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.


day 51

After about 51 days I realized I’m not like other people.

After a long walk, after I had time to get out of my immediate surroundings and think; I stood outside on a train platform even though it was freezing.  I leaned my back against the wall and rested my eyes, closed them, and realized I was crying.

I’m not like other people, I’m not.  I forced myself to open my eyes as I noted that my mascara isn’t waterproof and dabbed them carefully.


It is really, truly cold outside but I don’t care.  It actually takes the edge off a little bit.

People pass by, look at me and quickly look away.  I don’t care.  I’m crying because of the cold, obviously.  Or because I’m pregnant, or not pregnant, or was pregnant…  At least that’s what I used to think when I saw an extraordinarily sad girl.  I guess that has something to do with it, anyone thinking that would be somewhere in the ballpark of correct, I suppose.

But again, it doesn’t matter.  I’m not like them.  I tell myself it’s comforting.


Later, I’m walking through the crowds, taller than most.  Numb.

I can see it now; I’ll move soon.  I’ll take a new job in a new city and I’ll never breathe a word of what happened to me to anyone who doesn’t have their head between my legs.  Most likely, I won’t breathe a word of this to anyone.  And I’ll be just like them.


for myself

Why do I sit here every other week and bleed my heart out into the aether for anyone who is listening?

I did it for myself.  The primary enemy of my transition is my own transphobia and shame.  I didn’t know this two years ago, but on instinct I endeavored to be as open as possible about all of this.  Little did I know that I was preparing myself for random people’s questions about my junk; testing my boundaries of what I am and am not comfortable sharing with others, and learning to accept myself – learning that what I’m doing is amazing and noble and worth telling the world about.


Because I was born a man and am somehow, mysteriously but surely, a woman.  And I have to deal with it.  I have to deal with battle royale-style arguments with religious types who want to debate my gender.  And I have to deal with colleagues of over half a decade who won’t give me the time of day.

But I did it for myself.  I had to choose between making a go of being a woman or to die trying to be a man.  I chose myself, I chose life, and I am awesome.  I’m not ashamed of that.


before the fall

I’m not sure what to write, because all of this is so damn bizarre.  Life is completely different than I thought it was.


There are stealth people everywhere, which is profoundly annoying.  I don’t know where to begin to describe this purely body language and eye contact interaction between trans people.

Stealthy:  I feel so sorry for you.  There’s so much I want to say, but I’m stealth and can’t risk getting within three meters of you.

Me:  Why is that person staring at me like they know me?  Why aren’t they looking away now?  Oh, you’re stealth.  Fuck you man.


It’s weird.  The only thing that isn’t weird right now is the morning, before anyone wakes up and it’s just me and my routine: stretch, coffee, shower, coffee, cereal/oatmeal, makeup, walk.

My mom is acting like I’m the daughter she always wanted.  My dad is acting like I’m dead but we’re still talking and he’s supportive somehow.  Life with friends is like nothing happened, which is nice, and weird in and of itself.

Everyone’s relieved that I changed my gender presentation, ironically.  But they still call me ‘he’, which is bizarre.


And I want to forget my life before the fall.  All of the memories of someone I used to know – someone who used to be me, somehow.

I’d heard of transitioning being like death, like dying.  If only it were that simple.