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.

 

Advertisements

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.

 

mundanity

Suddenly it seems like not such a big deal, everything.  I’m a trans woman, life goes on.  Some people get it, some don’t.  It really doesn’t matter in the long-run.  There are other things in life than one’s gender and the implications thereof, opinions thereof, actions and words, on and on and on.

When I open my eyes, I see that my situation is routine, uncommon but routine.  And it’s my business to live my life and get on with it.

 

I never knew that cold mundanity could be so breathtaking.  It’s like a miracle or something.

 

conflicted monologue

You know you’ve been gone for a long time when your stationary smells like toothpaste.  But I’m back home now, surrounded by familiar stuff that I’d forgotten about.

This first week has been weird, in a good way.  I feel like my gender-dysphoric issues, things that I awkwardly speak about, are a weight that has been set down.  I feel like myself, I like myself, life is fun.  I can breathe.

 

It started when I considered auditioning for The Vagina Monologues, which my department is putting on for V-day.  It’s that time of year.  The idea of auditioning was in the back of my mind and I mentioned it to Leia, who basically dared me to do it.  So I read the book.  Surprisingly, I never read The Vagina Monologues.  I vaguely remember picking it up and finding it painful to read.  But reading it now, I really enjoyed it.  There’s even a trans women’s monologue that Eve Ensler added in 2004 (she published the original version in 1998).  It’s the only passage I could really relate to or envision performing in front of people, so I prepared to audition for that part.

I was really nervous.  So I was greatly relieved and disappointed when I found out that the script, the official 2014 V-day version of The Vagina Monologues, does not include the trans women’s monologue They Beat the Girl out of My Boy… or so They Tried.

Why?  I have no idea.  I know it’s been performed for V-day before.  The passage does seem like an anachronism in a classic work of nonfiction – to tack the contemporary experiences of trans women onto a work that ushered in acceptability of the word vagina.

‘You mean grown-ups couldn’t say vagina either??’

 

Yet, I couldn’t help feeling left out.  Could this just be another instance of transphobia?

Then a couple of days passed and I got over it.

 

reflections pt. 2

I flare out my hair and strike a pose in the mirror, “maybe I’m just a really ugly girl.”  This makes me laugh.  And it feels like I take myself way too seriously.

 

Who’s to say what gender I should have been or if I would have been happier in one life or another?  No one should have to answer these questions.  No one should have to choose the gender they have to be, the gender they are, it’s wrong.  It should just be, without drama, without fear.

And that’s how I feel.  There’s not much there.  After I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself, after I’ve stopped laughing and crying and asking why.

 

The next person I meet, I’ll say ‘hi.’  And leave it at that.

 

reflections pt. 1

As I stand on a train platform, my feet are cold and firmly rooted in the ground.  I see the world differently and it seems that I don’t actually know where I’m going.

 

Its been almost a year now since I’ve affirmed to myself, my identity as a woman.  It’s not as scary as I imagined.  It’s not as fulfilling as I imagined.  It’s not as final as I imagined.  Basically, my concept of self is all that has changed.  Friends and acquaintances, coworkers see me the same way.  Changes in my appearance and how I carry myself are seen as the fashions of a gay man, if they are noticed at all.

Paradoxically I’m a lot more sincere, but when I say things like, “thanks!” or, “I think you’re really smart!” it comes across as sarcasm.  Literally everything I say is flat.

The most surprising thing is that it doesn’t really matter how I see myself, people see me the way they want, in the way that makes sense to them.

 

So I’m trying to look at this with a cold, objective eye.  Thankfully, when I look at myself in the mirror, it is not with cold eyes.  I like myself now.  I couldn’t say that before.

I hated myself for failing, for miscommunicating, for being painfully awkward.  For everything, from forgetting someone’s name to losing a friend.  I could never forgive myself for these things.  But tomorrow is another day.  And I hope that these memories, my regrets, won’t define me anymore.

 

A detail that is lost in all of this is my parents.  Its always been messy with them, as they’ve been separated for as long as I can remember.

My Mom knows that I’m her daughter and my Dad thinks that I’m his son.  This is difficult, and I turn over and over in my mind how I can fix it.  It’s a strange schism to live with, which I couldn’t believe for awhile.  My Father and I had drifted apart over the past year and I could have sworn that my Mom told him, but she didn’t.  It’s Thanksgiving soon and I’m worried about what to do.  I’m afraid to talk to my father about this.  Maybe we’ll never speak about it.

