ex-narratio

It’s 8:40 pm.  It might as well be 8:40 pm forever, and this is all I do.  Write, write, write, walk around.

Some guy spit on the sidewalk walking past me and I swear I could feel it on my eyelashes.  I should feel something more.  Life is filled with these subtle, obscene social gestures from total strangers.

Walking, and walking home around midnight, some guy started following me and shouting; asking me where I was going.  And I pulled a shank out of my hair.  There’s nothing subtle about that.

 

Every morning I open my eyes and marvel at how painful it can be to lie still for seven or eight hours.  A series of information enters my mind, generally reminding me that it’s going to be a struggle to prepare to leave and a struggle to get enough done when I’m out there.  This morning, and most mornings I try to come to terms with myself; to some level of acceptance and self-love, but not so much so that I panic at how thoroughly screwed I am.

I shake off memories of dreams that are only pleasant when I’m having them, and disturbing in the light of day; getting lost on the highways, ex-friends coming out to me, being recognized for my work.

 

Sometime an eternity or two months or so ago, I spoke to my ex-friend who said she used to have a narrative for her life but now she doesn’t.  I refused to relate at the time, but now not so much.

Because all I know is the present, and it’s 9:06 pm.

 

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thirty-something

It’s something I harp on, but it’s difficult to be completely alone in this world.  Indeed, I’m not completely alone, I have two core relationships left to speak of, but it feels like I am; and that I need to learn to deal with it, because how can two people possibly provide for all of my needs?  I am truly afraid to ask, because what if I lose them too?

Is it even possible to go it alone?  Everyone says it isn’t but I hope they’re wrong.

 

As far as the transition goes, it’s just wildly successful.  I hardly have to think of myself as anything other than female anymore.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but apparently I wasn’t expecting my transition to work.  Now I’m a thirty-something year old woman who is just horribly afraid of dying or getting old, because I just got here.  It’s kind of irrational, but in the absence of a past or any substantial present, it’s the clearest set of emotions that I experience.

 

On an average day, it takes five hours to get myself passable and out the door, where I embrace the vast nothing-ness that is life.  Every day I try to find a way forward, parting a fog of negative emotions.  Many, many things I don’t care to think about, which it is not necessary to think about, surprisingly.  It’s good enough to attend to my work, or the bill collectors, take out the trash, write my papers, shop for hair spray.  And I don’t know what’s going to happen.  I’m learning not to care, telling myself that I’ve got mine and it doesn’t matter, won’t matter, can’t matter.  That caring is the worst thing I’ve ever done, a mistake.  That if I don’t care the world can’t hurt me, anymore.

 

surgery and aftermath

It’s a mob scene at the local pizza place, one of the places I can go to write at eleven at night.  The busser calls me ‘buddy’ and I feel his hand on the small of my back as he moves me into a different line, “You don’t need to wait behind these people.”

People give me these crossed signals between male and female – and I never realized how controlling it is to touch a woman on the small of her back and move her, directly where my center of gravity is located, at my disturbingly handle-like middle.

 

It was relatable when people would do this, to misgender me but subconsciously treat me like a woman.  It mirrored my internal state, the constant dissonance of being a woman with a penis.

I would try to compensate with makeup and soft pastel clothing.  Failing this, I would try to assert my identity in spite of my anatomy.  Failing this, I would try not to think about my anatomy at all, which made my inner life fantastically complex.  I didn’t realize how complex it had become.

 

surgery

In the whirlwind leading up to genital reconstructive surgery there was little time to think, but I knew what I wanted.  I knew that if they botched the surgery, it would be better than having a penis, which provided a stoic optimism.  In retrospect there was little chance my surgeon would irreversibly botch the surgery.

I remember lying there speaking to her assistant.

 

“How are you feeling?”

“I’m nervous.”

 

“Do you still want to have surgery today?”

“Yes.”

 

I signed the final handful of forms, which detailed everything that could go wrong.  I complimented them on their projected complication percentages.

They clipped the forms into their many binders and filled out their paperwork.

I laughed reflexively at their inside jokes.

 

I asked the anesthesiologists to warn me before they did anything.  I must have asked them this like three times.

“You have such beautiful big brown eyes.”

This is the last thing I remember.

 

That night and the following night I begged the nurses for more morphine so I could sleep.  I was caught off guard by the sheer pain involved with this surgery, which made me feel naive.

My roommate came to visit and brought me a stuffed animal.  I can hardly remember what we talked about but I will never forget that he visited me.

Some of the nurses and staff looked at me like I was unusual, even though there were three other trans people on the floor of that hospital.  Was it my voice?  That I had days of growth on my unpainted face?  Was it because I slept with a stuffed animal?  Everyone was really nice though.

 

I lay in my mother’s lap on the taxi ride home.

 

aftermath

I try to lay down as much as possible, as my doctor said to do.  I’m alone for the most part and I have time to think.  What has this cost me?  I take stock of my life and what I’ve done, what I’ve accomplished; I may have traded everything else to become whole.  A tidal wave of rejection, my colleagues, my best friends, my father, they are absent from this story, and absence now speaks louder than anything.

I need people.  I’ve never seen so much of my own blood, and I need support.  I’ve irrevocably changed who I am, overnight, and I need someone to tell me who I’ve become, because I don’t know.

 

But I made the right decision, because it’s the sort of thing where ya just know.

And there’s nothing heavier than the difficult thing with which I’ve had no choice.

 

square zero

I’ve taken to blending out.  It’s like blending in, but in addition to looking normal you try your damnedest to go unnoticed.  It’s like passing, it’s related to passing.  I hate that term ‘passing’ like ‘pass for a woman.’  I don’t even care anymore, just as long as no one sees me, which is ironic.

