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I was once asked, “What are you doing with

the rest of your life. North and south and east and west of your life. I have only one request of your life, that you spend it all with me.”

Dreamboat. Handsome, fills out a suit like

a man should – confidence and good posture.

Large hands, scared, callouses … perfect

to gruffly grope and grunt in my ear, “Mine!”

No. Stop.

Just stop, please.

No, I’m talking to myself. I need to do that

now and again.

I’m sorry, this is wrong. It’s unfair, and


I’ll explain on our way out.

As enchanting as this tableau appears to be, we

need to leave. Yes, now. I’m sorry.

Safety reasons, you see.

This way, please hurry. I’m really sorry about


My head is not safe. And on days like these,

my own safety can’t be guaranteed.

I’m trying hard to see the super-fun-fun side

of this negative situation.

But Doctor doesn’t like it.

Hi. My name is Sergio Henry Ben and I am in

a long-term relationship with psychiatry.

Six years and going strong.

We ain’t breaking up for shit.

“I am not my hair, but I am my mental illness.”

My name is Sergio Henry Ben and I am not a

well woman.

No, I’m not transgender or cissy gender or

whatever the new buzz speak is.

I’m just ridiculously camp, effervescent, larger

than life… A Ms. Venezuela posing in her Bird of Paradise costume at Miss Universe.

And those are just the days I’m holding it

together and not flying off the handle like Kathy Bates in Misery.

I am not a well woman.

I live too much in my head. I love it. I hate

it. I adore the solitude. I despise the loneliness.

There are days I am paralysed with grief, rage,

frustration… In my head the wind is blowing too fierce to even make a decision on a “Yes or No” question. Do I download yet another Rocco Steele bareback vid or not?

Do I download Hed Kandi The Mix 2015, and imagine

I’m in Ibiza and being supermodel ferocious in a red leather mini-skirt, wedges and hula-hoop earrings I snagged at Foschini? Or do I download more Shirley Bassey treffers?

Do I lunge across the table and smack the everloving

jeezaas outta this insulting moron?

Do I walk down Lower Main road, Observatory

and court all sorts of fun mischief?

Yes? No?

No? Yes?


On the very bad days the answer is “Ag, fuckit!”

and turn over, close my eyes and nap in the hope that it will all be better when I wake up.

On really, really bad days, I nap in the hope

I never wake up. The agony of feeling like a failure sits too close to my neck. It’s an exquisite agony, truly told.

It can kill.

I know three people who died of it. We attended

the same support group. I haven’t been in years.

Something about being a room full of taatie

people no longer appeals. All that grief and rage concentrated in one space. Urgh. Look, it works for some and for some it works to an extent.

From 2012 ’til now, I knew three people who

decided they’ve had enough. There are times I wished I had the guts to kill myself.

I’m waiting to exhale. One final time. Just

to have the peace that pills and psychotherapy can’t give me.

I’m tired of working at it. I’m tired of working

on myself. I’m tired of watching myself, how I respond, the words used, the tone, the register, be mindful of this and be cognisant of that… Perhaps I ought to return to group. Perhaps a roomful oftaatie people will help me shift perspective.

Perhaps I should return to group to help deal

with those outright dreadful days…Well, that scenario is far too ugly to illustrate. Think a deranged Sally Field running in traffic in Not Without my Daughter.

Yet, my gratitude for that day in Dr. K’s office

six years ago is boundless.

I finally know what the hell is wrong with

me. I finally know how I can fix myself.

I finally have a decent shot at being happy.

I just need to work for it.

My name is Sergio Henry Ben and I am not a

well woman.

And that’s fine, truly it is.

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