author: ropa, Boshemia Staff, Creative, Personal Essay

Crimes of Future Past

Advertisements
Standard
guest writer, LGBT+, Personal Essay

Ode to an Ever-Changing Wardrobe

by Robbie Masters. Robbie is a writer and fine artist based in Bristol, UK. Their work addresses questions of transgender identities, mental health and sexual politics through a queer feminist lens, drawing upon their personal experience as a queer, femme survivor. 

There’s a grumbling in the basement; in my stomach; in the depths of my mind. There’s a protective cocoon of quilt and down. The faint smell of warm computer dust mixes with the vinegar from a newly opened packet of Chipsticks. Carpet burn has ruined yet another pair of school trousers and scuffed black shoes have no place in this world. Grass stains tell tales; proving that I’ve seen the ground up close. Trip, graze and tumbledoes it hurt? 

The TV picture wiggles at the other end of the room as signal fades in and out. There are crumbs everywhere. A printer noisily chokes out a piece of ink-saturated paper with Barbie’s new clothes on, ready to be folded and glued down with Pritt stick. As I carefully shape the rigid orange dress around her tiny naked waist, lumpy breasts and slippery smooth legs, I am blissfully unaware that I will one day go to the same trouble to put my own outfits together. 

The dressing-up box is a distant memory. Years of rooting through hand-me-downs mean that I know what I’m looking for. I don’t always find it, but I’m drawn to a bargain. There, on the sale rail, is a white wide-neck top. It speaks of beaches and cleavage. It’s in the men’s section, but it’s different somehow. For the first time I feel a flutter of risky autonomy. I’ll buy it. I won’t wear it too often—I think it may be a tad girly. I’ll buy it. 

I’m flustered after being told I’m in the wrong changing room. Shoulders restrict me from getting my arms into seemingly endless sleeves. My calves make even the stretchiest of denim fall faint. A reluctant waistband digs where it shouldn’t, while the inside-leg seam grimaces and relinquishes its grip on the now-fraying undercarriage stitches. My bum won’t fit into these jeans.  

A charity shop scramble helps me figure it out, I spot a couple of things I adore. The gentle nudge from well-chosen friends gives me confidence to explore. A floral shirt meets a vintage bow tie, suit trousers worn high with braces or a belt. A cheap pair of high-street dungarees call my name. My darling fave comes with me for moral support and before I know it I’m buying them, wearing them and feeling adorable. There’s no turning backI’m cute now; I’m loveable.

Buy a few sizes up, learn to love leggings and discover the freeing swish and sway of a culotte, skirt or flowing maxi. Engage only with the top button of a silken blouse or a pattern akin to the most beautiful of flower gardens. Forget the clothes that have been designed for your body type those fuckers don’t know you. A new length of hair and carefully painted face combine with my newfound drapery to form what I think you might call confidence. The colours give it personality, with blushing flowers and matching rosy lips breathing life into the whole ensemble. Is this what it’s like to feel pretty? A deep sigh says that I can do this. The world tells me I can’t.

The box of bow ties still sits among my hoarded possessions, a reminder of my journey to queerness. Drawings of me from my first year of university depict a character I likeone my friends are fond ofbut not one I identify with. Shirts still hang in the wardrobe, caressing a Moss Bros suit bag that holds the handsome two-piece that once saw the success of graduation, a summer wedding and a string of job interviews with the happiest of outcomes. Thanks Mum. 

I split myself for a while. I lived in separate boy mode and girl mode, blending the two to an extent, but always travelling with one tucked away in the depths of a wheeled suitcase or screwed up in a rucksack. 

Folio2

Robbie Masters

‘If you’re coming round, are you alright to change first? My housemates are in’.  I may as well have cut myself in half. I was hiding again. 

I pushed boundaries and burnt my comfort zone to the ground. I took clothes to my beloved charity shops. I shopped and shopped again. Many a selfie I took. I cried when I glimpsed the mirror and my face wouldn’t complete the look. I cut myself shaving. They told me to be careful but I took care not to care. I tried to be pretty and society mocked me for it, but my friends and family kept me strong. My partner loved me all along. 

I’m wearing pyjamas to the shops again. The worst happened, but my clothes no longer cared. Clothed or naked, rock bottom felt the same. I’d still feel the pain of a body betrayed. 

With help I found new ways to love myself. My body learned to twitch with tension, commanding respect and rejecting repression. I found sanctity in a laser and honesty in my nightmares. My world was upside down, but my skin looked great and my hair stayed glossy. I fought for survival and sought to forgive myself. My love lent me a jumper to keep me warm. My mum sent me a sunshine-yellow scarf to brighten my spring. With the promise of a shopping trip I can weather the storm, I think. 

My facial hair wriggled and fell out at my command. I put on weight and I liked it. I ate a lot and I loved it. My clothes still fit, because I bought them too big. My boobs are larger than ever. I’m pregnant with emotion and I’m full of shit. My clothes are different, but I’m coping just the same. I’m wrapped in a duvet, still fighting off the shame.

