PARIS LEES KNOWS…
What it feels like for a girl
More from Paris Lees
I use Facebook for two things: to promote myself as a writer, and to look down my (new) nose at (old) school friends. We all do it. And anyway, cut me some slack. I was bullied throughout school. It died down towards the end, as my year group matured, but I never shook that feeling of being an outsider. Clichéd, perhaps, but true.
I wanted them to like me and despised them because they didn’t. Perhaps they couldn’t admit it; I was certainly lucky if anyone dared sit next to me. Who wants a seat at the queer table? I made them laugh though. I’m not one to hide in the corner quietly so, if you place me on my own, I’ll assume you want a performance. They were definitely entertained, but they never threw flowers.
I like to think I added colour to my school chum’s education, and I doubt any of them will forget me. I wonder if I visit their nightmares, though, as they do mine. Even now. If I’m honest, much of what I do today is influenced by kids I haven’t spoken to for nearly a decade. They’re adults now but I still want them to see that I’m no longer excluded, that I’m part of things too. Yes, I desperately want a fairer society for trans people, but, truthfully, I’m also motivated by spite, pride and envy.
I have one friend who, like me, also escaped our hometown. She travelled, and met people from different cultures and sexual backgrounds. When I saw, on Facebook, that she’d moved back and is having a baby with someone from our class, I felt hurt. For all my love of London, diversity and my cosmopolitan lifestyle, I can’t help thinking how nice it must be to have a sense of community. In the old sense, you know, living close to childhood friends. Belonging. My family all live within a mile of each other so, despite their complaints, it must be rewarding on some level.
I look at pictures on Facebook, sometimes, and wonder who gets the last laugh.