May 31, 2020
The following essay is adapted from MPA Class of 2020 member Jordan Akers’ Senior Speech.
The enemy was drawing closer. Footsteps echoed in the distance, and all I could do was sit and wait. I had my plan, but this was sure to be bloody. This battle, this war if you will, was more than violent. The conflict, between who I objectively was and who I so desperately wanted to become, countered all laws of nature. Any free will was a causality in this war, and my boon was the masculine persona. It was the ambition for which I was desperately fighting.
There have, of course, been battles of a similar nature throughout history. Several years ago, my father was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy. His body attacked itself until he lost the ability to walk. He lost his balance, memories, and fine motor skills. Only upon the administration of an intravenous steroid did his condition begin to improve. It was his secret weapon. Even then, any sense of normalcy was far in the future. Repairing the damage took time, money, and endless work.
His body was fighting a war against itself. Meanwhile, so was mine. Every moment hosted a cognitive dissonance so forceful that it too was debilitating. It was the seemingly magnetic repulsion between the acceptable way to act and my parasitic queerness, infecting my thoughts, behavior, and reputation. The obvious cure was suppression. I had to choose between two sides of myself, so I kept after my boon, my longing for “normal”, with an energetic determination to eliminate anything in my path.
Although I was fighting hard, surely hard enough to win, I kept facing defeat. Obstacles permeated my battles. They kept revealing themselves, and I felt ostracized among my male friends. I over-analyzed every word, every action, and exacerbated my misery. I found myself in conflict regardless of who was around me. Either I was too immersed in femininity or outcasted by masculinity. In my solitude, peace was absent, and only my ruminations persisted. Perhaps I should surrender to my queerness, I thought. Perhaps I’m too weak to overcome it. If I lost the war within myself, I would have to live forever with my defeat. And yet, victory was unattainable. Read More