‘Ode to An Ever-Changing Wardrobe’ originally appeared in the BODIES issue, available here.
Standard
art, author: sarah q, current events, music, news, opinion, pop culture, review, Uncategorized

So I Finally Slightly Pay Attention To Modern Music And This Is How Y’all Repay Me // Thoughts On The Grammys

Yeah guys, I get it, 24K Magic is a great dance song and every time it comes on, you know everyone is going to get turnt. No disrespect to Bruno Mars, but really?

For those of you not lame enough to pay attention to outdated award shows, on Sunday night Bruno Mars won the Grammy for Album of the Year against stiff competition. Smart money was on Kendrick Lamar who, at this point, is owed several more accolades. DAMN was one of the best albums of 2017, and after his shameful snub to Faux-Country-Ivanka in 2015, we all thought this year would be the year.

But no, 24K Magic was a solid album. I mean, I preferred it when it was released in the 80’s and called Off The Wall, but no it’s cool. It’s totally fine. It’s fine.

bruno-mars-kendrick-lamar-grammy-wins

Continue reading

Standard
author: elisha, Uncategorized

An Identity in Flux // Notes on Genderfluidity

P writes about her experience of genderfluid identity. 

gracejones.jpg

Grace Jones, pioneer in Genderfluidity discourse in pop-culture

In June I, very slyly, came out as Genderfluid in a piece which was published on Boshemia Blog as part of the “Letters to June” series.

In the millennial age, a range of newly accepted sexualities and gender identities are becoming more widely accepted, but from my experience, I have found that there seems to still be quite a bit of misunderstanding surrounding what it means to be Genderfluid. Many people I speak with seem to be under the impression that this is a form of Trans, or that it is synonymous with Non-Binary. In this piece, I’m going to do my very best to dispel assumptions about what it means to be Genderfluid, and clarify what exactly Genderfluidity is. Continue reading

Standard
guest writer, How to Raise a Feminist, Personal Essay, raising a feminist

Raising a Feminist || The Importance of Identity

Our talented guest writer Elisha returns with her second instalment of Raising a Feminist.

__________________

We are all searching for the reason why we’re here. In some way or another, we’re all embarking on a journey that comes in the form of self-expression, personal development, accomplishment, fulfillment; success and purpose, whatever it may mean to you. The ways in which we try to fill the blanks between “I was born,” and “I was born, because…” are innumerable. Our journeys are all personal and vary greatly based on the individual, but something that I think gets lost is the divide between us as individuals and our children as individuals because being a parent is such an all-consuming job. We live and breathe for them which is, in so many ways, the most beautiful gift we give to them every day. With that said, something that we must remember is that our children each have their own identity and personage. If this is nurtured and encouraged, the product is Independent Children: children who are more inclined to be confident, self-sufficient, self-motivated, make better decisions, and collaborate better with peers.

issues-of-diversity-2-638

Continue reading

Standard
author: sarah q, current events, LGBT+, long read, news, opinion, politics, pop culture, recommendation

George Michael, Prince & David Bowie || The Soundtrack Against Toxic Masculinity

God wasn’t 2016 rubbish? In the next few weeks, Boshemia will almost definitely be musing over how god awful the last year was, but today we’re going to be looking at one of the prevailing themes of the year: Toxic Masculinity. In a year of Trump asserting his masculinity in dangerous ways over everything he seemed to cross, and then somehow getting awarded for it; a year of Brexit and the following fight for the Prime Minister spot being nothing more than a dick measuring contest, only for the cursed position to go for a woman, almost certainly setting her up for failure. In a year of rape accusations, police shootings, terrorist attacks (good god the year’s even worse when you write it all down!), we coincidentally lost three icons of masculinity and gender subversion. On December 25th, aged 53, George Michael joined Prince and David Bowie in the pantheon of people destroyed by 2016; the trifecta of 80s queer icons has gone, politicians are swiftly moonwalking away from identity politics, and the world is basking in the stench of toxic masculinity. Merry Christmas.

bowiegeorgeprince

Continue reading

Standard
Author: Eileen E., review

Straight White Men || A Review

Young Jean Lee has brought to Washington, D.C. audiences a deeply perceptive, provocative play about race and identity during a time when this particular demographic— straight, white, male—  is undergoing an essential investigation.  Straight White Men is no base attack on whiteness and masculinity, nor a send-up of xenophobic caricature or supremacist stereotype, but instead a nuanced examination of the “well-meaning white man.” Presented by the Studio Theatre and directed by Shana Cooper, Lee offers a thorough exploration of privilege, ambition, and the lasting effects of white guilt.

Emerging from New York’s avant-garde, Young Jean Lee is no upstart playwright, boasting 12 produced works under her belt and touted by The New York Times as “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation.” A veritable force in the contemporary theater world, Lee is known for her daring voice and experimental style, notably so in her 2011 production of Untitled Feminist Show. Straight White Men breaks her practice of non-traditional storytelling to present a linear, naturalistic performance that seduces traditional theatre-going audiences [white, wealthy] into confronting often unspoken anxieties about race [their whiteness].

Continue reading

Standard