A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
by Jay Cruz
I created this piece when I began to address my dysphoria; it was my way of laying it all out on the table and realize that I will never be able to be comfortable in my own skin until I come to terms with who I am. In general, I create in order to express either the things I can’t or won’t say, or the things that people refuse to hear or understand. I wrote Skin during a time in which I was becoming more aware of myself. I wanted to express how this situation is a conflict between mind and heart; in his heart, my character wants to love and be loved as a man, ready for that comfort and vulnerability. However, his mind is aware that doing so is ultimately a lie, as he can truly only ever love as a woman. This juxtaposition of an eager heart and tentative mind results in the feelings discomfort and shame that end his fantasy.
The ink drips from the metal tip, blotting the page. He lets his hand drift across the sea of white, wondering when his pen would gather to courage to set sail.
His mind begins to wander, settling on no thought in particular; high from either the growing pool of ink or the act of thinking itself. He stops his hand, drops the pen, and leans back into his chair, resting his arms on its own.
His eyes close as the memory takes a hold of every sense in his body…
… As a human being, as a person, she is more than anyone could even imagine, much less hope for. She’s the kind of beautiful you would think only exists in old school love songs or fairytales. She has the kind of heart you would only imagine a young girl who’s never heard a harsh word in her life would have. And when she speaks… his heart flutters, the world stops. She makes him feel as though he is the sole being she cares about. He looks into her eyes and every feeling of fear and anxiety abandons him… Nearly.
His hands shake as they leave an invisible trail along the length of her arms. He feels her breath caress his neck, just below his ear. Her hands grip his arms and his heart reacts immediately. He licks his lips, holding his bottom lip between his teeth as he takes in the scent of her skin. His hands slide over the bare skin of her stomach, his fingers stroke her sides; whispers against her skin in the cool breeze intruding through the window. His palms rise to her chest eliciting a soft moan from her lips… He gulps. He feels her fingers reaching beneath his shirt, resting on the skin just above his jeans, tentatively begging for the entry they know will be denied to them in spite of the raging pace of his heart and the carnal sense that is the shameful lust, rising from the pit of his stomach, into his chest, and into the back of his throat…
He takes a sharp breath of air. His eyes open abruptly, his hands grip the arms of the chair, his heart pounds relentlessly. Burning desire, pain, and shame arise within him. He takes a deep breath, rubs his eyes, and stretches. His hands reach above his head then descend, running through his thick hair, onto his collarbone, over his ever-protruding chest, then finally settle on his knees.
One day, he’d be in his own skin.
Jay is seventeen years old, and attends the Talented and Gifted Magnet at Townview Magnet Center in Oak Cliff, Texas.