Hey everyone! It’s already Sunday again, and it’s been an absolutely insane week. In a very messed up series of events I ended up homeless and then re-homed without any effort on my own part in a recovery house full of ex-cons and addicts. All dudes. And I feel safer here, by several degrees, than I did at the last place I was living. It’s new and interesting and a welcome change.
Living with a bunch of men means more or leas enforced boy mode, which is kind of more difficult than I expected, but nobody seems to have a problem with me being what I am and everyone is really nice, so I think it’s a workable arrangement.
In a twist that’s not much of a twist, I’ve more or less been diagnosed with an anxiety issue (said every trans woman ever). I honestly thought it was physical.
Also, I started a new anti-androgen medication to replace Spironalactone, called Bicalutimide. It seems to have had a very positive effect on my energy levels, and while I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety from my life situation, it seems like work is better. Also, I’ve *finally* started electrolysis in earnest!
Anyway, that’s it for life updates! Now for the story. Originally, I was saving this one until I could unpack my stuff enough to locate that old journal where I have the back and forth notes I talk about at the end of the piece, because it’s a very, very unusually unbelievable story and I wanted to ground it some. Alas, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, so here you are.
It’s cold, wet, and raining, and all of the usual bus station miscreants have clustered underneath the shallow, faded blue awning. The Greyhound station seems even less safe than usual, which is saying something.
Greyhound stations. Home of the hungry ghosts.
You shuffle to adjust the pale green army stuff sack that’s been rubbing uncomfortably against your backpack. It’s not a long walk from where you live-maybe two blocks and a footbridge, but already your shoulders ache. You wait for a cab to pass, cross the single lane street, experience a spike of anxiety, and try to keep from locking eyes with any of the tweakery bums while you enter the station.
The line today is extra-long, snaking back and forth between strap dividers on smudged stainless steel poles. You slump, allowing your bags to hit the ground with a thud and a sigh of relief.
After taking moment to rub your shoulders, you decide it’s a good time to people-watch. So you scan the crowd, just seeing what you can see. Maybe you’ll find yourself a single-serving friend for the afternoon ride. After all, there’s nothing like company to make the four-hour trip feel a little shorter. The line isn’t very interesting today- it’s just more people heading home for the holiday. Here, a bald old man with a small suitcase and a cane. There, a frumpy woman and her tired-looking kids. Here, a couple keeping to themselves, holding hands in lethargic, bored silence.
Somehow, you think, bus stations are paradoxes. Time stands still in a bus station, and yet nothing is ever on time. Nobody talks, yet it’s always loud. Anxiety and boredom droop lazily across the scratched and scraped flooring like a puddle that should have evaporated long ago, but is still clinging to it’s roots. What’s worse? The shuffling line or the biting metal benches?
You glance across the bus station at the terminal you’re pretty certain is going to be yours (not your first rodeo). It’s a long ways off from here- the people look like they’re about the size of lego men. A couple of them appear to be reading, one person looks like maybe they’re doing sudoku, that girl in the black leather jacket who cuts herself is listening to her headphones, someone else is trying to take a nap and failing, and...
What a stupid thought.
You glance back at the girl, trying to determine her age. She could be anywhere from twelve to twenty- at this distance it’s impossible to tell. And yet... Something in your stupid brain is absolutely certain that she’s a cutter. You just know it. It seems a fact about her as obvious as her giant black headphones, yet you can’t tell her age, much less see through her jacket to know. It’s disconcerting.
“Hey, you gonna move up or what?” Queries the person behind you in line. There’s a huge gap- you’ve been staring. Embarassed, you forget about the cutter(?), grab your bags, and move up in line.
The ticket says terminal 11, so you head towards the back, right towards her. The closer you get, the stronger the feeling-sense becomes. She can’t be more than thirteen, fourteen.
What the fuck, dude? Stop it. This isn’t healthy! But you can’t stop yourself from looking at her, trying to find any kind of visual clue that this girl cuts herself.
It doesn’t matter. It’s none of your business. Stop obsessing. You sit on a bench perpendicular to her and ignore her. Why would she do something like that? Wait, what the hell? Why am I asking that kind of question without even having confirmation?
Ridiculous, violent scenes begin playing out in your mind. Scenes of abuse, of self-abuse, of rage and despair and Jesus christ dude pull yourself together! You really don’t want to be thinking of this kind of messed up stuff.
