So here I am. 36 years old, reflecting on the most intense two-year period of change and growth I've ever experienced. I'm a woman now, sure, but I was a woman the moment I determined I was Trans. I smoke and drink now. I eat fruit heated up in dishes like pies and whatnot. I have a couple more tattoos. I have BDSM play partners. I'm working at a different company than the one I was at Two years ago. I don't have testicles.
It's one thing to reflect philosophically on the nature of change and reassure yourself "Hey, things are always changing!", but there's never been a time in my life when I've more desperately clung to the hopes that something will stay the same. And I'm not referring to my gender, or really ANY of the changes I've undertaken. I want them. They're necessary. I just... When so many things are in the air at once, one gets a terror that they might not come down at all, or that they will come down in some terrible configuration worse than anything you've known before.
It's helped me to think of these past two years as a course correction. A sustained burn into full-on alien territory in order to get my trajectory re-aligned into something I want. And so far, everything feels right. Everything feels like it's going the way it should.
I hope this journal's been a good thing to keep up with. It's the kind of thing that'll be weird to read through. Hopefully some folks have seen it and found it helpful, hopefully I'll be able to point folks to it to answer questions or whatnot. It's something I would've wanted when I started out.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who kept up with any of this!
Merritt Kopas made a post today saying "really excited about how boring being trans has become for me." followed by "god imagine how boring it’ll be in a year or three". Got me thinking, as I'm coming up on the end of my 110 weeks. I used to voraciously read transfolks' feeds, absorbed whatever I could from the transgender and ask transgender subreddits...
I guess I found what I needed to find? Learned what I needed to know. I've met other transfolks, seen how privileged my transition has been... I've even had the opportunity to mentor folks trying to figure out their own transitions... And it's not like trans stuff doesn't interest me any more! This is huge, and it's gonna be the rest of my life. I'll probably always be happy to discuss gender and trans stuff with folks, but at least it's no longer the most important thing for me to discuss.
I used to want to call out to everyone and say "HEY! I was assigned male at birth but I'm a woman now! Other times in history and in other parts of the world I would be castigated or killed but I'm here and I'm happy and maybe things are getting better!" As if anything I say needs to be seen through the lens of my transness. I mean, I still get that urge, but it's quieter now.
Co-worker of mine told me today she didn't even know my old name. She was chatting with someone who knew me from the before-times, and she just drew a blank. Weird and beautiful, that is.
Today a young trans chick I know (who I've advised and helped with her transition) posted that she's someone's girlfriend now. Even if shit's not super freshly new to me, it's still awesome seeing new revelations and insight coming from my friends' transitions. Also, It might get boring, but it's still sparkles every time I hear "ma'am" or my new name or "ladies".
Had some layoffs at the company today. Makes me think of my last company and all the insanity and tumult and change. I had barely started this project when my last company folded, and I SUPER do not recommend going through a studio shutdown while in the throes of puberty.
And now I'm coming to the end. The bullshit gatekeepy doctor who postponed my Orchi asked me if I planned to kill myself at the end of the 110 weeks. Guy was a goddamn weirdo. I don't feel like I'm ending anything! It's actually a comfort to have this disastrous trauma occur that I didn't expect or see coming, if only to remind me that things will always continue to change, for good or bad, and that's interesting.
I learned recently about the "end of history" illusion. I'm sure it applies to my brain like it does anyone else... It's just strange to me. Especially if the past two years are any indication, I expect to be unrecognizable two years from today.
Had some heavy thoughts recently. I want to preface this entry with a reminder that everything here is just my personal experiences and that this journal isn't a "trans people experience this".
So one of the narratives I've heard when explaining the trans experience to folks is the idea of "I'm still the same person". Like, you shouldn't worry too much about my transition because I'm just getting the outside to match the inside. For me, personally? Not the case. I'm a very different person now. Gonna do some unpacking here.
