the unforeseeable future

It was surprising, the first time I forgot about my transition.  I was out, it was sunny, and I was unaware that I had been a man, or had considered myself one.  I forgot about that and was just myself, focused on whatever I was doing.

Then I snapped out of it and thought, ‘this doesn’t seem like such a big deal now.’  Because I knew it was possible to escape this uniquely awkward place, if only for a second.

 

But it’s still a struggle, it’s a struggle to afford electrolysis and to decide what to spend money on and what to put off.  Clothes?  Hair removal?  Voice lessons?  It’s a careful, nervy balance.

My vocal cords are wound more tightly than I am and I’m a clearance sale victim at least one day of the week.  Every morning I pluck hair out of my face and carefully, lightly cover it in layers of silicone gel, foundation, and double face powder.  How long can I keep doing this?

 

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.

 

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.