Normal | Teen Ink


April 27, 2022
By Mushroomkun, Owngsiville, Kentucky
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Mushroomkun, Owngsiville, Kentucky
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Author's note:

I am a trans male myself this book is based on my real life though all characters are fictional but based on real people, this book is to reflect on how trans people and people of color are treated here in the united states. 

I groaned as the light from the window shined through my curtains signaling it was time to wake up, I sat up as I rubbed my eyes, I grabbed my phone from off the nightstand, I checked the time it was 6:40 am. I sat my phone back down as I sat down for about five minutes, while I tried to wake up. I looked down, I stood up as I tried not to fall down, I waited till I had some balance, soon I grabbed my clothes for the day as well as my binder. I carefully walked to the bathroom as I tried not to tip over the railing. When I walked in the bathroom I saw a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I sighed as I got undressed to take a shower before I got changed. 

I looked at myself in the mirror, I traced down my slim figure as I looked at myself, my dark tan skin and red hair blending together as I traced the cuts on my arms as thoughts went through my head  “You'll never be a man. People would be happier if you were dead.” 

   I tried to shake it off,  I mumbled to myself “Maybe people would be happier if I did die..” I took an hour-long shower, while I tried off my intrusive thoughts. As I had got in the shower I hissed in pain due to the hot water hitting the fresh cuts on my thighs and arms. I finished up in the bathroom, I headed down stairs seeing mom and dad were already gone to work, mom had left a note on the counter that read “Hey Val sweety! Sorry I wasn't here to wake you up but! I made your lunch and breakfast today! Love mama!<3” 


   I smiled softly as I saw my lunch box and a covered plate on the counter, I uncovered the plate to eat. While I ate I checked my phone to see what was new on twitter and soon put it in my jeans pocket after I saw a post that  had a picture of me and it read “Look at this girl pretending she's a man!” It made me want to hurl, I finished up my breakfast and I put the dish in the sink washing it as well. I grabbed my bag and lunch box and headed out the door.I began the journey as I called it to school as I walked . I made a few stops to greet homeless cats and dogs on my street. I arrived at school around 7:19 am, not late but not too early either. I saw kids piled in the hallway and I groaned “I hate this school.” 


  I tried to walk to my homeroom before the bell rang signaling it was time for first period but I was too late. The bell rang right before I made my way upstairs to my homeroom. I screamed on the inside while I walked up the stairs to my locker to get my notebooks and folders for the 8 hours of this prison. I got my things as I shoved my lunchbox in my locker, closing and locking it. I soon felt someone looking at me. I looked behind me and saw some people whisper and point at me. I looked around anxiously while thoughts ran through my head  “Everyone hates you Rosa, You'll never be seen as a man.”


    I tried to get that thought out of my head while I rushed downstairs to my first period. I arrived right before the tardy bell rang  I sat down opening my notebook up taking notes of what was on the board, as I did so i felt someone tap my shoulder I looked behind me seeing  Xeno I admired their appearance, their long bright green braids, how their rich black skin clashed with all of the neon colors they wore and how they did their makeup was amazing the bright colors went so well with their skin tone I smiled. 

“Hey sorry I didn't take the bus this time” they nodded in response. I focused on the board while I read what was written on it over and over again, at about 8:05 I started to get bored of the class soon deciding to try and sneak on my phone to text my sister Nicholes about the class but as i pulled my phone out the teacher just had to be standing beside me at that moment I heard her whisper in my ear softly “Put that phone away or do you want to read that text to the class?” 

    I looked at her soon putting my phone back in my pocket I looked at board as I read the text over and over again trying to figure out what to do since I had already finished the work, I soon just decided to draw in my notebook, while I drew I felt like someone was staring at me i looked around seeing no one looking in my direction. I whispered to myself “I always feel like there's someone watching me, I swear.” 

     I tried to reason with myself being paranoid since I had recently fully come out as a trans man to almost the whole school, since this was a kind of new school ever since I moved, I haven't received as much feedback as I would back in Spain. I quickly snapped out of my trance as the bell rang signaling it was time to go to second period as the teacher told the class “Remember tomorrow is the last day to turn in your project on whatever topic you choose to present on!” 

    I looked at her horrified as I now just remembered we needed to do that. I rushed out of the classroom catching up to some of my friends Mary and Samuel to be exact “Guys guys! Guess what!” They looked at me and sighed.

   “What?” They said they were kind of annoyed. 

