negative space

Dear Sis,

Do you ever feel like, too qualified and too female?  Because I get that feeling a lot.  Not to complain, I have a perfectly comfortable existence.  But I’m definitely not living up to my potential.  I can’t remember the last time anybody even asked me about my potential – this coming from someone who wanted to be a chef and cook food for people but was scathingly discouraged because I wouldn’t be living up to my potential.  Who’s laughing now?  No one.  Okay, maybe I just laughed a little.

So I’m basically freelancing in NYC, which is interesting.  And totally analogous to funding and executing a science research pipeline, without the science.  It’s slow-going because there’s a lot of setup involved, including getting an ergonomic keyboard.  I’m going to be splitting my time between that and the usual graduate school wrap-up activities.

There’s not very much else going on.  I need to go book-diving at Strand, which I’m looking forward to.





day 51

After about 51 days I realized I’m not like other people.

After a long walk, after I had time to get out of my immediate surroundings and think; I stood outside on a train platform even though it was freezing.  I leaned my back against the wall and rested my eyes, closed them, and realized I was crying.

I’m not like other people, I’m not.  I forced myself to open my eyes as I noted that my mascara isn’t waterproof and dabbed them carefully.


It is really, truly cold outside but I don’t care.  It actually takes the edge off a little bit.

People pass by, look at me and quickly look away.  I don’t care.  I’m crying because of the cold, obviously.  Or because I’m pregnant, or not pregnant, or was pregnant…  At least that’s what I used to think when I saw an extraordinarily sad girl.  I guess that has something to do with it, anyone thinking that would be somewhere in the ballpark of correct, I suppose.

But again, it doesn’t matter.  I’m not like them.  I tell myself it’s comforting.


Later, I’m walking through the crowds, taller than most.  Numb.

I can see it now; I’ll move soon.  I’ll take a new job in a new city and I’ll never breathe a word of what happened to me to anyone who doesn’t have their head between my legs.  Most likely, I won’t breathe a word of this to anyone.  And I’ll be just like them.


an uncanny girl

Writing letters to my health insurer, preparing to sue my old landlords, writing cover letters, hustling.  I think I’m probably an adult now.  I look in the mirror, “Brave girl.  Very brave girl.”  And there’s not much else I can do.

I walk everywhere.  People whistle at me, stare, look away, but no one gives me any actual problems.  Maybe it’s because I’m tall.  Maybe it’s my 1000 yard stare.  Maybe it’s because I only own work clothes, no short skirts, no heels.  All-in-all I’d rather be left alone.

Except when I’m alone.  But I still don’t want to be touched, by anyone.  It’s worrying.  Maybe there’s nothing I can do.  My blind hope is that surgery will clear this up.  And the surgery clock is ticking, which doesn’t help my peace of mind, particularly since I’ll need a job to go through with it.  I never rest.


When I decided to transition I spent 64 hours in my mom’s studio apartment, alone.  I remember this as the 64 hour war.  It was a freefall of confusion and blind fear.  I wrote a lot.  Toward the end of it, I remembered that I never wanted to be male, never wanted a male sexuality.  That when I was a child, this was the last thing I ever wanted, although I didn’t understand at the time.

But I understand now, and I decided to transition.  I knew I would be sacrificing my sexuality, that my body and my life would make no sense for a long time, and I would need to be okay with that.  I thought this sacrifice would make the journey easier, less confusing, and it has.  My transition is characterized by an outward steadiness and uncanny efficiency.  Cisgendered people look askance, “Your transition has gone so smoothly.”  Powerful people protest, “Your transition can’t be perfect.”  And I don’t know what to say.


But I walk on eggshells, and I pray.

I curse myself in the bathroom mirror.

I don’t know what to think or feel; but please, please let this be over.


dreams from reality

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.