the block

I was spilling my guts to a friend over drinks; I think I should just stop drinking entirely.  But in the process of relating my unusual life and its concomittant angst in a crowded room, I realized something.  Or at least my friend realized something – I have a mental block surrounding my voice.

 

From October 16th, 2014:

This is getting progressively more difficult to think about, let alone write about.  I feel lost.  My mind doesn’t match my voice; my body doesn’t really match my voice, and I am lost.

According to my research, the voice is a direct reflection of a person’s mind, more so than the eyes or what one is saying.  Voice is just one of those things that is just not well understood.  The largest, richest corporations in the world cannot make artifical voices that sound human, even though this would increase their profits considerably – it’s that hard.

And then there’s the trans girl with a funky voice.  There are few things that I fear more than changing it, letting someone tinker with it.  Because a voice is who you are – even if it’s physically deformed.  What happens if you change it?  Does it change who you are?

 

Changing my voice has been the hardest part of this process, but there’s no getting around it.  It’s the most squeamish, ticklish, fucked-up thing.  I couldn’t stand my voice since forever, but I hate changing it, softening it, making it higher, pitching its resonance – playing my nasal passages like some kind of pipe organ.  In a gadda da vida.

I’ll never sing again.  I hate myself.

 

But that was the problem…  Apparently, my block is that I hate my femininity.  And voice is probably the purest, most intense expression of gender.

 

I’m paying through the nose for a speech therapist and I wouldn’t do the exercises.  I created endless obstacles between me and the exercises – that they wouldn’t work and I could only do them at a certain time, in a certain place, under certain conditions, because God forbid anyone should hear me feminizing my voice, which seemed like the end of the world.  I even created a semi-soundproof studio in my closet (of all places) to work on it before I got a roommate and needed the storage space.

Why would I be so embarrassed to have someone overhear me trying to make my voice higher?  Because it sounds stupid?  Yes, but no one cares at this point.  And it’s not like my gender identity is a secret to anyone anymore.  So what’s the problem?  I didn’t want to sound more feminine.  It’s weak, it’s wrong.

 

But it’s not.  It’s okay for me to draw strength from femininity, from things that I associate with femininity; community, trust, mercy, and yes – a softer voice.

As it was strong to be masculine as a man, it’s strong to be feminine as a woman.  This is something I need to remember.

 

At least I can do the exercises now.

 

awake

I’m exhausted.  I’m bolt-awake.  I’m watching the world go by – fast.  I can’t shake the feeling that I’m wearing a disguise, that I’m not ready for this.

It would be impossible to become ready for this – to transition into femininity and start over with everyone.  I’m introducing myself to people I’ve known.  It’s just a thing.

“Hi Mom, hi Dad.  What’s new?”

I need to stop asking that question.

 

I can’t wrap my head around it, but I’m really, really afraid.  I’m petrified, and I’ve never known anything so unavoidably true.

I feel alone.

People support me but they don’t get what I’m going through.  The subject of a ‘transgender transition’ is foreign to everyone.  And speaking to transgender people about it is like screaming bloody murder into a swarm of bats.

I don’t know how else to describe that.

 

Meanwhile, life flashes by.  Doctors come and go, friends, allies; almost like it doesn’t matter.

Because I feel better and I trust myself.  I trust there’s a way out of this ridiculous situation.

 

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.

 

the magical megaproject

“When you start your treatment, it might feel a little bit weird.”

“Really??”

“Yeah, well it stands to reason…”

 

I don’t even know where to start right now.  I don’t exactly know what to tell you.  That’s probably because it’s not that complicated…

I decided to start my physical transition.  I scheduled the necessary appointments.  Didn’t tell anyone.

Made my appointments, met delays, freaked out.  Waited.

 

Still waiting…  Feel like I’m going to black out, or throw up.  Apparently, as one gets closer to physical transition, gender dysphoria increases dramatically.  No idea why, but it’s horrible.

 

But I’m so happy and excited to transition, I wish it would happen already.  Then I gave myself an asthma attack reading up on progesterone cycles.

My hormones are just going to go around and around like that?

