Hey everyone, I’m feeling a little burnt out on writing autobiographical content from the past. Actually, I’m a little burnt out on writing in general. But I won’t get anywhere here if I don’t stay consistent, so I guess today I can talk about what’s going on and where I’m at with transition and how that’s going. If the writing isn’t up to my usual standards, I’m sorry. Just feeling really tired today.
I just turned 32, and I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. I’ve been on HRT for five and a half months now, and quite a lot has changed. But at the same time, not enough. And up until a few days ago I was undergoing a particularly intense bout of dysphoria, mostly pertaining to my facial hair.
I’ve spent quite a few hours listening to lectures by Jordan Peterson, a man who is something of a rising star lately after refusing to capitulate to using people’s preferred pronouns if it was required by law, on the grounds that requiring such a thing violates freedom of speech. He won that argument, and thank heavens. In any case, in his lectures he often talks about the Jungian concept of the shadow self, which is the dark part of us, the part we’re most afraid of. I’d found it sort of awkward to work with since there are a lot of aspects to mine that I have corralled and already control. But it didn’t occur to me until a few days ago that for me, it could actually be that my shadow self is the collection of attributes I associate with masculinity.
I’ve maintained from the start that I’m not trying to become a woman. I know I can’t be that, and I don’t even want to be a woman. I just don’t want to be a man, and there aren’t really many other options. And the concept of non-binary doesn’t appeal to me because that’s not a gender at all, but a way of relating to gender. Moreover, I’ve had issues with various aspects of my gender without defining them that way since I was a little kid. I’ve never been remotely successful at masculinity when it counts. I’m a not-man.
But what if that’s my doing? What if that’s not innate? What if I embrace my masculinity and stop looking at it as a problem? What if I can amalgamate and become an androgyne, beautifully nothing at all and therefore everything?
For example, I hate my height. I’m not quite six foot one and I look down on almost everyone and I hate it. I want to look people in the eye and I want them to see me as equal. I want to disappear into a crowd and not stand out. But so many people say they wish they were tall like me. And there’s not a whole lot I can do about it either, so my choices are: hate this part of myself, or find a way to love it. And hey, it’s cool to be tall. I can do all sorts of things because of it. Being tall is a form of social power, and if I embrace that then that’s an advantage I can use in life.
Even going that far in my mind, allowing myself to see positive aspects of being tall was really challenging, but once I’d done it I was able to expand that thinking to my masculinity in general.
And when I did I realized that what really matters is this: I know who and what I am. And because I know this, I don’t need the rest of the world to validate it. So I can dress how I want, present how I want, speak in whatever voice I want, and it doesn’t matter. I am what I am. And what I am is a natal male with some weird medical condition that requires his already somewhat androgynous arse to feminize more.
Maybe I don’t know what it is to feel like a female. But I do know what it is to feel like me. And whatever *I* am has no gender. I’m just a nothing, just a beingness that exists and is only defined by relationships.
Having figured this all out, my dysphoria was quite reduced. Suddenly I didn’t give a flying poop bucket about pronouns or gender. I didn’t care whether my voice was too masculine. I had figured things out, but still had a lot of residual frustration. So I went for a run.
The next day I was feeling much better emotionally but not so great physically. As the day wore on, I began to feel the consequences of the extertion. Still, I was feeling happier in myself and wanted to go to an open mic. It just felt like a good idea. So, despite the intensifying pain in my upper body, I got dressed, shaved, did some makeup to cover the razorburn, and packed up my guitar. The effort spiked the pain, however, and I had to reast for fifteen minutes or so and wait for it to pass. Once it did, I gave up on the ibuprofen I’d taken an hour or two ago and took some Kratom, lugged my guitar out, and just went.
I don’t know if it was the pain or what, but I was in a supremely confident mood in the sense that I seriously gave no fucks. I was wearing whatever I wanted, my body hurt, I was mildly sound sensitive, and I just seriously didn’t care. I left my guitar in the car and hurried in to sign up. The open mic had already begun, and the noise was too much for me. After I signed in I retreated to the outside of the building so I could buy a cigarette off of someone as a way of fixing the sensory overclock.
There was a man sitting there, who sold me one for half a dollar and then we struck up a conversation. Not long after that several other people arrived and arrayed themselves around us. One of them was another trans chick. Let’s say her name was Joy, although she seemed anything but. She was average height for a female, but zero hips, which made her shoulders seem wider than they were. She had pretty eyes but a bit of a caveman brow, and from the length and style of her hair I guessed she’d been transitioning for at least a year now.
