Hey. How you doing?

This is where I sit, right?

Yeah, thanks... Glad to be here. You mind if I smoke? Thanks.

Hooo, boy... So, you wanna know about me, right? This documentary thing... You want to know what it's like... bein' me?

Alright. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Hi. My name is Garland, but you can call me Gar for short. I'm a Gardevoir, and yes, I'm a male. A man. A guy. So, you all want to know about me, and how it is to be so friggin' girly lookin' and be a friggin' dude. Alright, lemme start from the beginning.

I was born to mixed family. Mom was a Gardevoir, and Pops was a Wobbuffet - yeah, weird, I know. Well, they got married in summer, y'know, June wedding, lovely little get together at the church, big white cake with the little figurines at the top, y'know, the whole deal. I got to see the pictures. My Pop's folks were really happy with the whole thing, but I don't think Mom's were. They cut her off from the family, for marrying someone "below" her.

Jerks...

Ah, sorry. Ahem... Well, I was born in late autumn. My parents were a bit surprised that I was a boy. But, you know what, they were real happy with it. They named me, and took me home, and they sent me to preschool. You know, being a Ralts wasn't bad at all. Yeah, I was a little cutesy for a boy, but you know what? Flippin' Pichu, man. Look at 'em.

So, like I said, being a Ralts wasn't that bad. I didn't have to deal with anything really horrible as a kid, just the usual stuff. You know, not wanting to share, the occasional bully, the usual. Family life was pretty good too. I got a little sister when I was two, named Lily. My parents weren't really rich, and sometimes the money was tight, but life was pretty okay. We were kinda poor, but not broke. We were a family, and we were happy. We did all the usual family stuff, we had a game night where we ordered pizza, we went on outings to play baseball in the park, all that stuff. But, then I turned ten, and it all changed.

When I was ten, I evolved into a Kirlia

It just happened one day. I didn't really mean for it to happen. I was just walkin' around the neighborhood, when poof, you're a Kirlia now. I was just... wow. I couldn't believe it. I looked like a freakin' girl. I knew it, my parents knew it, and boy, did the kids at school ever know it. They didn't let me forget it, either. I went from being this okay guy in school, not really popular but not really disliked, to the absolute bottom of the frickin' food chain. I did everything I could think of to change - I cut my hair, but it always grew back looking as girly as before, I tried to deepen my voice, but that failed, and it gave a sore throat, and I even tried wearing a shirt that said that I was a boy. None of it worked, and I hated it. It was torture. The girls made fun of me, the boys made fun of me - I... I hated it! I mean...

Whooh... Alright, gimme a minute to cool down...

Alright, alright, I'm good.

So, yeah, I hated school. Pretty much everyone was against me. I didn't think I'd make it through fourth grade, but it turns out, I didn't have to. I got into a fight one day. These guys, I don't remember their names, and I don't give a hoot, were pickin' on me, and I got ticked, naturally. So, I punched on of them, they punched me, and, well, there were three of them, and one of me, so I got the pulp beaten out of me. So, I got by butt kicked. It was in the papers, for Pete's sake. Those brats got themselves expelled or something, and my Mom took me out of that school, and I spent the rest of my young life home-schooled, along with my sister. So, my mom quit her job as a waitress at some cafe and decided to teach Lily and me at home.

Home-schooling can be awesome - it depends on the teacher. My mom was a good mom - she cared about her kids more than some job or social standing as a working woman. She needed her kids educated, and she did it herself. I owe pretty much everything to her, so, uh, thanks, mom. I love you, and thanks for raising me.

Anyways, so I was homeschooled, but it didn't really raise my social standing. Even around the neighborhood there were those kids who liked to have a cheap laugh at my expense. So, yeah, I grew up with the usual junk people like me have to deal with: people screw with us for lookin' like the opposite gender.

Jerks.

Ahem, right. Okay, so, like I said, growing up was really hard for me. It's kinda hard being a Kirlia, y'know. But, it wasn't so bad at home. I mean, yeah there was no homecoming or prom, but really, why would I go to those at school? Who would go out with me?

So, one day it happened again. I was finished high-school, I was studying to go to college, while mom was teaching Lily high-school. One day, I was exercising in my room, just lifting some weights, when I evolved again. I couldn't stop myself... it just, kinda, happened. So, I was a Gardevoir, and boy did it suck.

Eh? What's that? Why didn't I just buy a Dawn Stone?

