polaroid of perfection

I finally have a proper wardrobe, an array of soft pastels.  Layers and colors, accents to communicate truths about myself in what I choose to wear.  I never understood clothing, I always dreaded buying clothes.  But today they are an extension of myself.

I’ve finally become comfortable-ish with my new voice, I thought this would never happen.  But the positive effect of having my negative self talk in a not-definitively-male voice cannot be overestimated, let alone actually having the ability to communicate with people.  I’ve spoken before, of course, but it’s just easier now.  I am in awe of the adaptability of the mind and the human voice.

 

On the downside, I feel mind-numbing pressure to be perfect.  Perfect weight, perfect clothes, perfect voice, never offending my friends, never spending frivolously, or doing anything to offend God because I’ve seen enough, for real.

I live in fear of impending doom, that everyone will stop talking to me and I’ll find myself standing in the welfare line, again.  That I’ll lose access to my medications and morph into some appalling freak.  That I’ll date someone and they’ll shatter my sense of self.

So I try every day to be perfect.  It’s exhausting, it’s desperate, and it’s so very necessary.  I just want this ordeal to be over.

 

But there is something familiar about this narrative.  It is something I’d heard from friends, just about all of which had been women, that they must be perfect.  That they don’t have as much control over their lives as they would want and so must please everyone all the time, as much as they can, so they can be loved and protected.  It’s a hell of a thing to experience all at once.

So I’m learning to look up to women as I join and identify with them.  I never had in an I-want-to-be-just-like-you sort of way, but it’s something, another thing, which is necessary – that the only thing between me and a careless world is the understanding of others.

 

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lit review of the damned

The sun doesn’t come up for a couple of hours now.

It’s 4 days into my SRS literature review.  I’ve looked at 1000s of scientific articles over the years and you just get a feel for them, you get a sense for what the scientists are feeling.  And at least a few of the sex change surgeons think sex changes are hilarious.  Cruelly, it’s the surgical pictures and diagrams that are most telling.

I’d never drooled on a paper before.  I won’t read too much into that.

 

Your heart surgeon thinks your condition is hilarious.

I’ve never felt so uniquely alone, so doomed.

 

Day 3, I start drinking, eating, binging, purging.  I’d never done that before.  Unsurprisingly – apparently unsurprisingly – I don’t think much of it.  Apparently, cramming the gender dysphoria literature causes this sense of bodily disintegrity.  I try to get some sleep.

 

It’s 3:30.  Today I’ll read those 3 articles that describe the finer points of why it’s a bad idea to do an orchiectomy (orchidectomy?) before the whole sex change business; 3 articles some literature review group felt were significant out of a vast and confused body of knowledge.  Then I’ll continue skimming the references cited by The Human Rights Campaign’s list of insurance policies that have transgender background sections.  There’s got to be some hope in there somewhere.

 

Spring break forever.

 

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.

 

lucky

I sobbed silently over a scone wrapper on Leia’s kitchen table, the day after her dinner party.  Her sister found me that way.

“How are you doing?”

“…Okay…  I was just getting ready to leave.”

I excused myself.  She wished me luck.  I set out on a walk of shame so epic that I had to buy sunglasses and froyo.  I have got to stop traveling without makeup.

 

I guess a lot of girl scientists cry about their research.

I’m still not used to it.

 

I’m not used to a lot of things – women are so easygoing around one another, it’s absurd.  Form-fitting clothes break my stride.  Shaving reveals scars on my legs from 20 years ago, and a nasty varicose vein from that time I played The Sims 2 for 27 hours straight.

I want to get upset about that.  Transition is making me look younger, but I don’t feel younger.  I worry about every blemish, all of my virilized features.

 

I remind myself that I’m lucky to even be a woman.

 

subjective

I look in the mirror and I feel normal, but I’m ugly, and I need to work on that.  Maybe that’s a normal thought to have…

 

Experiencing estrogen for the first time is difficult to describe.  It’s a subjective experience.

It’s like having your body sense – that intuition of where your limbs are and the position of every joint – become subtle.  And I realized that I had been painfully consciously aware of my body for as long as I can remember.  Now it’s as if someone turned the volume down.

At first it felt like my arms weren’t even there – in a pleasant way.  I was briefly worried about bumping into things, but that didn’t happen.  Then I got used to it, now it feels normal.

At least that’s my experience as someone who’s trans.  And I’m definitely trans, I know this now.  I’m more relieved than angry.  It feels like I have my life ahead of me, which I’ve rarely felt.  It’s nice.

 

I’m starting on spironolactone soon, and I’m afraid to.  Illogical, but true.

 

dissolved girl

I’ve been home for two weeks now, and I don’t know where to begin.

 

I’m talking with my Mom and she thinks that I’m a healthier person than I was a year ago, and that no one will relate to me as a woman.  This is uplifting and annoying – but I was expecting the worst, so I didn’t immediately absorb the impact of her words.

 

I’m walking down the street and for a second I could have sworn I was dreaming.  I spend the rest of the day wishing I was, and that I would wake up.

 

I’m hanging out with my Dad and I can’t tell him anything about myself, anything new.  He asks what’s on my mind and I tell him nothing, just some random memory.  It’s all I can do to keep from bursting into tears.

 

I see those Macy’s posters that just say ‘believe’ with their oddly beautiful cover girl and I wonder if she’s a real person.

 

When I get home and throw my pocket debris on the table, I notice this pack of gum.  It reads, “Neither just sweet nor just peppermint, sweet peppermint is suffering from a delicious identity crisis…  but he’s a little sensitive about it, so we’ll leave it at that.”  The inside is covered with graf-style Queen of Hearts and King of Hearts scenes of chaos.  And a strangely anthropomorphic pair of scissors cutting a playing card in half.  If you turn the pack upside down, there’s a manish queen with a Jay Leno chin, more chaos.  I was dumbstruck.

 

cis-topia

I never used to think about the inhumanely petite women, flawlessly airbrushed across the media.  I wasn’t worried about gender bias in science, or the sexism of it all.

And once I joked to someone, “You know, if you find yourself in a support group, then you know you’re in trouble.”  It was really funny.

 

Now everyone’s put-off when I wear a necklace that shows under my collar.  I want to scream.

I’m not a freak and I seriously don’t care!

I wish it was true.