I didn't know what to expect from my transition. Going in, none of the common "trapped in the body of a boy" stuff resonated. I didn't hate my genitals, didn't really MIND being male. At the risk of coming across as flippant, the closest metaphor I considered was that of a body mod. Like, tattoos are permanent changes, they have sociocultural implications, they're rad as hell and make me more comfortable in my own skin. That's how I felt about my transition. I wanted my body shaped differently (read: bewbs). I felt better about myself when I dressed femme, but I didn't need to be a lady for that. Honestly, I'm a little bummed out that wearing hose and heels and skirts isn't subversive anymore!
Anyway, blahblahblah, point is that I came to this process in a nontraditional way, so that might inform my reactions.
But yeah. Not the same person. And I think it's good to not EXPECT trans people to be unchanged by the process. Hell, the POINT here is change. I react to emotions differently. I cry. Not just because I'm upset, but also because I love my sweetie pie, or because a dog was being cute or whatever. My tastes are different. I used to despise any kind of hot fruit, and last week I had apple pie and loved it! I don't KNOW what foods I like or don't. Sexually, my tastescape has changed a lot... I used to prefer ladies pretty strongly over gentlemen, now I don't feel as though my attraction to folks is informed by gender at ALL. Gender's become weirdly meaningless. Also, I'm not as interested in straight up fuckin' like I used to be. Much more of a cuddler. And I mean, it's not like I define myself by the way I canoodle, but these are all part of this character portrait. My point being: my character sheet's different.
I don't think I'm so changed as to require all of my buddies to reassess whether they know me... But I'm unambiguously NOT "the same, only a girl".
So a couple weeks ago, I received news I was expecting to not receive. I won't pretend to have any idea what emails, phone calls, nice people, and or dumb luck have come together to make this happen, but I just got the insurance check for my orchi. Even though the surgery was back in May, even though I was told repeatedly not to expect it and had even been told 'that procedure isn't covered for someone of your gender' (multiple times)... It's weird. I've got privilege guilt from the overwhelming good fortune I've had with my transition. I know that much of my good fortune is the result of privilege (even dumb luck is a type of privilege). I just wish I had a better idea of what to do. It's rad for privileged folks to bring up the less fortunate, I just don't know how. I guess if nothing else, I remain visible as heck and I try to help folks out when/if I can.
Also, I try to check my privilege. It's easy to grouse and moan about my tits not being' as big as I'd like when I know damn well I've got buddies worried about not being' able to afford meds. Plenty of cats can't even GET on hormones. We're all in this together.
My mother in law finally got the news. The conversation my wife didn't want to have with her mom was predicated by my receipt of a sweet birthday card addressed to my old name. Feels.
I wasn't SURPRISED to see that my transition hadn't been mentioned. I presumed that if it had come up, I'd have known about it. Still, it hurt. Dredged up lots of old wounds. Deep fears that my sweetie's ashamed of me, or that she's holding onto a notion of how she'd PREFER me to be. All kinds of shit. Really, more than anything, it's just a hard fucking conversation to have. And I GET it. I don't have that kind of relationship with my folks either... and it's not like I can just say "if it was ME...", 'cuz It AIN'T me. She's got a lotta baggage wrapped up in everything, too. Not just with me, but with her relationship with her mom. Shit's complicated.
One of the things we discussed was that with this issue (and with lots of relationship issues), there isn't a neutral stance. I wanted to give her the space, let her tell her mom at her own pace... But I couldn't make that shit NOT hurt. She either drops the T-bomb on her moms (to unpredictable and potentially horrific response) or she doesn't bring it up and tries to keep everything "cool", resulting in me gettin' more bummed out.
Relationships are an interesting tug of war between taking and giving. How much can you tolerate giving up? How much can you tolerate hurting your partner when you take? I guess a lot of long-term relationships get that shit out of the way reasonably early. Maybe? Are people so consistent that it's rare for potential dealbreakers to crop up late into a marriage? I mean, I guess surprises are just met by divorce a lot of times... I really don't know. Fundamentally, I was COOL takin' that hit for my sweetie. I've put that woman through an incredible lot and I know she's worked really hard to sail these seas with me.