  “This man is going to fail english!” I chuckled trying to joke about it. They looked at each other then me.

   “We’re all failing that class dude, literally Ms. Rose is so strict it's not even funny.” I looked at them.

    “yeah but like this is 80% of my grade so ummm mind helping me?” 

    I looked at them anxious as they nodded in agreement. I smiled widely “Oh thank you!” I hugged them as one of them grabbed on my wrist. I bit the inside of my check in pain soon telling her “Let go Mary.'' Mary looked at me confused. 

  “Ok?” she had let go. I rubbed my wrist “thanks..” I had tears in my eyes. They looked at each other until Samuel spoke up .


   “Hey dude are you ok?” I looked at him.

    “Yeah i'm fine! Just my cat scratched me there this morning.” I made up a dumb excuse to hide the fact i had been cutting myself for over half of the school year Samuel looked at me confused. 

    “You don't have a cat?” I panicked as I thought of what to say.


    “Oh! I meant the street cats!” Samuel and Mary looked at each other concerned.


    “Okay if you say so..” I walked with them to my second period as we just talked about random things like art, sports, ect as i made it to my class i felt someone pull on my shirt I turned to see a short male, he looked at me I glanced over his appearance his dirty blonde hair and pale skin made him look like a doll. 

  He looked at me up and down soon having the courage to say “You look dumb gay wad.” 

   I looked at him “Okay? Thanks for the input?” I looked at him confused, I thought to myself “I have never seen this man in my life what could he possibly want ''  

    He looked at me and he seemed mad. He soon shouted “It’s no input, it's a fact you freak!” I looked at him as I sighed I felt a bit hurt, as I walked away telling my teacher I was going to use the bathroom I ran to the bathroom I started to tear up replaying what the male had just said to me I ran into the bathroom locking the door while I cried under the sink, I thought to myself “Why does everyone hate me?”  I rolled up my sleeve as I began to scratch my arm until it started bleeding since there aren't any sharp objects allowed on school property, I continued until I heard a hard knock on the door. I quickly covered my arm back up, I shouted in a raspy voice “Who is it?” the person on the other end replied “It’s Mr. Hiroto, are you okay there? You've been gone for 15 minutes of my class.” 

    I sighed “I'm fine just finishing up!” I frantically started to clean the blood off of my fingernails before  I walked out. My eyes met Mr.Hiroto's as he looked at me “Mr. Arredondo, are you sure you are ok? Your eyes are awfully puffy.” I nodded “Yes, I am sure of it sir.” He nodded as it seemed like he didn't believe me, but he didn’t say anything else as I followed him back to his class. I sat down in my seat looking at the board as I  waited for Mr.Hiroto to begin the lesson, as he did I looked around the room listening to him go on about some math problems. His class flew by as it was pretty simple math, but right before the bell rang he pulled me aside. I thought to myself “Oh no why is this happening now…, maybe he found out about what I did in the bathroom, or worse..” He looked at me and said, “Valentino Arredondo, we need to talk.” I sighed “oh god this isn’t going to end well.”

I looked at Mr.Hiroto. I was sweating and shaking slightly while thoughts ran through my head like crazy, “Valentino Arredondo, tell me why haven't you turned in your project you are about to fail this class. If you do not turn it in you will not pass this class.” I sighed with relief “I am so sorry Mr. Hiroto I will turn it in as soon as possible. It is all done and complete.” 

    He nodded in agreement, I quickly ran off with my things heading to my art class I was still shaking slightly as the thought of Mr. Hiroto finding out what I did in the bathroom repeated in my mind the endless possibilities kept replaying such as him calling home and my father yelling at me telling me I was worthless and instead of doing this I should just get it over with. I teared up a bit as I entered the classroom, I sat next to Xeno who was already doing something with a bit of clay. I leaned on him. “Hey.” 

     I looked at what they were doing and soon looking at them, they gave a soft “Hi.” In response I smiled and held their hand under the table. I looked over at the board and saw a sheet of paper lying on the teacher's desk. I assumed we’d be finishing up the sketches we started last time. I yawned softly, as I grabbed my sketch book out from my bag and turned to the page of the sketch of my sister I had done for this class. I began to work on some details soon I let go of Xeno’s hand to draw they looked over and smiled back and began to work on the sketch as the teacher began to ramble on about what and what not to do when doing a sketch such as too much detail, I listened as I sketched out the face details such as her nose, eyes, and ears, I watched as Xeno sketched out their portrait of me, I smiled softly as I saw them doodle little hearts around it, I quickly looked away as they looked over at me they aren't really a verbal communicator more of a look and body language or even notes, I leaned on them as I watched them draw soon I had slipped them a note that read “Hey, wanna hang out after school?”  

