Tag Archives: Plural

Closure

I spent my entire life wondering why people did the things to me that they chose to. I was bullied. I had my identity questioned. I was a freak. I was physically, mentally, and sexually abused. I became a ball of depression, anxiety, and hate for so many years.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, panic disorder, and PTSD after years of trauma. I am also plural, which means I have more than one person who exists through my body sometimes. My alters and spirit guides are my supportive, loving family, not my enemies. At some point throughout my life, sometimes more often than not, I was doubted and not believed. It took years to be believed by mental health professionals, and just as much time to get others to see that I wasn’t faking it. That I wasn’t too young and attractive to be disabled.

When I came out as a trans man in 2015, I knew that my life wasn’t going to get any easier, but a huge change was going to take place. I was finally discovering who I was and I learned to accept that. I spent a long time learning new ways of existing and living on my own and being self-sufficient. I also had to cope with rejection in many different and painful ways.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve hurt people I didn’t mean to hurt. I’ve been too loud and too honest with the wrong people, and I fell in love with my melancholy. My depression was like a toxic lover I tried to shake off but found comfort in. It was familiar. It was in my own head. The conversations and time spent with my alters and spirit guides through it wrapped me in a blanket of comfort, and it created a bubble around me that no one was allowed to enter.

I’ve nearly died a few times, and they were self-inflicted injuries. I’ve been in psychiatric wards — one time for a week at least — and I thought my life would remain static and unchanging. Always fighting for something. Fighting just to be able to live and experience life like everyone else. Fighting to be believed.

I wish I could’ve appreciated the change sooner. It felt so slow and impossible. In reality, the change for the better occurred over a five-year span — five years out of the thirty-one I’ve lived. In that perspective, it really didn’t take so long after all.

I’d taken dialectical behavioral therapy classes and learned mindfulness. I stopped drinking every day and I eventually stopped smoking to start my medical transition with testosterone. I’d found a counselor who finally understood me and believed me when I opened up about being plural, as well as other things that I often struggled to find someone to empathize with. I got my own place and started paying my own bills and I got the assistance I needed to get things done for myself. I became self-sufficient over these five years.

And now, after butting heads with an insurance company for three of those years and dealing with discrimination, I walked into the hospital on Monday, July 20th, 2020 at 8AM to get top surgery.

It’s been about a week and a half since surgery and everything went well. My mom has finally come around and accepts me, and she was sitting right beside me before and after coming out of surgery in the hospital. She’s cared for me at home until I can do things myself, and that’s been very important for my mental health. My dad has also come around, as she’s told me, which is unbelievable for someone so old-fashioned and resistant to change.

Two days ago mom said something that I thought I’d never hear. I’d confided in her that I always felt like the family failure. I was the only one who couldn’t work a normal nine to five job. I’m a disabled writer with severe mental illness, and I certainly don’t have it all together. I always felt like the strange one — the black sheep that didn’t belong.

“Oh, you think everyone else has it together?” she said. She then told me something I never knew about a family member I thought had it right. Who was accomplished in my eyes. And I realized then that I was living a false reality in my head.

I pay my own bills on time every time. I take care of my health and am compliant with therapy. I am working on a writing career I hope will take off with a bit of luck so I don’t have to rely on disability, and the hours and money I put into my books take up quite a bit of time and resources that I manage mostly alright. I rarely have to call anyone to ask for help, if ever. Most importantly, everything I have right now — my home especially — I fought for and got myself.

I looked at her for a moment before it hit me. I haven’t failed at all. And that was the weirdest feeling in the world. It was as strange as waking up after surgery to realize I didn’t hate myself anymore. I’ve spent my entire life hating who I am, hating my body, and feeling like I was destined to always fail. That I would never be good enough. It was all so horribly wrong, and it made me realize how much of my life was dedicated to gaining my parents’ approval and acceptance I thought I would never get. That, and I’ve lived my life based on the hateful statements and identities others placed on me.

It’s a bit scary to gain closure. Everything in my life that was horribly wrong I now understand, have worked through, and I’ve finally closed that last door that kept leading me backward. Now, I have a clean slate to work from. I’ve never had this much freedom and clarity in my life, so I’m not sure what to do with it. I’m used to being on guard and wondering when something will go wrong, or watching my back at all times because I didn’t know who was going to hurt me or abandon me next. Now, I don’t really care about all of that stuff. I realized it really doesn’t matter.

