Friday, March 29, 2013

One month on T

The little hairs in the crook of my elbow: have they always been there? The slight increase of hairiness on the back of my hands: am I imagining it? The fluff on my face might be mostly wishful thinking, but my sideburns are definitely growing square-cut now, instead of to those girlish points.

I can't be sure whether the tiny, barely-perceptible changes I see are actual physical changes caused by the hormones, or just things I never noticed before, because I never before paid this much attention to my body.

Whether the changes are physical or cognitive, this is a shift. After a lifetime spent daydreaming myself into other bodies, other selves, I think I am finally beginning to live into my own body.

(I can even call it "my body" without a shudder, without my usual periphrases: "this body," "this sack of meat," "the body with which I have been burdened.")

*  *  *

I keep seeing this FTM ur-narrative, this life story that seems to be the "perfect" FTM story. It's the "always knew" narrative: the guy who has known he was a boy for as long as he can remember, whose parents pooh-poohed his repeated assertions to that effect, who got in trouble in kindergarten for joining the boys' line, und so weiter. That's a fine narrative if it's true for you, but it troubles me that it seems to be upheld as the only or best trans* narrative.

It's not a true narrative for me. For starters, I fear it risks reinscribing the exact mind-body dualism that I'm trying to deconstruct through my transition. Part of the point of transitioning for me is to reject the mind-body dualism to which I had always subscribed. I mean, I have two brothers. The ways in which my body differed from theirs were always very apparent. I couldn't have said I was a boy when I was a child, because my understanding of what it meant to be a boy was predicated on the physical things I didn't have.

Nobody told me about gender. I think I thought gender was only a grammatical thing until I was like 19.

Sometimes that makes me angry. I feel such contempt for my younger self, for what I see as this cow-like placidity, this fear of rocking the boat, this acceptance of The Way Things Are which for so long kept me from even knowing I could do anything about it.

Other times, I hate my present self for what I am doing to myself and my family and those around me. After all, if I went for so long without rocking the boat, couldn't I have just kept it up for the rest of my life?

I can't, though. Not with what I know now. For all that it makes everything needlessly complicated and difficult, for all the shit I have to go through, I can't not do this.

I am becoming an embodied self. It's kind of amazing.

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