It was a long summer. My last earthly possessions were loaded into the back of my 1985 Subaru Brat. It was blue and I called it Mighty Mouse.
I hadn't been employed since I lost that job at the Memphis waffle house. I was a good short-order cook but, again, in another example of the prejudice our society still indulges towards the trans-personed. Believe me, there were many times in my life that I desparately wished to be something other than a green-skinned hybrid of Superman and Batman with green skin. I do have the powers of the Legion's Chameleon Boy, so I can look like whomever I want. But this is my default mode, this is who I am, and it took me a long time to learn that I shouldn't have to change who I am to conform with suburbia's ideal of normalcy.
Sure enough, I can change my form to look like Brad Pitt - or even Angelina Jolie. I can go out and have a good time, bring a one-night-stand back to my apartment. But invariably, when they wake up in the morning, its the green-skinned composite "freak" they wake up next to. I had had enough of pretending, I had had enough of trying hard to fit into a society that wanted very badly to pidgeonhole me into a narrow spectrum of gender identity. I was learning to accept who I was, and that it was OK to be different. It sounds silly, it sounds like Seseme Street on the face of it . . . but I needed to learn that it was OK to be me, that I didn't have to be someone I wasn't.
So I was driving through the high desert of Arizona with a cassette tape copy of Nirvana's In Utero on constant repeat in the stereo. I bought the tape at a K-Mart in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and although it was harsh and abrasive and painful, it was everything I needed in a record at that point in mmy life. When Kurt died six months later I felt the less more keenly because he had traveled with me on my journey, even if we never met.
I had bought a small sandwich baggie filled with peyote on a street corner in an Indian reservation in New Mexico. I don't know why I did it, I certainly couldn't afford it. I aimed my Brat into the horizon and drove like knife through the heart of the jagged Coconino landscape. When I ran out of gas I pulled the car over to the side of the road and walked inwards into the desert, marking a perpendicular path to the road and walking further from civilization with every step. There was a part of me that wanted very much to die, at that point in my life . . . wanted nothing more than to disappear into the space between the lines that Kurt screamed on "Rape Me". I could relate.
When the sun disappeared behind the far mesas I upended the bag of peyote into my mouth and sat down in the dust. There were storm clouds on the horizon, round puffy balls of chain lightning rolling in from California. I coudl feel the elctricity in the air - the part of me that was Lightning Lad could taste the free electrons in the air, buzzing like hornets.
I know you've all probably read Baba Ram Dass. I'm not going to bore you with my psychedelic experience, except to say that this was the first time I had ever had anything stronger than a joint and the experience changed my life. I don't know if I would ever reccomend that anyone do psychedelic drugs. They open some powerful doors in your mind, and if you're not ready for what's hiding behind them, it can probably be extremely traumatic. All I know is that I was ready for what happened to me that night, and I am thankful that God in his infinite wisdom saw fit to grace me with the light of His perception, if only for a moment. There was a place in Creation even for a messed-up Composite Superman, I knew.
I eventually melted into the desert in a pure liquid form whiel the lightning storm raged above me. When the sun rose in the east the drugs were fading but I realized that I could feel and understand things I'd never seen before. I could feel my watery tendrils snaking all throughout the living desert. Finally, I rose up out of the dust, my body blooming out of the ground in the form of a thousand tulips, every one of them having my face. I saw the new dawn through a thousand pairs of eyes, and I have never seen anything more beautiful than that desert morning.