My alarm shocks me awake with fire in my chest, the echoes of a dream filled with anger lingering upon my eyelashes. I swipe a finger against my phone, sweeping the alarm away, and stare up at my ceiling with sleep-blurry vision.
Pressing the palms of my hands against my eyes, I remember the words Paiden spoke to me in my dream, stolen from my real life: “The humans aren’t going to accept you anymore.” At the time, I let the jab roll off of me. In my dream I was furious, lit ablaze by my anger at her and the presumption that everything I do is to become more human.
(But it is, isn’t it?)
Whether my anger is real, or just the remnants of my dream doesn’t matter. My phone’s already in my hands and I’m halfway through typing out a naive, pissed-off rebuttal message to Paiden when it vibrates, Unknown Caller flashing up in front of my words.
Unknown? It can only be Sam. For one, two heartbeats, I consider tossing my phone across my room and leaving Sam to my voicemail. I could switch numbers, change my bus route, spend the rest of my life avoiding her so I don’t have to think about any of this ever again.
Lissa. The original name of my body. A name I was never meant to know. They don’t tell us our body’s origins the majority of the time—there’s a fear we’ll try to interfere with lives that don’t belong to us, that we’ll want too get too human. Once the bodies are donated, they cease to exist as what they once were.
Talking to the angry girl is already more than I should be doing; both of us know we’re making a mistake in engaging. But it’s too late now, isn’t it? She knows who I am, and I know her connection to my body. The chasm has already been crossed.
Humans are easy to read, and Lauren is an open book. She stares at me when I argue that “Something is wrong”, with that summer-storm smile, silent, warm, and threateningly unaware of the way my cheeks burn in response. I want to scream, to pick up the crystalline jug dripping with condensation and hurl it at her face—dripping with condescension. The hot burst of rage is new and alien to me, like discovering a different type of pain—a shattered wrist when no bone has been broken before. I instantly hate her. When that fails, I hate myself instead.
So I stand and smile and she waves me out of her office with a solid, “You’re doing so well!” that doesn’t invite argument, and it’s all I can do to hold my brittle self together until the bathroom door lock clicks beneath my trembling hands. I sink to the floor, hot tears spilling over onto fists pressed against my thighs. Today I am forced to face the reality I have been working so hard to ignore, what would be good news for any transfer other than this, any new body except my own:
BoJack Horseman is a weird show. It treads a fine line between dark humour, satire, depression, and, though not ever-present, hope. It’s ridiculous, and, at the same time, totally and inexplicably human. That a show starring an anthropomorphic horse-man could so deftly capture human struggles could say a lot of things, but perhaps the distancing from the real world is what helps the show swerve so quickly from inane to heartfelt.
So it shouldn’t have been any surprise that BoJack would be one of the first shows to introduce one of its lead characters as asexual—though still unlabelled, and perhaps not ace, but something very close. In hindsight, it’s no surprise that BoJack would do it; at the time, however, it was jaw-dropping. Not just because of the fact it happened, but because of how it was treated.