With this blank slate, I’ll lay out who I am now. I’m an artist, a writer, and a gay trans man. I struggle with mental illness sometimes, but I have my head family — my alters and spirit guides — to get me on the right track again. I have an amazing and supportive healthcare team and a family that accepts me. I have a few close friends, but that’s all I need. I’m single and mostly fine with that, as being single is what allowed me to find myself in the first place. I am self-sufficient and most importantly, I’m safe and in control of my own life.

I have to stop looking back. None of that defines who I am now. What matters is living in the present and making plans for a future I once thought I wouldn’t see. And I have so many things I want to do if we survive this pandemic.

 

©2020 Shane Blackheart

With These Hands

As the acid creeps into my throat, it threatens to call forth the cancer I should have been given a few years ago — when my body was a volcano with a self-destructive warpath. My limbs ache and my chest feels as if it is hollow, its heaviness causing me to hunch my back in a way that causes my spine to scream out.

I can hear them, Byleth and Lestan especially, calling to me. They want me to think about my future and find a way out of all of this. They want me to stop shuffling my feet at Death’s door as if I’m eager for a blind date that rattles my bones with anxiety. They want me to breathe and pick up my hunched form and continue to fight — fight the invisible force that pushes back with every breath I take.

My eyes drift to the hallway and the darkness greets me with beckoning tendrils, but the tall, dark-skinned form that comes from it shakes his head. His glowing pink eyes are determined. They are filled with an emotion I am not familiar with from him.

“Do not, Shane. Do. Not.”

It’s vague, but I know what he means. He stands there in the shadows, his giant stature seeming taller than ever as he crosses his well-toned arms. I’ve never seen him angry, and if I had it was long ago — so long it’s now an afterthought. At least I’d have something to compare this to.

“Stop this poetical shit and breathe. And sleep.” Byleth in his golden, Hellish king glory shakes his head, his shoulder-length blond hair falling into his face. I observe as a clawed hand smooths it back between his golden horns, and I think, for a moment, how much I’d love to feel his soft hair.

Like my large cat who enjoys being used as a pillow, I imagine pulling the fallen king’s head to my chest and caressing his soft hair, closing my eyes to forget about my worries. Nothing else exists. But Lestan, he’s here too. I haven’t forgotten him and I love him, and he’s behind me caressing my hair as I imagined myself doing for Byleth. I can feel his hurt through our connection, and although he doesn’t speak, I know there are no words to express anything of substance at this moment.

Tetsu is here as well, his appearance rare but a welcome one. He glares at me as I observe him from the corner of my eyes, letting him know I see him. The elf huffs and approaches me, pushing past Lestan and tugging at my shirt. “We’re leaving. Come on.”

“You know I can’t,” I say. It’s the middle of the night and storms have been on the horizon, and although I would love more than anything to meld into the darkness on such a night, I’m too tired. I laugh to myself. I’m too tired to seek out my own demise.

“If you will.” Daro, my dark demon prince approaches my other side, all four of them behind me now. He smiles and runs his claws across my head. “Allow us to take you away, if but for a moment. Do continue as you are.”

I sigh and nod.

* * *

Rules and word counts and regulations. This isn’t what a story is to me, yet it’s what the world expects. Hook them and then seduce them with purple flowers shaped like Roman aphrodisia. When did the magic of weaving worlds and emotions become so stale?

* * *

I open my eyes and breathe in strong patchouli, the incense smoke drifting about the room like a magickal haze. Its spell renders me complacent as I look to the stage before me. The rest of the room is dark and bare. Lestan and Daro take their places with me, and my vampire husband creeps behind me to wrap his arms around my waist. His chin rests on my shoulder and he kisses my neck briefly, his short black hair tickling my skin. My body still aches and my chest is heavy as I see Byleth approaching a microphone on the stage, his white platform heels clacking loudly in the silence to stir up ethereal dust of ages past. He is wearing white corduroy bell bottoms with a wide flare and a jacket that is similar with nothing beneath it. His bare chest glistens in the dim, haunting light cast only on the stage, and his red eyes shine with excitement.

Tetsu has pulled his long black hair into a ponytail and adjusts his rectangular glasses before gripping the neck of his guitar. He glances at me and then at Byleth, not entirely happy with the change in scenery, but he is more than willing to fall into its magick. Music begins to drift through the room, Tetsu’s fingers gliding over the vintage guitar to fill the atmosphere with sultry, retro vibes. The other instruments are not visible on the stage or anywhere in the room, but they are playing nonetheless. Byleth begins to sing, his angelic voice still beautiful even after his fall.

