never alone – a paradox

It’s a hot sunny day.  I just had one of those enigmatic lunch meet-ups where you make clear to the other party that you’re really, actually, truly gay (really).  And they lose interest; I’m walking back.

A foreign family is taking photos on the sidewalk, and I swear I can feel the cold vacuum of space – stretching off into non-existence.

We are alone in the world.  And all we have is each other, that is all.

 

I’m never alone.  Between the coffee shops, the cafes, my officemates, my roommate, the people I date; I’m rarely actually out of the presence of other human beings.  This is an unexpected outcome of the transition.  I used to spend a week at a time in isolation, occasionally coming out for air, to go to the office, find food, whatever.  And the world was so big, the sidewalks stretching out to distant vanishing points; the air lacking the clarity of virtuality I became accustomed to, staring into an abyss of pixels.  Never again.

 

I’m bad at being human, which apparently makes it so.  To be imperfect, fragile, pained, and needy.  Desperate, beautiful and young.  People see themselves, extend constant minor assistances, tell me things.  And I think of them.

All I had to do was to become ambitionless, and lost.  I can see it in their eyes, ‘welcome home.’

 

“I’m sorry about all of that stuff I said last night.”

“It’s okay.”

 

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.

 

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.