I entered the room, stripped down, and began putting on hockey equipment—jock strap, shin guards, wool leggings, roller blades, and helmet. Once dressed, I skated to the corner of the room and knelt before an altar I had built, centering on a large framed photograph of myself as a child playing ice hockey. Surrounding the photograph were candles, plastic hockey trophies, a bottle of personal lubricant, a bottle of silver glitter, a bottle of black glitter, and a glass bowl filled with yogurt. I lit the candles and poured a few drops of lubricant over the heads of each trophy before giving them each a quick hand job. I then gave the yogurt a shake of glitter and fed the photograph a spoonful.
I stood up and began to skate figure eights, the audience observing this ritual from the periphery of the room. A recording of my voice, along with long drone sounds, played over the PA system. In the recording, my voice spoke anecdotally, sharing memories, reflections, images—my relationship to my body and anorexia, self harm, the first time I masturbated and ejaculated using pornography, reimagining a queer childhood intimacy, being regularly and repeatedly hit in the testicles in the locker room, an exchange I had with my father about my sexual identity. The anecdotes flowed into one another until, periodically, they all overlapped into inner chaos. All the while, I continued to skate figure eights, periodically returning to the altar. Each time I returned, the feeding became more sloppy and violent. This obsessive ritual continued. For an hour, I sweated and heaved. The room became my body and my mind. It was as if the audience were witnessing something they were not supposed to be seeing.
I seek comfort from the movement quality of skating that my body has retained over the years in an effort to understand, empathize, heal, and integrate a past and current self. By presenting my inner dialogue and healing rituals, I am performing my struggle with and ways of moving beyond the violent limitations of toxic masculinity. This is my narrative, but it is not rare.