How I Feel, aka Fuck This Shit

It has been some time that people have been telling me that I lack confidence. That I lack the pazzazz and strength I once had. That’s unfortunate, because when was this mythical time that I was confident and secure in myself? Was it before my mental illness busted over me like a water balloon? Was it before some awful trauma happened to me?

No. It was before I realized I was transgender.

Mind you, I still had intense body issues then – I was just busy ignoring them. I was non-functional but I would readily argue everything and anything with all my breath. I was proud of who I was – and willing to defend myself.

And then I realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I wasn’t ‘who’ I wanted to be. I confronted my bodily issues, and instead of covering up and hiding what was there, I tried to ‘transition’ towards the body that I wanted. I tried, an esoteric person would say, to ‘manifest’ it.

Well bummer. I’ve never been more insecure as all the years since then. And people have noticed. Yes, I am more comfortable with my body. I feel truer to myself and like I am actually reaching for goals that are true to my soul. But… was it worth it?

Before, in my ignorance, in my bliss, I was confident and brave. Now, I am not. I actually consider giving up on my transition and just living the rest of my life in drag and just ‘being a woman’.

Why? What made such a dramatic shift in me?

I think the answer is inherent to the way that ‘transgender’ is viewed in the public, and of many things that are inherent to it.

See, in the public perception, we see transgender as being these super beautiful people that ‘pass’ super well. Super hot guys are held up as models of FTM success, and super beautiful women with makeup on perfectly as models of MTF success. So that, inherently, is how a transgender person feels they should be. But, incidentally, that’s exactly the opposite of how transgender people naturally look. Because let’s face it. A lot of us probably look like the sex we are born into (I look like a woman) and maybe we’re not hot, so we look like frumpy and dumpy versions of that sex. I, quite honestly, am fat. A fat woman with big breasts and big hips and yuck. I don’t like myself. I’ve been constantly gaining weight ever since discovering my trans identity and guess what? I’ve gained so much weight now it’s getting to be a health concern (in my opinion, not a medical one). I’m quite sure I am technically obese now.

The point is, were I a beautiful trans advertisement of what awesome trans-ness looks like -> I would be this awesome epically buff buff muscly guy with a shaved head and busting biceps. I’m not. I don’t pass no matter three years of intensely trying to pass. No matter my trendy man-styled hair and mens’ clothes and trying to lift weights -> I. Don’t. Pass.

Where does this leave me? It leaves me feeling like I am not trans ‘enough’. That I need to get in shape, that I need to become more and more masculine! That I can’t wear eyeliner.

And the problem is, when discovering a new identity, when unveiling something so private and close to yourself, you want to be the truest to it -> and everyone tells you how to do it. Because ‘this is what trans looks like’ apparently. Super successful ‘passing’ people.

And you know what else? There’s a majoy shift in something else when you are transgender. Suddenly your gender depends not on you, but on other people’s perceptions of it.

WHAT? What do I mean? Trans-ness is all about self-identifying!

Yes, but getting people to identify and respect it is all about their perceptions of you. And because this is something you really care about, you want to succeed. You want to nourish this new part of yourself. For me, I want people to call me ‘he’. So how do you do that?

Well, trans-ness is not visible. So who knows if you’re trans unless they just take your word for it? Who will suddenly start calling you by your proper pronouns? The people who can see the results in some way. Strangers to whom you ‘pass’.

And don’t just tell me that wearing the proper clothes will do it. I’ve been wearing men’s clothes since about ten years now in general and can count the number of time I’ve been gendered properly on one hand. I don’t know if this is a particularly FTM problem, but I bet it’s fucking difficult for MTF’s too.

So clothes doesn’t do it. And you know what? Telling people doesn’t do it either, half the time.

Because you’re not enough. Because, if you don’t fit their perception of masculinity, you bet they’re going to question it. I’ve had very accepting and loving people challenge me on it, because I’m too ‘feminine’ in my presentation. Most people believe that it has to do with how I present, therefore they’re waiting for me to magically (with hormones) appear masculine enough for them to address me as ‘he’.

But fuck!

It doesn’t work that way. I’m feminine. I like high heels. I feel like slaying when I wear eyeliner. Does any of this help me ‘pass’? No. So you know what I’ve tended to do? Throw out my eyeliners and heels. Heels have started giving me massive dysphoria simply because of people’s perceptions of them.

And you know what else? The concept that trans people are going to magically transition into a socially acceptable version of their gender is ableist. Because you know what? You have to be mentally stable in order to get on hormones. Which I am not. Which many people are not. Which really hurts, because I don’t see myself as ‘completed’ or ‘there yet’ or ‘truly myself’ until I get on them. But will I ever be stable enough to do that? Will I ever get there? Who knows?

What I do know is that I have a lot of self-work to do. I’ve been repressing myself, unknowingly, by trying so hard to be true to myself. Isn’t it weird? Ugh.

So how do I start fixing this? With eyeliner, apparently.

Bitch, I’m slaying.

 

 

13 Comments

  1. paintedstone says:

    Hi there,

    You do talk about some interesting things. 🙂 It’s probably evident to you (maybe not to your followers) that I also…have some experience dealing with the gender mess. 😉 I’ve been dealing with it (relatively) openly for about 17 years, and have recently come to a gender-non-binary identity. This means that I don’t identify as a woman, but that doesn’t mean that I therefore have to identify as a man.

