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.

 

subjective

I look in the mirror and I feel normal, but I’m ugly, and I need to work on that.  Maybe that’s a normal thought to have…

 

Experiencing estrogen for the first time is difficult to describe.  It’s a subjective experience.

It’s like having your body sense – that intuition of where your limbs are and the position of every joint – become subtle.  And I realized that I had been painfully consciously aware of my body for as long as I can remember.  Now it’s as if someone turned the volume down.

At first it felt like my arms weren’t even there – in a pleasant way.  I was briefly worried about bumping into things, but that didn’t happen.  Then I got used to it, now it feels normal.

At least that’s my experience as someone who’s trans.  And I’m definitely trans, I know this now.  I’m more relieved than angry.  It feels like I have my life ahead of me, which I’ve rarely felt.  It’s nice.

 

I’m starting on spironolactone soon, and I’m afraid to.  Illogical, but true.

 

no return

My manicure is wrecked and it’s only Tuesday.

I don’t know what to think.  I’m becoming used to myself, my gender, and now it’s a grind.  Day after day, whoever I am.  There were some students flirting awkwardly on the quad and it all seems so normal, everything.

Leia called me ‘she’ at the dinner table with her family and nobody blinked.  Maybe I blinked.  The deli guy called me ma’am when my back was turned.  Neither of us really seemed to register this, but we looked at each other over a cheap turkey-egg-and-cheese sandwich with a sort of confused understanding.

 

It’s cold again.  My iPhone shuffles songs and some of them remind me of when all this started.  The Bird and The Bee, Spoon, the scary-beautiful winter when I told Leia that I’m a woman.  Everything changed.  I remember listening to Gimmie Fiction on vinyl, staring at the wall, not thinking everything.

I had never been so lost and I remember it so fondly.  And there’s no going back.  I’m used to being myself, in all of my incompleteness and complexity.  The contradictions, a strange understanding of other women and men, a strange separateness from them.

I realize that I’ve felt this all my life.  It’s better now that I know.