   They looked at it for a minute and nodded in response. I smiled and for the rest of the class, I watched them draw as we slipped notes to each other every few minutes if the teacher hadn't looked at us. Once the bell rang for lunch we both headed upstairs to get our things for lunch then back down stairs to eat outside under a tree if it wasn't muddy nor raining, as we did so I felt some people look at us. I brushed it off as the invisible audience, but I looked around and saw people whisper and point at me I looked at Xeno sweating a bit as I felt like everyone had been judging me and him all at once, as we made our way outside to eat lunch the area and vibes felt off but I thought “Maybe i'm just paranoid? I don't know if this is just too much for me “ 

    I looked at Xeno who was on their phone. I gently tapped their shoulder as I whispered “Hey dude I’m going inside for a bit.” They looked at me and nodded. I got up as I headed towards the doorway. I was stopped by this girl, her hair was bright green and she had piercing’s almost everywhere on her face. She stared at me for what seemed like a good minute “I like your style!” she smiled as I didn’t know what to say. I stood silent for a moment. “Maybe she’s joking?” I thought as I had let out a nervous laugh “Oh um thanks?” She seemed confused at my response “Hey no need to be so nervous! I'm Moth!” 

    I smiled as I headed to go inside once again. “Nice to meet you Moth, I’m Valentino.” She smiled as I walked inside, I looked around for the male bathroom closest to me. I had soon spotted one but it was busy since it was lunch. I walked through the hallways while I tried to find a restroom that wasn’t as busy as the last. I had soon found one I rushed in as I ran to get into the last open stall to try and calm down. I sat there for what felt like hours as I tried to resist to claw at my arm like the street cats used to. I soon felt a bit better after a couple of minutes, but that didn't last for long after I returned back to lunch.

I peaked around the corner of the wall as I rushed back outside for lunch as I had been in the bathroom for over twenty minutes as I did so I was stopped by a group of about five to six people including the guy from earlier in the day.

  “Uh, excuse me?..” I looked around anxiously not wanting to say anything that might offend them, they all looked at me as I stepped back feeling surrounded by them.

  “Look it’s the tranny, think you're tough huh?” shouted one of the girls in the group as they all surrounded me like vultures, I looked at them shocked, I have never heard anyone call me that before. I was scared yet mad at them for thinking they can just do this to me.

  I spoke up “I’m sorry? What did you just say?” I had a hint of anger in my tone yet said it so quietly not to seem mad yet not too scared.


 The girl looked at me “I called you a tranny, can’t you hear?” she chuckled as she repeated herself once again, I scoffed softly as I turned the other way to go outside from the other exit, but they pulled me by the collar, as it knocked me to the ground.

  I looked at them as I got up. “Okay now that was just unnecessary-” I was cut off by a hard punch to the gut as I gagged. I soon fell to the ground  as I held my stomach as the snickered, I teared up, I looked up at them as one of them decided it would be a great idea to kick me in the stomach once they did. I vomited on the floor. They all looked at me surprised that i had vomited, i sat there looking down I had started to cry as I had felt stupid.

  I looked around as I saw everyone, they all laughed and snickered at the scene that had happened. I saw others whisper to one another as one of the girls in the group rushed to get a teacher I guess. I just sat there as I contemplated why I even showed up today.

 “Oh god, are you okay?” I looked behind me as I heard a low pitch gravelly voice, I looked at the tall male that had been standing behind me since now I examined his features. He had pale skin and curly ginger hair, his style was more punk, he had reached his hand out to help me up.

  “No, no I’m not okay.” I replied with a low softened voice, I grabbed his hand trying to get up in the state i was in, I stood up shaking all over as I felt like i had just vomited all of my organs out onto the floor. I looked down embarrassed as i didnt want others to see my cry because ‘men don't cry.’

  “Okay let's get you to the nurse okay?” The male had finally said something I looked at him as i nodded  as I followed  him to the nurse's office as i knew i’d be going home since I had vomited, as we arrived at the nurse's office i had to tell her what had happened so they could call home and explain to my dad why he had to come get me again from school for the third time this month.

  The nurse looked at me shocked about what had happened. “Oh dear, let's make sure you're okay first before we call home.” I nodded in agreement as I sat down on the cold metal counter like an examination table. I sat there waiting as she looked around for something to give me.