 

It’s anticlimactic, ‘passing.’  It’s getting back to square zero, where everyone starts, “Oh look it’s a baby boy.”  The birthright, your gender.  I get a gender.

I wonder how I could have explained this to myself a year ago, if I could go back in time; that I go by a female name with a mostly female body, that I don’t live in the same place or have the same job.  That, all told, it cost about $20,000 (not including doctors’ visits and most prescription costs).  That our only real ambition now is to get through the day without feeling like crawling under a rock, to go unnoticed.  To live quietly, our painless lives.

 

Relatively painless.  I don’t know what I would have done or said if I had heard this a year ago.  I think I would have felt joy.  I think I could have lost consciousness.  I think I might have hugged me, I don’t know.  Why do I think about these things?

 

work, tears, music

I came home early from work today in tears, the kind of tears that don’t quite escape your eyelid and dry and make them all sticky…  And it hit me.  This is why so many trans people commit suicide.  It fucking hurts.  It hurts like hell, and no amount of love and understanding, no amount of self-awareness is going to get my body back.  Not that I ever had a female body, but no one ever said this shit made sense either.

I will never commit suicide.  I have shrinks and drugs and I wouldn’t put my people through that.  But I understand why people do it now, I mean I understood before, but I never just sat and faced the pain of this before.  I don’t want to describe it.

I have to go back.  I put on a pot of coffee and ate some cheerios.  I made this playlist.  It’s going to be ok.

 

The Bird and the Bee – The Races  (Please Clap Your Hands)

The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1  (Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots)

The Beta Band – Human Being  (Hot Shots, Vol. 2)

The Bird and the Bee – Ray Gun  (Ray Guns are not Just the Future)

Metric – Raw Sugar  (Grow Up and Blow Away)

No Doubt – Just a Girl  (Tragic Kingdom)

Coldplay – Viva La Vida  (Viva La Vida)

The White Stripes – Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine  (Elephant)

 

too tall

Being trans, but not very outwardly trans, is strange to me.  I don’t feel like I can share the first thing about me, my gender, because people don’t understand and it becomes irrelevant.  This is my experience sharing with others who are not very close or BFF.  They say, “that’s interesting” or, “that’s great” or something awkward, and nothing changes.  They still relate to me as a man.  I could walk into my workplace every single day and say, “hello everyone, please remember that I’m a woman.”  And I won’t be heard, only seen for what I apparently am, a man.

 

I paint my nails once or twice a week.  I paint them with a semi-matte polish.  I started using two coats.  It’s not too glossy, not too clear.  And I am sad.

Is this my female identity?  My nails and a cute haircut?  A silver ankle bracelet that Leia (my girlfriend) gave me while we were on vacation?  My trans girl blog?

I search for answers to these questions every day and sometimes I write about it.  Fluorescent lights glint off of my nails as I type, reflected in the glare of an iPad.  It feels risky, reckless.  It scares me to write in my blog.  But I don’t want to live in a world where I’m afraid to speak my mind.  So I do.

 

It feels like the only way for the world to see me, to understand me, is to transition; to do the paperwork, take out loans, jump through hoops.  To deal with the lawyers, the doctors, the litany of painful and risky medical procedures, voice therapy, walking lessons.  To accept sterility, liver damage, sharply restricted access to medical resources.  To risk failure and the prospect of detransition.

And I hear that hormone therapy is a beautiful homecoming.  I believe it.  I dream to be reunited with something, chemicals to match my neurology and what-all.  I have no idea.  Maybe no one does.

This is all very painful to think about.  And my loved ones are rightfully distressed.  I fear that I would be dead to them if I transitioned.

 

And I’m too tall.  Maybe if I were an inch shorter, maybe twenty pounds lighter.  I don’t want to stand out, because few women are taller than me.  And many women that are taller seem to have transitioned.  They freak out or stare daggers at me when they notice me notice them.  Sorry.

 

beautiful freak

I believe that whoever applied the terms cis and trans to gender was a scientist with a sense of humor.

Cis and trans are terms used for two versions of a molecule that are mirror images of one another.  A realistic application of these terms to human beings would be to their DNA molecules.  But a mirror image of my DNA would be complete nonsense.  My genes and characteristics would be garbled like a corrupted NES rom.  If every cell of my body contained a mirror image of my DNA, I would die.

But I am alive; I am a beautiful freak.

 

I stare into space at the corner of a train window.  A man walks by and makes eye contact.  I know he doesn’t see me.

I feel a pain that is always with me, unknowable, annoying.  It’s the feeling in your bones when you’ve been sitting for too long.  I’ve never been able to shake this feeling.

 

A part of me is frozen and lost to my senses.  It defies understanding.  It is excruciating beyond words to feel what she doesn’t feel.

I will never be able to express myself to another human being.  No one will see me.  I will never see the light of day.  I never want to feel this way again!  I want to pretend that I never knew, that nothing happened, that I am not here.

 

I am a trans girl and I have a choice.  I can ignore myself or feel the agony of knowing.

So I type at my keyboard in the dead of night.  I want to know who I am.

 

I want to hate myself but I won’t.  I know what hate is now.  My appearance is changing and I’ve seen hate in the eyes of my neighbors, in strangers and in friends.  My mother fears that the world will turn against me if I tell anyone.  She fears that my father will turn against me and blame himself.

I know that hate stems from pain.  I can’t succumb to it, I won’t.

 

I caught myself explaining cis privilege to my girlfriend this weekend.  I’m like, “You don’t need to think about gender all the time.”  I realize how ridiculous I’m being.  Yes, we’ve known each other for a long time.  No, I can’t actually explain what is happening.  I’m sorry.

Those were the first words I spoke to her as a girl, “I’m sorry.”