 

Now I’m working most of the time.  I’m going to be working like this until at least 2016, because I need cash.  Like, yesterday.

I guess that’s it.

 

…oh, and I don’t have a plan.

 

my charmed lonely secret life

It’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m dancing in the kitchen with the shades drawn – getting down to funk music only I can hear.

I have a new haircut.  It’s beautiful.  It’s just what I asked for.

‘It should move.’

My stylist is a genius.

 

It’s girl hair.  It’s bad.  I wear it back most of the time when I leave the house.

Because people have a way of making you aware of gender boundaries, their boundaries.  It’s bad when people you’ve worked with for five years make a conscious effort not to stare.

I remember when I used to get compliments on a new haircut.

 

I remember when people knew who I was.

An old friend called out of the blue.  We were catching up.  I told him that I’m transgender and that I don’t have any good options, but that’s okay.  I told him as if I moved into a new apartment or something.  Awkward silences.  No one had ever shared anything like that with him before.  Why did I tell him?  Do I need a reason?  Didn’t I know this before?  No.

 

I thought I knew who I was.

I don’t think I could’ve handled any of this like five years ago.  If I met myself back then, I don’t know what I’d say.

 

I always wanted to write.

Be careful what you wish for.

 

red dress

Leia asked me to try on her ballroom dress the other day.  I’m sure it’s expensive, it feels expensive, and I kind of dive into it.

“Don’t stretch it!”

After figuring out how to maneuver the lining and where to put my arms, I heard myself ask her to zip up the side.  And we kind of stood there in front of the mirror.  Actually, we definitely stood there.

Me:  “Interesting.”

Leia:  “That’s amazing…”

I realized then, in that moment, in a red dress, that I could totally pass.

 

Shit.

 

Days ensued, joy and panic interspersed between hours and minutes.  Fear and longing and the stark, stark realization of how much this is going to hurt.

Then I seem to have wrestled this rushing sense of inevitability to the ground.  I can’t do this.

But the dress fit perfectly.  It was beautiful, I was beautiful, and now?  Now I’m completely lost in this undefined social space.  I know I’m a woman, but what does that mean?  I ask myself, “Can I pull this off?”  And I do, I have to, it just is.

 

too tall

Being trans, but not very outwardly trans, is strange to me.  I don’t feel like I can share the first thing about me, my gender, because people don’t understand and it becomes irrelevant.  This is my experience sharing with others who are not very close or BFF.  They say, “that’s interesting” or, “that’s great” or something awkward, and nothing changes.  They still relate to me as a man.  I could walk into my workplace every single day and say, “hello everyone, please remember that I’m a woman.”  And I won’t be heard, only seen for what I apparently am, a man.

 

I paint my nails once or twice a week.  I paint them with a semi-matte polish.  I started using two coats.  It’s not too glossy, not too clear.  And I am sad.

Is this my female identity?  My nails and a cute haircut?  A silver ankle bracelet that Leia (my girlfriend) gave me while we were on vacation?  My trans girl blog?

I search for answers to these questions every day and sometimes I write about it.  Fluorescent lights glint off of my nails as I type, reflected in the glare of an iPad.  It feels risky, reckless.  It scares me to write in my blog.  But I don’t want to live in a world where I’m afraid to speak my mind.  So I do.

 

It feels like the only way for the world to see me, to understand me, is to transition; to do the paperwork, take out loans, jump through hoops.  To deal with the lawyers, the doctors, the litany of painful and risky medical procedures, voice therapy, walking lessons.  To accept sterility, liver damage, sharply restricted access to medical resources.  To risk failure and the prospect of detransition.

And I hear that hormone therapy is a beautiful homecoming.  I believe it.  I dream to be reunited with something, chemicals to match my neurology and what-all.  I have no idea.  Maybe no one does.

This is all very painful to think about.  And my loved ones are rightfully distressed.  I fear that I would be dead to them if I transitioned.

 

And I’m too tall.  Maybe if I were an inch shorter, maybe twenty pounds lighter.  I don’t want to stand out, because few women are taller than me.  And many women that are taller seem to have transitioned.  They freak out or stare daggers at me when they notice me notice them.  Sorry.