My name is Jack. Jack Knife.
Jack Knife, at present, never sees the light of day. A few months ago, during a manic fit of spring cleaning, I donated almost all of my clothes to Goodwill. A lot of them were my clothes but some… some of them belonged to Jack. And where Jack used to occasionally come out at night and dance and lip synch with me in my bedroom, he doesn’t any more. He can’t.
I’m not sure what my motivation was to get rid of all those clothes. Part of it is the ever-elusive de-cluttered and re-organized life I hope to lead. Partially, it was a purge of all the wreckage of my past. But surely I didn’t have to give all of Jack’s clothes away. I am ashamed of Jack, maybe I’m trying to kill him off. But he won’t go away. Every day he cries out to me from deep inside my soul where I’ve relegated him to a dark corner. He screams when I look in the mirror and kicks me in the gut when I get dressed.
I hope that I can homogenize myself to the point that Jack is a part of me no matter what clothes I’m wearing, but right now I feel like something is missing.
One day I want to let Jack go up on stage. I dream of this secretly and fairly often. I have been to many drag shows where I see men dressed as beautiful women “singing” songs that have touched their hearts, and reaching out to touch others with the mystique of their art. I feel somehow that this type of outlet doesn’t exist for Jack, primarily due to my crippling shyness but also due to lack of venue. I’ve never been to a show with drag kings. I saw one once at a show with mostly queens and he was terrible, he seemed to lack the energy and passion of the queens (though he may have just been nervous, poor guy).
Ever since my sophomore year in high school, I’ve used Halloween as an excuse to dress as a man in earnest.The first time I did it, that was my costume. “What are you supposed to be?” “Oh, I’m a dude.” “Just a random dude?” “Yeah.” I feel like that’s the only time I can go all-out, with facial hair and everything, and not be ridiculed. Hell, I was ridiculed, but I didn’t care. That’s what Halloween is about, man. So I look forward to it all year as the one time I can be Jack, out in the open.
I used to wear sport coats and button-downs as pseudo-drag when I went partying, looking plenty androgynous but not as manly as I would’ve liked. But I don’t drink any more, so I didn’t wear those clothes any more except, on very rare occasion, to be Jack, at home, alone, in my room, with the door locked and the curtains drawn. It feels like Jack doesn’t have a place in my life any more, and it feels like I’m denying a big part of myself this way.
Maybe I should get Jack an outfit and see what happens. At the very least, during my quiet time tonight, I’m wearing an eyeliner mustache.