Dogbane Beetle

It's nice to meet you-- my name's Xalli [pronounced shawl-lee] alongside other names. My pronouns are mainly she/him and zie/hir, but I really use any pronouns-- it's not something I care about too much. It's all colonial and fake to my heart. I'm most simply put a brown, Disabled butch who lives in the Southwestern US. Friends I've asked tend describe me as pretty warm-auraed and punk rock, which feels right. Heat is something special to me for reasons I can't place. My favorite sensation is the sun hot on my cheeks, sort of healing but starting to burn and prickle. I love the overwhelming sweat of mosh pits, too.

I led with being a butch, which feels pretty important for me. It's funny-- I've only really identified as butch for a year and a half now, but somehow, it's what I am first. I can't remember quite what he said, but my favorite description of butchness is one by Silas Denver Melvin who is, ironically, not butch. It was something about a symmetry between cowboys and butches-- both identities based in chivalry, care, protection, and immense love-- and I love that idea so entirely. Being butch feels like being a cowboy. It's like irreverence and laughing loudly and holding my friends close and teaching and learning and being a momma bear (as my girlfriend loves to call me). Butchness transcends sexuality and gender (for me, at least). It's how I dress and what I value and how I love and how I think about things. I vibe with a lot of other labels, too-- transsexual and patlacheh and (aspiring) bear-- but butch hits home the hardest, at least for now.

I'm not sure how else to share myself with you. I have a favorite jacket-- a battle jacket I liked too much as is to cut the sleeves off-- but it's sort of incomplete and slightly unwearable at the moment. Anyway, it's a Dickie's jacket I thrifted [for $15!], and the back of it is covered in patches, most of which are safety pinned and some of which are actually sewn ["butchfemme culture is working class", "trans punx bite back", "fascists fuck off", "free soup for the revolution", "starve the beast; defund the police!" and more]. It's hard to get the energy to sew things on. I'm at Disability's beck and call, and it likes to remind me I can't do as much as I'd like to. I used to have a cluster of pins on it, my favorites being "united we bargain, divided we beg", "draft beer not students", "prisons are for burning", "what you make is all you control", and one for a lovely band called Dengue Fever, but they kept falling off during shows. It's still got a pin on each side of the collar, though-- one with the bear flag on it and one of a little beetle with a brain as its body. The beetle reminds me of myself a little, feeling everything everywhere: in every nerve of the body.

Disability is sort of the biggest part of my life right now. It's forced me to reevaluate everything about how I inteact with the world-- no choice but to learn grieve an old self and shape a new self. I'm still trying to prioritize the things I love and care about most so I can actually do those things, even if it means I have to fall behind in everything else. There's not really a choice but to find the special kind of joy and dedication that’s hidden in really choosing something above all else. In specializing-- selecting carefully-- and dedicating myself to what I love. In boiling and concentrating myself down to something that tries to come close to encapsulating my whole self. I'm glad for how deeply it's forced me to care, though. I can't help but to love so much.

I spend most of my time in bed, though. It's a habit that started because of the pain, I think, but I really do love my bed like no other-- especially with its God-sent heated mattress pad. I can't bring myself to spend my time anywhere else if I can help it, except maybe outside under the sun [with its aformentioned hot cancer-giving rays crisping my cheeks]. Sitting in bed is being home, like a little cocoon or a charger. Sometimes I think about how often my dad used to take baths-- in and out all day for hours at a time. Something in me knows blood passes more down than science tells us.

I've been sort of overwhelmed for a while, now-- treading water & staying afloat & waiting for the sweet release of summer. I'm trying to volunteer more, trying to spend ten minutes a day doing something real and offline and fulfilling, trying to get all of the stressors of classes & exams in order, trying to be a little bit more thoughtful of how I spend my time. I'm especially trying appreciate every small feeling and experience-- to make my every day lovelier, because that makes my life lovelier in turn. I appreciate the sun often, and laughter, too, and reading on the train. I'm not sure. It's important to me above all else.