Category: emotion

Resisting being ‘done’ transitioning

By , February 9, 2015 2:06 pm

I legally changed my name in July, 2009. I still haven’t updated my birth certificate to Rebecca Rodin Kling. I had gender reassignment surgery in December, 2013. In Illinois, this gave me the ability to change the gender marker on my birth certificate. I haven’t done that, either.

I’ve been teling myself that the delays were out of laziness or simply prioritizing more pressing matters. I’m not applying for jobs or undergoing background checks, so having a birth certificate with my old name isn’t – logistically speaking – a big deal. I’m not planning to get married anytime soon, so the gender marker on my birth certificate isn’t exactly standing in the way of any life goals.

Updating my birth certificate in on my ‘to-do,’ sitting below a reminder to water my plants every week and above a note about planning a trip to visit a friend this summer. And yet, for the past five and a half years, my birth certificate – the original, reading Jared Daniel Kling (M) – has sat in a filing cabinet in my mom’s basement in Skokie.

I was in Los Angeles for much of January, performing Something Something New Vagina at a small theater in North Hollywood. I ended each performane with a post-show Q&A, as I do with all my shows. Someone asked a question about how easy it was to change my birth certificate from M to F, and whether it shows the old gender marker or not. I was forced to admit that I haven’t actually updated my birth certificate and, for the first time, I realized I’ve been delaying doing so for deeper reasons than simple laziness. There’s an aspect of updating that document that feels very final, and like it somehow cuts me off from a past I’ve been working for almost a decade, the course of my transition, to move beyond. Continue reading 'Resisting being ‘done’ transitioning'»

David Bowie’s Throwback Thursday

By , December 4, 2014 2:24 pm

Earlier this week I caught the David Bowie Is exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibit was totally worth going to, although at $25 was a little pricey. Still, I’d recommend it. That’s not what this post is about, though.

One of the (many) awesome songs from Bowie’s discography is Rebel Rebel:

Hearing the opening guitar on that song immediately takes me back to the late ’90s and to Boys Don’t Cry.

Continue reading 'David Bowie’s Throwback Thursday'»

3AM epiphany on the road

By , June 4, 2014 4:42 pm

I’m currently in Cincinnati, at the 2014 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. My current show, Something Something New Vagina, is going well.  It’s definitely still a work in progress, but I feel pretty good about the content and sharing it in front of an audience has been incredibly valuable as I move forward with the material. Even though some of the script is from pieces I’ve performed before, most of it is new. So I’ve had solid houses, very positive reviews, and good audience buzz. Likewise, CincyFringe is perhaps my favorite Fringe festival of the five I’ve participated in (Chicago, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Cincinnati). It’s well organized, run by awesome (and competent!) people, has strong community support, and I like a lot of my fellow artists. I was really excited to come here, even if I was drained from a spring of being on the road.

So why have I been feeling shitty all Fringe? Continue reading '3AM epiphany on the road'»

Big Vagina and the conspiracies THEY don’t want you to know about

By , March 3, 2014 1:43 pm

Note: This is the current draft of a piece I performed at Patrick’s Cabaret in Minneapolis this past weekend.

The toilet paper lobby is in cahoots with Big Vagina.

I don’t mean “big vagina” as in “vaginas that are large.” I mean Big Vagina, as in capital B-Big, capital V-Vagina. As in Big Tobacco, Big Coal, Big Pharmaceutical. As in Conglomerates. Cartels. Cabals. Other… intimidating words that start with a hard-C sound. Shady backroom dealings, where mustachioed billionaires smoke cigars and discuss the course of international events. And lemme tell you, the toilet paper lobby has Big Vagina all sewn up!

That’s an unpleasant visual… I apologize.

But I know about their secret dealings because I am a recent initiate into the world of having a vagina. I possess something of an outsider’s perspective. See, I used to have a penis. For most of my life I had one, actually. But then, on December 10, 2013, a day foretold in prophecy, I stood naked atop the highest peaks and called upon otherworldly powers to make right a cosmic injustice.

Or maybe I simply went to a surgeon in Philadelphia and had some awesome fantasies while high on morphine.

But either way, my outie became an innie and I gained secret knowledge that Big Vagina doesn’t want you to have. Like Big Vagina’s relationship with the toilet paper lobby.

Let me tell you how peeing works when you have a penis: You stand in front of a toilet or urinal, you unzip, you aim, you shake, and you zip. You might wash your hands, but you probably won’t. Because – if done correctly – peeing from a penis does not get urine all over the fucking place. Continue reading 'Big Vagina and the conspiracies THEY don’t want you to know about'»

Breath in through your nose, out through your mouth

By , February 20, 2014 9:33 pm

I default to Lamaze-style breathing when I’m nervous. That is, the type of breathing technique outlined over and over again in pregnancy books and magazines and websites and sitcoms and movies:

  1. Take a deep, full-bodied breath in through your nose on a three or four count
  2. Hold that breath on a three or four count
  3. Breath out through your mouth on a three or four count
  4. Repeat

