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.