They call a gate, and you miss the number because your mind is too loud. People stand and begin lining up. Your attention shifts to what’s going on outside of you, rather than within, and the scenes subside.
For a moment, your reality had seemed vaguely split between watching what’s going on outside of you and the alien scenes of violence playing out in your minds eye. The images were almost visual and arresting and clear-you could draw them if you were good enough, but you aren’t, and you wouldn’t. They don’t superimpose themselves on reality- it’s more like a fresh memory of a film, only with feelings.
Wondering if you’re becoming some sort if creepy stalker, you make contact. You have to.
“Hey, sorry to bug you- did they call gate 11?” You ask.
She looks up, says “Yeah”, and then focuses on the line.
So you’re on the same bus. You get in line behind her, mind going crazy, forcing yourself not to rip her sleeves up, forcing yourself not to cry at the bullshit idiocy going on in your mind, because the curiosity is growing again and with it, the scenes have returned. “Come on dude, cut it out, just cut it out, cut it out, cut it out...”
You can’t tell which meaning you’re going for- are you describing or pleading? You wish it would cut it out. Instead, the (hopefully) temporary insanity follows you as you follow her right onto your bus. She sits about halfway back, and you plop down across the aisle, hoping against your own sanity that she takes her coat off and you can get a glimpse of her arms.
This is unhealthy, unchristian, and I’ve got to make it stop! But thinking never stops feeling and seeing, does it? So you just have to endure.
The bus is mostly empty, which is a good sign- you’re taller than any person reasonably ought to be, and greyhound seats are absolute torture. If you get both, you can sort of stretch out sideways and at least the ride is bearable. Once you get settled in, the visions fade a little, and it’s a tremendous relief.
You pull out your sketchbook and try to sketch, but while the intensity has waned it hasn’t stopped and the constant mental noise is ruining your headspace. You glance over- she’s reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Too bad for her you think- that book was super hard to get through. Like, it felt like the middle section was neeeveerr gooooooooiinnggg tooo eeeendd so they could get back to school and all the fun stuff.
Thinking about the book, the intensity quiets down enough that you can concentrate on something else, so you start doodling in your sketchbook. The bus is leaving the city, and for now it seems like things are going to be fine. Of course they’ll be fine. Whatever that was is over n...
The feeling comes back full-force. Everything at once.
WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?
You glance over at the girl, but now she’s fallen asleep.
Once again reality seems to have split between the world you’re living in and the visions, or waking dreams, or alien memories or whatever the fuck these are. It’s as if it’s you.
He grabs you by the hair and violently drags you towards the room, throwing you by your hair and screaming obscenities. You land on splintered debris and crawl into the room, and you’d lock the door but you tried that once and that’s why it’s hanging broken on one hinge. Instead you curl up on the bed, unsafe and too afraid to cry or hide.
There are feelings to these, sensations, scents.
You’re jarred awake by the odor of alcohol, dark and familiar, like the night. He’s barely even conscious as he rips the covers back and your pajamas down and does what he does. All the while, you silently plead: cut it out, cut it out, cut it out, over and over.
This is morbid. Hellish. Maybe it’s demons, but it doesn’t feel like evil. It’s a feeling you recognize, only far, far more intense than you’ve ever known it. Trauma.
But you’re just imagining things. You just had some random thought and all of this is an extension of that. You’re just torturing yourself with a morbid, misplaced curiosity.
She’s asleep. Is she dreaming? Would I wake her up if I pull back her sleeves and check?
You try to get a good look at her, see if you can see without touching her, but in the position she’s in you can’t tell. And if you move across the aisle people might misinterpret your intentions. And if all these horrors in your mind are real in any fashion, even exaggerated figuratively to hell, that would not be a compassionate way to make contact.
And so you don’t.
An hour passes, curiosity continually building. Another hour. By now nothing new is occurring in the visions- it’s variations of the same three or four moments occurring over and over and over but not linearly. Please, you pray, cut it out?
Another hour passes. How is it even possible for curiosity to hurt this much? You endure.
A third excruciating hour.
Finally, the bus stops for lunch at the Pilot station near Stanfield. Everyone stands and stretches. She’s one of the first people out, beelining towars the bathroom. You step out and are blasted by the heat- it’s the desert here: hot, sunny, and dusty orange furnace light everywhere. You beeline over to McDonalds, taking off your jacket, all the while feeling like you can see her in your mind’s eye, walking into the ladies room, closing herself in a stall, pulling out her razor, slicing her arm almost trivially, staring at it for a moment, pulling her sleeve down, and heading out.
