It me, a trans boi

It me, a trans boi

I didn’t know I was trans until my mid 20’s. I didn’t have the language or the context to explain what I felt growing up. My writing over the last 8 years has actually thoroughly documented parts of that process. Coming to terms with my gender and what that means to me.

I spent my entire childhood just feeling wrong at my core. Never able to measure up, never able to be the girl they wanted me to be, because I just wasn’t, no matter how hard I tried. I did “ballet” (and legitimately enjoyed it), I wore dresses and pink, I played with dolls, I did my nails…I did everything society told me good girls did, and I tried very hard to play the part of demure and graceful damsel waiting for her prince.

Spoiler alert, I am not demure nor particularly graceful playing a damsel. My failures at this were just compounded during high school when I got bored talking with other girls because all that we were supposed to talk about was future homemaking and homeschool curriculum and other very traditionally girly things that just didn’t interest me. There was a period of about a year and a half when I was 14 where I was able to fly under the radar (thanks to an undesired move and pregnancies) and pretended to be a boy on the internet (that was the deal I made to be allowed to blog when I was 13, because predators don’t…go..after..boys…apparently) and offline I continued that persona and wore camo and got away with being “one of the boys” at speech and debate.

Looking back it seems obvious, but at the time I just thought I was broken. I wasn’t a girl, I wasn’t a boy, but I didn’t have the language to describe or even have a frame of reference about what trans-ness was. I just thought, as I had been told by my parents and pastors and every authority figure in my life, that I was inherently broken. I was just wrong and only God could fix it, but he didn’t seem to want to, so I just tried really hard to play my part as well as I could. I internalized the messages of wrongness and brokenness because I didn’t match up what I was told good godly women were like, not inside. I could cook and clean and sew but those crushed my soul and the future I was promised was not a road I wanted to take.

I wasn’t allowed to explore the woods, or play outside, I wasn’t allowed to play video games. I wasn’t allowed to do anything that was considered a boy thing. I feel like it’s important to note that I didn’t want to only do those boy things, I just didn’t want to be limited; I wanted to have both options. I wanted to be able to express both masculinity and femininity but that was definitely not allowed. I had one option and one option only, unless I was sneaky.

The idea of having children bothered me on a visceral level, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how very connected to dysphoria it is. The idea of having a human come out of my body goes straight to lizard brain levels of “no. this is death.” I suppose when I interpreted my period as the ultimate betrayal of my body against me that should have also been an indication.

Instead I spent years wrestling with myself, hating myself with every fiber of my being until I was about 20 and finally started discovering the language to describe how I felt. It happened by knowing other people who came out, and finally putting a name to my sexuality, talking with other queer people. I embraced my queerness when I was 22, which was the first stepping stone to discovering my trans-ness.

Autostraddle, Tumblr, Everyday Feminism, and It’s Pronounced Metrosexual were all really great resources where I finally started learning that I wasn’t alone in my feeling, that having a uterus but not being a woman is completely valid.

I started talking to nonbinary people and trans girls and eventually realized that I am trans enough, and no one is stopping me from transitioning but myself. Meanwhile dysphoria was getting worse, now that I knew how to identify it and what it was. I talked to my partners, friends, and therapist. And learned some things

  1. Cis people don’t question if they’re qualified enough to be their gender
  2. Gender is what you make of it, and it’s importance is up to you
  3. You are allowed to and deserve to transition if you want to
  4. Transitioning looks different for everyone, you don’t have to want surgeries to be trans
  5. Nonbinary, Genderqueer, Genderfluid, Agender, etc are all valid trans identities
  6. It is your body, you get to change it (or not) however you see fit

For a while I thought I just wouldn’t transition. I’d just deal with estrogen and periods and do what I could to mitigate PMDD and everything that goes along with that. At some point…actually, at Burning Man, I realized I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to start HRT and see what happened. I could always stop if it wasn’t right for me. Both of these are valid.

So in December of 2016 I started HRT. Testosterone works FAST. Within a week my muscles started moving, I started losing curves, my voice started getting deeper, my clit grew. I’m approaching shot 4, I have angles and a jaw line, I feel right. I had no idea what it felt like to actually inhabit my body until I started HRT.

I’m not a woman, and despite taking testosterone, I’m not a man either. I’m just your local nonbinary fairy boi taking baby steps to being in their own skin.

 

CDMX 2016

CDMX 2016

I lived in Mexico City for two weeks and it was fantastic. I managed to get around successfully (with help) in a country with a language I barely spoke, and watched Fireworks on New Years. Made a lot of pupper friends, learned a lot of things, and admired a lot of art. Now there are pictures.

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Holy Shit 2k16

Holy Shit 2k16

Guess I’ll just start off with a list of Things I’ve Done this year and then talk about how I feel about them/the world in general, because holy fuck 2016.

