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.
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!”
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.
From my journal, six days before realizing that I am female:
“Last night I had a glimmer of a thought of what is going to happen but now I can’t place it. The day before, I woke up looking forward to something I can’t remember. Is something going to happen soon? Of course it is, but chances are technically slim that it is something that I have in mind… if I had something in mind.
What is this thing on the horizon?
The thought I had last night was like a green aurora sunrise. It was joyous and warm and I wanted to be there, I was there for a short moment. It was as if… I have no idea. There is no analogue to this feeling, not in drugs or experience. Maybe… no. It’s nothing you have seen or experienced before. I can’t imagine anything that would make me feel that way. There is also a clean-slate element to it. Anything I imagine to compare it to has baggage that makes it different. The new feeling is unattached to anything in the past. This is so random and strange.
I woke up the day before thanksgiving and felt myself looking forward to something, I had assumed I was looking forward to being reunited with my old friends or that it was something from a dream, but these things didn’t fit. I felt something was going to happen and I couldn’t wait. What was it?”
From my journal:
“What I feel now is not true hopelessness, it is not full absence of hope. It is shock and panic and fear as I contemplate how my newly realized identity changes things for me, changes my future. But it is a positive change in the long run. I am more stable. And I am arguably more realistic, not living in a fantasy of anything that I could imagine to make the world make sense in my terrible ignorance of my true self. I even seem to have the ability to write now when I could not write before. My old journals are an exploded debris field of confusion and pain, longing and despair. Now I know.”
I’m a trans girl. I’ve known this for half a year now and had spent the vast majority of my life as male. I strived to live up to the male ideal, fulfill male conventions. I lived life as a man. I did not have a clue that I was another gender. Sure, my friends would make fun of me for being soft spoken, with feminine posture and long hair, but that was just upsetting.
One day I was really hung over and it occurred to me, “Hey, maybe I’m a woman.” I thought I was tripping but the idea stuck with me. Eventually I told my GF about it, and then it was a thing. For the next three months I was physically ill (flu season), literally beside myself (myself!) and still without a clue. I talked to my shrink, I talked to my other shrink, my Mom, my FTM trans friends, and they asked, “Well, how do you know?” There is no way to answer this question, which apparently everyone will ask you if you tell them you’re another gender.
You can talk to your hair dresser, you can shave or not shave, you can go through seven bottles of nail polish, you can consider gender reassignment surgery. All of these things have plusses and minuses but I felt alone and disconnected from the world as I obsessed about my options. There didn’t seem to be a path forward for me or other trans people who do not plan to undergo gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy. It’s like a new thing, exciting and scary and new. Should I consider myself lucky?
I didn’t go very far with my appearance and left my hormones unmodified. I still look like a man, a man with an angled bob haircut and clear nail polish, but these things are subtle. These things are a delicate balancing act between social norms and the sense that I am on acid. Why do I say that? Because realizing that you’re a trans girl after being a cis guy for 20+ years is like being on an acid trip that you’ve somehow gotten used to.