Sometimes I forget I’m transgender. Or at least I don’t necessarily remind myself of it every day. I think it’s come as a consequence of coming to better terms with it. It’s not like I completely forget; I very much know myself. But I have these sparse moments of doing girly things, enjoying it and not always having to think “but I’m a special kind of girl” like I used to. I just do it.
Then these other times I’m painfully reminded of it. I would say the “forgetful times” are more moments in the day but in the overall structure of my life it’s always a thought in the back of my head: “you’re transgender, what are you gonna do?”
I’m still unsure of how to write about my experience. I’m not a big part of any larger LGBT community and don’t have a big desire to be a part of one like say, my Native community, although there is some intersectionality there. I’m not always vocal about my gender identity although I’m upfront when it comes time to explain myself. I’m doing better but I still don’t think I’m that good of a representative of a healthy transgender woman. I still have moments of dysphoria, anti-social behavior, internalized self-loathing, etc. All of the fun stuff.
I feel my progress is what keeps me good sometimes. I have key memories that my brain always goes back to when I think of my “lows”. I didn’t think I’d be at this point working in such a social location. Truly it’s exhausting but I get through it. I tell myself it’s training not exactly to overcome but to maintain my anxieties — because if I slip back completely into my room then I know my progress might go backwards.
I’m at a standstill — an unspoken compromise with my parents and their acceptance of the situation. They seem happy and I can be content enough that I haven’t placed an urgency on finally beginning hormonal transition. I think they do these subtle attempts to believe I’m still a boy. Not all of my extended family knows what’s up with me, nor have I had the time or courage to explain. Honestly it feels like a fragile sense of peace because if I ever were to begin transitioning with hormones I wonder how disappointed I’d make them.
My parents aren’t openly disappointed or disgusted, but they’re more reluctantly accepting of a situation they have no control over. Almost like the Christian mantra of “hate the sin, love the sinner,” they love me at my core as their child even if they’re not loving what their child is looking like. I know that sounds unbecoming to my parents’ personalities but they really are good sports about the situation given that they never had time to prepare for this. Or maybe it’s all in my head, this insecurity, but I think it has some roots in reality.
I don’t really like myself much. But I’m trying to be more positive, find more things to interest myself in that don’t revolve around my appearance and the sought after validation, like appreciating art, music, languages and cultures. I find it ironic that all the things I really, really love I’m not talented in one little bit. I can’t sing, dance or draw — and although I know those things take practice, practice, practice it’s the fact I have no natural propensity towards them. Come to think of it too I don’t really have any talents. Things I’m really good at.
My mom thinks I’m vain and put too much time into my appearance. She has no real interest in beauty or fashion and that’s her background. She means well and I’d like to think I learned my core value systems of valuing people’s hearts and personalities from her. But she doesn’t get the link between feeling right on the outside and inside. Or the constant anxiety of wondering if people can “tell”, if they still whisper behind your back confused on if “it’s a boy or a girl,” or laugh. I’ve told myself since I consciously began to transition that I was never going back there, to that place of being an open target. For me my self-appearance and beauty is a scale for how I gauge my progress.
But I can’t say how well that measuring system works when I constantly find myself so ugly. I can stand my face, the bone structure, the forehead, the chin, the ugly way my nose flares when I smile or laugh. I think it accurately does measure how convoluted and everywhere my sense of progress is. Sometimes it’s a forward path, sometimes it regresses, sometimes it’s diagonal or above and below me.
When I was younger the naïveté in me was almost embarrassing. But I really did believe if I could somehow become more beautiful then I would find a man to love me. As if I would become so beautiful that they wouldn’t want to leave me, hurt me. Because I thought people treasured beauty so much then maybe they’d treasure me as well. Because I saw how all the boys react to truly beautiful girls. If I was trans then I had to be ten times as good.
But being trans and aspiring for that type of feminine charm is difficult without a good set of genetics, luck, makeup and surgery. I may get the occasional attention of a guy I find cute but I’m never comfortable. I’m always on edge of when I should tell him, does he already know and how do I prepare to console myself when he reacts in a myriad of ways.
I’ve gotten stronger at taking the rejection though if only because I choose not to feel so deeply for men I find cute anymore. When you’re not feeling like your heart’s wellbeing relies on whether they say “I’m cool with it,” or “I’m sorry, I’m not into that, but good luck!” it’s easier to say “thank you for your time, good luck to you too”. The people I genuinely feel something for though, I don’t think they need to know. It’s better that way.
Then occasionally I still think of The Boy. That’s stupid referring to him as “The Boy” but I can’t think of any other good way to pseudonym him. I don’t know if I was “in love” but I put a lot of trust in him despite my trained efforts that told me to stay wary. I opened up to him, told him my anxieties that I reserve for quiet little blog posts like this and he validated my pain. It felt good to open up and be alone with someone, or to feel like their free time is enjoyed with you.
But then slowly but surely even his responses became slower, belated, uninspired and almost obligatory in nature. I never wanted to be anyone’s burden. I never wanted to force anyone into a conversation they couldn’t back out of due to politeness. So feeling things might not work out I told him my wishes, my demands, my rules: I told him how to leave if and when he wanted to. I know it was melodramatic but for me it was a serious matter even now I see the reason for.
I didn’t want to be cut off. I wanted to talk things out, have discussions and dialogue, remain friends, be in each other’s bubbles. I thought we had gotten close enough for that at least. He acted concerned but obliged.
By the end of the month he sent the text it wasn’t going to work out. “It” being a relationship so in a slightly humorous way I feel I got broken up with without even being in a relationship. He said I deserved someone better, to give me more of his time and affection. I’m not good at partings or endings so I tried stupidly to get him to change his mind but by the morning I understood and even slightly agreed. But I don’t think he knew there’s not a lot of people lining up to give me time and affection.
The coming month he said we would still be friends and I felt comforted by that remaining sentiment, even though he never replied back with the same enthusiasm that made me so excited and nervous in the beginning. Then the replies just stopped altogether. I hadn’t heard from him and checked to see he deleted me on Facebook and *eyeroll* that’s some millennial symbolism for you that translates to “we’re done here”.
But rather than just seeing an Add Friend button and feeling petty over that I think I still can’t get over the fact I felt lucky to talk with him, that I felt it was too good to be true, and that I even prepared him with instructions on what not to do and he did it anyway. My mind really does play it over like a broken record.
For me, I feel I would have been so much happier if I wasn’t transgender. My mom and dad would be happier. I wouldn’t have to be so stupidly sad all the time. Or maybe I would have, I don’t know. I see comments on the internet about trans people in general and it does hurt my heart and if I was in a good place I end up in a bad place at night. I just wish I could adequately explain to people that it’s not a simple choice of “I want to be a girl today and a boy tomorrow”. I wish I didn’t have to have people invading my privacy and asking about my body like its a public topic. I wish I didn’t look so grotesque.
This 4am post is getting really long and whiny, and although it’s just me reading it even I’m getting bored and slightly unsympathetic by the amount of feelings. But I am tired yet always awake at this hour.
I’m not in a bad place now but I’m not in a good place either. Maybe it’s like purgatory. I think of that boy sometimes and I wonder if he’s happy with a pretty girlfriend now. I think of the boys I like and have liked and wonder who they’re thinking of. I think of my friends and I wonder how they get through life too. I think of my parents and I wonder if I’ve made them proud or if they would change some things about me too. I think of myself and sometimes I just cry, cry, cry.