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.



I woke up with the lights on, from a dreamless sleep.

I made a point of reading one of these SRS papers every night.  You kind of get used to it.  You get used to the pictures and the complications and the descriptions of dealing with complications.  You get used to the complication rate – always a solid 14 to 17 percent.  Why is it so steady?  Across surgeons?  Across groups?

Would it matter if there were no risk of complications?  Would it matter to my decision to pursue surgery?  The results are underwhelming, acceptable.  The post-op transgedered women, they are satisfied with their decision.

If I woke up with an honest-to-God vagina, I wouldn’t be satisfied.  I would be elated.  I would be many things.  And I probably wouldn’t be quiet about it.  The post-op transgedered women, they are very quiet, most of them.  Maybe it’s out of necessity.  I hope it’s out of necessity.


I’ve never not been able to decide something, but I can’t decide this.

I decide not to pursue surgery, but that’s unacceptable.  I decide to pursue surgery, but that’s too crazy.

This isn’t like the decision to transition, I can’t see an overwhelmingly positive outcome from either course of action.  And I can’t decide.


At first it was tearing me apart.  Now it’s just another thing that is out of my control, like the weather.  Something will happen eventually.


So I adhere to a fairly straightforward course of appointments and requirements, pulling up medical records, sending inquiries out into the medical community – assuring against all hell that sex reassignment surgery is an option that is available to me.

Because I know I’ve sacrificed to preserve this option; it’s just not something that people understand.  I don’t understand it either.


I find myself in the mindset of someone purchasing fire extinguishers or extra car insurance.

I might need this



Before I became aware of the first thing about myself, I swam.  I swam a couple of miles a week, one mile at a time.  I swam like the devil was chasing me.

He was.  I didn’t know it at the time.  It was 2012, it was winter, and I imagined myself to be a woman.  I put this out of my mind and kept swimming.

Spending so long in water, your muscles adapt, and movement through and across the water becomes easier; then very easy.  The heat you would normally accumulate burning 700 calories per hour goes unnoticed.

Your body develops its own intelligence, its own purpose.  Presumably, not to drown.  But it goes deeper than that…


I don’t swim anymore.  I wish I did.

I can’t stand it, because soon I won’t be able to for a long time.