It's frustrating sometimes that shit's not easier. It's just that the reward keeps being worth the struggle.
Unpacking a lot of complicated feelings about the two year mark. This transition was essentially thought of as a two year THING. After the 2 year mark, I've changed as much as I can reasonably expect.
Feels like I've just begun.
I never expected to change my name. I didn't have a clear picture of what I could expect from the hormones. I didn't know I'd meet other queer folks, let alone kinky queer folks, let alone TRANS kinky queer folks.
I suspect the next (last) several entries will be plaintive and introspective (read: Omphaloskeptic). Hard to force myself to write when I'm distracted/maudlin.
I'm in a good place, now. I just saw a picture of myself from a couple years ago and It just looked like a picture of some chick. Could this whole process have been that easy?
Shouldn't speak of "this whole process" in the past tense. Still, it's weird to get that "end of the beginning" feeling.
Things still kinda suck with the parents. Insisting that they use my name and pronouns is apparently a shitty thing to burden them with. I'm not sweet about correcting them? Apparently they're having a hard time with my transition. I can't say too much more about 'em 'cuz who gives a fuck.
MORE interesting than my parent's willful ignorance is noticing myself fucking up my own gendered language. For cis chicks, it doesn't seem to matter when folks say "hey, guys!" etc. But I have a really tin ear for that sort of thing. I'm constantly aware of any use of "dude" or "man" or "guys" when the speaker is referring to me. I KNOW it's used to refer to a general populace and that gendering isn't intended, but I'm sensitive to that shit. Anyway, that's the framework I'm working in. So it's kinda difficult to explain what it means to me when I misgender MYSELF. Like, This is shit I'm used to, sure, but I GET TO BE A WOMAN now. I don't need to call myself anyone's "son" or "husband" or "man" or whatever. And it bugs the fuck out of me when I catch myself for multiple reasons. One, I that's not what I want for myself. I don't want anyone thinking of me as a dude. You hear me call myself something it's a lot easier to presume that's my preference. I've fukken introduced myself to strangers as my old name! It's weird and I hate it. Mad at my brain for falling back on the patterns I've used my whole life and mad at myself for making such a big deal about such a simple mistake.
Welp, I've comfortably plumped up, as was my plan. I reckoned when I STARTED my transition that I wouldn't worry too much about diet an' exercise... thinkin' that my new fats would roll up in lady-fat places. Maybe that worked to some extent, maybe not. I've got bewbs, so it ain't a TOTAL loss. <=) Generally, tho, I've gotten myself to a fairly large point (relative to my lifetime weight gain and loss). It's interesting how I react to it. Like, I have a mild nagging desire to be less fat, but I'm also so goddamned happy with my body that I don't really feel a NEED for it. Seeing myself naked is getting better, I think. Still don't have the boobs I want, and I might never have the waist/hip ratio I want, but join the fuckin' club, y'know? It's not the end of the world. Sometimes when things all come together well I kinda see a girl in the mirror. I could give a shit if she's a fat girl. Alsoplus I like the statement made by bein' a fat chick no fucks given.
Talked to my folks on the phone the other day. Mom said my old name and I corrected her. She got a little farther into her anecdote and used my old name again. I corrected her again, and in a huff she was done talking. I hope those kids will lighten the fuck up and I'll be able to hang out with 'em before they die.
Nine weeks left. The astonishing curve of changes has slimmed into me reaching for updates. Maybe I should just call the project early, calling it a done deal. Almost up to my two year tranniversarry, but I'm not sure what's left to document. When I started this journal, there were everyday changes. And I've heard that some folks experience changes after the two-year mark, but starting at 34, I'm not holding my breath.
Got sick recently. Noticed that it stabilized my emotions. I think my body jus' went into "bigger fish to fry" mode and stopped letting the freakout chemicals run free. Not sure.
Just had the last bit of insurance flip their bit from "m" to "f". Not sure why that took so long. Weird little scales of the Before-Times falling off every once in a while.
Ah, I've got nothin'. I need more amazing trans-related updates, I think.