Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

#305: I WAS DISPARATE

I have been misread by more than one individual in more than one city in recent days, so I would like to clear up now before I even start that I AM NOT AND HAVE NOT BEEN WRITING ABOUT YOU OR YOU. I HAVE NOT EVEN BEEN REFERRING TO YOU OR YOU. If I know you are reading this site even semi-regularly, I have the good sense to keep our present private matters offline, except for this one paragraph, of course.

Now, on with the show.


I am feeling really boily. No, not like I am covered in boils. That's biblical, and I don't really follow that kind of thing. I feel boily more like my blood is boiling. It sounds cliché, but that is exactly what it feels like my blood is doing. It is burbling hotly through my veins, arteries, vessels, ventricles.

I am so angry that I am going to crawl back into a subtler shade of denial called cutesifying the negative. I hate cutesy, but such lengths are acts of desperation.

My bwud is boiwing, it is, oh my. (And again, it is not you or you I'm talking about. In fact, it's not an individual at all).

Obfuscation and evasion. Those are other acts of desparation/disparation that are sometimes useful, and so, like in the last entry, more stories from my past!

My family, both immediate and extended, used to go up to a northern lake for a week or two every summer. From six months to nineteen years of age, I attended these traditional events every July or August. I have been up there since then a handful of times, but after my late puberty, the event turned from a largely freeing experience that granted me a period of greater independence to a primarily claustrophobic one that threw me into fits of anxiety.

How or why this happened used to be unclear to me, but as I have gained distance from it, I can make out a fairly clear picture of what was going on. I had a generalized kind of anger thing going on in my late teens and early twenties, I was breaking away from my family's religion and the social bonds that went with it, I felt unable to come out to my family, I had not come to grips with what I was yet, and I was beginning to deal with psychological difficulties for the first time. Suffice it to say that I had a few things on my mind, and none of them were all that family friendly, at least with the Pickles. (Yes, I just established that I will call my family the Pickles. I should be pulled over by an internet cop and asked to touch my nose with my eyes closed).

I am not sure how old I was when I realized that I simply could not handle it anymore. I may have been twenty, but I could have been as old as twenty-three. I was supposed to be staying with parents in their rented cabin for five days, and I had come up to the lake with my bold face forward, sure that I had the strength to hold up for that length of time. What I didn't realize then was that my reserves of strength worked best only if was being who I actually was, and I was very busy being anything but around family.

After two days of rain cooped up in a cabin with my relatives, I felt like I was going to lose my mind. There was almost nothing about myself that I felt I could share. My mother had made it very clear to me that my friends were unacceptable because they weren't church-goers. My father had made it clear that alternative lifestyles were okay as long as he didn't have to see them and that they only ended sadly anyway. None of my relatives liked who I was dating at the time. My vegetarianism was seen as extremist, unhealthy, idealistic, and immature. At every turn, I felt rejection, but my lips remained still. As strong as I felt I was, I could not even begin to form honest words. I hid behind my hand of Uno cards and waited for everyone to go to bed.

On the morning of the third day, I woke up unable to breathe properly. My breathing was quick and shallow, and when I tried to control it by slowing down and inhaling more deeply, I only felt my panic moreso. I told my mother that I had to leave on the next bus. She tried to convince me otherwise, but I could not fathom surviving another day there. How could I feel safe and okay in a place where nobody considered anything about me to be safe or okay?

I remember thinking: that I should tell my parents everything; that this place could never hold me if they didn't have room to let me into it; that I should tell them all to fuck off or love me anyway. I never gave them the opportunity. I could not find the power within myself to confess even the smallest of my deviant behaviours, and I was as angry at myself as I was at them for the culture of secrecy that we had created. Something inside me felt as though it had closed up, folded in, skulked away, given in. I got on the bus early that afternoon and watched the forest slowly disperse along the edges of the sky I watched outside the window. The city could not come soon enough. While I waited for the bus to pull away from the depot outside a log cabin, I wrote a bad poem that went something like this:

the sound is shallow water over small stones
and it's poplar trees with leaves
silver and green
silver and green
flipping from one side to the other
their cadence is a deceit
if you're not looking

The bus pulled away from the cabin, and I knew that if I turned to look, my mother would be waving.

I never did give them the opportunity to fuck off or love me. I rode away on the bus, and in a way, I never came back.


A forgotten Bach aria has shown up in a shoebox.

Poplar Leaves