You ordered something quick and cheap, and as you pick it up you some how feel as if she’s just left. If this heat doesn’t make her take off her jacket, nothing will. And she’d never do it in front of people, so it would have to be now when she’s alone.
You’d planned to eat inside, but change your mind and head outside towards the bus. Sure enough, she’s sitting on the red gravel fill on the other side of the curb.
Her jacket is off. You can’t tell if there are any cuts.
She sees you coming and stands up.
You walk faster.
She boards the bus.
You board after her and act like you’re just going to sit down.
She’s fumbling with her jacket, trying to put it on. Nervous?
But it’s over now. You know.
Because all you can see are the injuries.
Hundreds, maybe thousands. Just on her arms. Keloid scars like fat maggots sliced in two by still-oozing wounds. Long and short and criss-crossed over and over from the wrist to the shoulder, all the way around, curving across her clavicle and vanishing down her shirt. No empty space. Blood trickles from a shallow cut above her left wrist, right where your imagination placed it.
Oh my God.
Was that all real? Is this some kind of psychic experience?
You must have been spacing out because her coat is back on and you didn’t even notice it happen. She’s looking at you.
Your heart breaks.
You have to talk to her.
The bus begins loading again, more than double the earlier number of passengers, and by the time you think of moving next to her, it’s too late.
But you have to talk to her. But how? You can’t say anything in front of all these people. It’s not safe.
Wait. You have your journal. Perfect.
You pass her a note.
The last half an hour ends too soon, and you step off the bus and retrieve your bags, bewildered and drained, waiting for your little brother to pick you up.
Hey everyone, I have a story post written and prepared, but I feel like instead I’d like to open up a bit and be a bit vulnerable with how I’ve been feeling.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about death and dying rather a lot. It feels as though I’m trapped, blocked on every side by problems that only pretend to be beatable, but which actually are not. And they’re building. Bit by bit.
I’m overwhelmed so much of the time by one thing or another, and it so often feels like all my options in life boil down to one thing: just keep going. Just don’t die, because people love you, and suicide would hurt them more than you're hurting and they don’t deserve it. They don’t. They’ve all been so good to you. But that’s the whole problem: how long until you’re in a stable enough position that you can be good to someone else? How long before your continued existence isn’t dependent on being a burden on other people?
Most days at work I last until noon. Once lunch is over, the struggle starts. I stop being good at my job because My IQ drops about fifty points and I find myself just staring at the screen for periods of time, trying to remember what I was doing while fighting off the intensifying pain in my body. Somehow, some things get done. Most days start out optimistic, end in misery. Sometimes that’s just fatigue, other times that’s muscle spasms that are my body’s way of coping with the pain. I had a day where I couldn’t make my hand do what I wanted for over an hour because it kept flicking in the wrong direction and I kept having to ctrl-z over and over. But if I can push through, it levels out after an hour or two and then I can be moderately productive for the last two.
Some days I try to work but can’t and try anyway until my boss sends me home sick. He’s a saint for hiring me at all, much less feeling that I’m worth the trouble and stress of having me as an employee. But beyond the physical, work has been stressful in the pay department. I know why it’s happening, and I trust that the problems aren’t intentional or continuing, but when your paycheck is three days late, and then when you get it, it bounces and you find yourself overdrawn a few days before your next payday, it’s really tough to feel secure.
Complicating matters I have this new place, an apartment with two people I don’t really know. And it’s not going particularly well. I’ll probably have to move again soon, and the prospect feels defeating. Work takes so much out of me that I still haven’t been able to bring all my stuff here or finish unpacking all the stuff I did bring. I’m so sick of being disabled and having no stability. And I’m worried that trying to work full time is making my physical condition deteriorate again. It’s really, really scary.
So my body, work, and living situation are all on thin ice. But wait, there’s more. Don’t worry: At the end of this long whiny diatribe there’s a silver lining. I hope as much can be said for life.
But first, let’s talk about gender dysphoria. Or as I like to call it: endless psychological torture.
Right now I’m starting to experience what I can only assume are the beginning stages of gender misogyny. Which is to say, random people seem to think I’m stupid and an unreliable witness to my own life. And it sucks, but it’s a lot better than having to deal with people trying to force me to *man up*, which they’re still doing, by the way. As long as they can tell I’m male, they’ll do that. Thus, it’s the worst of both worlds and so far the benefits of neither.
