Re: how has my body materialised?1

1. this is a self-writing, auto-biographical non-fiction. i explore connections between flashes and fragmented memories around my body from around the age of eight. i rewrite those moments, starting with an alien sexual organ morphing by subversion into medusa-tentacular-powers. it is inspired by the first lectures of Sex/Race/Trans by Dr. Diego Semerene, and particularly the texts discussed (‘The Lesbian Phallus’ by Judith Butler and auto-fiction work by Camila Sosa Villad and Abdellah Taïa).

i was lying naked in a small, awfully lit room with fading-yellow wallpaper, gazed at by ten interns and a doctor. no one said a word. the cramped-adults’ reflecting eyes just glanced over me. their eyes ignored my toes, my ankles, my knees, my hips, my navel, my neck, my ears, my mouth, my nose, even my eyes. no one saw my red cheeks, and above all, everyone skimmed right past my sexual desires. the only thing they faced over was my partly grown maidenhair and newly grown breasts.

in dutch the word for pubic hair is schaamhaar, translated as ‘shamehair’ or ‘hair of shame’– a word that has the meaning of shame inscribed– akin to my surname, Schamle, often mispronounced as Schaamlè. Shots of mockery like, ‘schaamende lelie’(schamefull lily), ‘schaamlip’(labia), with ‘schaamhaar’ joining the armory of my bullies. my last name’s history comes from many misinterpretations (even though i wonder how much of it was mis): it started from being Jean Moulin, to Sjaamoulin, to Sjamlè, to now the name that is actually to be pronounced as Sgamlé(with the harsh dutch ‘g’). perhaps it was because of the name that i also inherited crimsoning blushing in moments of shame, adrenaline, attention, all perpetuated in a cycle of shame, exposure, labeling, and back again.

at the age of eight, pubic hair unfurled as tiny growing snakes, marking the onset of adolescence. its tang of sweat and the constellations of pimples dotting my greasy forehead, covered beneath hastily cut bangs– the teenage legend of covering up shame with hair.

i used my mutating body to get out of gym class, sitting with the teacher in the class room instead. she called me a sad child, but i knew she actually meant to say a sad woman of shame. the other children bully me for my pubic hair. once the body becomes sexually viable it becomes shame full. i found agency in the discomfort that my early puberty induced in the adults around me and used it to my advantage.

i had to visit my family doctor frequently, he was very much like my father. it's worth mentioning that they were friends because they shared the same ex-girlfriend (and therefore he became my doctor). during the inspections he would look at my medusa hair to see what was ‘wrong’ with me. everyone was freaking out. i had grown an alien organ that was transplanted from somewhere else2

my childhood was made into something melancholic to strive towards, something that was receding from me hastily. the snakes growing from my crotch somehow overruled the fact of my body, still that of a child. part of my image in the mirror was a woman and part a child. this image posed a crack in the language of kinship used by my teachers and parents. the partial images are incompatible and created errors. i mean, even the people with white coats had to come out.

2. the transplanted organ in this story helps me understand the castration complex discussed by Lacan and in The Lesbian Phallus by Butler. By proposing my childhood’s vagina as the head of medusa, it allows me to think of my vagina as her cut-off castrated head with many feminine phallic tentacles. having properties of functioning prehensile and penetrative while being flexible as opposed to the malfunctioning penis and it’s stiffness.

forced into premature ‘womanhood’ by biology and appearance, i started to live with a double consciousness powered by the discomfort of femininity, sexuality, and the innocence of juvenility come together: i played with grown ups desires. realising this now, the myth of mourning my lost childhood dawns on me. childhood upheld by fearful grownups vanishes; the story of purity and asexuality doesn't exist. is there a wish to lose something we actually wish to retain? to lose childhood?3

an age where the tiny hairs came to life as slithering serpents were actually little phalluses– every men gazing upon their faces found their bodies stiff. her tentacles were not male and everything but stiff, fluid without an essence. for a period of four years i was an octopus monster with pseudohermaphroditism gonad: a little girl with many penises4.

3. Anna Freud (1967) About Losing and Being Lost, The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 22:1, 9-19, DOI: 10.1080/00797308.1967.11822587
4.  in the article of N. Ortiz, M.E. Ré in the publication, First report of pseudohermaphroditism in cephalopods, Journal of Molluscan Studies, Volume 72, Issue 3, August 2006, Pages 321–323. They describe the findings of imposex or also called pseudohermaphroditism in Cephalopods probably caused by oceanic pollution.