Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
The reality of the fact that I was indeed female didn’t really occur to me until one Summer’s day when I was eight years old. I was blowing bubbles out the window of our sixth-floor apartment. And I wasn’t wearing a shirt. Because it was hot. And I didn’t wear shirts when it was really hot.
But for some reason, my Mom’s gears really fired off at that particular incident…and she proceeded to physically yank me from the window and explain to me that I had “breasts.”
And she went on to explain to me that I was “flashing” the whole world, blowing my bubbles there, and that soon I would have to wear a bra.
That those teeny-tiny barely noticeable little things on my chest were BREASTS, and they would only get BIGGER as I reached MATURATION.
Holy shit, holy shit…one of the worst fucking days of my entire life. Because even *then*…I immediately intuited the level of bullshit I would have to go through in no more than five years; probably less.
My Mom seemingly dressed and styled me after the little boy from The Shining. I provide photographic evidence, just in case this sounds hyperbolic:
But as puberty hit, again those “gears” began to turn in my mother’s mind—and now of course I would “settle in” to the chosen clothing of my peers.
But it never quite happened that way, though I really gave it an effort. I studied Seventeen magazine with the detail-oriented attention of a scientist—figuring, if I analyzed every aspect of the lifestyle of the average American teenage girl, it would eventually rub off on me.
I would literally make fucking charts. Visual-fucking-aids on poster board consisting of blouses and skirts and shoes taped up to my wall; studying them. Trying to figure it out.
Always trying as hard as I could; laboring under the belief that if I tried hard enough, I would fit in and everything would be OK.
Nobody would think anything was wrong.
And so when I was 17 or so, I worked at the local video rental store (as per my cliche), and there was a guy who occasionally worked there who was like super muscular and huge. Broad chest, gigantic forearms like Hulk Hogan’s “pythons.”
And in the middle of all that muscle, was this tiny, angelic face; with these large, angelic eyes. Like the face looked so out of place with the body.
And the rumor was: he at the very least beat down some people real good; maybe he killed someone. I don’t remember the details. Suffice it to say: he was a real bad-ass.
And yet he had that tiny, incongruous, angel-like face swimming in the middle of all that.
He wore a leather jacket that had a slash down the middle of its back; a guy had tried to knife him once. I mentioned to him about the jacket; maybe I sounded somewhat admiring about it, because he offered to sell it to me for $25.
I bought it.
I brought the jacket home. At that point, I had my hair real short. The idea was that I went to the barber to get a hip “pixie cut.” But my mom said to me that a pixie cut was only for small, delicate women; it was a complete disaster on me, who was tall and broad-shouldered.
And so I wore that huge leather jacket over my bare chest & torso and just stared at myself in this full-length mirror; it was the most acute case of gender dysphoria I ever had in my life (well, before I had my head injury in ’14).
I looked at myself in that mirror, and contemplated my fate as owning this female body for pretty much the rest of my life, and was like:
Relatively “easy” explanations are given to me for this dysphoria, with equally relatively “easy” solutions. Per my nature, I question everything. I am not convinced that fully “transitioning” to a male is the answer; but I am equally annoyed by people who suggest that, even at my age, it’s just a “phase,” that it is merely “confusion.”
I’ve had a few men in my lifetime who I realized were attracted to me—to me.
But occasionally, some of these men’s attraction was accompanied with a sense of shame that took shape in insisting I be extra “femme” when we went out with each other. One guy a couple of decades ago, he was so paranoid about this that he would complain about my “pirate shoes”…that I couldn’t meet his mom wearing those “pirate shoes”—leather shoes with a buckle, shoes made for women but he thought were “butch.” I needed more feminine shoes. The pegging we did behind the scenes was fine. But I couldn’t live out in the real world with anything less than hyper-feminine clothing, lest his macho reputation was at all questioned.
Another guy did all these elaborate photo shoots with me looking super “hot” or whatever the fuck. His ultimate “plan?” Use me as a “wing-woman” to find a guy to sleep with him (his first). But I was always to look femme around him; lest he be embarrassed.
Here’s the thing: I’m not saying all this to “shame” those guys for however they wanted to explore their sexuality. But what frosted my shit was that I was not “allowed” to be “myself.”
I was like a…multi-purpose prop.
And you’re told by your peers that they love diversity, and they love LGBTQ, and they hate conservatives, and etc. etc. etc. But then that “diversity” one day just drops on their front door, and then it’s like:
“Just be yourself?” Is that truly valid advice? Or is that somewhat naive?
And here is the other thing.
No matter how “wired” your brain might be in one direction or another–
If you were largely “socialized” in the opposite direction for most of your life, you may start to develop a sort of…persona. And it’s pretty distinct, and it’s pretty “solid,” and it sort of has a “life” of its own.
Mine seems very intimately tied to my body & its various functions, but not to my brain.
And yet: the body itself has a kind of “brain.”
I find many humans have a hard time dealing with this level of ambiguity. And that’s why…I don’t push the subject with them. To me, my body feels like this…sort of “biodegradable vehicle” anyhow. I cannot force them to see me as I see myself.
I can only find someone who sees me as I see myself; and/or provides that “mirror,” to help define my chimeric Self better.
(For the record, I am not recommending others take my approach, or that my approach is “right.” I hate conflict, and I try to avoid it as much as humanly possible. Maybe that attitude has fucked up my life, who knows?)
(ADDENDUM: This attitude has indeed fucked up my life.)
The old Greek saying: “Know Thyself”
But then there’s Robert Anton Wilson’s observation: “A single ego is an incredibly narrow view from which to perceive the universe.”
Maybe both concepts can co-exist without contradiction?