a quick note

Getting over yesterday, back in the old town.  Spires upon spires in an abandoned cityscape.  Like a bad dream, driven home in a hybrid Honda Fit.

Insurance claims and cyberstalkers, rocking out in the real world.  Nothing like a university at all.

I tell my mom that I give zero fucks, because I’m a millennial and that’s what we do.  Please don’t send me a passive aggressive gift this Easter, send me something I’d like to have, like Cryptonomicon.

A breakthrough with us.  Maybe there is hope in life.

 

A beautiful woman, finally.  Like an out of body experience.  The most beautiful person some stranger has ever seen.  What am I supposed to think?

When a man I don’t know tells me they love me?  Call BS loudly, and often.

I submit my dissertation soon, I’ll get a job I swear.  Learning to be happy, speaking to a kindred spirit.  About how there’s no plan.

 

dana ansari vs. the world

The instant woman, like instant coffee; necessary, familiar, wanting.

Every day I do the best that I can to fulfill the needs and expectations of those I’ve included in my circle.  The people I’m codependent upon.  I balance a spectrum of needs and desires, trading values for time, dreams for security, meaning for lust, energy for capital.  Back and forth it goes.  If I ever stopped, I’d be soulrupt or something, but this is my reality.  Whatever I traded for my body, for my life – whatever it was I did, it cost.

It’s all I can do not to think or feel too much.

 

Meanwhile, I’ve fallen in love with someone I don’t even know.  I guess that happens.  This is maybe the eighth time for me.  It gets jaded, I’m like, ‘yeah, there’s this person and she’s perfect, and I’m like nothing, and it feels like my life is over.’

My roommate tells me to stop being so angsty and adolescent.  I gave her the double finger.

 

flight

I stepped out of the sodium street lights of a random night.  Onto a train, into that antiseptic train smell.  I thought to myself, ‘I’m leaving.’  I realized it then, staring down the aisle of well-to-dos.

Ten years after I stepped off of this train into the same street lights; I know in my soul that I will never return here.

 

Leia met me sometime later, at a random bar of well-to-dos.  Fresh from her office, I presented her with the wine she instructed me to purchase in her text message, “Make sure you taste it first.”

She regarded me with the relieved exasperation that only she could provide.

 

I was fresh from the depths of despair, a loss and malaise that made the Great Depression look like Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I pleaded with her to save me.  We chatted about the election.

I asked her for purpose and place.  She caught the server’s eye – someone she had gone to high school with apparently.

 

She asked if I could set up a cloud server for her work.  I don’t remember much else.

 

It’s been several weeks now.  Removed from the place where I took on a new gender, I feel like a new person.  Perhaps I am.  Completely stealth now, I’ve fallen into a normal life, jarringly familiar from the time before I took hormones and dyed my hair.  I have obligations and new friends, disposable-ish income.  I don’t really wear makeup anymore, and that’s okay.  No one wears makeup every day.

 

Nightmares come and go.  Leia says I cry out in my sleep sometimes.

My pupils have returned to their normal size from antidepressants, which I take with my keys and my phone.  And I’m tempted to thank God that there’s nothing in life that can’t be solved by sex with the right strangers.

I am infinitely fortunate.  I was able to transition and didn’t lose all of my family, or all of my friends.  I didn’t die.  I’m attractive and have skills, I look forward to my life.  My sex change operation was a success.

 

But no one should have to do this.

 

the castle at the edge of the world

Every day I’m more invisible, every week is quieter.  I forgot what it was like to be no one, unextraordinary, a blink of someone’s eye.  It’s comfortable.

But for a handful of people, I’m family.  And family is different now.  Among a handful of people I am unconditionally loved; as long as I’m a brilliant, incorruptible badass.

Flat-out, I don’t feel like I’ve experienced this before.  Friends were circles of people I would visit with and move on.  Parents were people who were always not-quite-sure about me.  Everyone was at arm’s length.  Now most people are, but some aren’t.  I don’t feel the need to have an opinion about it, which is good because I don’t know what to think.

 

Everywhere I go there are memories – of buildings, people.  Signs on walls – I went to a dance here, I kissed my ex-fiancee there.  This is where I snubbed the president of the university.  I hope he doesn’t remember.

I feel like I had a brother and these are his memories, but he’s gone.  We never knew each other, but I have his memories.  Sometimes I feel like I’m writing this for him.

 

I was talking to someone about flaws – things to work on.  I said I think I talk too much.  I feel a compulsion to say what I think should be said.  It’s reckless, and I should learn to be quiet.

 

no honor among thieves

I sit in my room.  It’s a nice room but a bit dusty, and I’m allergic to dust.  So I’ve been struggling to breathe since I moved here.

 

My trans friend sleeps across the room, on the small mattress we found on the street.  She’s been transitioning for 10 years, though she’s much younger than I am.  She used to update her video blog.  She’s always telling me to get some real problems.  Every day we wake up head-to-toe in that tiny bed.  Would we have it any other way?

