choosing to forget

Yesterday I wrote a lot.  I erased it.  I wrote again, erased again.  Erased, erased.  I deleted the whole file eventually…  made some checklists.  Walked to the store for some groceries; I think pop tarts look good on me.

I walked and chose to forget, almost everything, except some things I enjoy.  Convinced myself that seriousness is for losers.  I wish I could depend on this feeling.

Because I woke up this morning with tears in my eyes.  I hate that.

So I showered and cleaned myself and chose to forget, again.  Apparently it’s an iterative thing.

 

I wish I could have slept, but it seems worthwhile in my crisp shirt and comfy thrift store skirt.

 

Also, the hardware on my face draws my attention away from my facial hair, because I’m the only one who cares about my facial hair.

I told the piercer I’ve had worse.

 

the apparent struggle

I’m beginning to organize the immediate past in my mind – it becomes apparent that my remaining friends and family would do anything for me and that I’ve essentially achieved my life’s goal.  Things should feel simpler, lighter.  They should.  I’m still lonely and broke, but this seems temporary and relatively insignificant.

I recap events every so often, ‘you underwent a medical gender transition, you’re a woman of effectively indeterminate age, you’re starting over.’

‘you need to finish your degree’

‘these people will catch you if you fall, if you really truly need them’

And so it goes.  There’s a lot of waiting, of the sit-and-wait variety.  I need to chill, because I’ve discovered that I have much less emotional self-control than I’d like, and that these emotions are highly transparent.  It seems to go a long way toward winning people over, since I guess I’m a nice person and all, but I’m uniquely incapable of dating.

 

When I look in the mirror, I think that I am very beautiful and very ugly, sometimes simultaneously.  I think others feel the same, and it’s mysterious.  Just going out is like visiting a world in the distant future or distant past, where my features are unusual.  Extreme height, wild hair, thin, wearing 21st century makeup and business casual like I’ve lived at a university all of my life.  I feel confident and out of place.

 

I grapple with my hormones and with my place in the world.  I see other women and I can’t match their affect, I move too quickly, storming around like I’m going to kick someone’s ass.  I don’t know what to do with myself.

My body writes checks my mind can’t cash; tells me to think of children, and birth.  Fifteen pounds of fat form a layer across my body from the tops of my eyebrows to the tips of my fingers to the circumference of my ankles, a conspicuous stockpile of energy seemingly intended to maintain fertility through a significant famine.  Except I will never be fertile, I accept that.  My body doesn’t accept it.

 

And I realize that I struggle for my soul, struggle for the things I cared about; people, science…

The process of petitioning for my vagina was a Kafka-esque nightmare, chased with the reality that only a handful of people give a shit whether I live or die.  Now I need to figure out what I, myself care about; which in itself is important to me.

 

honestly,

I’m at a loss.  What I’ve experienced was so harrowing, so stressful and painful and seemingly impossible.  And now it’s quiet, I’m passing.  I’m this tense, awkward, doofy-looking woman whose clothing is ill-fitting and spectacularly out of season…  but I’m not perceived as transgender.  I look like what I’ve been through.

No one expects much of me, except that I make eye contact with them.  It’s an interesting expectation, like I need to be scrutable at all times, present, and at whosoever’s disposal.  It’s subtle, subtle, subtle, and it took me weeks to notice, but it’s like I’m under this warm spotlight.

 

I don’t know what I was thinking, this being a woman and all.  It’s just something I had to do, and now it happened.  Now I have to deal with it.  But it’s wonderful and beautiful, and so, so real.  The world is just so real, and almost mine.  I can’t understand it.

 

awake

I’m exhausted.  I’m bolt-awake.  I’m watching the world go by – fast.  I can’t shake the feeling that I’m wearing a disguise, that I’m not ready for this.

It would be impossible to become ready for this – to transition into femininity and start over with everyone.  I’m introducing myself to people I’ve known.  It’s just a thing.

“Hi Mom, hi Dad.  What’s new?”

I need to stop asking that question.

 

I can’t wrap my head around it, but I’m really, really afraid.  I’m petrified, and I’ve never known anything so unavoidably true.

I feel alone.

People support me but they don’t get what I’m going through.  The subject of a ‘transgender transition’ is foreign to everyone.  And speaking to transgender people about it is like screaming bloody murder into a swarm of bats.

I don’t know how else to describe that.

 

Meanwhile, life flashes by.  Doctors come and go, friends, allies; almost like it doesn’t matter.

Because I feel better and I trust myself.  I trust there’s a way out of this ridiculous situation.

 

the hazard of passing

I’ve never really lived for today.  Every day was a dissociative fugue, a hope for something better, because how could it not be better?  But now I’m present, which is obviously exhilarating and all, but it’s unexpected and unexpected things have been happening.

 

It’s as if I took a cloud of gender dysphoria and condensed it down and made it a physical thing, which can be avoided and assumedly dealt with.

In the meantime, I shower in near darkness and dress with my back to the mirror.

 

When I slam my fist into my bathroom vanity armoire cubby, it doesn’t budge.

I’m physically weaker.

I’m reminded that this is a big deal and it’s absurd to focus on physical, superficial details.

I’m reminded to give it time.

 

my charmed lonely secret life

It’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m dancing in the kitchen with the shades drawn – getting down to funk music only I can hear.

I have a new haircut.  It’s beautiful.  It’s just what I asked for.

‘It should move.’

My stylist is a genius.

 

It’s girl hair.  It’s bad.  I wear it back most of the time when I leave the house.

