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I Used to Sit In a Cage (or life as a Freudian example)

When I was 9, I dragged home a large rabbit cage and took to sitting in it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Freudian kind of girl in any respect, but you have to admit that kind of thing is eerily apt. Really, who does that kind of thing? Unfortunately to my shame and the great chagrin of my parents, it was hardly the only example.

I found the cage at a garage sale for a quarter and it didn’t take me long to choose it over the well scorched ash trays and old bowling trophies (those I garbage picked after the sale was over). After I brought it home, I quickly found a good use for it. Always with a snack and good book, I’d sit in the thing for hours at a time reading and enjoying the outdoors. For dramatic effect I added a padlock to the front since I found it much easier to enter and exit from the top anyway. I can’t say why it was so comfortable, but it was.

On one occasion I got it into my head to bring it out to the front on the small porch leading up to the door. Looking back, it’s a minor miracle armed CPS agents didn’t immediately descend from the trees on zip lines, crashing boots first through the bay window to tase and drag away my excellent but unsuspecting parents. Who did show was my mom’s friend and her daughter Melissa who was in my class. I did say hi, but they just looked at me strange as they walked on back to the side door. (I live in Buffalo where use of the front door is a huge taboo for some reason) Moments later the front door was flung open, and my view of the neighborhood from my favorite seat was expressly forbidden. It was OK, at least I had the backyard. I’m not going to say that withdrawing into a cage was symbolic of my transgender existence, but you have to admit, it’s pretty weird.

When not in self imposed solitary confinement, I dabbled just a smidge in alchemy. For the unfamiliar, alchemy was the medieval pursuit to find a chemical or method of transmuting one substance into a far more desirable one. All they managed to accomplish was the foundation of modern chemistry while acquiring acute toxic poisoning. I can’t say why exactly, but I found the notion of being able to change one thing into another pretty appealing. I wasn’t trying to make gold or anything that would tip the world economy (I’m more of a sterling silver kind of gal anyway); I just wanted to see if I could do it. I can’t imagine what my motivation could have been!

As an aside, I will say that I was convinced once that I actually did it. You can’t imagine how excited I was. I fished the penny out of the electrified mucky solution of random chemicals and was astonished to see it had turned bright and gleaming silver. I think I actually ‘whooped’, which is something you usually only read about and seldom do. I ran up the stairs to show my father. He was pretty surprised, first thinking I somehow stripped the copper cladding of one of the new zinc ones, until he noticed the date was like 1958.

My dad had a real knack for figuring things out and turned it over in his hand. “Mike… have you been playing with the mercury?” Crap. Of course I had! For reasons as yet unknown he brought a plastic bottle full of the stuff home from work, showed me how cool and wonderful it was, strongly cautioned me from ever touching it, and stored it away in an easily reachable location. What did he expect? He wasn’t really mad, but I was devastated. I didn’t give up, and consoled myself with the fact that I managed to at least make the dull old penny look beautiful.

It’s decades later, and I’m back at it, trying to change one thing into another, what it should have been in the first place, all without the benefit of a cage. This time though, I’m winning.

About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

15 responses »

  1. Pingback: Revisionist History: The Trans Desire To Make It All Add Up | Michellelianna

  2. Pingback: I Was One Of The ‘Joe’s Boys’ « Michellelianna

  3. I lived in Rome NY as a school kid and Syracuse after I graduated from college. My first sexual encounter with a girl came then and she soon after decided she liked women more. Oh, how I wished back then that I was one. I even did an art piece where I pasted a Polaroid picture of my face on a large old framed print of a young girl and called it “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman”. How poetic! I have since found her again and she is now one of my new Facebook friends as Deanna.

  4. Hey Michelle I know this sounds weird and kinda stalkerish :3 but I noticed you lived in Buffalo, NY and I live in Rochester, NY. I personally don’t have a social life and am trying to find like minded people as myself and was wondering if you just wanted to email one another and see where it goes? I would like to be friends hehe 🙂

    P.S. I love your posts and you’re a very insightful woman!! Take Care

    ❤ Ally

    • Hi Ally, sure thing! I have a link on the side to my PinkEssense profile and that is the best way to get in touch. I don’t want to leave my email addy here as I made that mistake a long time ago on a different blog I used to write with some college friends. The spam was neverending!

      I know there is a sizable CD/TS group in Rochester, much like the Belles group I belong to in Buffalo. Have you ever checked it out? Just curious.

      Thanks so much for the wonderful words!

  5. This time you are transforming into something real and wonderful! I didn’t ever have a cage to hang out in but I did like small closed in spaces. When I began my transition I often told people that I had let the woman out of the box and she is never going back in! I wonder how many more of us have similar things in our past?

    • Thanks Lynda! I know, I have wondered about that myself and was actually hoping to get some confessions out of this post. 🙂 We’ll see, but I know I wasn’t the only one doing weird things as a misidentified girl child. And yes, it is wonderful, isn’t it?

      • One of my favorite hang out places was an old motorcycle sidecar that my Mother’s younger Brother dragged into our yard one time. Inside it was a private fantasy world all my own where I could be a jet fighter pilot or rocket jockey. I would always get upset when my older brother wanted to join me as he played the “eldest” card and relegated me to the back seat 😦

  6. Bravo! I saw that you posted some new writing so, I did what I always do, I put on some coffee 🙂 Sat here excited..expecting to crack up laughing and be completely moved at the same time. Of course, as usual, you never disappoint. As Annie has told you, this has become one of my favorite treats! 😀 The ‘Buffalo front door comment’ kills me! LOL What the heck? It is SO TRUE! Aaaaahhh… and I’ll tell ya what..I would’ve LOVED a cage next to yours!
    See you soon, sweet girl. Love ya.

    • I love it when you comment Jodi! I think I’m going to have to start mentioning you in posts so you do. 🙂 You make me blush here and it totally makes my day!

      Love ya too sweetie and hope to see you soon!!!

  7. I really enjoy the things you write, all ways things I relate to, done myself or have felt. I haven’t been as positive lately as I normally am, I try hard to keep things private. Anyway I do appeciate the things you write and look forward to the next thing you have for us. Laughing is good!

    • Thank you so much Tedie! I hope all is all right for you! If you need to talk or anything, please feel free to message me privately through Pinkessense – my email is listed there. Hope all is well or gets there soon sweetie. Laughter is always good medicine. 🙂

  8. Ok, now we really have to meet! I see we have the very similar set of (odd) self soothing idiosyncracies (sp). And thanks for tht no front doors in Buffalo thing! LOL I just about died laughing upon reading it and remembered being relagated to back door comings and goings akin to the hired help. LOL oh yeah we were the hired help! My place of solace was the loft in the garage with who knows what lurked in there. Thank you Michelle! Kristine

    • I know! I’m so looking forward to meeting up and catching up! Only in Buffalo with the front door. I swear, people would be thrilled it they were just painted on so the out of town guests didn’t insist on coming to them. Growing up, I think my dad even disconnected the doorbell to force people back around to the side. 🙂


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