ignorant and narrow-minded! On any given day I now secure all of my purchases from online enterprises!  eBay was another stunning appearance and altered forever the prices of goods and the manner by which we acquire them.

 

Of course, we installed the AOL program and my spawnette went happily off into the mysterious ether of cyberspace.  After reading William Gibson's superb book, "Neuromancer," I decided that merging my frontal lobes with the matrix might be an exciting, illuminating adventure. At times I wished I could plug in two electrodes, attach them to my temples, and give myself homemade shock treatments. I mean, think of it – it's always a kick to imagine new, profitable methods of utilizing the machinery invented in the mind of Man. And what a powerful resource in which I could indulge my eternal seeking of Knowledge, being an Info Junkie from the moment I first emerged from the womb. To be able to access data on a grand scale, at any hour of the day, turned Sci-Fi myth into Legend. This became my ultimate playground. I embraced my good fortune – I was living large in the Information Age.  Better than the invention of automobiles, of which my grandfather was a notable player, to the understanding and usage of the atom bomb, a superlative, albeit dangerous invention. The killing power of this weapon was witnessed by my own father. The advances in Medicine instill in me an awe of the ingenuity and inventiveness of our species.

 

But nothing, absolutely nothing, can beat the computer for sheer ingeniousness.

 

Being curious, courageous and profoundly obtuse, over the course of my late teens and 20s I once enjoyed engaging in what I termed, "Social Experiments."  As I reflect on these forays into forceful entries through Huxley's "doors of perception" I realize I had unwittingly fallen down the psychiatric rabbit hole, instead. What I discovered, about women, about men, about gender roles and society's perception of same, blew my perceptual doors off, if you will.

 

My imagined "social experiments" in our real world were actually living theater, explorations in shape-shifting, and the fragile nature of Identity, all in homage to my evolving idea of Self. I wanted to know whether or not our concepts of our own personality, the elements of our character, are permeable, set on genetic stone or created out of the accretion of our life experiences.  Some people bury their consciousness in a lot of religious or philosophy tomes in an effort to approach that timeless query, "Who am I?"

 

I thought it infinitely more intriguing to live this investigation.  Over a long period of time, I lived the tumbleweed existence, moving frequently, changing my name, appearance, reinventing my personality.  With every jump into a new city, new environs, I conjured up details out of an entire diverse file of invented personal histories, flicking out bona fides as unimpeachable as any malefactor on record.  If there were aspects of Self which had been generated by my white-bread, WASP childhood crucible, I sought to sear it all away, down to the very core of my psyche. Then to overlay, like a palimpsest of attributes, features of personality and even physical trapping, a reconstituted Self with each fresh address, each new place of employ. Improvement was never my aim; I wanted to push all the limits, invade every boundary, shock my soul into revealing its very heart.

 

My capacity for inventing original and believable personae seemed without borders. Mistress of Masks and Pretense, I spun my way through living fictions to rival even those of the famed Sheherezade.  Being autistic, deep connections and relationships with PEOPLE just did not command my attention or respect.  I did not much care what passed through the minds and hearts of those I left behind, like stage scenery no longer of consequence. The moment my fellows made gestures of interest, love or just a general desire to befriend me, I packed up my bags, changed my appellation once more and jetted off to another locality in the middle of the night. No notice, no quarter would be given. "All the world was my stage," to misquote the Bard of Stratford-Upon-Avon.

 

Yes, I do realize many criminals are adroit at such extreme, cunning makeovers for malevolent intent. But my purposes were not those of a scofflaw; it was my honest need to know, to seek, to understand.  I contemplated, at a very young age, what sort of person I might have been if I'd been the descendent of different parents.  My father and mother, locked in their psycho fois a deux, embarrassed me. I was horrified by, and ashamed of them. What more efficient and bewitching way to escape my bitter past and create my circumstances anew?

 

What if I had been born in France, in Romania, in China, in South America, even if still the natural or unnatural child of my current progenitors?  Even the adaptation to a foreign language alters the facial muscles, and therefore the minute expressions of the human visage. I'll bet you never noticed that fascinating fact. Not "Who am I?" but "Who Could I Have Been?" and "Who Could I Become?" were the questions prone to startle me awake in the bleak realm of a soul-examining night.

 

I simply did not need people or human interaction to wrest happiness and pleasure from Life. I did revel in observing, and thrilled to be the Universal Distant Examiner, like a Visitor from outer space, for whom our world and variable species were mysterious substances to uncover, study and absorb. Acute observation and revelation concerning Self as opposed to Others, is one of the most instructive requirements of many writers.

