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.
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?
I feel, seemingly for the first time, like my nature and the world are not working against me. I feel like I’m riding a wave that is mine. In the distance is a simple future. I don’t know why. What could possibly be simple about any of this? Looking back at my life as it was, relative simplicity wouldn’t be that difficult to achieve.
I feel like my life is very fragile and short. Almost as if the pain I’d experienced in the past made time pass slowly and now there’s nothing to hold it back. At this rate, I’ll be dead before I know it.
I’m handed a new ID that I’m startled is my own. My friends tell me I look nothing like I did two months ago.
I have trouble expressing myself, trailing off in speech with ‘I don’t knows’ and ‘it’s complicated.’
My life as it is, where it’s going, doesn’t follow any path or template that I’ve known or heard about. I have surprisingly little opinion about this. It is what it is. People seem to understand that.
What is this? I feel my consciousness absorbed into others’ – “what do you think?” “What do they think?” “It’s up to you.” And I’m reassured, which is good because I worry about what people say. Things people say can stick with me for months, stick to objects that I interact with. I used to get hung up about things I did.
I pass restaurants on the street, with men at their tables talking about whatever. The constant chatter of men and their activities, projects, and ideas is supplanted by a social network of women that seems to keep tabs on everyone at all times.
When I’m alone, it still feels like I’m waiting for something. I don’t know what.
I’ve never really lived for today. Every day was a dissociative fugue, a hope for something better, because how could it not be better? But now I’m present, which is obviously exhilarating and all, but it’s unexpected and unexpected things have been happening.
It’s as if I took a cloud of gender dysphoria and condensed it down and made it a physical thing, which can be avoided and assumedly dealt with.
In the meantime, I shower in near darkness and dress with my back to the mirror.
When I slam my fist into my bathroom vanity armoire cubby, it doesn’t budge.
I’m physically weaker.
I’m reminded that this is a big deal and it’s absurd to focus on physical, superficial details.
I’m reminded to give it time.
There’s all of the stuff I’ve read about – I tear up when I miss the bus now.
‘Stop doing that.’
But something is very different about me. It’s as if a glacier in my mind has finally found its resting place. Things that would upset me, and seriously dog me for years – stupid stuff – I don’t really think about anymore. And I’m not sure what I should be doing with my time.
I have a routine; work 45 hours a week, consume 2300 calories a day, sleep 9 hours a night. Repeat. It keeps everything moving, the result of obsessive worrying and planning, trial and error. I kind of go along with it, but I’ve lost track of everything else. I don’t know what’s changing and how or when anymore. It’s a lot, and I care. But I don’t really know.
I think it’s out of my hands now.
I told a friend that I am transgender. He said he doesn’t know anything about it but that it sounds great. I was taken aback. My girlfriend said the same thing, that my trans-ness is not a problem, that it is good. It doesn’t seem that simple.
Yes, realizing who I am is like standing under a waterfall in 120 degree heat, an overwhelming and unparalleled experience of joy, so epic, so wonderful; it brings me to tears. I love myself. But I miss humanity. I miss the simple pleasure of watching a movie and saying, “me too.” I miss meeting new people and really getting to know them. I feel fortunate now to keep the friends I have. It’s daunting.
I am lonelier than I’ve ever been. I feel disconnected from people and places that I’ve known. I can’t remember their names. It feels like five years have passed and it’s only been eight months.
Yet, I feel a strange and powerful sense of achievement. Yes, I am a woman. I feel confident in myself and my abilities, more human, more complete. But it costs. I feel like I’m in outer space, that I have achieved the unachievable and am so far away from where I started that nothing matters.
Sometimes I dream that I am an astronaut on another planet. When I look back home to Earth, it is the only place I want to be.
Awake, I promise myself that I will find my home someday, somewhere I can feel a part of. It’s so far away.