Part of me wanted to hug her, and another part of me was repulsed. It wasn’t anything obvious, it was the way she was over-telegraphing cute-shy, which was clearly her idea of what some females do. But women who *are* cute and shy are also entire people, and there’s a lot more to them than that. From my zero fucks perspective ofthe moment, I was rapidly beginning to understand how pointless and destructive caring too much about your gender really is.
Within half an hour I was surrounded by people, and we were laughing and joking and talking about guys and stuff like that. Joy had almost a ring of space around her, like a buffer of loneliness. I felt really bad, but I knew I couldn’t say anything in front of everyone and even if I did it wouldn’t have helped. So she sat there, rubbing her thighs together in exaggerated cutesy and speaking so quietly she always had to repeat herself (a habit I’ve been trying to break myself, though for me it’s because I’m used to being extremely sound sensitive).
So the night dragged on and I started to feel better. At one point I went to my car to retrieve my guitar and someone who was heading inside asked me to play a song. I asked if they meant like, right here, and they did, so I pulled out my baby and rocked it right there on the bench. They really enjoyed the performance, complimented me, and went inside. At some point she gendered me male, which I’d have completely forgotten about had she not come back outside an hour later and apologized. We’ll get to that.
I’d gone back inside for water and to listen to some of the performances, but while it was easier I was still too sound-sensitive to enjoy it. I figured another smoke is what I needed so I went back out and smoked again, which was a mistake. Back inside, I began to feel nauseous and overwhelmed by the music, but I stayed through a particular performance I wanted to see and then decided to leave for the night, crossing my name off the list.
One of the people I had been hanging out with saw me and came outside so I just sat on the bench and tried to pass the nausea and sensory overload. I was enjoying myself too much to want to leave just yet. Within fifteen minutes I’m surrounded by people again, and this is when the lady I’d played for comes out and beelines over to apologize for misgendering me. She was really super nice, but I was honestly a little confused about how should tell I’m trans and not just a gay boy or something. I wasn’t doing anything to communicate my transness at all: I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, using my normal voice, and being myself. But she tells me she assumed I was a girl the moment she saw me. I asked her how exactly that could be, since I wasn’t trying at all. She said it was in the way I carry myself and the way I move. I told her that I’m not really a gender at all, I’m male, and somehow this ended up turning in a bizzare and good natured argument in which a cis woman was trying to convince me that I’m as female as she. After that the whole thing switched and suddenly people were using female pronouns for the rest of the night. I still don’t quite know what to think of that, but somehow I felt like the coolest person there without trying even a little.
People would come out and say things like “I saw you in the bar, and I can just tell you’re supremely confident.” Or “I noticed you earlier”. Stuff like that.
It’s funny how not caring what people perceive comes across as social confidence. Maybe that’s precisely what it is. Whatever the case may be, the sickness passed and I started feeling well enough to mostly ignore it and started to zone back into the world.
And then, for the second time that night, I was asked to play. So I pulled out my guitar and played and three or four others joined in. Someone recorded me. They asked for another but just as I started someone came out to say it’s almost time for a person called Sam to play, and people were clearly excited. Since I was feeling much better I move inside with the group, only to discover that it’s actually my turn, so I hook up and play a couple of songs. Then Sam gets on stage.
And oh holy fuck, Sam was beautiful. Like, shockingly dreamingly sexy, and when he started singing...
Of course, Sam was clearly straight. Of course he was.
I can half tell if a guy won’t be into me because it’s only straight guys that ever inspire this feeling-sensation in my breast, like a spinning warmth. I swear it turns my tits into magnets because I seriously had to keep forcing myself to stop sticking my tits out at him and be cool. I was not cool.
I was fucking hot for Sam. Like, if there were no such thing as social convention and I knew Sam wouldn’t run away screaming I’d have been perfectly okay jumping him right there in the bar. I kept imagining just jumping on top of him and pushing his guitar aside and... well, you get the picture. And he was just sitting there with his legs open and I couldn’t stop looking at what was between them and...
Instead I waited for him to finish, told him he was fucking amazing, and left as fast as possible with a renewed sense of determination to do whatever it takes to be cute enough to seduce people like Sam. Like, sometimes I think I really don’t care if people think I’m a girl unless my being percieved as a cute one would get me laid. XD
It was, all in all, a fantastic night. I haven’t been particularly dysphoric since the day before it. As I told the woman who apologized for “misgendering” me, I know who and what I am, and because of that I no longer need social validation. That means you can see me, and not a facade.
As I left, Joy hugged me sadly and was perhaps a little overly touchy, and seemed kind of hot on me, which killed my Sam vibe a little, but I think she was drunk because I couldn’t understand anything she said. She didn’t look like she’d had nearly as good of a night. I wished there was something I could have done to help.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed my weekly ramblings and I’ll see you next time!