There are times for patience and and deliberation and there are times for haste and action. In the five years(!) since my last installment, I shifted from decades of deliberation to the action of gender transition.
In December 2011, I had recently stopped taking hormones after a few months and given up on the idea of transition.
Why? I didn’t think I was trans enough and wasn’t sure transition would make me feel better:
“Unlike the last couple of times, this feels more like a stop than a pause.
My personal truth is that while I have strong affinity and desire to be female, I don’t intrinsically believe myself to be female. At least not yet, because I believe myself to be somewhere in between.”
This particular personal demon still pops out to harass me on a regular basis, and I am still learning to not chase it down its hole and become lost in its dark and endless labyrinthine warren.
It leaps from nowhere for my jugular sometimes when I’m around women I find beautiful by putting its blade to my neck and holding me frozen without breath and forcing me to look at her as it whispers, “You’re not that and you never will be,” before disappearing like a mist in the bright glares at my awkward stares.
It’s there when I’m alone in the dressing room, teasing me almost to tears by telling me I’m a fraud when the pants don’t fit in the butt, or the top that looked amazing on the clothes hanger makes my shoulders look huge.
It’s there when I can’t get my makeup just right by cackling I’m a painted caricature.
Even with the massive widening of the gender spectrum and space created in the past several years to be more inclusive of non-binary and genderqueer people, the world at large still aims to sort people into male or female, man or woman to preserve a simplistic worldview that requires little thought or examination. Even with the recent strides in transgender equality we have taken, in most places we are still policed by these demons to perform for our life-saving care, to be treated with civil rights, to be accorded the humanity that is our birthright.
Those demons are fucking assholes that pop up and out in public a million times a day and a million times a day I ignore or wave and bat them away, but the full stable of demons have yet to be fully tamed or banished because the demons that haunt me when I am alone are often inescapable personal truths, only conquerable by love.
They are the sedimentary layers of hurtful comments turned to stone that weigh me down, they are past moments that still make me flinch in fear from shadows in sunlight, they are the blows that broke me to toughen me up.
After years of transition, my truth is still feeling not-right, an unclassified evolutionary mutation in the species homo trans. Worse, my metamorphoses is still incomplete, muddling self-classification. While I have achieved most of my transition goals I feel I am upon a new plateau marked by recent decisions about more physical changes I’m gated on by time and money.
As angsty as this all sounds, it’s mostly background noise at this point compared to the multiple klaxons going off alerting me to transition five years ago. My self-doubt tends to be fleeting, measured in seconds to minutes, and ever-more rarely hours to days.
Self-love conquers most of my fears and I’ve learned to love many of the parts of myself I used to consider unlovable. I’ve moved closer to accepting the things I will never have and its concomitant joys of letting go and not giving a fuck. Part of that self-love is working towards dismantling my impossible internal ideals of my feminine expression while finding my feminism.
Most of those impossible ideals came from the culture of men I was raised in, where women are treated as objects and the prettier they are, the more value they have in simultaneously being collected by men and then protected from other men. Being unconcerned with participating in that dynamic, I’ve shifted taking my femme cues from the male gaze-driven beauty culture towards more realistic and acheiveable femme queer and lesbian women.
This has helped de-fang much of my angst around measuring up to other women by discovering my own beauty. But the razor cuts both ways. The more I embrace my look, the more I expose myself to misgenderings and the risks that come with it.
So I grit my teeth at the truth demon of wanting surgical internventions to more closely approximate my internal self-view of my body and the social benefits it would bequeath, not knowing which is the chicken and which is the egg. I’m confident in time I’ll be able to bat this demon away, too.
This sort of introspection was difficult before my gender dysphoria diminished post-transition. Compared to when my brain would vapor-lock while trying to decide on a shirt to wear, it’s a whole new world.
I like this world.