The lyrics are sultry, provocative, and enticing. He weaves his tainted angelic magick into them, their flow seeping into me like a warm caress that bathes my insides in pleasant tingles. To my surprise, Daro sways to the music, his eyes closed as his arm wraps around my shoulders. Lestan is doing the same, although he has come around to my front to smooth his hands across the sides of my face. I feel an indescribable emotion well up within me as I listen to the hazy tones of Byleth’s seduction, and my eyes begin to burn.

I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve been able to cry without it being painful. It’s as if my body knows how the tears burn, so it ceases their flow before they can begin. I still feel the burn anyway, and Lestan wipes at my eyes knowing all too well what’s happening. Sadness is no longer an emotional hurt but a physical one, and I blink hard as the burning causes me to lose sight of the beautiful fallen angel singing on stage.

“With these hands, I will cling to you. I’m yours forever and a day. With these hands, I will bring to you a tender love as warm as May… With this heart, I will sing to you. Ooh, long after stars have lost their glow. And with these hands, I’ll provide for you. Should there be a stormy sea, I’ll turn the tide for you, and I’ll never… Oh no, I’ll never… I’ll never let you go.”

My eyelids flutter as a kiss is laid on each one, and I open them to see Lestan smiling at me. He kisses me and I feel Daro’s hand squeeze my shoulder, and I look back to the stage to see Byleth singing as true as ever. He smiles and reaches out to me as the lyrics flow from his lips, and I am pulled up as if I weigh nothing.

He hugs me tightly to him, and I look down to see Lestan in a much cheerier state. He turns to Daro and bows like a gentleman, and Daro smiles genuinely as he takes the vampire’s outstretched hand. They begin the steps to a slow dance, and I return to the fallen angel who is swaying with me. I feel his voice’s reverberation throughout my body as I cling to his chest, and he continues, holding me tight as he sends more comfort through his song of sweet intentions.

He trails off as the song ends, and Tetsu falls silent as he observes us. He is happier too, I think. Byleth’s lips brush against my ear as he leans over to kiss it, and he whispers in a way that sends a sense of peace into my mind. “Don’t go, sugar. Stay with me, stay with Lestan, and stay with Tetsu and Daro. Live for moments like this, and…” He pulls back and quirks an eyebrow as his usual attitude seeps back into his tone. “Consider yourself lucky. I once told you that a demon nor a fallen angel practice healing magick.”

“But…” My confusion causes me to furrow my brow. The warmth is still flowing through me as he waves away the microphone and caresses my jaw with his fingers.

“Don’t make me say it. Please.” He sighs. “Just make a promise, okay?”

I bite my lip and avert my gaze, unsure if I’m able to make any sort of promise he would want. I know to break a promise with him would be the ultimate betrayal, especially since I’d sworn honesty and loyalty to him. To Lestan. To Daro. To Tetsu. He nudges my jaw with a clawed finger to gain my attention once more. I look into his glowing red eyes and they are full of an intensity that I know to take very seriously. His romance and his caresses were true, but he was also a king of Hell. That was truer than all else.

I nod. “I promise I will survive tonight.”

He sighs, exhaustion consuming him. He closes his eyes to gather himself before returning to me. Lestan has joined us on the stage as has Daro, and I feel as if they are all pressuring me to keep my word for longer than tonight. I feel their anticipation of my words and my actions, and I cannot let them down. I cannot disappoint them.

They tell me I may not see them again if I greet Death before it is my time. They may not go with me, and that thought is more frightening than the struggles Life will undoubtedly continue to bring me. I nod again. “I will survive tonight. And tomorrow, I will tell myself, and you all, that I will survive that night.” I take a deep breath as Lestan brushes my hair from my neck to kiss the skin. Daro takes my hand and Tetsu comes up to rest his chin on my shoulder. Byleth still embraces me with one arm, and I know that life exists in all of them.

The tingling I feel when Byleth sings, and the warmth I feel when Lestan kisses me. The intrigue I know when Daro speaks to me in philosophical ways, and when he touches me in ways he is not familiar with. And the empathy I feel when Tetsu and I talk about things that only we can understand. The words I spin to portray these moments and these realities that I exist in with them.

This is life.

© 2019 Shane Blackheart
Song lyrics: Tom Jones

October 2018 (A conversation)

Sometimes I write out conversations between me and my alters/guides. It’s an interesting way to keep a journal, anyway. I definitely want to post more of these, but they are usually riddled with foul language because Byleth doesn’t really care about what he says. With that warning, this is what we were up to tonight. This was between me, Byleth, and Lestan.

