I’ve always loved the idea of creating space — whether via collaborative projects you can hold in your hands, or through written words in story form, or by carving out a digital alley then bombarding the internet with photos of people who are doing rad things. For INTO‘s Bedroom Series, I’ll focus on one trans guy per post who will invite me into the most private of created spaces: the bedroom.
We’ll lay around, stare at the ceiling and I’ll ask questions and maybe they’ll even answer. Either way, I’ll get some photos out of it, and you’ll get to meet someone new.
I first met Eli at a screening of the series I Love Dick. Since then, we’ve crossed paths at work events and hangouts. My favorite thing about Eli is he calls me Muffin, which in turn makes me want to call people Muffin. I checked out his bedroom in Historic Filipinotown. Things got deep.
The human: Eli
The bedroom: Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles
The current Job: Whole Foods cashier
The passion project: My life? Just kidding, but actually my never-ending collection of trash stories, and also my life.
Your bedroom gets so much light! How early are you forced to wake up? I used to live on a ranch out in West Texas, and when you’re in the middle of nowhere everything is to the extreme. When there’s no moon at night it’s pitch black, when the skies are clear you can see so many stars. And at any given time you see ground-to-ground sky views, which means when the sun comes up it feels like it comes up everywhere. Anyway, all this is to say as a teenager I got into the habit of waking with the sun, and now that I’m in L.A. with a much smaller view of the sky it’s nice that the sun comes in bright and early, and I still get up with it! So I don’t know, what time is sunrise? I wake up around 6:30 or 7:00.
How long have you lived here? I’m lucky enough to have lived here for two years so far!
Describe your personal bedroom decor in 3 words. Soft but loud.
Does your bedroom have a secret? It ain’t as sweet and innocent as it looks!
Favorite aspect of this bedroom? I guess my favorite aspect would be the light wood floors! Very grateful that the floor is not like, linoleum or carpet. Light wood floors, perfect for sitting on or sleeping on, or kneeling on, wink wink.
Least favorite aspect? My room only has one window! The other two rooms in the house have two windows.
Dig deep into your bedroom’s personality. Does it have a favorite book? My bedroom’s favorite book would have to be Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves. It’s a YA novel about a teenager, Hanna — she has lots of hallucinations and is an “outcast.” High femme with lots of frilly violet dresses, she runs away to search for her mother in a town in Texas and turns out the town is, well, not normal. I guess I think of my bedroom that way? Cute like Hanna, appears normal like the town, but altogether some weird shit is happening in there!
Wait, what kind of weird shit happens in your room? The weird shit going on in my room feels a lot like Bleeding Violet because since the main character had been going through such weird hallucinations it’s not always clear to the readers what’s real and what’s not. Now a lot of, um, intense consensual things happen in my room! That’s definitely real. But one time I may have accidentally invited a sex demon into my room?! Or something else! This was a long time ago but it also took a few months to really clean out whatever weird vibes were going on. Oops!
You’re laughing a lot in these photos. What’s so funny? All the smiles come from two things: One, I very much think of myself as an observer. I love to watch people! And two, because of how absolutely uncomfortable I was in my body before coming out as trans. I never really looked at myself. This is something I still haven’t quite learned how to do. If I catch my reflection or hear my voice on something I am always like, “Wait, is that me?”
What are you proud to have accomplished in your room? The simple act of putting up a real bookshelf in my room. Previously I had books in boxes and just in piles around the place!
What makes your bedroom feel like home? The amount of light makes my bedroom feel like home and things that my emotional soulmates have given me. Horseshoes from Texas, painted flowers, artwork from friends, little lights that project stars onto the ceiling, my round gold tray that lets me eat snacks and drink things on my bed without fear of any of it spilling over. The eight pillows on my bed! The entire box of glitter on my shelf feels like home. Being able to have things freely out — like I have two floggers hanging on the back of my door, instead of having everything hidden away. Really, I could go on and on!
Follow Eli on Instagram: @eleileen.