My Mother was in disbelief when I told her that I’m her daughter.  She still holds out hope that it’s a passing phase, that I’ll work it out, that it’ll go away, which hurts.  When I first told her, she said I was incorrect.  Then once she believed it, she felt upset for me, that I would be subject to such a fate.

 

I honestly don’t know what to make of this.  And I try not to think of it that way.

 

hope and predictability

I am beginning to feel better about being trans.  I don’t feel the burden to tell everyone that I talk to, which was awkward.  I’m not as worried about my future and how things are going to become.  I feel more in control of the process, if it is a process.

 

I met up with my friends the other day, people I haven’t seen in a couple of months.  I was avoiding them during the worst of my gender existential crisis because I didn’t want to seem stressed-out for no apparent reason.  I wasn’t prepared to face the old boys club, the circle of guy friends I’ve known for years.

Anyway, I finally met them for a movie but I was nervous.  I really wanted to tell them what’s been going on, why we haven’t seen each other.  I wanted to tell them that I’m transgender.  I’d been thinking about how I was going to say this for days.  There’s no elegant way to say what I wanted to say, nothing that would avoid a litany of awkward questions.

 

We were hanging out after the movie and there was no way I could tell them.  It wasn’t worth it.  I went home and breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I was surprised, floored, that an enormous burden was lifted from my mind and body.  I didn’t have to tell everyone.  It’s not always relevant.  I am what I am.  Some people may see it and others may not, I don’t need to turn it into a discussion or a debate.  It was one of those duh moments.

 

All of this is happening very quickly.  I practically woke up one day and realized I’m trans.  And life is profoundly less predictable because I realize that anything can happen.  But it also means that the clouds can clear just as quickly and chaotically as they appeared.  There is hope in unpredictability.  Even good things can happen.

 

is it really a transition

I want to be a certain kind of female scientist.  My world can’t stand this.  I can’t be what I am and it’s tearing me apart.  My life is so hopelessly fragmented and compartmentalized, I wouldn’t know where to begin.  I can say things to people at work that no one else will care about.  I can say things to friends who know I’m a woman and others who think I’m a man.  My story is shattered like so much glass, the mirrors I would break if I wasn’t superstitious.

I’m writing and emptying my mind of my emotions, my memories, my work.  If you could see inside it’d look like I’m moving, and outside it’s a yard sale – free manuscripts, a box of knickknacks filled with awkward memories.  And will someone please take these physics theories off of my hands, I’ll deliver them anywhere.  Just someone please take them.

 

 

There are unruly mobs of children on field trips outside of my office space, squeaking the floors, banging on the walls, making all kinds of noise – and the chaperones constantly shushing them.  The scenes of rioting schoolchildren from Sid and Nancy come to mind.  I want to go out there and tell them all to shut up, but I never do.  I’m just reminded of when I was bullied in school, every day, constantly.  So I turn up my headphones and wait for them to pass.

I was bullied because I was a misgendered girl in the anarchic world of public school children.  The bullying stopped in high school but I continued to feel that I was working against something, running away from something, that I needed to justify my own existence.

I’m slowly realizing how my female gender has permeated my life.  I’ve always been female and it is what it is, whether I like it or not.  Even though I embodied the male gender, people could tell.  They definitely didn’t think, “Oh, he’s a female in a male’s body.”  But they knew I was an outsider.

 

There’s an upside to this.  I can become more or less feminine but it doesn’t make me any more or less female.  Maybe this is the key to this whole thing.  I could take hormones to become more comfortable in my body and I could change my appearance so that social cues match my gender, but these things won’t make me any more or less of a woman.  Nothing will.  I was born female and will die female.  Nothing can change that.

 

june 3rd, 2013 (on a monday)

From my journal:

“I think often of what to write about in the blog, of when it will be indexed, of what people will think, what it will do, whether to pull the plug.  I feel healed by it though.  I feel like it just doesn’t matter when I look in the mirror.  I looked myself in the eye this morning, pointed to my eyes, and pointed at the eyes in the mirror, whatever this means.  Literally, it means, “I see you” in an aggressive sort of way, but this was playful.  In place of nail polish (I had an allergic reaction to the feed me basecoat last night I think) and feminine hair (there’s really no getting around my hairline or the fact that my hair just wants to be left alone for the most part), I feel like just knowing who I am and putting myself out there is enough.  As I wrote yesterday, it has to be…  at least now, in the moment.  Things may or may not get better, but I need to realize myself right now.  I see you.”