 

I must confess, it was a bit disappointing to discover that people treated me with far more attention and admiration if they believed I had earned an advanced degree or was heiress to a fantastic fortune in African blood diamonds.  In fact, the wealthier they believed me to be, the stock of my friendship rose in parallel.

 

One tends to lose faith in one's fellow beings, so transparent are they, so mercenary and conspicuous in their need to improve their lot, by whatever means.  Their main goals seemed to be finding out who I was, and how I could help them move up in the world. Males and lesbians were also interested in what sexual pleasure I might offer them. The attempts to exploit the position they understood me to possess would leave me either laughing at their blatant venality or retching in disgust.  This is the child of capitalism, my friends – how can I maximize my profits out of knowing this person?  "I love what you do for me."  Activating my art of misdirection and thespian craft, I noted all the myriad ways people define us even as we in turn define them.

 

You will accuse me of being a calculating liar, a deceiver, even a monster. True, I told more untruths than the Devil on a good Slayer day.  True, I hoodwinked, outsmarted, falsified and deftly, without remorse, misrepresented myself in numberless ways, in countless cities.  But it was not lying for profit, pathological lying or the deception in which many engage in order to impress others. I wanted merely to shake my Self loose from my familiar moorings in order to . . . yes, Know Myself.  If others were impediments to this path to self-discovery and were consequently harmed psychologically, I perceived it as the price of personal science. They were collateral damage, if one may term it so. After all, what they loved and wished to know was an illusion. We are all guilty of this crime, anyway; most of us routinely project onto others what we ourselves desire to be, wish to possess, need to believe. We are all, especially writers, deeply invested in our own fantasies.  

 

Man, I sincerely found out that my drama background and uncanny ear for dialect and personal transformation evolved into a useful enterprise and aid in answering that question, "What CAN I Become?"

 

One of the first things I noted about these ubiquitous 'Chat Rooms' was the tendency of lascivious males to target people with female "screen names."  Later the venue became a convenient means to insinuate viruses or advertise porn sites. Imagine my shock at the quantity and ahhhh, quality of these lewd IMs and seducing emails hitting on my email box.  I, of course, had no idea what an IM was, either.  Without my daughter's teen wisdom, your AnnaBelle would truly have been lost in space.

 

An interesting term, Screen Name, implying not only the computer screen, but the veil behind which we are all free to hide our identity, purposes and physical appearance.  Those photos on my MySpace pic section, might, for example, might be photographs of my second cousin, twice removed. Or even an outright digital fiction created in a Photoshop program.

 

After being subjected to the cyber version of sleazy assaults upon my dignity on multiple occasions, I decided I would have to change my Screen Name to that of a male personage. In addition, this alteration required an invented history and all which attends such a gender reinvention. In innocence, and to provide myself with a hassle-free way to enjoy the conversational interface with others, I cooked up a male persona. I wanted to protect myself, my children, my privacy.

 

It is averred by psychiatrists and therapist that those who are labeled with a diagnosis of DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder, formally Multiple Personality Disorder) are actually clever and resourceful persons who were forced to devise a way to endure severe childhood abuse. I concur. Let it be understood I do not suffer from DID, although I can well understand how the development of multiple personalities could be achieved and utilized in order to preserve the life of a tormented individual. In the case of genuine DID, a diagnosis not honored by some psychiatrists, the afflicted client is not usually aware when they are "switching" from one persona to another. They suffer from black outs, and often cannot recall where they were or what they were doing when their brain decided it was time for Side B, C or D to take over. Some harbor dozens of "personalities" within their psyche.

 

Be advised, I am not subject to black outs and I knew exactly what I was doing, at all times. While those poor creatures suffer unbearably from a true disorder, I am a plain, unflavored deviant.

 

Since I'm a writer and a former actress, this deception was easier than applying stage make-up and transforming myself into Helen Keller, or Queen Anne or Lucy of Charlie Brown fame. I created the sort of man I admired and desired, however I took care to make him as outrageous and unbelievable as possible, since it seems impossible for me to engage in any class of occupation without injecting my own, private stamp of dark humor upon my art.

 

Once again, I entered the Chat Rooms I had formerly invaded as a female, and this time, not one man approached or harassed me.  

 

It did not take long for me to apprehend the potential of such a covert disguise. But to make it authentic and successful, it was imperative that I become a man. It was necessary for me to wholeheartedly assume a male persona and male mindset and male manner of personal interaction. Men communicate very differently from women. Their priorities/goals/hopes and desires are usually far removed from those of their earthly sisters.  