***

“Sugar, you’re drinking and you shouldn’t be.” Byleth paced around my desk and computer chair, keeping an eye on me as my leg kept up with its nervous jitter, bouncing as if I were ready to run a marathon.

I scoffed. “I’m not drunk though. I’m still able to type.” Despite that, I did feel rather woozy.

“Rather woozy?” Byleth rolled his eyes. “You’re supposed to be picking up a pizza in fifteen minutes and you’re,” he lifted his claws in quotation, “‘woozy’.”

“Hey, it burned going down so it’s going to get me a bit messed up. Well, not messed up entirely, but numb enough to not care that my dreams are basically going to be flushed down the toilet.”

“Stop it.” Byleth latched his claws onto the back of my chair that was still vibrating with my leg’s nervous jitter. It seemed my excess energy was on a… roll? Is that even a thing? “No,” he interrupted. “It isn’t a thing. Lestan and I are walking with you when you leave. You shouldn’t have drunk straight from the bottle.”

“He’ll be okay.” Lestan crossed his ankle over his knee and leaned back on the couch. He seemed bothered, his expression darker than what his voice suggested. “The bottle will be gone soon enough and then we won’t have to worry…”

“Soon enough?! Are you expecting – and enabling – him to drink it until it’s gone to get rid of it faster? What the fuck, Lestan?”

“That’s not what I was getting at and you know it.” Lestan grew slightly irritated. “I just mean that Shane won’t buy any more after this one, right, love?”

“Right. That’s my plan anyway.” I was beginning to feel warm. The liquor had definitely kicked in. I also realized that it wasn’t such a good idea to drink directly from the bottle. It really did burn like hell going down.

“Because you’re not used to it.” Byleth left my chair and fell into the wooden one at the L part of my desk. He crossed his arms and watched me, his expression mostly blank, although I could see some sort of sympathy behind his red eyes. He snorted a laugh. “Look at you getting all flowery with your words and assuming you can ‘see what’s behind my eyes’ or some shit.” He closed his eyes and looked to the side, but soon after returned his gaze to me from the corner of his eye. “Yeah, I do care about you, you know. If I haven’t made that fucking clear enough already.” I stopped to rub my forehead but was brought back to the page. “Hey, don’t you stop writing. It’s been a while since we’ve talked and I won’t let you lose your mind and forget about this conversation too.”

“Wait.” I sighed. “We talk all the time. I just don’t always write it down.”

We write it down, sugar. You should’ve caught onto that by now.”

“Well, yes?” I guess I’d missed that part somewhere along the way when the small bouts of dissociation would happen.

Lestan chuckled from where he sat on the sofa. “Baby, it’s okay. It took you years to come to terms with who we are to you. I can understand a bit of confusion here.” He stood and came to stand behind me, ruffling my hair lovingly.

Byleth lifted an eyebrow and sighed. Cornyyyy.”

“Hey, Shane’s allowed to be silly when he’s drunk and forget a few things.”

“I’m not drunk!” I flashed a stubborn expression before I focused on the screen again. Or… was it really me focusing? I felt slightly spaced, but my phone’s alarm brought me back to reality. Byleth stood and Lestan backed away to approach the door.

Byleth was the first to speak. “It’s time to grab that pizza, sweetie. Let’s hope the guys at the counter don’t catch on to your inebriation.”

* * *

As we walked back through the front door, I set the pizza aside and pulled off my binder, threw on my shirt I’d been wearing before, and took another quick swig from the bottle of Malibu banana rum. Byleth was less than pleased, but he chuckled as he set eyes on the computer screen. I’d started to type but backtracked. “Shane, you should have kept it as a ‘tit corset’.”

“Nah. It was too ridiculous.”

“It is a tit corset. One you won’t have to worry about much longer if everything goes right.”

“Yeah… I hope.” I turned on Byleth’s playlist and settled in to eat some pizza. Like I needed to clog my arteries any more than they already were.

He reclaimed his chair and leaned his head in his hand. He seemed perturbed. “Which I am,” he confirmed. I’d taken another swig from the bottle like he encouraged me to do the exact opposite of, and I was feeling too good to care. That brought a scowl forth from the fallen angel and he sighed. “I’m just going to focus on my music and singing, and I’m going to pretend like you’re not disobeying everything that I’ve asked of you tonight.”