My mom taught me this type of breathing when I was a ten year old. I suffered from anxiety attacks throughout my childhood, particularly when going to bed or going to sleepovers. Well, trying to go to sleepovers – I rarely made it through the night without calling my parents to come pick me up. My mom taught me this focused breathing for the same reason it’s taught to pregnant women: It physiologically relaxes the body by bringing in more oxygen, it helps  provide focus, and it (hopefully!) distracts from pain or discomfort. Continue reading 'Breath in through your nose, out through your mouth'»

I Don’t Feel Funny About This

By , February 17, 2014 12:42 pm

As usual, I’ve set my expectations for myself at a high level: Next week, I’ll be going to Minneapolis for a collaboration between the awesome Links Hall (in Chicago) and Patrick’s Cabaret (in Minneapolis). If you’re in MN you should check it out. Then I’m heading to Philly for a followup appointment with my surgeon. Then I start touring again, to California and Virginia and Georgia and more. After that comes the quickly-approaching summer Fringe season, where I’ll (fingers crossed!) be going to Cincinnati, Minneapolis, and Chicago Fringes, with a new show – my fifth or sixth in as many years, depending on how you count – tentatively titled Something Something New Vagina.

No rest for the weary.

But the one stressing me out right now is the Minneapolis trip next week. Not because of the travel, although hopefully the weather will be good. Not because of the city, because I like Minneapolis and have lots of friends there. Not because of the venue, because I’ve performed at Patrick’s before and enjoyed the experience. No, I’m stressing because I said I’d bring a ~10 minute piece, something new, and I don’t know what the fuck it’s gonna be.

Continue reading 'I Don’t Feel Funny About This'»

Musings on Voice

By , January 29, 2014 4:08 pm

I remember talking about voice with a friend in high school. I was maybe fifteen, she was a year or two older, and we were having a conversation on AOL Instant Messenger. Which, with no other information, places this conversation sometime between 1997 – when AIM was launched – and 2004 – when people started leaving AIM and ICQ for Facebook. For what it’s worth, I suspect this conversation took place in 2000 or 2001.

I had come out to this friend earlier that year, although I probably didn’t think of it as “coming out.” I had told her that I wanted to be a girl, not a boy. That I had been reading websites which talked about hormones and hair removal and surgeries and more. That I couldn’t imagine doing any of that, and even if I could ever be brave enough it wouldn’t matter: My voice was too deep for anyone to ever take me seriously as a woman. Continue reading 'Musings on Voice'»


By , January 20, 2014 11:09 am

I don’t like being called brave. I’m not totally sure why. Maybe it’s because I generally try to keep myself and my accomplishments in perspective, and not overstate my own importance. Maybe it’s because the word “brave” seems to speak to lofty accomplishments, physical danger, overcoming long odds and impossible obstacles. Maybe it’s because I live in a world where my identity and my body are held in low regard, and – despite my efforts to the contrary – I have quite a bit of internalized transphobia. Maybe it’s a combination of all those factors, and more.

Whatever the reason, “brave” is always a label that has made me uncomfortable.  Continue reading 'Bravery'»

A Letter to My Body

By , December 10, 2013 12:30 pm

Note: This post was written in response to a writing prompt given to me by a friend, in which she encouraged me to explain to my body why it’s about to undergo major surgery. The post itself is scheduled to publish during my upcoming gender reassignment surgery. The actual surgery, that is; when this post goes live I should (fingers crossed) be under general anesthesia, getting myself all vagified. That might be going a little overboard, but I couldn’t resist the metaphor.

Dearest, singular, unique, self. My body.

Know that what’s coming is going to be hard. For that, I am deeply and eternally sorry. There will be discomfort, there will be pain, there will be an unreasonable amount of piss and shit, there will be stitches and sutures and drugs and aches and pains and moans and tears. There will be moments when you wish I hadn’t done this to you, when I will wish I hadn’t done this to you, when family and friend are annoying and no position feels comfortable and  food sounds disgusting and Netflix has been watched in its entirety and the world is stupid and dumb and should just go away and oh my god how can I possibly need to dilate again. If it could be different, if I could be different, if you could be different, know that I wouldn’t do this to you. I wouldn’t do this unless I was so fundamentally sure it was right.

I am fundamentally sure this is right.

Continue reading 'A Letter to My Body'»

I’m Excited!

By , October 15, 2013 1:37 pm

I recently wrote a post, I’m Scared, in which I talked about my fears relating to my upcoming gender reassignment surgery. (Shameless donation plug: Please donate!) The post was really important for me to write, and has helped me internalize and work through some of the fears that I have. (Some of them remain scary, and will continue to be scary until I’m through them and they’re OK.) But I also wanted to take time to focus on what I’m excited about, what I’m looking forward to, and what is going to be awesome about having surgery.

I’m excited about having a body that will ‘fit.’ A body I can bathe in the shower without having extra dangly bits. A body that will be hugged by form-fitting clothing, without unseemly bulging. I’m excited about shopping for that clothing, trying on dresses and skirts and pants (and the dreaded yoga pants!) and feeling like they were designed for my body, and vice versa.

I’m excited about exploring my new body. I’m dreading dilation, yes, but I’m also excited by it. About having this new part – constructed from the old – that offers new opportunities for pleasure and simply for comfort. I’m excited about getting to know my new anatomy, its rounded parts and squishy bits and how it fits with the rest of me. Continue reading 'I’m Excited!'»

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