 

Cloaked in my fabricated masculine Image, created not by God, but by the convenience of the computer world, I typed my way into History. According to one social scientist who made gender-bending one of her prime areas of interest, I successfully played a male character online longer than anyone known to her, save one woman who navigated this new sea of identity for three years. I managed to immerse myself in this novel role for over two years, four hours or more a day, 365 days a year – until the assumption of this man's mind divided my mind and warped my sense of self and all reality. I no longer played a man, I was a man, in thought and word, in consciousness, in belief.

 

This is not a game, people. To role-play continuously for so long a space of time is an invitation for your brain to go kaput in a spectacular way. I have related this story to a number of online friends, who immediately set out to pass my mark, to prove they, too, could exchange one gender for another with aplomb.  They found it far more than they could stomach or maintain for any length of time.  You are welcome to attempt it.

 

Of course, 99% of those who gender-bend are out for the thrill of mutant, anonymous cyber sex. Books galore have been written about the experiences of such people. If you think you are going to be treated to my insights and an exposure to such sexual escapades, then you have reached the wrong Blog Number.  I never felt anything for my victims – and they were victims; certainly I never felt inclined to enter into their sexual fantasies about me and play along.  Asexual as Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Durer before me, I simply don't give a rip about the sexual needs of other people. Most of adult humanity seems obsessed and controlled by sexual desire. The Internet gave them one more venue in which to connect with other like-minded experimenters. Unfortunately, it also gave pedophiles a means to lure young, innocents into their vulgar nets.

 

If people get off on consensual, adult woohoo by words, alone, fine by me. Sex is mostly mental, anyway. Whatever tickles their pickle.  As far as I am concerned, the Internet provided me with an option denied me in the real world – to live as a man, to enrobe myself in a male character and play him until my brain exploded from the effort.  And I would do it again, and again, and again. No regrets. What I learned cannot be gathered in any other fashion.

 

There are some authenticated accounts, even recent publications, of and by women who actually lived as men in RL.  Often, they are lesbians.  Some have even distinguished themselves in business and battle, their true sex discovered only upon the autopsy table.

 

I could never pass as a Man.  In fact, I am frilly and feminine to the extreme.

 

Sexual Identity is a flexible and permeable entity, though. I was accused by one therapist as being sexually unclear. This is risible.  I've read numerous books on human sexuality. My gay friends insist there is no such animal as Bisexuality. As attested by others, it seems clear some people see both genders as potential partners.  What do I care? As for me, it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that schhhwing, if you garner my innuendo.

 

What I wanted, what many women crave, is the power and authority naturally assumed by men. This is a closed privilege few females can access. I did access it, and it is a heady breed of control and dominance over others. I had the will and the facility and the bald-faced chutzpah to pull it off.  How well, you ask?  I taught creative writing online, ran a business as a man, and exchanged hundreds of emails, with both men and women, and never once, not once, did anyone question my identity.  They believed I was a man, and related to me as a man.

 

I tell you, I never much liked my sister beings. After this experiment, I suggest to you there is no more deceptive, manipulative, unethical, competitive, disloyal creature in our living world to match the female homo sapiens sapien.  Perhaps the Patriarchy has left us nothing else to use as survival tactics; I cannot say. Trust me, the men are far more congenial, kind, loyal – they make the best friends, and earned my devotion forever. In no instance did any man ever speak evil of his wife or girlfriend. Men do not ever present their chosen woman as undesirable. To do so, in their minds, reflects upon their taste and judgment. Women, on the other hand, demonize and criticize and slander their men if there is something to be gained by such treason.

 

Only once did I discuss my adventure and consequent discoveries about my true nature and my understanding of gender roles to a psychiatrist. He immediately told me, "That was where the psychosis began.  The nightmares you suffer are the result of the sins of the past."

 

Some sinner!  I neither smoke, nor drink, not cat around, nor indulge in drugs. I do not cheat or abuse or use other people to my own ends, this experiment being the one exception. I tell no tales, and keep all secrets. In fact, perhaps I am a Sinner in search of a Sin, and found one.

 

The most astounding and revealing quest of my entire existence he instantly labels as a manifestation of psychosis.  So appalled was I by his quick dismissal of the finer revelations of my social experiment I walked out of his dull office and never returned.

 

Psychotic?  Maybe I was, at times. What the Normal do not understand that some faces of psychosis are alluring, even seductive. The proponents of Mental Health want us to believe that psychosis and schism of personality that attends some forms of brain dysfunction (such as the Manic phase of Bipolar Disorder) are equally detrimental and require a massive infusion of toxic drugs. Yet in some religions on the Ivory Coast, adherents wander about in a state of constant hallucination, and none dare call it Mental Illness.