 

She insists she isn’t my girlfriend.  She doesn’t like to be touched.  I remember what that was like.

We share food, share our lives.  Thick as thieves, I wear the ring her boyfriend gave her.

 

And something interesting has happened.  She walked the path I started upon, took it to the extreme.  Gave herself nothing and no one to lose, but it ends nowhere.  So I found something to care about.  It’s obvious.  It’s inevitable.  As sure as I would die without her, I need to complete my science work.  It’s not a question of discrimination or profit, I need to be what I’ve become.

 

meaning

…And so it’s a struggle to find meaning.  Transitioning used to be meaningful and now it’s over.  I’m telling people that the cosmetic procedures I’m considering aren’t going to change who I am, which is good, transitioning sucked.  But it provided some hope; it was like, ‘Oh, there’s this endpoint where I’ll be okay.’  And I am okay.  Just okay, and tired.  Very, very tired.

I’m trying to be social and people like me, I’m able to form new relationships.  Someone even asked me out half-assed.  It’s just that I know, know in my soul that none of it is permanent.  That no relationship can be counted upon.  It’s all bullshit and lies; exchanging business cards when it isn’t really necessary.  And I can’t undo this knowledge.  It’s a steep and surprising price to pay in order to be in my right body and my right mind; knowing what my erased life feels like.  Like the ending to It’s a Wonderful Life, except there’s no one to wave a magic wand and turn it all back again.

 

I find that the last shred of meaning is writing about my new life.

Someone shakes up the spacetime continuum every few weeks, changing everything.  Leaving me in the same location with the same genome and social security number, and a collage of memory like a broken mirror;

Lost in a daydream, I think of the person I love.  She touches my hair, touches my neck in a certain place, and it’s all I’ve ever wanted.

I sit in bed, head to my knees, eyes squeezed shut, overwhelmed with the knowledge that I will never, not ever understand my body.

 

Tonight I’m a capable, charismatic, healthy human being who can do anything she desires, and I just want to go home.

 

love in the time of hoverboards

I wish I had some time to myself.  After fast-tracking my transition, I just want a week to look in the mirror or visit my family.  I need to get a clear idea of who I am, because my appearance changes every week.  Important stuff like facial features, torso measurements, my outlook on life, different.  Every week.  I just blink into space.

What the hell happened?

 

People talk to me all the time.  It’s unexpected, I want to think it’s weird.  But judging from their body language, it’s normal.

I don’t need to hide who I am anymore out of fear of them finding out whatever it used to be that would put them off, my nascent femininity.  I say some of the most unfiltered and inane shit, and people listen, kind of.  They seem to find it pleasant.

 

Meanwhile, I’m rebuilding my important relationships.  Recasting them and making them whole.  I didn’t realize I was doing this, and maybe it isn’t me.  Maybe they’re ready to accept me for who I am.

Maybe they realize they don’t have a choice, the counterparties of my important relationships.

Maybe I just need help and it’s obvious.

Maybe I’m human and this is just what happens.  I feel a loss of will as I realize the idea of my father accepting me as his eighth daughter, or the idea of speaking to Leia again.  I realize that my friends are assholes, who love me, and there’s nothing I can do to change that, not now.

Not now, as I depend on these people to recognize me when I can barely recognize myself.

 

They know me.  They always kind of knew me, and didn’t tell me.  That’s love.

 

sorry doesn’t seem enough

Something stuck with me last week.

“Your friends must really love you.”

 

This brought back a thought experiment that I usually resist:  What if someone I know transitioned?  My mother?  My father?  My friends?  Could I accept it?  How much would that hurt?

To see them tear themselves apart, because nothing else good was going to happen in their lives?  To salvage the pieces?  To make themselves whole?

And I realize what I’ve done to everyone.

 

I want to make up for it, but it’s one of those things that cannot be made up for.  Debt that cannot be repaid or talked about.

 

I’m so sorry.

 

I don’t know if I would try to become a woman again.

I know it would be that much harder.

 

a strange place

A transgender transition is a strange place to be.  I kind of hate myself, I kind of love myself, and I kind of don’t care.

 

Hate, in that everyone’s first reaction, everyone that knows me, they think I’m crazy.  They’re like, “His small mind has finally cracked – spectacularly – under all that pressure.”  And proceed to treat me like a very fragile person.  This makes it hard to look in the mirror.

Meanwhile, looking in said mirror, I love myself.  I feel more beautiful every day.  This is the first time that my body feels like it’s mine, and not some separate entity.  I have an irrational fear of waking up to find that none of this is real.

 

But part of me doesn’t care.  The fragility of love is clear to me – that it can be shattered with all of the ceremony of an egg dropped from a 30th story window.

 

I thought an egg could be so strong if you hold it just so and squeeze.

Silly rabbit.

 

the space between

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.