Moreover, relative to my natal sex, I’m gay. Which is to say, that through no fault or desire of my own, my body responds in a physical way to men that it never has to women. When I say I’m gay, I mean that as a description of my physical experience. I don’t want to be physically attracted to men because it causes a lot of social problems. But I am. And if a decade and a half of repressing it and forcing myself to try to think of women sexually hasn’t worked by now, it’s not going to. If I could just be into gay guys that would be great, but they don’t often seem to do much for me, and generally gay men want men. Straight men generally want normal women. Or at the very least they want people who look like normal women. So I’m in a very lonely stage of transition.
My flamer tendencies are getting harder and harder to keep under control because I’m just flat out too exhausted to keep on policing every action I take. I’ve been doing it since high school, and I just can’t keep it up. I can feel it annoy anyone who isn’t female. But I just forget myself and then it happens and then I want to hide under a rock.
Fuck, I can’t even dress myself without anxiety, lately. It’s this balance between feeling like I look okay and feeling like I might get beat up. Which is ridiculous, considering where I live, but if it were to happen I couldn’t defend myself. I’m neither strong nor fast. I’m just tall.
When I was younger, I had a lot more genital dysphoria. Lately, I don’t really care all that much- genitals don’t have any particular affect on my daily life. But what *really* bugs me are my adam’s apple, voice, and beard. The rest of me leaves things to be desired for sure, but those three are the Spanish Inquisition. Facial hair is parasitic worms extruding constantly from my face (not really a metaphor, by the way, I can feel them growing and coiling and pushing their way out sometimes), my adam’s apple is a spear through my neck that always makes me feel choked, and my voice is a clear indicator to the world that I’m really just a failed man and the reason that music is rapidly becoming a sacrifice.
Look! I drew a pretty picture of happy joyfulness! Life is great! Everybody dance! My anus is bleeding! For the love of God and ALL THAT IS HOLY MY ANUS IS BLEEDING!!!
-Parts of diatribe shameless stolen from Don Herdtzfelt’s “Rejected Cartoons”
And all of it, social and physical, pale in comparison to the moment I look in the mirror and see parts of my father staring back.
I don’t hate him, but if you’ve been reading my blog up until now you’ll have some idea of just how complicated my feelings towards him are. The last time we spoke, things seemed pretty good. Half an hour later he was on the phone with my brother, trying to convince him to kick me out in the beginning of winter because I’m “acting outside of submission to the church”.
I don’t hate him. But I do, oh God, I loathe the parts of him I see in me. Comparatively, I could care less about my gender dysphoria. It’s background noise. But looking in the mirror and seeing my dad makes me want to take a razor to my face. It would help if I could make myself suffer the worms and keep a beard, but that’s not so cathartic either. And so transitioning seems a fine solution. It works for me on a lot of levels- I’ve already got more feminine interests than masculine ones, I’m a failure of a man, I’m sexually attracted to men, I’m on hormones whether I want to be or not (and now that everything I was worried about losing is lost I’d stay on them even if I were cured), and the changes the hormones have already made in the past eight months have been relieving in ways I didn’t know they could be.
But that doesn’t make me a woman. It makes a gay man with a fear and repulsion for his own masculinity, a medical problem, and daddy issues that are increasingly beginning to look like PTSD from childhood abuse. You’d think I’d have grown the fuck up and gotten over it by now. I haven’t. Oh well.
In short, I’m really fucked up.
So my living situation, health, and ability to work or have agency in my own life are all on very thin ice. Add to that sometimes severe anxiety, physical and social dysphoria, the reality that hormones are not enough to solve the social gender problem, the fact that I can’t even manage to afford to start electrolysis or any surgeries that can ease the rest of the tortures so I can think more clearly, and the painful fact that I’m very unlikely to ever be in the physical shape to have any real hope of that, perhaps the fact that I can’t stop contemplating suicide lately will come as no surprise. Life is just killing me.
I’m so, so tired of the endless bullshit. God, please: I just want to be done. If I’m lucky enough to get into an accident and I’m on life support, please, for the love of God, pull the plug. Let me go.
This is where things shift gears a little:
I’m hurting, God, so much. But I’m still not done. Maybe I have the will to keep on just a little longer.
