“When it hardens, only the external shell is transformed. The inside remains tender.”
– Pokémon Stadium
When I come home one summer from a year at school, a friend says that he’s set me up on a date. The only thing he says about her is that when she sits at a table, she spreads her legs apart, knees out, like we do. It’s been a rough year—I tracked its progress in a journal that’s long since been buried—and I say that I don’t want to date a woman, even one who treats her world the way a man handles all public space. He asks me what’s so hard about college, so I hand him the journal. It was hard and heavy—thick, unlined pages jacketed by two die-cut vinyl records—but its insides throbbed and bled. No date followed. It was a rough year, a year where I internalized the words for what I was but couldn’t articulate them, a year spent writing around that knowledge. It was the year I read The Golden Notebook and saw every blank page as a traumatic space. I had so many pages. I cocooned myself in them. Like a cicada I’ve waited long to shed the old, shameful body. To live naked and writhing and new.