Thursday, 13 November 2014

In Between: A Love Story

I finished revising the story I started writing yesterday, titled 'In Between: A Love Story' and it can be read via my Scribd account at this link:

It's somewhat related to my other series I published on Scribd before called 'In Between And Neither' and I won't deny the obvious similarity in the titles. It's about different characters, however, and in a completely different setting. The central topic is still being 'in between', which is another way to say 'intersex'.

In this post I would just like to put some of the motivations behind writing it down on paper, so to speak. It'll be all spoilers from here onwards, naturally. The central themes in the story are love and sexuality, with the struggle to deal with these topics while being intersex woven into it. This is an area which, as many who regularly read my blog and/or follow me on Twitter know, is something I struggle with a lot in my personal life. This provided a fertile ground in which to let a story take root, but I didn't really know what form it should take.

The spark came when I was reading a short Japanese manga featuring a somewhat similar scene, also involving an intersex girl like the main character in my own story. While that story was quite short and rough, it nevertheless gave me the inspiration to take its basic concept and come up with a scenario which would cover the topics I thought were relevant. The creative process before I started with writing was relatively brief and quite intense as usual as my subconsciousness gleefully reached me more and more things to add to complete the story.

As a result it's barely recognizable as the original story which inspired me, but more a collection of my own memories and experiences, as well as dreams, fantasies and wishful thoughts wrapped around the simple framework commonly referred to as 'overused', namely that of finding true love. Naturally it's just that at its core, but the characters I created I think are both filled to the brim with aspects of myself, making them quite realistic. While I took some liberal shortcuts in the (anonymous) main character's situation to not burden her overly with the complexities I deal with in my own life as a hermaphrodite, I nevertheless think I managed to give a reasonable explanation for why she feels so bitter and resentful to the people around her.

It's this mixture of bitterness and hopeful optimism which I know so well from my own life and which made its way into the story without me even having to consciously think about it. The main character is basically just this side of me. Resentful, wishful, sad but filled with optimism. Downcast yet always looking ahead. It's the me I both hate and love.

The Cathy character is essentially a part of me as well. She symbolizes understanding, fully devoted love and loyalty. Also safety and strength. She's also me, but maybe more the 'me' I am trying to or wish to be. When I think of the few times that I have felt at ease while together with someone I think I can glimpse the character of Cathy in myself a bit too.

There is one scene in the story which was basically in the original comic as well, but which I have added heavily to with my own experiences. The original story was a lot more casual about things getting resolved despite the dramatic and painful reveal. In my experiences that's not how it goes. The running off, feeling crushed and ready to just expire on the spot is more close to how things would go. Then the part I hate the most: the person who just hurt me coming to look up on me. You just want them to vanish. It's been too many times that it was me like that: lying there in the dark, wanting to run away or cease existing, but knowing that I'm trapped and the problem won't go away. It was somewhat painful to write that part of the story, but it adds the depth which in my opinion was needed for the part afterwards.

Then the big question: is it an erotic story? If so, it would be the first time I have written one. In my opinion it barely qualifies as 'erotic'. Sure, it has some parts in it which are fairly descriptive, but my focus was on the emotional and mental part, not the physical. In my judgement it's got only the necessary parts in it to make its point, namely to show the struggles an intersex person like me would go through while finding true love.

Is it a mere fantasy, then? One could definitely look at it like that, though in the understanding that it reflects the true feelings someone like me would struggle with whenever the topic of sexuality and relationships is raised. It's in some ways a pleasant dream about a happy ending, about a fantasized reality in which one would find the perfect person who'd in one fell swoop bring the waves of understanding and compassion which were so sorely lacking before. To put it bluntly: yes, I wish I was the story's main character.

Having had a taste of what the pleasures and joys of a relationship can be like I'd definitely put this story under 'wishful dreaming', maybe as part of a Harlequin-series aimed at intersex individuals to make them feel less lonely in this dark and cruel world.

And then there's always the question of how relevant such a thing truly is. Being infatuated with another person is nice and all, but what does it truly amount to in the end? Unless it really improves the quality of one's life, it would be better to just forget about it. Call it the sceptic's view.

Having seen the many sides of love, sexuality, sex and relationships over the past years while collecting more emotional scars in the process than could possibly be health, I am unquestionably sceptical and veering into sheer bitterness at other times, easy to denounce, ridicule and reject such matters, while cradling the traumatized part of my psyche protectively.

Even so, a tiny flame of hope inside my mind is still lit, lighting the way as I wait for my own Cathy to appear.

I'm only human, after all.


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