|Influences||Not any one person in particular|
|Bio||Matthew McBurney is a now a 29-year-old, male, same-sex-attracted budding amateur creative writer who writes about his psychosexual disruption.|
That panicky day
Excited for a musical endeavour I committed to from the second half of 2019, I left George’s house, a fellow musician whom I just had an acoustic vocal and guitar practice. I was set to arrive at Gabriel’s place slightly behind schedule, but, nonetheless, ready for another rehearsal in our band called Kombucha. Members of Kombucha at the time were Dane on drum-kit and backing vocals, Casper on bass guitar and backing vocals, Gabriel on lead guitar and backing vocals, and myself, Matt, on lead vocals and rhythm guitar. One benefit of being in this band is we all sing, and well at that! At the time, the artistic focus was rocking up mainly pop songs in a power-pop genre.
Only hindsight can recall the numerological significance of so many twos in the day’s eventful date: 22/02/20 or a 220 220 pattern. Two can represent the number of people in a monogamous romance, and that’s exactly what I was craving with one of the band members. But, soon, the true reality of the circumstances would become evident.
I identify, as of now, as homosexual. Gabriel was my erotic interest. A classically handsome male with a unique, genuine sensitivity for the deep, spiritual, and esoteric. Most importantly, he is deeply friendly, kind, and loving. I remember during an earlier time of personal crisis where Gabriel declared that he loved me, in a purely platonic way. I love him too, but there’s additional unreciprocated sexually romantic elements on my end. Suppressed desires going unfulfilled.
Fast forward to the day of this band jam, the events that presented themselves were difficult to handle. The band practice meant to have all four members present, but Casper had acquired Ross River Fever and Dane was extremely tired with family duties and poor sleep. I showed up to Gabriel’s place and it was just the two of us. The intimate connection with him I longed turning into a sex act plagued my cognitions.
We began by playing some pieces of music and sharing the lead vocal, choosing him then me to take the microphone, alternating song to song. I had earlier repeatedly commented on how emotionally triggering our band’s version of Tears for Fears’ Mad World was. The lyrics, the instrumental, the sonic climax up the octave for my lead vocal during the final chorus refrain, coupled with lead guitar solo work from Gabriel made the piece intense. However, today it was Brian Jones Town Massacre’s piece Anemone, that Gabriel and Dane had taught me, which was having the most profound effect on my emotional state.
I had admitted to Gabriel three times previously that I had sexual, romantic, and erotic feelings for him. He handled these admissions fine, as if it didn’t register on an emotional level for him. Gabriel is open-minded and compassionate. He was flattered that I had these feelings for him. But, he was, more importantly, very firm that he is not interested in sex nor in a romantic relationship with me.
Despite this clear black and white boundary, I reopened an old can of worms about my erotic intentions with him. I was uneasy and starting to get anxious because I had something final to say to him. The day was panicky.
“I have something to say to you, Gabriel. Though it might end our friendship for good,” I remarked, fear trembling on my breath.
Gabriel responded with rigour, “Is it about your feelings towards me? Just say it, Matt.”
I immediately saw in his eyes that he was aware of what was on my mind, about to be spoken. We had been there before. But this time, it was vastly different. This time, there was no return.
“We cannot be friends or in a band anymore. I want to engage in sexual behaviour with you, however I cannot achieve this, and it hurts me.” My anxiety level went from a 3/10 to a 9/10.
“Well, that is a shame. Dane and I have shaped the band around your vocals, Matt.” Gabriel was visibly disappointed that he was losing a good friend.
My panic level was continuing to elevate. A full-blown panic attack was beginning to rage. Too much air was flowing into my lungs. Virulent oxygen was saturating my insides.
Gabriel tried to reduce my anxiety symptoms. He took me to his veranda and attempted to ground me.
“Try and root yourself to the Earth. Imagine a force rooting you from your head to the ground,” Gabriel instructed.
“Stop saying root!” I snapped back. The sexual chemistry from my end was building.
“Okay, let’s go back inside,” directed Gabriel, calm and together.
I longed for his heterosexuality. I longed that we could continue to be just friends. I longed for stability and safety. I longed for belonging.
We went back into his living area. I asked Gabriel what he thought the definition of psychosis was. He asked Siri in his phone and read to me a Wikipedia definition.
“Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality,” Gabriel informed me.
“Do you think I’m psychotic now?” I asked, hesitant and scared. My body was in fight, flight, freeze, or faint. Right now, I wanted to flee, but I couldn’t. I was trapped. Trapped with beautiful Gabriel, who, tragically for me, did not share any erotic feelings back.
“Am I psychotic now?!” I repeated, my voice increasing in volume, desperate for an answer I wanted to hear.
“In all the time I’ve known you, Matt, you’ve always been psychotic,” Gabriel stated.
“Don’t say that!” I fearfully exclaimed.
I felt humiliated and hurt.
Gabriel brought to my attention a home truth that may or may not be true. He told me that our friendship was phony from my end, as I had only been obsessed with getting into his pants.
