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.

 

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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.

 

femininity

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.

 

lucky

I sobbed silently over a scone wrapper on Leia’s kitchen table, the day after her dinner party.  Her sister found me that way.

“How are you doing?”

“…Okay…  I was just getting ready to leave.”

I excused myself.  She wished me luck.  I set out on a walk of shame so epic that I had to buy sunglasses and froyo.  I have got to stop traveling without makeup.

 

I guess a lot of girl scientists cry about their research.

I’m still not used to it.

 

I’m not used to a lot of things – women are so easygoing around one another, it’s absurd.  Form-fitting clothes break my stride.  Shaving reveals scars on my legs from 20 years ago, and a nasty varicose vein from that time I played The Sims 2 for 27 hours straight.

I want to get upset about that.  Transition is making me look younger, but I don’t feel younger.  I worry about every blemish, all of my virilized features.

 

I remind myself that I’m lucky to even be a woman.

 

is this ‘monday’

Walking home at dawn after the graveyard shift at some university – with my headphones blasting, carrying my laptop like a schoolbook – is probably not the smartest, safest, or most feminine thing to be doing.  But I’m not there *yet*

Whatever.  I’m exhausted.  I did not think it was possible to be this exhausted.  But it doesn’t matter, I’m excited.  Stuff is getting done and I’m at peace with myself.

 

Strangely, I’m not depressed.  I haven’t been depressed in a month.  That shatters every record, ever.

I feel like I’m going somewhere; being myself.  Even though it’s only apparent to myself, that’s good enough for me.

 

Then my friend from college called me back, the one I told I was transgender and regretted.  He called me!  Everything is completely cool.  And I am so happy about that.