It’s 8:40 pm. It might as well be 8:40 pm forever, and this is all I do. Write, write, write, walk around.
Some guy spit on the sidewalk walking past me and I swear I could feel it on my eyelashes. I should feel something more. Life is filled with these subtle, obscene social gestures from total strangers.
Walking, and walking home around midnight, some guy started following me and shouting; asking me where I was going. And I pulled a shank out of my hair. There’s nothing subtle about that.
Every morning I open my eyes and marvel at how painful it can be to lie still for seven or eight hours. A series of information enters my mind, generally reminding me that it’s going to be a struggle to prepare to leave and a struggle to get enough done when I’m out there. This morning, and most mornings I try to come to terms with myself; to some level of acceptance and self-love, but not so much so that I panic at how thoroughly screwed I am.
I shake off memories of dreams that are only pleasant when I’m having them, and disturbing in the light of day; getting lost on the highways, ex-friends coming out to me, being recognized for my work.
Sometime an eternity or two months or so ago, I spoke to my ex-friend who said she used to have a narrative for her life but now she doesn’t. I refused to relate at the time, but now not so much.
Because all I know is the present, and it’s 9:06 pm.
Dream sleep is difficult and when it comes, I might as well be awake. My dreams reflect reality – the constant networking that accompanies the job search.
“Maybe you could do our friends’ makeup, you’re good at that!”
Seems as plausible as anything.
It’s been a nightmarish road into this mess and I just hope I see the day. But I don’t know what it would look like. I meditate and try and imagine a better world, one where no one has a say over what I do with my body. Someplace where I don’t feel so alone.
That’s all I could come up with.
I used to sleep well.
Tonight there’s this bespectacled teenage girl asking me why she can’t be a scientist. Telling me what to do.
Is that what I’m like? I’m annoying.
One thing about being a woman, being subconsciously perceived as a woman, is that every woman on the planet feels totally okay with telling me what to do. From my mom to my trans mentor – if I’m not paying attention, it’s like I’m dead to them. A kind of universal disappointment, a unilateral no confidence vote.
Femininity is a heavy, heavy thing.
Dreaming; the hostage-takers throw me before a woman I’ve never met. She asks, “How is trans adolescence treating you?” as she points a Kalashnikov rifle at my chest.
I breathe a silent, desperate reply – and find myself gasping in bed.
Then my life continues. A pleasant clockwork, checklists and procedures, hypotheses at the forefront of my mind, crowding out anything else. Any dreams or whatever.
I told a friend that I am transgender. He said he doesn’t know anything about it but that it sounds great. I was taken aback. My girlfriend said the same thing, that my trans-ness is not a problem, that it is good. It doesn’t seem that simple.
Yes, realizing who I am is like standing under a waterfall in 120 degree heat, an overwhelming and unparalleled experience of joy, so epic, so wonderful; it brings me to tears. I love myself. But I miss humanity. I miss the simple pleasure of watching a movie and saying, “me too.” I miss meeting new people and really getting to know them. I feel fortunate now to keep the friends I have. It’s daunting.
I am lonelier than I’ve ever been. I feel disconnected from people and places that I’ve known. I can’t remember their names. It feels like five years have passed and it’s only been eight months.
Yet, I feel a strange and powerful sense of achievement. Yes, I am a woman. I feel confident in myself and my abilities, more human, more complete. But it costs. I feel like I’m in outer space, that I have achieved the unachievable and am so far away from where I started that nothing matters.
Sometimes I dream that I am an astronaut on another planet. When I look back home to Earth, it is the only place I want to be.
Awake, I promise myself that I will find my home someday, somewhere I can feel a part of. It’s so far away.