  “My god what is taking him so long..” I sat outside of the office as my father was signing me out talking to the people up front, as I scrolled through my messages with friends my dad had walked out.

 “Come on, let's go Rosa.” I sighed as I got up as I grabbed my things following my father out to the car. As I sat down I sat my phone down in the ashtray as my father started yelling at me “How could you vomit on the school floor!? THEN TELL THE WHOLE SCHOOL YOUR A GUY?” I teared up not as I could not stand him yelling.

  I mumbled “I told you dad I am a guy, and I couldn't help it..” I looked away as he continued to throw a tantrum about it.

  “God I wish you were never born..” He mumbled but it was audible enough for me to hear, I looked over at him, surprised he actually said that I tried to think about what to say.

  “And I wish you weren’t my dad.” I said back to him, as I smiled softly as I looked out the window as I waited to see our house so I wouldn’t have to continue to listen to his little man tantrum for much longer, as we pulled into driveway I tried to get out oh but of course he locked the door so i couldn’t get out.

  “Rosa, we need to talk about your attitude and behavior recently..” I looked at him confused trying to find out what he was talking about.

  “Uhm, what?” I responded in a soft tone as I looked at him with a confused expression “What behavior and what attitude?” I unlocked the car door and got out “The only problem I have is you in my life and school.” I slammed the door walking inside as I sat my things down at the front door.


  “Rosa! That is no way to speak to your father!” I heard him shout behind me as I headed upstairs to my room. I groaned, annoyed with him and how he’s been acting like this since I came out as trans even though it's been like two whole years since that. 

  “Then how am I supposed to talk to you since you dead name and belittle me every single day, you're not my father and never was. You ruined it.” I slammed my bedroom door as I sat on my bed, I looked at the pictures on my wall. I remembered how it used to be before everything happened. 

I looked through the pictures I had all over my walls. I saw pictures of me as a child, some from when I first started school back in Spain I smiled, “Oh those were good times.” I started to tear up but before I started to cry I heard a loud banging on my door.

  “It’s your favorite sister, let me in Val!” I heard Nica shout on the other side of the door but she had started to meow??

  “Why are you meowing dude-” I chuckled while she continued I guessed so I’d let her in my room “Nica you’re not getting into my room by meowing by the way.” 

 She huffed and started to try and open the door yelling “Valentino I am your favorite sister so let me in your room right now!” She started to whine and meow more and more until I finally opened the door for her.

  I looked at her while I tore up an old picture of myself. She sat down beside me, “So what do you want to talk about?” I looked at her confused but she just looked at me with a concerned look on her face. 


  “Val, I want to know are you really okay? Like are you actually mentally okay?” She held my hands as she looked me straight in the eyes.

“Um, yeah yeah I'm fine!” I blatantly lied to her face but I guess she knew I did as she let out a long hard sigh.

“Valentino Arredondo, I am your sister do not lie to me I can tell when you are, please just be honest with me.” She looked at me as it seemed like she was about to cry. I sighed as I shook while I tried to find out what to say.

  I took a deep breath “Nica, I actually do have something to tell you..” I started to tear up. “I’m not actually okay, I’ve been doing things to myself to try and get those thoughts of killing myself out of my head but it only fuels them more.” I had started to cry mid sentence.


She looked at me “Oh, Val… I am so sorry you have to go through this, I’m here for you, so what's wrong?” 

  I looked at her “Nica be honest, do I really seem like a man to you? Every time I look in that mirror all I see is a girl that wants to be something she’s not..” 

 “Valentino, you did not just say that you are the strongest man I've ever met in my life! For one you are a man and for two you don't need to be thinking like that!” She patted my back soon she pulled me in for a hug “Val you are man to me, to mom, and to your boyfriend-”

  I pushed her away “Nica! He is not my boyfriend for the last time me and Xeno are just really really close friends!” I covered my face while I wiped my tears away, I was a bit flustered at my sister's comment.


 “I'm joking bro calm down, but besides that you are man hermanito.” She smiled as she got up off my bed 

 I looked at her “Well it wasn’t funny you dumb dumb now get out of my room before I tell mom you didnt go to school today with Nicholes” I smiled at her last comment before she left which was “Recuerda que eres un hombre Valentino” 

  ‘I guess I do have something to live for now huh?’ written at 4:17 pm, I looked at my phone later in the night seeing that from February, oh how I wish I thought that now.

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