Just got my first real binder in the mail, and I have to say it’s improving my quality of life by a considerable amount. It doesn’t hurt my back, it works a lot better than anything else I’ve used, it’s very breathable (almost to a fault- why does it actually make me colder than when I’m NOT wearing it? -oh well, it’ll be great this summer) and it generally makes me feel more attractive to wear it. Because, as my honey said, the only difference between my haircut being a boy haircut and being a lesbian haircut is the presence of tits.
I’m being read as male about 50/50, still. I had to pick up some deodorant the other day (I like Old Spice) and I was expecting to have to explain that I was picking it up for my dad or boyfriend or something, like usual. But the lady at the checkout counter asked if I had a dime (so she wouldn’t have to give me 90 cents in change), my friend started to dig for a dime in her purse, and I pulled one out of my pocket, so the cashier said, “Don’t worry dear, he’s got it.” She completely read me as male without even a doubletake- I’m wondering if I’m androgynous enough now that it’s little gender cues like what kind of deodorant I’m buying that are tipping the scale one way or the other.
I’m getting funny looks when I go into the ladies’ bathroom, but weirdly enough, now that I’m entering that phase, I’m enjoying it way more than I thought I would. It’s kinda funny, really- I feel as if I’m entering the enemy’s camp, in a fun spy sort of way, and the double takes I’m getting when I step into the bathroom are more validating than anything. I’m getting read male way sooner than I thought I would, so it’s like a little freebie. I don’t know if it makes me a pervert that I feel like a spy when I’m in the girl’s room, because that’s where I’ve been all my life, but it’s a burden we all trannies bear- no matter which bathroom we go into, society’s going to see us as perverts, so I just roll with where I feel more safe at the moment. I don’t have the balls, so to speak, to enter the men’s room quite yet. I’d rather be sure I at least sound male before I try that.
Anyway, I got to go to one of my old friend’s parties last week- actually, I really only got to meet him once before, long ago when one of my other friends took me to one of his parties, and I got a little too drunk to want to show my face there again for a while, but he saw me at the hardware store and he invited me to “Movie Nights” on tuesdays, so I guess they don’t hate me there. The thing about this place is, almost everyone who shows up is some brand of queer, so I felt safe. Last time they saw me, I was still trying to pass for female and it wasn’t working out, so it was really awkward. Now I’m settled into a male-ish identity, and I was determined to let them see that I was a lot more stable now. Ultimately, I just tried not to get too crazy with the alcohol.
I met a lot of new people at the party, introduced myself as “Tommy”, and here’s the cool thing. Now I have a whole new group of friends who aren’t burdened with trying not to use the wrong name all the time. Bless all my old friends who are trying their damnedest not to hurt me, but it’s just a burden off me once in a while to hang out with people who aren’t all dancing around what to call me.
Anyway, the party seemed split down the middle- the girls were in the living room watching a chick flick, and the guys were in the kitchen slamming Irish car bombs and laughing it up.
That night, I had my first Irish car bomb.
They really treated me like one of the guys, for hours. I even clung to some hope that they were all reading me as male. It wasn’t until way later that my perceptions became more realistic when one of the girls referred to me as “she”. It was an unexpected little punch to the gut, and I actually felt winded and had to go sit down in another room for a minute- give me a break, though, it was the first time I felt comfortable and felt like I was hanging around with people who had no female preconceptions of me, and that rug got yanked out from under me quite effectively. I didn’t let it get me down the rest of the night, though.
As it turns out, one of the guys who lived there was FTM, which was pretty exciting for me because I’ve never met one of my own in real life before. I’d heard of him before from one of my other friends who knew I was FTM and wanted to hook me up with other transpeople in the community- it almost makes me feel guilty talking about him this way on here, as if he were a unicorn or something. I have to keep in mind, he’s just this guy, but it’s exciting to know the possibility of someone out there who understands me and gets what I’m going through.
Anyway, there happened to be a moment where the guys all went out to the porch and he and I were the only ones left in the kitchen. He said something about how he remembered the last time I was there.
I shuddered. “That was back when I was still trying to pass for a girl.”
He nodded sagely- he knew it all, everything we needed to know about each other for that moment passed between us. He’d already been down that road, taken the hormones, his face had the hair and his voice had dropped and everyone referred to him as he, and he was where I wanted to be when I looked to the future, and I was where he’d once been when he looked to the past. Then he looked me up and down and said one thing.
“It never gets any easier.”
He left, and my stomach tightened. Why did he say something like that? Things were already getting easier for me. His words haunted me for the rest of the night, and I tried to dismiss them as a generalization- that life gets harder in general, whether you transition or not, or maybe that his life was an anomaly- one of the few for which transition actually makes things worse in a quantifiable way. What I tried not to think about was that terrifying possibility that hangs over all of us:
What if it really ISN’T worth it?
But I prefer to think of it this way, and I posted this on my facebook the next day:
“I don’t believe that things never get easier. I think they get easier, then harder, then easier and harder over and over again like the ebb and flow of the tide, and you have to learn to go with the flow, accept the hard times, appreciate the good ones, and over all, learn to embrace change as the one true constant.”
This has always been my philosophy, and it makes the future seem brighter. And the funny thing is, it has been getting brighter. I made a lot of friends there at the party, ones who accept me for who I am. At about 3 in the morning, they popped the question:
“Are you FTM?”
They were so straightforward, I had to answer the same way- with a simple Yes. And they were cool with it. They had a couple questions, which I was fine with answering, and since they knew this about me, I had to know something: when I got there, did they see me as one of the dudes?
One of them mulled it around for a second, and then shook his head. “Not really. Just being honest.”
I fell a little flat. “Not even just a little?”
“Well, if anything, you seemed like one of the gay dudes.”
I felt a whole lot better now. “That’s basically what I am, so… go me.”
I could definitely be comfortable with my identity as a gay boy. I’m finally free to be myself with a group of people and be seen as a rough approximation of what I am. All in all, the night was too cool.
2010 is shaping up to be an awesome new year.