Because my life isn’t just about me and my struggles. I’m not alone over here. I’m here with a lot of wonderful people, and they’re all hurting too. Some of them are trying to survive as they fight to remain sober. Some of them are trying to come to terms with the reality that family can be real, fighting the aching anxiety of imminent abandonment even in the midst of a perfect dream. Some of them are dealing with their own pain or disabilities or dysphorias. Some of them have given up their time to help others who don’t seem so grateful. All of them love someone. All of them are loved by someone.
And my own life is not my own. Changing my name or gender marker or body doesn’t let me off the hook. It solves some problems and creates others. But I’m not here so that world can validate me: I’m here because I am a being who can make choices, and even in the middle of this kind of borderline pergatory I can choose to make the choice to choose to love. And if I can be that, choose that always, fill myself with it, then I’ll become love and learn that my value isn’t in my situation. Rather, it’s in the way I choose to handle the pain.
Right now it doesn’t really make me feel any better. But maybe it gives me a little bit more strength- it’s always nice to be reminded we have choices, even if it’s just the simple choice of how to feel about being in a place where nothing feels safe and you feel powerless.
Powerless and endangered though I may feel, those feelings are an illusion, a veil of sorrow brought on by changing hormones and the process of grieving the loss of the painstakingly constructed iron maiden I shed the moment I informed the Christian world I’m several levels of pariahs in one.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have value.
About a year ago, somewhere in the eight-month span between realizing I’m going to have to transition and having the balls to begin, I wrote a song called “My Heart is a Garden”.
It’s a love song, a song I wrote to express my sheer gratitude at how wonderful and open my partner at the time (a woman), had been in helping me explore and come to terms with the immensely difficult feelings involved in accepting my transness. I wrote the song before I actually came out to her, because I mistakenly assumed that her previous behavior would indicate support. When it didn’t, the song felt like a lie. But it kept it, because somehow it was more than just a song for her. It is perhaps the most poetic and perfect love song I have ever written or ever will.
This week, I was blessed enough to give it to a couple I care about very much as a wedding gift. We were all standing around a fire on the beach as darkness fell, the cold sinking into us, but somehow the song warmed us all. It’s the only time on my life that I knew there was only one song I could play, and in which I played only one song. It was right. It felt meant to be.
And if I hadn’t been through all the pain and the hurt and this whole ridiculous experience of coming to terms with transition, I’d never have written it, and that night would have been missing an important piece and we’d never have known. It’s not the first time that song has made someone cry. Not by a long shot.
So maybe there’s a purpose to suffering. Maybe there’s a secret beauty in pain. Maybe pain and being unsafe are just different ways of framing the sensations we experience in the process of becoming whatever it is the seeds inside of us, the ones we’ve chosen to focus our watering on anyway, have been growing into.
And maybe, just maybe, it’s okay to love myself despite everything. Yes, all my life I’ve been a coward and a liar, constantly modelling my personality on what I thought was the least likely get me abused and never allowing the truth to show. Yes, people thought I was a normal straight guy unless they were dating me. Yes, I’m turning into a sometimes rather flamey gay man with boobs and transitioning in hopes that I’ll have a shot of living the rest of my life publicly appearing to be something people have historically and misogynistically seen as weak and stupid.
And if you’ve been to classes with me, if you thought that because some old fart put me in a position where I’m supposed to be imparting wisdom at y’all from some lofty enlightenment, give me a break. The point of all this isn’t to rise above suffering. The point is to reclaim it, and to use it to rise above ourselves. It’s a difficult process, and it takes time. We make mistakes. And sometimes it reveals things in us we’ve been hiding so deeply and for so long that the truth feels like a lie. Sometimes it makes us weak, like, actually genuinely weak.
But the truth always wins out in the end, but it’s only what actually happens that causes the causes and effects of life’s continuous karmic waves.
So I’m in pain. And right now I dare to say I am worth loving. I’m beautiful, even if I’m an awkwardly patchwork androgyne. I dare to believe that I can choose to do something as simple as transition, and that even if that choice fails to align my body, mind, and external reality there’s still going to be something worth learning about in the process.
Maybe I do have courage left. Maybe I’m not yet completely out of strength.
And I think that life won’t get easier. I’m still walking naked, straight into danger. I won’t feel safer. But maybe love and joy are found when I think of the happiness of others instead of my own pain. Maybe it’s not all about me.
