The Time Traveler, to His Sixteen Year-Old Self

Selfie of the author, dated March 24, 2017.

The Time Traveler, to His Sixteen Year-Old Self

Four-eyed dork extraordinaire,
your lens thickness measurable
in astronomical units:

in secret you seek
a time-traveling
blue police box,

a song lyric to loop
in the blue dilithium light
of a starship’s warp core,

or lines from Black bards
you can weave together
ride like a rug
past the river, out of town.

So, admit it. You aren’t
a fabulous alternateen
or a mall-banged homegirl:
hell, you’re not even a girl

and you’re a queen, alright,
but not prom royalty—
their crowns are not yours,
and they never will be:

but those crowns, queer boy,
look much better dashed
to the floor, bursting apart
into rhinestone galaxies.

© 2016 N.I. Nicholson.


I’m sharing this poem today, because it’s Transgender Day of Visibility. One of the acts that’s been a central part of my transgender experience is time-traveling. Unironically, time traveling is also a major part of the plot in Time Travel in a Closet. In fact, this poem comes from that book, scheduled for release later this year from NeuroQueer Books! Anyway…after coming out as a transgender man a little over two years ago, I felt I needed to re-examine my childhood and teen years through a different lens. For one, I was trying to uncover how I could have convinced myself to pass as female for so long…and why. Also, I was trying to make sense of the reality of being male while having to wear a suit, a facade, or a front to try to convince others that I was really female…or as one of my friends likes to say, try to “girl” hard enough to keep negative attention away from me. I also needed to have some way to verbalize my experiences, in part to answer people who might say, “but you used to be a girl!” or, “but you were such a pretty lady!” Um, well, I never was one. I was just really damn good at pretending. I did it to survive, as you’ll see more in depth when you read Time Travel in a Closet and future works.

So, here’s one facet of my transgender experience…going back in time, viewing my younger selves, and reclaiming my narratives. I hope you enjoyed it. I also dropped in a selfie to document where I am in this stage of my journey. You can probably see the acne scars, thanks to the increased oil production on my skin from the testosterone. It’s not one of my best ones but it’s where I’m at right now.


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About The Teselecta Multiverse 18 Articles
The Teselecta Multiverse are a multiple collective consisting of Ian Nicholson, Nico St. John, Asatira Monae Jones, and Jason Ian MacDonald. They are autistic people in a Black, trans male body creating poetry, fiction, essays, and erotica about disability, transness, the intersections between disability and race, multiplicity, personhood, and language,