Were you paying attention at all?! Didn't I say my family wasn't rich, in fact we were kind of poor! My Pops worked as a frickin' punching bag! No, really! He was a Wobbuffet! He went to the gym every weekday, sat there, and let some macho fighting type beat him for a livin'! That was his job! He got paid ten bucks an hour plus extra for any black eyes. I got to see Pops get home every day, covered in blood and bruises, and he'd sit down on the couch and ask Mom to go and get some frozen veggies that he could put on his face to ease the pain. I mean, I remember some kid at school, a Tyrogue, I don't remember his name, was talkin' about how his dad was a boxer, and how hard it was for him to see his dad come home all bruised, and, yeah, I get that, but at least his dad got to actually freakin' hit back! My Pop, he stood there and took it - to feed my family! Oh, and here you are askin' about why I didn't buy a freakin' Dawn Stone?!

...Sorry, right. Sorry. Didn't mean to blow up on you. You can edit out the rage part if you want. Whew... Oh, yeah. Thanks Pops. I really appreciate you getting beaten to make a living for us. I love ya.

Okay, right, I was a Gardevoir. Now, bein' a Gardevoir is where everything really went downhill. You see, that meant I was a young adult at the time, and that I was also, well, legal, if you catch my drift. So, yeah, I got harassed. I'd be workin' at my part-time job at the local fast food place, when some jerk from the football team would ask me out, and I had to speak - in my very, very male voice - and tell him that I wasn't interested. Well, you can imagine how that went. Sometimes when I was just frickin' walkin' down the street on my way home, some jerk would pinch me! I'm not even jokin'! He'd frickin' pinch me. So, I took some self-defense classes, and if someone touched me, I'd touch them back, and I'd touch those jerks harder.

Ough... I need a drink.

Right, back to your film... So, yeah. That's why I'm a Gardevoir. My parents couldn't afford a Dawn Stone, and my evolution was just unexpected. But, you know, it's not that bad. I mean, Gallade kinda looks girly too, right? Yeah, it does.

It's... hard, yeah. But, I had my family supporting me, so it wasn't so bad.

So, any questions?

Where's my family now? Alright, let's see, Pop and Mom still live in our hometown. Dad's retired from being a punching bag - he was gettin' a bit too old for it, and the gym didn't want to see him get hurt anymore. He's started workin' at a local hobby shop with one of his buddies. Mom's into dancing... No, not that kind of dancing! Get your frickin' mind out of the gutter! She's teaching ballet and ballroom at a local dance academy!

Right, right, it's okay. I know you didn't mean it.

Uh, Lily, my sister, she evolved into a Gardevoir too, and she's currently in college. We all get together for Christmas and New Year at my place. We're kinda apart yeah, but we talk a lot on the phone, and we always find some time to visit. I love them, and they love me back, so we're still a family.

What do I do for a living? I work at a department store. I work in the sales department, but I also sometimes help with stocking, you know, grabbing heavy boxes, lifting them, putting them where they need to go, that sort of thing. The pay is pretty good, and the work place is alright. Sometimes there's that jerk who thinks it's funny that I look and sound the way I do, but I've learned to live with it.

Listen... there are jerks out there. There are probably more jerks than there are nice guys. You gotta learn to live with it.

Alright, any more questions?

What's my life like now? Alright, I wake up at about five, I shower, I eat some eggs for breakfast, and at eight I go to work. I spend my lunch break with a few friends of mine, and at five I go home. I call Mom and Pops and ask how their day went, and then I call Lily and ask her the same thing. Then I make my dinner, or I order take out if I need groceries, and then I watch whatever's on TV until I head to bed. On Saturdays and Sundays I usually have the day off. On Saturday I do my grocery shopping, usually dinners that are easy to make. I'm not a very good cook. I usually spend the rest of the day hanging out with my friends. On Sundays, I go to church, and usually just spend the day doing whatever - if a friend of mine wants to go out for drinks, I'll go, I guess. Usually I have nothing better to do.

Alright, uh, next question.

Do I get stereotyped often? Yeah, I do. First off, you know, I look like a frickin' girl, you know about that part, so sometimes people think I'm a woman without really askin' me. But that's not all. I'm a Gardevoir, you know. I'm a real classy lookin' Pokemon. My mom was a real classy woman too, she's polite, humble, all that great stuff. However, I took after my Pop... So, I don't really act like you'd expect a Gardevoir to act. I mean, you're hearin' me speak right now, right? You're hearing my regular voice - this is how I talk every day. There are other stereotypes too, though - Gardevoir all are graceful dancers, Gardevoir all have well payin' jobs, and Gardevoir don't smoke... well, you can see that one is pretty fake right now, can't you?