 

Well, they can inject me with all the chemicals in their impressive arsenal, but I shall still be on my deathbed at the conclusion of my life, chuckling my head off at what I attempted, succeeded and learned in my digital wonderland.  In the end, my Fantasy Construct sacked my mind, body and spirit – and it was an incredible, magical, life-altering abduction. I was the inventor, author, disseminator and improviser of my own madness. Even so, for a time, I got to be a Man, to know a Man. No one can take this extraordinary experience from me. You may object, and say you could find better uses for your time.  "I would never have the energy," confided a dear friend.  Well, I did.  And meanwhile I was painting and writing novels and studying TaeKwonDo, my chosen martial art. I read five books per week and newspapers and magazines, attended plays, movies, concerts. I was busy in other pursuits, all the time.

 

I have in my files hundreds of love letters from women, dozens of emails from admiring, friendly men, who valued my opinion and sought my advice and camaraderie. I lashed my reviews and critiques upon both men and women, yet none dared challenge my views. I discovered unknown aquifers of confidence and conviction, which previously eluded my self-evaluations.  I learned to believe in my own power. No one defied or questioned my certain authority.

 

Later, under a female guise, I attempted, with the identical verve and je ne sais quoi, to give voice to my considered and educated opinions on a number of topics. Many men, in particular, reacted rudely, in a hostile manner, because I was not a strapping, virile, choleric Master, but a mere upstart Woman who had the temerity and confidence to speak her mind. Suddenly, my input was without merit, without value. Only when I introduced my opinions in carefully phrased prose were my sentiments welcomed and accepted.

 

Yes, there were women – some of them communicated with my strange male persona for years.  They professed love and devotion, despite the fact they had never even seen a photo of my Invention. At least half of them were married. In the beginning of our budding relationships, they spoke well of their men. The moment they entered into my attraction zone, their partners assumed some most undesirable traits.  Immediately they were willing, even eager, to betray their spouses' trust. They begged for cyber-sex, for my phone number, address, real name.  It's no secret many a marriage has been sabotaged by online romances.  Be warned, you cannot replace one person with another; each comes with an entirely new set of issues, some worst than the last partner's foibles and idiosyncrasies.

 

No, I did not "lead them on." I made it my policy NOT to flirt or incite or seduce. By the sheer power of language, I intrigued and inspired and attracted them. You may suppose these ladies were of the Life's Little Losers variety, or lacked self-esteem, or were homely or lonely or deranged. In fact, there were none of those perjoratives.  They simply fell for the man I myself adored and created for adoration.  The details of his physical appearance must remain my secret, lest I be identified, even now.  My ex was both jealous of my Man and envious of his majestic influence over the thinking of others. My ex had never received hundreds of love letters in his life.  He told me I ought to be teaching seminars, to instruct men how to win over the females of their choice.  There is no desire in me to do so.

 

And nope, I never once forgot one iota, one single detail of my character's complicated personal biography. It pays to have a phenomenal memory.

 

Sad to report, or perhaps I'm glad to report, that I suspect most females were drawn to my character because of his sheer, unadulterated, unapologetic masculinity. I won the most respect when I was the least fawning and conciliatory.  Women desire Colin Farrell, not Albert Einstein. The more I strutted and cock-walked around the various groups, the more women were entranced and enchanted by my persona. It is claimed that a majority of women love a bad boy – I am here to proclaim this is absolutely true, if my admittedly short-lived experience is any indication. Of course, my test group did consist of women savvy enough to use the Internet and bright enough to communicate effectively in the English language. I would not have corresponded with them, if they were not.

 

Every author falls in love with his or her own characters. We must become them, or they will not read authentic to our readers. All writers understand what I imply – that we are not one person, but a repository of all the characters we can invent and have invented. On his deathbed, Balzac cried out for a physician character he had created for one of his novels. "Nothing is real but what is not," said Shakespeare, a truer statement I have never read.

 

I believe we are capable of extraordinary mental and emotional growth, by whatever means. In this way, we are divine, we are all-powerful, in our ability to create new selves.  Writers comprehend the seduction of being the God of our innovated realities.  There is no experience quite like it. And, we have all been the victim of characters who leave our direction and develop their own minds and defy our orders to stick to the plot.  We are closer to the archetype of Man than any other person alive; we live there; we refresh ourselves in the rivers of possibilities, the fertile center of the soul.  The subconscious is our playground, and can be our undoing. As it was in my case.

 

Yes, I stopped playing Him, and it nearly killed me. It was murder most foul, murder of an important and vital aspect of my personality.  I regret ending his life, however transitory and ephemeral.

 

But that is another story, for another time.

 

 

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