  • This time last year I’d just enrolled at North Seattle and was starting ABE where I learned I’m actually good at math and I learn quickly, I thrive in school, I am Hermoine, and I aced writing while I did it.
  • uh, i got divorced and moved to California. Sometimes I feel like it’s somehow less valid because we’re still friends and still care about eachother deeply, it was just time for me to go and explore the things I needed to, to find myself.
  • I went to Burning Man and found myself. That was when I realized the truth about my trans-ness that I’d been fighting for so long didn’t need to be hidden anymore. That it was worth acknowledging that and doing with that….whatever I needed to.
  • I got swindled out of a home & I’m still fighting to get the deposit back, and also started and quit a job in a month because burn out.
  • I kinda help East Bay Forward run a little bit now.
  • I started Therapy, and that was a really fucking great decision. I feel like I’m finally starting to heal some of the bits I was too afraid to touch before.
  • I started HRT. Asian Pacific Wellness Center in San Francisco if you’re trans, poor, and uninsured. Also if you’re trans and fine and insured. They’re wonderful. I got a blood test (to check for HEP A&B immunity) and started T in the same week (!informed consent!). They have a sliding scale and I literally paid nothing for my shots. <3 <3
  • I traveled out of the Country for the first time. I’m on Holiday in Mex. resting a bit before wandering out to watch the fireworks. It’s beautiful here, and also everyone thinks I’m a local and then I disappoint them by not knowing Spanish very well.
  • I met some amazing people and love so many people and grew my chosen family by a lot.

Things I learned, or proved to myself, or things:

  • I am really fucking strong. On a lot of levels. Impressively, I’m actually strong physically which I learned at Burning Man when I was carrying metal around like it was nothing and single handedly holding up parts of a geodeisic dome. But also, I’m just actually a strong human. I’ve been through so fucking much, and the last year has had me scared shitless because I faced so many things for the first time: being on my own, being almost homeless, not having any other income to rely on than my own, getting on MediCal, starting a small claims case, figuring out T….
  • Transitioning is a good idea. I’ve never felt this much myself before. I have a body that is a barrier between me and the outside world and I have starting and endpoints, my body is….less of a prison now and more…mine? other things include feeling emotions infinitely more intensely but being able to handle them and push through things. I have so much more ability now, I feel like I’m the version of myself I really needed this year. The version of me that is wholly myself and seen.
  • I’ve been through a lot of legitimately hard shit and it’s okay to feel that.
  • I am valid as I am, and no one can take that from me
  • I am actually fast at learning
  • I can actually do anything and do it well – or at least well enough to get by
  • I’m really bad at asking for help, and I’m not that much better at taking care of myself
  • my needs are important too

Things I want/to do/etc in 2017

  • To be financially stable – because my credit score is sad and debt is not cool, but at least soon all of my health things will be covered including therapy, so that will make it easier
  • To get back into school, take more math and writing and science – I qualify for in-state tuition on June 8, assuming we still exist then.
  • Get some (paid) articles published
  • Take charge on a lot more things
  • Make art regularly
  • Fight Fascism where I find it (lately every time hate speech occurs at my bart stop I’ve been cleaning it up. I’d like to do more)
  • Get into photography/filmmaking again and scultping
  • Go to Burning Man
  • Go to 34C3
  • Do more professional writing
  • Actually make those projects I keep meaning to
  • Bike more and get less scared of rodes
  • mebbe abs

Things I really want but probably won’t happen:

  • A smol floofy doge.

Good things:

  • loving, healthy, autonomous relationships
  • taking care of myself
  • chocolate therapy ice cream with sprinkles after therapy
  • my own bed and stuffed animals
  • the terrifying freedom of being on your own
  • trusting my instincts
This Week in Trans

This Week in Trans

  1. Apparently cooking is a skill I default to.
  2. I can run?
  3. Melons taste good?
  4. I still dislike olives.
  5. All my feelings live in my belly.
  6. Everything is pain because my muscles are moving around so much.
  7. I am always hungry.
  8. And horny…and horniness feels different now? it comes from a different place so I don’t recognize it at first.
  9. I feel in my body, and more capable and dextrous.
  10. My curves went away
  11. My face is fuzzy
  12. My jawline has angles
  13. My clit is a dick now
  14. I think about myself and my abilities so differently now. I start from a place of “I’ve got this, what do I do” instead of “I suck, this is shit, I’m shit, what do I do” which is huge and makes functioning a billion times easier.
  15. I feel right.
Eating Disorder

Eating Disorder

I never thought I had an eating disorder until this week. I thought maybe my relationship to food was not ideal but probably normal. I thought eating disorders had more to do with some personal needs being met with regards to food, like purity culture, society’s insistence on thinness, or coping with life. I didn’t know eating disorders could come from a place of self-sacrifice for the greater good.