*Poof*

Yeah, sometimes I get stereotyped, but I'm learnin' to live with it.

Alright, what's next?

You want to know about my friends? Well, alright. First off is Fungi, he's a Parasect. He's a young guy, kinda shy but not bad company. He's quick with a joke, and quick to give you a hand if you're in trouble. Not a bad guy, you'd like him.

Uh, next is Strings. He's an Ariados I know. He doesn't work at the super-market, he works at some coffee place, playing a guitar for his paycheck. He's a nice guy, but a little gloomy sometimes - likes to keep to himself mostly, but he always says hi when you say hi to him. He's goin' back to church now, so I think there's hope. He's a pretty good guy.

Next is Grunge, he's a Grimer. He works in stocking, but just the unloading part. He doesn't smell really great, and he leaves a trail of slime sometimes, which can be a real nightmare for the janitor. Despite the way he smells, he a really good guy. He's good with kids, charitable with his money... He can be a little clueless, but he's that likable kind of clueless. I think he has a thing for my sister - he met her when my family came down for Christmas, and he's always askin' about her... Wait a minute, you'd better edit that part out! He'd kill me.

Thanks, thanks. Alright, anyway, I usually meet my friends at their workplace. I work with Grunge and Fungi almost every day, and I see Strings whenever I go to the coffee house, always strummin' away up there. We all meet at my place on Saturday for poker night. I supply the house, they supply the snacks. It's real fun. You should join in some time.

Anything else?

Do I have a girlfriend? Why, you interested?

Nah, nah, don't worry, I'm kiddin'. Uh, edit that part out.

Well, no, I don't, and I never did. I mean, there were some pretty girls at school, some pretty girls at college, and some really pretty girls who work at the department store today. I've just never been able to ask any of them. I mean, would you date someone who looks more feminine than you?

Alright, look, it's about six, and I gotta get home soon. One more question, 'kay?

...If I could go back in time and change my species and prevent any of the bullying or sexual harassment from happening to me, would I do it?

...

You know what... If you asked me that a few years ago, I'd would have said yes. I hate people treating me like I'm some sort of gender confused homo freako. I hate people mistaking me for a woman and flirting with me. I hate spending time with people like that. But you know what? If I wasn't the way I was, I might be someone like that. Being a misfit has taught me somethin': respect everyone, even if they're different from you. I learned to respect other people if I want them to respect me just by bein' born a boy. And you know what else? I've got a family and friends who love and care about me, and all the jerks and harrasers, and stereotypers or whatever you call 'em can all go to hell for all I care. So you know what? I'm glad I'm the way I am. This is me, this is who I am, and I'm proud of that.

...Well, it looks like that's all the time I have for today. Sorry, I gotta get home... Eh? Oh, no, thank you. This was nice enough. I really got to take a load of my chest.


CLICK!

The camera switched off. Garland stood up, making sure his now diminished cigarette was completely extinguished before he tossed it in the trash.

"Thanks a lot," the camera woman said. "This will really help me out with my film for the cinematography class!"

"Yeah, glad to help," said Garland, checking his watch. "Gotta get goin' know. Hope you make that grade."

"I do too," said the girl. "Thanks!"

Garland closed the door to the room behind him, leaving the girl alone. The girl smiled as she put away her camera, and made her way to the door as well.

A cheery sounding ring tone from her cell phone erupted in the air. The girl grabbed the cell and opened it. "Yeah?"

"Where are you?" demanded a voice. It was her closest friend, a Bellosom named Daisy. "The party started without you!"

"I know, I know!" the girl said with a sigh. "I just got carried away... The stories Mr. Garland told were so inspiring, so amazing... He really understood what I was going through."

"Well, that's all fine and dandy, but you gotta hurry up! I see that Hitmonlee you're always eying, and he's not dancing with anyone yet! Hurry up!" Daisy ordered.

"Aright, I will. Seeya there!"

Hanging up her phone and shouldering her camera bag, the female Machoke made her way to her dorm. In just a few days, she would show her movie, about someone who had been mistreated for being different, and had made the very best of it.

A story brought to you by a woman who looked like a man, and a man who looked like a woman.


The End.