I am a madam, leopard-print shiny, long-gloved and crazy because one by one we are all being killed and the murderer is one of our own. There are melodramas and personal vendettas in each of our bodies. Without warning, our queen whips a pistol from her copious cleavage and ends us all - and the game- and we return to the kitchen for drinks and cake and shots of a less deadly kind. But through it all, I can't stop coveting the other roles in our game, where you get to bind your breasts and paint on goatees and slick your hair back.

I'm the biggest ham of the group, this drag queen camping it up, freed by this game to be as femme and bitchy and outrageous and really as stereotypical as possible, because they all think it's so FUNNY! And I'm in my element, transformed from nerdy and quiet among these near-strangers to wild and happy and odd. Everyone else plays along even more, like an African dance where the dancers dance harder to honor the drummers who drum faster to salute these fine dancers, like a spiral dance raising a cone of power into the night. They don't know that it's a one-time even and I'll be shy again tomorrow; the madams engage in high angry gossip with their fellow madam, and the rest bitch about their bosses, wishing I were theirs.

I wish I hadn't come out as soon as I knew. But

It's New Year's Eve, and I find myself spontaneously driven to a sort of musical variety show slash dinner and dance party at the Woodland Opera House. Yesterday, my mother finally sat me down to talk about this trans thing. I can't make her understand it and she can't stand it. She's very sad.

I am always dizzy these days. I feel as though the front bits of my brain have been numbed and I am confused about my surroundings and the relative importance of everything I have to do. Nothing seems very important, but intellectually I know it must be. I used to feel like this all the time, before I started taking st. john's wort. Then the glass wall between me and my emotions dissolved, along with most of my fuzziness. But now the fuzziness is back, and I wonder how long it is before I grind to a halt, unable to do anything because I'm so confused and lack any reason to do any of it.

Then the paralysis strikes me, and I am unable to name these emotions which pummel me, and a week of numbness passes before inexplicably lifting again.