Because people have a way of making you aware of gender boundaries, their boundaries.  It’s bad when people you’ve worked with for five years make a conscious effort not to stare.

I remember when I used to get compliments on a new haircut.

 

I remember when people knew who I was.

An old friend called out of the blue.  We were catching up.  I told him that I’m transgender and that I don’t have any good options, but that’s okay.  I told him as if I moved into a new apartment or something.  Awkward silences.  No one had ever shared anything like that with him before.  Why did I tell him?  Do I need a reason?  Didn’t I know this before?  No.

 

I thought I knew who I was.

I don’t think I could’ve handled any of this like five years ago.  If I met myself back then, I don’t know what I’d say.

 

I always wanted to write.

Be careful what you wish for.

 

red dress

Leia asked me to try on her ballroom dress the other day.  I’m sure it’s expensive, it feels expensive, and I kind of dive into it.

“Don’t stretch it!”

After figuring out how to maneuver the lining and where to put my arms, I heard myself ask her to zip up the side.  And we kind of stood there in front of the mirror.  Actually, we definitely stood there.

Me:  “Interesting.”

Leia:  “That’s amazing…”

I realized then, in that moment, in a red dress, that I could totally pass.

 

Shit.

 

Days ensued, joy and panic interspersed between hours and minutes.  Fear and longing and the stark, stark realization of how much this is going to hurt.

Then I seem to have wrestled this rushing sense of inevitability to the ground.  I can’t do this.

But the dress fit perfectly.  It was beautiful, I was beautiful, and now?  Now I’m completely lost in this undefined social space.  I know I’m a woman, but what does that mean?  I ask myself, “Can I pull this off?”  And I do, I have to, it just is.

 

reflections pt. 2

I flare out my hair and strike a pose in the mirror, “maybe I’m just a really ugly girl.”  This makes me laugh.  And it feels like I take myself way too seriously.

 

Who’s to say what gender I should have been or if I would have been happier in one life or another?  No one should have to answer these questions.  No one should have to choose the gender they have to be, the gender they are, it’s wrong.  It should just be, without drama, without fear.

And that’s how I feel.  There’s not much there.  After I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself, after I’ve stopped laughing and crying and asking why.

 

The next person I meet, I’ll say ‘hi.’  And leave it at that.

 

too tall

Being trans, but not very outwardly trans, is strange to me.  I don’t feel like I can share the first thing about me, my gender, because people don’t understand and it becomes irrelevant.  This is my experience sharing with others who are not very close or BFF.  They say, “that’s interesting” or, “that’s great” or something awkward, and nothing changes.  They still relate to me as a man.  I could walk into my workplace every single day and say, “hello everyone, please remember that I’m a woman.”  And I won’t be heard, only seen for what I apparently am, a man.

 

I paint my nails once or twice a week.  I paint them with a semi-matte polish.  I started using two coats.  It’s not too glossy, not too clear.  And I am sad.

Is this my female identity?  My nails and a cute haircut?  A silver ankle bracelet that Leia (my girlfriend) gave me while we were on vacation?  My trans girl blog?

I search for answers to these questions every day and sometimes I write about it.  Fluorescent lights glint off of my nails as I type, reflected in the glare of an iPad.  It feels risky, reckless.  It scares me to write in my blog.  But I don’t want to live in a world where I’m afraid to speak my mind.  So I do.

 

It feels like the only way for the world to see me, to understand me, is to transition; to do the paperwork, take out loans, jump through hoops.  To deal with the lawyers, the doctors, the litany of painful and risky medical procedures, voice therapy, walking lessons.  To accept sterility, liver damage, sharply restricted access to medical resources.  To risk failure and the prospect of detransition.

And I hear that hormone therapy is a beautiful homecoming.  I believe it.  I dream to be reunited with something, chemicals to match my neurology and what-all.  I have no idea.  Maybe no one does.

This is all very painful to think about.  And my loved ones are rightfully distressed.  I fear that I would be dead to them if I transitioned.

 

And I’m too tall.  Maybe if I were an inch shorter, maybe twenty pounds lighter.  I don’t want to stand out, because few women are taller than me.  And many women that are taller seem to have transitioned.  They freak out or stare daggers at me when they notice me notice them.  Sorry.

 

pretty boys make ugly girls

My body feels like clothing, like a heavy, gaudy outfit that I’m sick of looking at.  And I don’t want to know what’s underneath.

I almost forgot about all of this.  I’m absorbed in my work and playing dead-is-dead Skyrim until my trigger fingers hurt and I can’t really hold the controller properly.  I’m happy this way.

A reflection in the mirror catches my eye, “oh, it’s you.”  At least my hair looks nice.

 

I imagine that cis women get a lot more out of the time that they put into their appearance.  They blow out their hair, put on their makeup, and look ten times better.  I wish I looked ten times better.

This, like most things in my life, is new.  I used to think that I was a good looking guy, that I could date anyone I wanted if I just stepped up my game.  It turns out that I just needed to act like a guy.

 

I touched my first kiss too lightly.  I was a sophomore and she was a senior and she assumed I wasn’t ready.  It turns out that she was nicer than she looked.

And girls assume that you’re coming on too strong if they think you’re a man and you think you’re a man but you’re actually female and deluded.  This is starkly clear to me now.

Me:  “I like you and think you’re great!”
Girl:  “What.”

 

All of this is a memory.  I spend a lot of time now just learning new words for new things, like eisoptrophobia (fear of one’s reflection).  But I’m not sure if it applies because I’m not afraid of my reflection, it just startles me if I’m not paying attention.  I thought of taking down the mirrors in my apartment, but it makes the place look so much smaller.