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.

 

choosing to forget

Yesterday I wrote a lot.  I erased it.  I wrote again, erased again.  Erased, erased.  I deleted the whole file eventually…  made some checklists.  Walked to the store for some groceries; I think pop tarts look good on me.

I walked and chose to forget, almost everything, except some things I enjoy.  Convinced myself that seriousness is for losers.  I wish I could depend on this feeling.

Because I woke up this morning with tears in my eyes.  I hate that.

So I showered and cleaned myself and chose to forget, again.  Apparently it’s an iterative thing.

 

I wish I could have slept, but it seems worthwhile in my crisp shirt and comfy thrift store skirt.

 

Also, the hardware on my face draws my attention away from my facial hair, because I’m the only one who cares about my facial hair.

I told the piercer I’ve had worse.

 

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.

 

insomnia express

I can’t remember the last time I had trouble sleeping.  I also can’t remember having writer’s block quite like this; my thoughts are clear but I’m afraid to write them down.

I’m afraid of being discriminated against.

I’m afraid of being alone.

I’m afraid of this.

This, my life condensed to today, tonight.  Right now.  I can’t think about the future, because that just doesn’t make sense.

 

I accept myself, my face is a woman’s face because I am a woman.  My life is a woman’s life.  It is what I think it is, but I underestimated the damage caused by arguing the point, by being told otherwise.  Because anyone can argue this, and for a time I forgot there’s no basis to my identity.

I didn’t realize the nature of discrimination, that it would take forms that cannot be spoken of.  That not being taken seriously would become what I fear the most.

Worst of all, I didn’t think I would believe that I deserve this.  In my contortions to make sense of the situation, it’s the only explanation.

 

Outside, there’s a steady drumbeat of LGBT victories.  I’m told the military is reversing its ban on trans people.  Inside, I’m coming to terms with exile from my own life.  A snowglobe of memories filled with love and artificial snowflakes.  A farcical separation, and so very real.  It doesn’t matter how often I try to return, it’s not mine.

 

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.

 

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.

 

pretty boys make ugly girls

My body feels like clothing, like a heavy, gaudy outfit that I’m sick of looking at.  And I don’t want to know what’s underneath.

I almost forgot about all of this.  I’m absorbed in my work and playing dead-is-dead Skyrim until my trigger fingers hurt and I can’t really hold the controller properly.  I’m happy this way.

A reflection in the mirror catches my eye, “oh, it’s you.”  At least my hair looks nice.

 

I imagine that cis women get a lot more out of the time that they put into their appearance.  They blow out their hair, put on their makeup, and look ten times better.  I wish I looked ten times better.

This, like most things in my life, is new.  I used to think that I was a good looking guy, that I could date anyone I wanted if I just stepped up my game.  It turns out that I just needed to act like a guy.

 

I touched my first kiss too lightly.  I was a sophomore and she was a senior and she assumed I wasn’t ready.  It turns out that she was nicer than she looked.

And girls assume that you’re coming on too strong if they think you’re a man and you think you’re a man but you’re actually female and deluded.  This is starkly clear to me now.

Me:  “I like you and think you’re great!”
Girl:  “What.”

 

All of this is a memory.  I spend a lot of time now just learning new words for new things, like eisoptrophobia (fear of one’s reflection).  But I’m not sure if it applies because I’m not afraid of my reflection, it just startles me if I’m not paying attention.  I thought of taking down the mirrors in my apartment, but it makes the place look so much smaller.