When I first started questioning my gender identity, I found a community of transmen on this online diary website called Live Journal. I was floundering so much for a sense of community and I was so excited to find them, but it actually turned out to be a disaster for a lot of reasons that I won’t go into. However, I have found a great community here in my city of Philly, so I’m happy now and that’s all that counts. But I’ve decided to share with you some of my journal entries from the early days of my gender questioning.
Sixth Journal Issue:
February 19th, 2011
Wow, here I am nearly a year later since my last post.
Whew! Ummm… hehhh…yeahhhh…..
I have a good excuse though! Beginning in April (a month after I posted my last entry), 2010 officially became the worst year of my life.
My dad had a massive heart attack and almost died, I’ve been unemployed, I had a really fucked up job thing happen at the end of December, and not that it’s a bad thing, but I’ve been going through this transition process which has just been really hard. So yeah.
I think I mentioned in my last post that my transition is moving along at a snails pace… well, it still is! I kinda went nuts for a little bit and read all these books about gender — 14 in total I believe — and was just totally freaked out.
I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who analyzes EVERYTHING. To death. Beyond death. I’m in the afterlife chasing thoughts down and analyzing them some more.
The transition thing kind of blew my mind I think. Something I think that was happening was I was kind of having a quarter-life crisis. I think my transition was compounding the slap-in-the face that being an adult, college graduate in a shitty economy was. I started freaking out over kind of “killing off” my teenage self – this wild, mischievous girl named Raeann who everyone loved and was always doing something crazy. I think the truth is, transition or not, I’m simply not that person anymore. But it’s kind of freaky to not be the person you once were, and to be a person of a completely different gender at the same time. It’s a bit of a mindfuck, if you will.
Another thing that I was having a hard time with was not feel “trans enough.” I kept meeting all these trans guys who have had chest surgery, have been on T for years, are solidly male-identified and that’s just not me! In the major city where I live, at least lately, I haven’t felt very welcomed by some members of the community. There are other genderqueer people out there that I’ve yet to meet. I am going to be in a show next month with a lot of genderqueer people so hopefully I can meet some new people.
I kinda used to go nuts wondering who I should be, and I spent a better part of a year basing my identity off everyone around me – my partner, family, friends, those other trans guys, even strangers on the street and in the subway. Everyone except myself.
But lately I don’t give a shit! I just stopped caring. I have no idea why, when, or how, but I did. I am just myself. I have no gender; I have all genders at once. It makes no sense so why worry about it anymore?
It’s been very liberating. I do kind of feel trapped and feel I need to act a certain way sometimes in public, but for the most part I’m working hard to ignore those pressures and trying to have pride in my mixmatched, mixed up self.
I think a lot of me coming to this realization came along with my discovery of Buddhism, which is all about loving and accepting yourself for who you are. Also, being in the Buddhist community in a very queer-friendly major city, I feel that I am not being judged.
I’ve been using meditation (although as of very recently I must admit I’ve been slacking) and just trying to clear the clutter in my brain. This is the first time since I began experiencing severe depression 12 years ago that I have just stopped and tried to breathe and clear my head.
I’ve been mentally sick for such a long time that it’s been hard being a somewhat well person. It’s as if I’ve been programmed to self-destruct myself. I think I am a very self-destructive person, and it’s been kind of hard to overcome that. How does a negative, pessimistic person who is chronically depressed turn into a positive, optimistic person who rolls with the punches? It’s a transition in itself! I’ve been working hard at breathing, experiencing the world “as is,” recognizing that bad things will happen but I ultimately chose my own level of suffering, and basically I chose my own level of happiness. These things are coming together at a snails pace as well…but slow and steady wins the race, right?
In terms of the transition process, I haven’t made any physical changes yet. I do have my heart set on chest surgery, and am working getting the funds together for that. Would love to have it done in a few months.
The jury is still out on hormones for me. They don’t seem that crucial to my process of transition, but I may change my mind later? Who knows. For now, not something I’m concerning myself with.
I’m binding more and more. When I’m not using a wrap, I use an undershirt and tuck it in realllyyyy tight so it kind of flattens my chest. Both are super uncomfortable and I hate doing it, but I love having a flat chest so I bite the bullet sometimes.
The biggest thing to change is that I came out to my mom about a month ago. She actually handled it AMAZINGLY. She was basically just like I love you no matter what, you gotta be happy, etc. It was a dream coming out moment! I know there is a lot of hard roads ahead and a lot of things she may not realize (that she is going to have to stop calling me Raeann, for example) but I think she knew this was coming and had prepared herself for it. She didn’t even cry! Wtf?! lol
I am very, very, very soon going to be asking my friends to refer to me with male pronouns. I don’t think this will be a big deal. It might be hard with my friends from home who have known me as “she” for my whole life, but I know they love me and want me to be happy, and I we can keep an open communication flow going.
I guess my advice to anyone who might be reading this blog is to be COMPASSIONATE toward your family and friends. This process is going to hurt them, you cannot avoid that. It is how you handle the hurt that will determine the outcome of your relationship. You are of course entitled to protect yourself emotionally, but don’t alienate yourself and don’t let the guilt consume you.
In fact, don’t feel guilty. Just be there for them, be compassionate, be loving and be steadfast in your decision and confidently guide them to what you need from them so they are assured this is what you need and is going to make you happy. If they love you, they will get over it. And if they can’t get over it (in a reasonable amount of time) then sadly it’s time to move on.
I got this fortune cookie a while back that really helped me, it said:
“You can judge the true character of a man by how he does for those who do nothing for him.”
I think that’s something worth keeping in mind!
Anyway, until next year! haha I hope not… but until next time!
Peace and Love