“Hey, we had mind-blowing sex earlier, so don’t give me a hard time.” I flashed him a judgemental look, to which he lightened up considerably.

“Oh, we did. [Redacted].”

I shrugged in response, stuffing my face with pizza. Attractive. “You’re a fallen angel. You have magic spit. We’ve been over this.”

He broke into laughter. “Let’s just hope your body is done being difficult.” He smirked. “[Redacted].”

“Like I said. Fallen angel. Magic spit,” I repeated. Lestan chuckled from where he sat on the sofa, his expression calm he watched the album covers change on TV. ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’ by Billy Paul was currently flowing from the speakers, Byleth’s corny but groovy taste in music flooding the apartment.

“Hey. Corny? Bullshit. It’s classic seducing music, sugar. At one time in history, this was the sexiest song on the radio.”

“One of them, maybe. There’s a sweet romantic vibe to it now.” I smiled, a warm and fuzzy feeling consuming me. “Awww, Byleth, you’re such a romantic!”

He laughed humorlessly and clammed up with embarrassment. “No, fuck the embarrassment part of that line.” He jabbed his claw in my direction. There was definitely a light blush to his cheeks. “No, no there isn’t! Stop. I like the classics because they make me want to fuck something, okay? No romance involved there.”

“But,” I teased, “you’re a romantic whether you admit it or not. You call me sweetie.”

“That is true,” Lestan chimed in from the sofa. He slipped out of his leather jacket. “Byleth, you aren’t fooling anyone. You’re very romantic. I saw the way you kissed Shane earlier.” He flashed Byleth a flirtatious expression.

The fallen angel was flustered. “Seriously, if you both don’t quit I’m just going to take my music in the other room and say fuck all of you.” No irritation was in his voice, however. A small smile tugged at his lips and there was a glint in his red eyes. His mood had improved despite the teasing banter and he relaxed into his chair, falling into the lyrics of the next song that had started to play; ‘Little Wing’ by Jimi Hendrix.

Silence fell between us, I eating my pizza and Lestan relaxing in the background. We watched Byleth as he sang to a different song – ‘You Don’t Own Me’ covered by Masquer. It was appropriate for a brat king such as him.

“Damn right it is, sugar. Don’t tell me what to do…. Don’t tell me what to say…” Despite Byleth being a fallen, he still had the voice of an angel. “I was an angel. The beauty of my voice or my devilishly good looks didn’t disappear because I fell.”

“Mr. Vain King.” Lestan stood from the sofa and approached Byleth, who turned in his seat to welcome the vampire. Lestan straddled his thighs while standing over him, teasing the fallen angel’s golden horns.

Byleth bit his lip. “Would you have me any other way?” He hummed with pleasure. “And you keep talking like that, mister. Call me king a few more times and I’ll make sure you won’t be able to speak. In the best way, of course.”

“Reduce me to a mumbling mess, my king?” Lestan chuckled as Byleth made more sounds of pleasure, the vampire’s hands sliding through the fallen’s blonde hair.

Hands crept back up Byleth’s horns and he huffed a laugh. “What are you trying to do? Get me so worked up I can’t sing? Make a distraction for Shane over there?”

“Maybe.” Lestan grinned and caressed one of Byleth’s horns before the fallen wrapped an arm around the vampire’s torso and pulled him into his lap.

“Alright, vampire. You’ve got a deal.”

“We didn’t make a bet.”

“As long as Shane doesn’t drink any more rum tonight, I’ll do whatever you want.” Byleth trailed a claw down Lestan’s front, causing the vampire to sigh. “Anything, sugar.”

“Wait, why is this on me?” I pouted, still buzzed, although I suspected more than that. “Do what you want.”

“Oh no, sweetie. That’s the breaks.” I sighed in response to Byleth’s ridiculous stipulations. He cocked an eyebrow. “Stop drinking and you get to see wonderful things.”

“Sorry, baby. I have to go with Byleth on this one.” Lestan ghosted his lips over the fallen’s as he turned Byleth to face him. “I’m not passing up the opportunity to have control over the brat king.”

“Whatever.” I sighed hopelessly and chuckled. “I won’t drink anymore, but don’t go overboard. I want to be able to eat my pizza.”

Byleth hummed in approval and gave his full attention to Lestan, their lips meeting in a deep and much-needed kiss. I returned to my pizza, finally deciding to let the alcohol wear off.

(For the record, Byleth’s taste in music IS corny, but amazing.)

©2018 Shane Blackheart