So I vow to keep going. If I can. I will learn to focus beyond identity, to stop trying to figure myself out and just learn to live instead. Because focusing so much on my identity is really just a way of me trying to grasp for control of something when I could just be loving, instead. Even if we do manage to take control, it never lasts, does it? And half the time we just end up ruining any balance we had in the process.
Once more for everyone in the back:
I’m beautiful. I’m worth loving. Not because I’m perfect or physically stunning or because I’ve got life figured out. None of those things apply to me. Instead, I am worth it because I choose to believe there’s more to me, and to all of us, than life’s problems.
Hey everyone! Finally another story post! I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to this. I’m still settling into life and being creative as a full time job doesn’t leave me a lot of juice for storytelling. Lately, anyway.
Heads up: this post is NSFW. It’s not particularly graphic, and I’ve kept it short in order to prevent it from being too porn-ish and whatnot, and hopefully I don’t go into too much detail. But just know it’s about sex.
I leave it up to your discretion.
It’s mid-winter in Portland, and you’re fed up.
It’s not just the weather. The game company that hired you to do concept work just assigned you a list of nearly twenty assets (because you insisted you could do it, stupid you); school assigns homework as if each class were the only class you should have to take; you’re creatively burnt out; and your roommate has brought over that incredibly annoying new girl from the classes and they’re fucking loudly about three feet away.
Not that there’s really anywhere else they could conceivably go. Natasha, the other roommate, is a little over-possessive about the rest of the house space, partly because she’s selfish and partly because she just had a baby. She has also developed a habit of squirting you with her boob as you walk by, and thinks it’s absolutely hilarious.
Thank God for alcohol.
So while Nate and Gemma fuck loudly over by the closet, you swig directly from your waning bottle of cheap vodka and try to keep working.
Unfortunately, your aggravation levels are rising to something of a fever pitch and finally you just ask them to please, stop, and just fuck anywhere else than right here, right now.
“Hey,” Gemma says to Nate, “Let’s have him join us.”
“Hey Phil. Join us?” This is an unexpected turn of events, but not exactly a new idea. At least not as far as Nate is concerned. But you’re not in the mood at all, you find Gemma particularly undesirable, and above all right now you have work to do.
“No.” You say, allowing mild annoyance into your tone. “I have work to do”.
“Aww, come on!” Says Nate, mischievous and unperturbed. He’s gorgeous, and your closest friend. If you were a woman you’d date him in a second, and if it wouldn’t make your family despair over your soul you’d date him now and all the people who hate over homosexuality can go to hell. Nate’s better than their prejudice. But now is a very bad time. And also, not with her.
“No, seriously. I’m working. Can you just go in the bathroom or something?”
It isn’t until some years later, as you consider the events of that evening for inclusion in the overall narrative that you realize something:
Gemma is a non-transitioning trans man. If you flip the pronouns for you and him, the entire event takes a different overtone.
I personally feel as though this kind of thought experiment is important for illustrating just how differently we think about men and women in terms of what’s okay, sexually. Thus, for the remainder of the story, I will be ignoring the reality of the moment I’m recalling and invertinc the appropriate gender pronouns to illustrate a point.
If you were a part of this experience, please understand that I find it to be a very valuable memory and that I love you both dearly. I’m just trying to be as accurate to my feelings of the time as possible, while making a political point that I think extends outside the scope of a small post like this one.
And now we resume your regularly scheduled blog post...
“We can’t” Nate replies. “There’s no room and also Nat might need it.”
“It’s not like you care if people see you”, you point out. “Just do it in the tub or something. You’ve done it before.”
“Come on, all you’ve been doing for days is work. Take a break, come on!”
“No! God, I love you but please just let me work? Besides, he wouldn’t be into me anyway and you know it.” This last proclamation is a fatal mistake- Gemma’s not slow in the head.
He looks at Nate, spreading Loki smile. “What is she into?” He asks.
How does he know I’m into anything? Oh god Gemma’s such a gossip. Come on Nate, don’t tell him!
Nate looks at you, smiles mischievously, and tells him.
Something stirs in you. Shame mixed with anticipation. Panic. You definitely aren’t getting any work done now. What should you do? Hude your stash? Get angry and try to kick them out? You and Nate share a room, so that would be wrong. But what? He’s probably going to think you’re a freak and tell everyone.
“Where does she keep them?” Asks Gemma, now upright and excited.
