Monday, August 20, 2018

Am I Still The Victim by M.C. Questgend (#transgender #biography #abuse)

Is it possible to walk up to someone you care about and explain to them that you combat stress by dressing up in women’s clothes and the reason you are not having sex is that you can’t find that comfort zone you need to feel aroused?
Every reader focuses on a passage that hits close to home, or which puts into words what they are feeling. It is what connects us to a story, what give it relevance to our own lives. While that passage comes late in M.C. Questgend's story, and is not necessarily the core question of Am I Still The Victim, it is where I found that common bond that drove home the significance of events I can only imagine.

As you may have guessed from the title, and most certainly will have gleaned from the cover blurb, abuse is at the heart of the story . . . but it does not define it, and I think that's what struck me the most. M.C. endured things most people could not even imagine, with a family (and friends) so dysfunctional that it sickens me to believe they are real, and not the product of some twisted fantasy, but hers is a story of taking those experiences and making something of them (and herself). There are thoughts of suicide, issues of depression, scenes of therapy, and instances of repressed anger - all things that readers will understand, and even expect, but she rises above it all.

Every reader will come at the story in their own way, and take something different away from it but, for me, Am I Still The Victim is a story of self-analysis and self-discovery . . . of coping, acceptance, and transformation. Did any of that come easy? No, and it would ring false if she tried to claim it did. You have to admire her her for having the strength to live through such experiences, and for having the courage to share them to so that others can know that they are not alone. I am proud to have had the good fortune to call M.C. a friend, and reading her story only strengthens that feeling.

Readers who are coming to this as fans of M.C.'s fiction may find themselves in a bit of a dilemma. There are elements there, especially in the forced feminization and forced bisexuality, that will leave some readers confused or conflicted. She describes acts that *could* be erotic, and *could* be part of a fictional fantasy, if only the ages were appropriate. Readers may be excited by the act, but horrified by the actors . . . envious of the experience, but crushed by how and why it was experienced it. Such is the nature of literature, where it is so easy to imagine envision yourself in a story, as opposed to a movie or TV show, where you cannot escape the visual evidence of abuse. As a result, there will be some readers who will criticize M.C. for sharing too much detail on the abuse, but I think there will be even more who will silently thank her for reminding them they are not alone. Personally, I think she struck the perfect balance.

Ultimately, what makes Am I Still The Victim so compelling, and so heartbreaking, is how well she demonstrates the confusion and uncertainty of those early years, the doubts and the fears about her gender and her sexuality, and the guilt of finding solace in something that started as abuse. It is the glimmers of hope that define the story for me, the fact that she was able, even then, to find ways to isolate aspects of the experience and cling to whatever it was that allowed her to cope (healthy or otherwise). I think she did a fantastic job of showing all the connections throughout her teenage and adult years, drawing in the experiences of friends (Julie's story is as important for its parallels and its diversions), and I appreciated how she provided some adult closure to her closest friend's story - revisiting the issue of such dark secret from the perspective of another abused child is hauntingly powerful.

As we follow her through the years, we see that she has taken that power away from both her friend's family and her own parents. She acknowledges what they did to a vulnerable youth, and explores how (and, more importantly, why) they contributed to shaping her psychological/emotional state, but her story does not stop at victim. She turned horrible negatives into something positive, salvaged the tiny little good parts of an atrocious experience, and found a path to peace, comfort, and understanding that does not require hard drugs, alcoholism, prostitution, self-harm, or any of the other things we have become so accustomed to in stories of abuse.

If you were to ask me whether M.C. is still the victim, my answer would be a resounding (and emphatic) negative.

Born in 1971, M.C. Questgend traveled the country with his parents as a military brat. Settling in Texas where he was first introduced to alternative lifestyles, he was able to finish high school and continue his new "hobby" in college. After college, he and "she" returned to start a family, but the strain of his "secret" was too much for his now ex-wife. Married a second time was not the answer, so M.C. has transferred the stress to the pen and keyboard. Writing erotic stories - some loosely based on his and "her" life as well as stories involving aspects of the LGBT community, a community and lifestyle he has come to privately embrace. M.C. Questgend is a pen name used to protect his privacy and anonymity. The intent was to write stories that entertain, inspire and motivate - which are as much sensual and heartwarming as they are sexual and explicit.


1 comment:

  1. I knew it... I just knew you would have me in tears again. Thank you for everything and being a great friend and inspiration.