Angry Inches, Happy Itches, Aber Wer Bin Ich?


the height of the narrative

And when it comes to huge openings, a lot of people think of me.
- Myself


My perseverances to reach myself in my entirety take the shape of perpetual performances. Indeed, "to persevere" and "to perform" could be heard as synonymous as far as my existence is concerned. I persevere and perform in public and in private: I stay Hedwig from stage to bed. I strive to be in the limelight (up to the last scene of the film), I am the centre of attention of real spectators, as well as of my fictional audience and of my fictional co-characters. I am the queen of my existence's spectacle, and am of course what the narrative and the mise en scène of the movie organize themselves around. Whether I am on stage or out of stage, I negociate my character through people's looks and stares - may they be approving, condescending or intrigued.

As I find myself violently projected onto the harsh reality of my trailer's sofa, as if caught off-guard after being vulgarly let down by Luther, certain aspects of the past which I had never paid much attention to endorse a traumatic status (Shepherdson, 162).  Will I ever get over these traumatic realizations and give shape - however precarious it might be - to my lack, my loss? This episode shows my realizations of powerlessness and sheds light on the way the dead-end I am now facing will in fact open on a re-creation. The song "Wig in a Box" accounts for my overcoming of this sense of lack of belonging. From then on, I will be as obvious as can be at playing a role; I will crawl deeper into the skin of the character that I want to be, I am going to exaggerate her traits. Because I cannot constitute a coherent and true self, I will dive into a "me" of whom I am more apt to control the construction. If I have to live a fraud, if I cannot escape the world of fantasies, then I would rather take on this delusion wholeheartedly. If all identities are in any case impostures and masquerades - the fraudulent reflection of what one is not or does not have - I am going to play with masks.

I will find you, jouissance, even if you have to leave me hurriedly! There is nothing better than to play with the terms which exclude me:

The ambivalence of the Self marked by loss is tenuous at best, but agency lies in giving up any claim to coherence or self-identity by submitting to interpellation and subversively misrecognizing the terms by which we are hailed. (Salih, 135)

By narrating herself (telling her self) in public, being the permanent object of spectacle (mistress of ceremony as well as object of celebration), I am going to make up for this haunting "lack of the subject".

The wig is the symbol of masquerade par excellence: it reproduces and accentuates existing stereotypical traits, while facilitating their subversion; it also allows subversion of the very order of the symbolic.  Is the wig to be considered as a phallic extension? It is, in the sense that it is through the wig that you, as spectators, can access the dialectic I am subjected to; and it is through putting on the wig that I deliberately touch on my subjectivity.

A transgender's voice

The tragic transgender (...) weeps because happiness and satisfaction, according to transphobic narratives, is always just out of reach. (Halberstam, 82)

My story is about a multitude of meeting points between different narratives, meeting points between the psychic and the physical. As I unroll the pages of the diary that I kept from two to six years old, here is what I ask: "How can I say who touched me the most? My father, the American GI? Could it have been my East German mother?". I did suffer from abusive parents - each of them abusive in their own way. This diary being a bridge between experience and symbolic, the ruptures it displays manage to give birth to a new desire. When I say that "so many people have touched me on my way to this stage tonight" I refer to these abuses; no, I refuse to keep them for myself, as I know so many Hollywood queer fictional comrades would do. I will speak, but in my own voice. I will speak so as to touch you but not trigger your pity. Mitchell guides you in such way that you revisit my pain, which he empowers with amusing and poetic qualities. Yes I was hurt; I was
wounded. But together you and I know better than to cry, don't we?

You know the sun is in your eyes
And hurricanes and rain
And black and cloudy skies
You're turning up and down that hill
You turn it on and off at will
There's nothing here
To thrill of bring you down

The tone of the lyrics and melody of "Wicked Little Town" hover between resignation and hope. While recognizing that I am in an almost-inextricable situation - by referring to Sysyphus's myth, who is  cursed with having to roll a huge rock up a hill, the rock always rolling back down once it is finally up - I believe that this incredible hardship is not a reason to stop persevering, to abandon my struggles. We should not let it bring me (us) down.

Voice matters, and I posit myself as a guide to those who are reduced to silence:

And if you've got no other choice
You know you can follow my voice
Through the dark turns and noise
Of this wicked little town

I do refuse silence, I want to seize the responsibility of my representation, and I choose to make a spectacle of myself.
Because I believe, as Kathleen Rowe says, that "[p]ower lies in possession and control of the visible" (in certain circumstances at least).

Did you know that my name, Hedwig, in old German, is a combination of "battle" (hadu) and "fight" (wig)?
No, I will not let go.