And then I started testosterone, and I’m hungry every hour, and I fight.with.my.self.every.single.time.I.need.to.eat. I thought not letting myself eat out of guilt or self-sacrifice was normal? Not eating is still my instinct as opposed to eating. The problem is, now I can’t go 8 hours between meals without getting hungry, now I have to eat or I feel like I’m going to actually pass out, at some point my brain stops and feels dead because it ran out of food power.

Growing up, I was underfed and malnourished. My eating was actively under prioritized next to my siblings. During puberty, I was given one serving, and if I was still hungry, I had to wait until after all my other siblings had seconds or thirds before I was allowed to have any more, if there was any left. There wasn’t, usually. I learned to quell hunger, to ignore it, to not respond to it, to eat just enough to end the gnawing. I learned, through experience, that I, specifically, did not deserve to be well-fed, that my eating my fill was directly at the expense of others who needed it more.

I’ve carried this with me into adulthood as a habit. I go last (or at least not first. I don’t deserve that), I always wait for other people to have seconds before I even think about having any myself. I make sure everyone else has had enough to eat before I do, I have to convince myself that it’s okay to eat the last thing if it’s going to rot if I don’t.

But now I feel like if I don’t eat, I will quite literally pass out, and I don’t know how to cope with that. There’s a part of me that’s still frustrated about needing to eat because there are so many more interesting things to do, and then a large part of me that is still trying to convince myself that I am allowed and deserve to eat whenever I am even slightly hungry.

I was taught to hate myself and see myself as unworthy. All of those times I was told that as a human I was a piece of shit because Jesus was so perfect and good, really sunk in. Being taught that the best thing to do is to deny yourself everything all the time because others deserve it and need it more than you has really fucked me up.

There’s a part of me that very much lives in a place where food is scarce and not easily accessible (some of this is slightly grounded because freelancing isn’t exactly secure work and I need more food than usual to survive and the money aspect of this scares me) as if once the fridge is empty, it’s empty for good. Fun trauma times with my parents spending more on tithe than anything else and neglecting to make sure they had enough to provide food for their oodles of children.

The food scarcity and denial of my nourishment as a child still haunts me, apparently. More loudly now that I am facing this haunting every hour when my stomach growls, and I spend 3 more hours trying to convince myself that I don’t need food because I already ate and that should be enough, save food for later.

This is something I’ll talk with my therapist about this week. I’ve had a lot of intense feelings and anxiety about food lately because I’m facing this now, because hunger is such a huge part of my life – like it was when I was a pubescent kid, but now I’m the adult. I can feed myself. No one can tell me I don’t deserve to eat.

But I would really appreciate being told that I do.

This Is Not Normal

This Is Not Normal

I’m beginning to get anxious now that more than a month has passed since the fall of our republic election and things have started to quiet down. We’re normalizing.

We desperately want to return to normal, to stability, not to whatever the fuck this reality is. Collectively we do not do well with unrest, we don’t do well with unease, and we will do anything we can to get us back to the place where we feel secure and normal, where we can live in our bubble and pretend everything is okay.

Every time I’ve stepped foot in any chain store since the election this has hit me. The jarring normality of it all: as if our society isn’t falling apart at the seams, as if foreign countries interfering in our elections or being one tantrum away from nuclear war isn’t something that’s actually happening. As if all of the civil unrest in this country, all of the kids who are terrified to go to school out of fear they’ll lose their parents, as if the president elect inciting violence and spreading hate was something we were all making up. Walking into target feels like being gaslit by corporate society.

We want to desperately to live in a world where things weren’t as tumultuous. But that isn’t our reality. It’s tempting to bury our heads in the sand and wish it all away, to create as much of a bubble as we can to surround ourselves in. To create a new normal that adapts to fascism in this country just being a fact of life. We want to not have to fight.

None of those are bad feelings. I crave normalcy, I yearn to be able to live and not feel like my country has betrayed me, or that danger is at every turn because of the intersections of my identities. I long for stability.

But we elected a literal fascist who’s activating all the other fascist and fascist leaning types that have been preparing for this for 30 years; people I’ve grown up with, training I’ve had. They’ve been here all along and they’re ready now. We can’t have normal, we can’t have stability, we can’t be safe unless we fight back. Until we acknowledge and remind ourselves that this isn’t normal, that we have to fight, that we cannot let complacency overrun us, stability will be elusive.

We have to fight back on every front, wherever we can.

For me, this looks like local housing advocacy so we can actually be a sanctuary (if you want to get involved in building more housing, check out your local YIMBY cell). Working on advocating for homeschoolers locally and providing as many resources to homeschoolers as possible. It’s being involved with my local hackerspace & arts community, and building local coalitions. It’s writing, prolifically, while I still can, and making all of the art.

None of this is normal, as much as we desperately want to make it so. We need to remember that.