    It took well over a decade to get to this point — because when I was first starting out, the only models I saw as to how to be not-Woman were emulating masculinity and manhood (as though this is the only other option). But if you look at it a certain way, there exist more than just men and women…because if being a man or a woman is based on biological sex, well, intersex people (people who don’t fit cleanly into a male or female ideal, for various reasons) exist. And that basically screws up that framework (YEA!).

    Ahem. In any case, there are more ways of being than generally fit into a duality — or spectrum — of identity with “man” at one end and “woman” at the other. I’m thinking that you might understand a good bit of this already because of your interest in Paganism, though I’m trying to think of nonbinary role models and am not coming up with much. (I never got really deep into any form of Paganism in specific; I was more of a strongheaded angel…type. But I won’t get into that here, because I know almost nothing about most forms of Abrahamic religion and kind of can’t stand it long enough to study it.)

    At this point…I am, “blessed,” I guess I could call it, with both male and female secondary sex characteristics, not because I took testosterone, but because I didn’t take androgen blockers early enough (I’m on Spiro now), and my ovaries apparently are dudes. Or something.

    But yeah. I kind of hover somewhere around feeling like a soft dude or like a femme, more likely where those places overlap and interact. And that gets people to treat me like a woman…which is irritating at times, but garners some level of social protection (that I didn’t get when they thought I was a butch lesbian/man [in rural poor lighting]).

    I also understand “coming out” online; sometimes it does (ironically) feel safer to do that before doing other things.

    Right now I’m dealing, spiritually, with the overlap of Taoism and Buddhism and Shinto…kind of interesting stuff. Kuan Yin is a figure there who I’m interested in; she is a Chinese goddess who got absorbed into Buddhism as the (male) Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

    And…I just opened the bodhisattva thing, didn’t I. Well, heh! If I’m looking for a middle way between final death and immortality, it kind of delays both of those for a good long while…

    I’d like to talk to you about this, but I gotta go right now…I’ll be back later!
    Haru

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a Kuan yin on my wall! Her and lucifer are my go-to deities for gender busting (because doesn’t lucifer kind of go “fuck this” to everything, haha?). And yes! We could have great conversations about this! i love the points you bring forward. Email me and we could chat 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. paintedstone says:

        Hi there,

        I sent in a short message on your blog with my return address. I think it got sent to Spam, though — I only used three words. 🙂

        Haru

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey! I just can’t find your message for the life of me! Are you sure it sent? I’ve checked literally all my emails, haha. Maybe try again please? I’d love to get into contact with you!

        Like

      3. paintedstone says:

        Hi,

        I just sent another message. I used the contact form which is on your blog…not sure where those messages end up, though? I made sure to send more than three words, this time. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well i got it and answered to the email address it sent me!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. paintedstone says:

        Hi! Got your message 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. i tried emailing you on the email that google said belonged to you!

        Like

      7. paintedstone says:

        I really don’t know what that is 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. O. says:

    Hey! I thought I’d mention my experience with detransitioning, which happened about two years ago. I went off T after four years of injecting. I thought that this decision meant that I then wanted to be a woman (as if I could not exist in-between). I tried going back to my old name. I wore these breast enhancing shirts (as my breasts were removed in 2013). I even celebrated my 24th birthday with my old name.

    But it totally sucked. I felt like everyone was trying to tell me how to be feminine. I wasn’t passing (I have a large underbite resulting in a big jawline so my femininity was always in question, pre-transition). For those few months as a detransitioned trans person, I felt very uncomfortable in my body. I felt like I overanalyzed all my social interactions.

    Eventually, I went back to presenting at male. I got back on T a few months ago. At this point, I’m comfy wearing dresses, skirts, and kilts in public, without shaving my legs or wearing jewelry. I wear these clothes because it’s comfy and nice. These clothing decisions do invite a degree of misgendering but being myself is really important to me. I even established the right to wear such clothes at work! Trying to shunt myself into the box of straight male hasn’t worked. I feel like I’ve tried every gender/sexuality combo under the sun! (untrue obviously but you know!)

    You’re totally right that many many trans people don’t become socially acceptable. The only solution I’ve found is to embrace being weird.

    But… that’s really hard to do when people don’t accept your pronouns. I have a on-and-off relationship with ‘he’ pronouns. ‘They’ feels more spacious, but that pronoun is rarely used for me.

    And I know it’s so hard when no one is joining in the self-celebration with you. I just want you to know that I think you’re super cool. I really admire your writing. You’re thoughtful, passionate, and funny. I hope you can get to a gentler place when it comes to trans things.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. *cries * thank you so much. This means the world to me. Thank you so so much for sharing your story. This sheds a lot of light for me in regards to my transition. Embracing the weird is great advice. Thank you for your comments on my writing – I’m struggling with keeping my chin up with my writing and balance my mental illness/spirituality writing with my fiction… and I just feel like I’m not getting anywhere when I obviously am making progress but it’s slow and *gasps for air* I feel so overwhelmed and lost some days. So thank you so much

      Liked by 1 person

      1. O. says:

        You’re welcome, my friend! *is a gentle presence nearby*
        Can I be a Tolkien nerd for a moment? There’s a poem in LotR with the line: “not all those who wander are lost”. That line often reminds me to turn that lost feeling into an appreciation for wandering. (Granted it doesn’t always work but sometimes it does!)

        I’m really glad I can help and cheer-lead from afar! I always love your posts and feel like I learn things from them. Your posts help me feel less alone, knowing I’m not the only pagan with mental health stuff going on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aww thanks ❤ this means a lot to me. I will try and inspire myself from that quote as well 🙂

        Like

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