My body shuddered. I was completely on-edge.
A Stream of Subconscious Desire - Gender Distress
Name: Matthew Dean McBurney. Age: 30 years soon. Sex: Male. Gender: Boy. Erotic Orientation: Gay. Race: Human.
What am I? A homo-sapien mammal. Where am I? Right now, in my residence on the Northern Rivers. How am I? Disposition is benign, emotional state is fractured yet calm, mood is neutral. Who am I? I can only be as broad as to say, Pure Divine Loving Consciousness. When am I? & Why am I? These questions don't make sense to a responder.
Good morning tech device - my close companion, Lappy Toppy. It is Easter Sunday in 2021, and my world intrigues me. I store psychosexual trauma in my cells. I have been diagnosed with the gastric condition of coeliac disease, the mental illness of schizoaffective disorder - manic type. Thankfully, the latter is in remission due to a tranquiliser drug and mood stabiliser drug. And a continual process of self-development attempts to heal my health more fully. I need to add the disclaimer that I go off on tangents, then crazily derail topics, jumping content tracks. Am I borderline autistic too?
Let's reign in this writing. What is it that I would like to share about my plight as a disrupted, discombobulated adult man, still identifying as a boy with bouts of crying pain? What is my gender? Here goes.
My mother gave birth to me as a male, I have external genitalia of a penis/phallus and testes housed in a scrotum. Growing up, I was very emotionally sensitive (and I still am). Infancy before early childhood education was a thriving point, clean room, quick learner of math and English. I was trusting of my immediate family. But sex hormones distorted my clean growth, with social exclusion and homoerotic suppression plaguing my schooling.
As a boy growing into homosexuality, male teachers turned me on erotically. I admired their confidence in delivering their intellectual truths, their passion for imparting knowledge to youth. I wanted to grow into them. In high school, one male teacher was so masculine and so mathematically gifted that I lost focus every time I saw him. When I became sexually mature enough, I would fantasise about these male teachers. Such was the pervasive heteronormative culture being at crippling odds with my authentic male same-sex-attractedness.
The academic part of school was my refuge. Distract my erotic desires by learning about the traditional fields of academia. At the secondary school level, mathematics had this problem-solving, solution-focused approach from which I gained comfort, certainty, and safety. In the mental background was my gay sexual orientation, clashing with overwhelmingly common heterosexual media narratives. I must be straight then, yeah? That's the right way to be.
I left secondary school feeling completely unregulated and lacking life skills. I spent a year staying in my family home, commuting an hour and a half each way four days a week for a degree in engineering. What I discovered was a keen interest and ability in the mathematics side of engineering and a dislike of engineering's actual practice. Being very heady and philosophical, using my hands to make things was my deficit. Nineteen years old, still a virgin sexually. Gay, but not fully owning it.
2011, I move to Brisbane and enroll in an applied mathematics degree. The move disoriented, perturbed, and fractured my soul. Psychosis. I became deluded with grandiose ideations of how the world was. I experienced hallucinations, an unreality to which only I could perceive. The cause? Genetic and environmental. Nature partially filled the cup of safety; nurture made it overflow into chaos. The trigger? Being in an unfamiliar world. Fearing change. And psychosexual trauma.
Two episodes of psychosis and mania at age 20. Hospitalisation in a mental health campus for my safety. And boy, was it a long road back to where I am now!!
Agoraphobia, anxiety, panic attacks, compulsive eating, post-traumatic-stress-disorder. And my hunch is now amnesia and elements of autism. But back to gender and sexuality.
At age 23, I entered a heterosexual romantic relationship with a cisgender woman. She was my emotional counterpart, significant support. Beautiful. But I was subconsciously gay, and I hadn't yet realised it fully in myself. I didn't respect myself enough to want to try being gay. It can be a harsh world. I can hide being gay by performing straightness.
Age 27, undone, nervous system collapsing as I break up with my first love - my now ex-girlfriend. I had a crush on her father. Fuck! He was the man I wanted to be. A true gentleman. The good guy. I admired him. I externalise my capacity to love in him.
Now, turning 30, it has taken till last month to be freed from the trauma of being erotically attracted to this unattainable man. Sending inappropriate letters to him and his partner and giving my cognitive energy field to him repeatedly. Having a panic attack in front of him, instructing him to punch me in the face (he didn't). It's taken till this year to shift my consciousness away from my lingering male infatuation. And it feels like a change here. Now, I can start to be me.
How can I summarise this mini-life story? While my sex is male, and I appear to be a man in the prime of life, my gender is still a boy. As I sprinted up to my local cliff view adjacent to the ocean on my run this morning, I experienced fight, flight, freeze, faint, FRIGHT - the unsafe anxiety response. I sobbed at the ocean lookout at the top of the cliff after expending most of my energy reserves. Etymologically, boy means a body living, crying out in distress and sadness. How damn accurate based on this panicky moment. I am a man, somatically. But I am still just a boy of mind Could this purgatory between mental boyhood and bodily manhood be the beginning of gender dysphoria?