“In the closet”, Nate replies, grinning like a cheshire, “I’ll show you”.
You glare at Nate in betrayal. This is not at all what you want to do right now. And yet... somehow it’s striking a fantasy. You’ve often imagined an older man taking control and doing this to you. Nate’s technically younger but it doesn’t matter at all right now. Maybe it’s because you’re drunk but the situation is rapidly turning you on.
They get into your side of the closet. Gemma finds your stash. “Oh!” He comments, the way everyone does the first time they see them, “they’re so big!”
You could die of embarrassment. Instead you drink some more vodka and brush the hair out of your eyes.
Now they’re coming round your computer, and you’re blushing furiously, too many thoughts going through your head to catch any of them and yet the situation is so shocking that you can’t think at all. You’re still processing the breach of trust and also the positive reaction that came from it. You’re worried about your work and your homework but also you’re living a badly timed and awkward version of a fantasy thaf is playing out in real life.
By the time Gemma lies you back and spreads your legs, unfolds the thing, slides it under, and then lowers himself onto you, you’re putty. At this point, it’s happening whether you like it or not.
So, you surrender.
Hey, I had a fairly vivid dream last night and I thought I’d share it, and maybe keep a dream journal here alongside everything else.
You’re hungry. Starving, even, and so you go to the grocery store for food. You’re barefoot, because you couldn’t stand the idea of wearing shoes today. Thus, you flit through the market with your basket, checking on the punginess of the apples, the ripeness of the avacados, and the moldiness of the strawberries.
Something feels off about the place. Perhaps it the noise level, exaggerated just slightly, or the pale blue light that washes out the color. Perhaps it’s the filthiness of the venue- there’s dirt on the floor and the shelves haven’t been washed, perhaps ever. Grime has accumulated in the corners.
Someone screams. The cashier continues to calmly check people out. No one notices the scream or why it’s happened but you, because you’ve just looked at the ground and saw them.
Worms. Translucent, parasitic worms.
Tapeworms criss-crossed over each other and writhing; Pinworms poking their microscopic heads off the ground and wiggling, others you don’t recognize swarming up the shelves and burrowing into the groceries.
Millions of them.
Touching your bare feet.
Panic and revulsion rise up in your throat, choking you. You step on tip-toe through the translucent horror writhing on the surface of the unmopped, broken linoleum. But you need food. So you let yourself be disturbed and horrified, allow the internal screamig to do it’s thing and you keep shopping, every once in awhile checking to see if the worms have invaded you.
You check again, now. You hadn’t realized you were wearing a dress before, and that fact isn’t important as the hem slides up to reveal that a three-inch second penis has grown out of the side of your thigh. Your breath catches in your throat, the internal scream almost emerges. It doesn’t belong. You want it off. You’d cut it off in panic if you had a knife and you didn’t think that it would open a portal for the worms. Not that they need one.
The parasites must have done it. You must be swimming in them. A placebo sensation rips through you, worms wriggling and writhing under your skin. Is this why they haven’t swarmed you yet? Because you were already theirs? The sense of horror and revulsion, the desperate need to get away from yourself burn through every part of your being like a high fever.
But there’s nothing you can do about it now. So, disfigured and disgusting, feeling as dirty as the floor, you simply finish your shopping, all the while acting like nothing is wrong.
As time moves forward and my body changes, I’m realizing more and more that I’m not used to feeling free in myself. When I drop the defensive layers and let myself just be, it’s like suddenly within me wells up this crazy, fun, excitable energy. I feel younger and relaxed and not anxious.
Also, I’m pretty sure feeling that way makes me act like a flamer. And the next day it often leaves me with a sense of deep self-disgust, which is perhaps a remnant of my old homophobia. I can’t help but wonder: is the reason that sort of personality has always bugged me so much because I was busy damping my own flames? Lately it’s looking a lot like that’s the case.
What is it about femininity in a male that bugs so many people? My step dad often maintains that he doesn’t mind being friends with gay people so long as you can’t tell they’re gay, and he’s not the first person I’ve heard say that sort of thing. Almost everyone in my pre-college life felt that way. It hurt.
There are two stages to the initial coming out process. Before you can come out to anyone else, you have to come out to yourself. And of the two abberant things that I am, the hard one for me was admitting that, so far in my life at least, I’m only sexually attracted to men.
Obviously I’m still riddled with homophobia because admitting this about myself still makes me feel a little sick. So I continue to do it to climatize myself- I keep thinking that somehow it’s tied to all of this; maybe if I could have figured out how to make myself be sexually attracted to women then maybe I wouldn’t have had to deal with all this frustrating trans crap in the first place. Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten sick.
Maybe all this is nothing but mental masturbation.
But the fact of it is that I’ve been with men and I’ve been with women and one of them sparks phsyical sensations the other one doesn’t. I don’t get to have a choice in the matter.
It’s not my fault.
So why do I want to hate myself for it? After all, I’m transitioning. It ought to be a good thing. But it actually puts me in a really frustrating spot: gay men want men, and my manhood is steadily becoming arguable. Not that I’m ever likely to make a convincing female. I want to take a fucking hammer to my shoulders.
If my damn sexuality were a little less fucking selective I could just deal with the hormones and try to find a gay or bi dude to be with. But my body responds to men who are predominately straight, and straight guys want cis women. At the very least, right now they certainly don’t want me. And I can’t see why they ever would, either. I can’t have kids, for one.
I’m also finding transition to be exceptionally difficult in some ways with some of my long-term friends. It’s nothing overt. It’s just the way I’m suddenly missing from candid group photos during moments I recall, or the way some friends will open up to each other around me and act affectionate but suddenly they don’t touch me anymore. There’s this sudden buffer zone that never used to be there. I feel as though they can’t help but find me repulsive. I don’t blame them, if they do- I find myself repulsive too.
But I miss casual touch like you wouldn’t believe. I miss the moments where my friends come up and slap me in the ass to be goofy, or mess up my hair, stuff like that. The kind of touch that you can have with people you trust and love. I’ve lost that, lately.
They still hug me, but the hugs feel dry and obligatory. Compared to how things were, it’s striking. It feels like loss, I feel like people got to know me and love me and now I’ve betrayed them. I know that some of it has been how self absorbed I’ve been trying to make sense of this whole painfully fucked-up thing, but I’ve had to do it mostly alone because no on else has answers. No one can analyze me, especially me. And I want comfort and reassurance and touch and affection and to feel beautiful and loved. But instead I’m facing the same subtle loss I’ve spent my entire life trying to avoid by being someone everyone else would like. Still, it could be worse.
In some ways I can’t help but wonder if these quiet rejections are worse than any of the overt ones: if mild toxicity is sandwiched neatly between slices of love. But then, perhaps our idea of why we love each other is often just arrogance. We say that we like people for their souls, when what we really mean is that we like their patterns of behavior.
I can understand why so many of us transition and then go somewhere new, break all ties, start over fresh, and do it in total stealth. People I’ve known for almost a decade give me this look they aren’t even aware they’re giving, but I see it everywhere. I’m in the visible stage. “But why do you care so much about passing?” They ask. The fact that they can’t figure out why on earth a trans person might want to look like their target speaks volumes about the way they really feel. And it’s my fault. I wasn’t strong enough. I couldn’t hold on, couldn’t find another way to fix my body, and couldn’t handle the idea of continuing to pretend to masculinity once I’m already growing tits.
And I can’t hide it. I can’t fake masculinity. Not anymore. Not because it’s not possible, but because I can’t be bothered to keep on faking. And maybe also because there is perhaps some anger left in me. Not at you, or them, but at myself. It’s not fair, I don’t deserve it, but it’s there anyhow. I knew this would happen before I made my choice.
I chose this.
I’d choose it again.
And to be fair, while I was so ill and bedridden, I abandoned them first. Maybe to me I spent years fighting to get back to normal life, but to them I just disappeared. And then I just reappear only now I’m transitioning. Talk about drama. I don’t blame them a bit. I’d feel the same way.
So I’m trying to just let them go. Accept that from here on out it’s a new life, a life I wouldn’t have really had access to had I not been desperate enough to actually try an insane idea.
So if you’re wondering what transition is like, then for me at least, it’s lonely. It’s long and drawn out, painful, and lonely. I’ve got a few really good friends, and if you’re one of them (you know who you are), there are no words for how much y’all mean to me.
Transition is a crash-course in emotional endurance. It’s an excercise in sheer survival because there are a lot of times you just don’t want to handle it. You just want to not be here; to disappear; to cop out while you save what money you can towards transition expenses and try not to spend it instead on coping mechanisms.
Somebody call the wambulance while I play the world’s smallest violin.