Connective Tissue

  • Reading time:3 mins read

So, a curious thing. Now that I have tits, it makes me feel way less weird to look at tits. There are a few things going on here, with my recognition of my gender and my sexuality and all the physical, psychological, emotional changes that I’ve experienced in a fairly short time.

It used to be that naked forms would just make me deeply uncomfortable. I’d avert my eyes, try not to think about it. It felt lurid to engage, like some kind of a boundary issue. In the event that I did, I felt ashamed of myself, which just built up and kept getting weirder. Now that I better understand what’s going on inside me, that I have a better relationship with myself and trust my feelings and reasons, a lot of that has fallen away and it’s easier to appreciate form for what it is. Now that I can look clearly, I see beauty and commonality.

There’s a universality to us, right, for the brief period we’ve been around to record our experience and what we think about it. Now that I understand that I’m looking for connection, that’s what I’m finding—a common humanity, a common femininity. A piece of everyone in everyone else—but more significantly, me. I wasn’t part of the equation until now. I was outside. None of this was for me, about me. I had no right to it, just as I had no right to myself. Except of course I do, as much as anyone. (And I am the only one with a right to myself, goddamn.)

Now when faced with a nude female form, at least in representation, I don’t get much more than a residual embarrassment. I get the relationship now. And it’s a meaningful one, to at least some extent, that helps to shed light on my relationship to my own body.

Glibness aside it’s not really as easy as, hey I’ve got breasts; it’s no big deal, whaddayamean. There’s a lot more going on here. It’s more that I’m starting to understand what it is to be human. As I lose shame over my own body, so I lose shame over the concept of bodies. And as I lose that shame I’m afforded the room to connect and appreciate and embrace a beauty that kind of feeds a cycle. It’s an acceptance of my place, now that I know what that is. Now that I understand how I fit in with just… Everything. Everyone. In a way I never did.

Bully Pulpit

  • Reading time:3 mins read

Sometimes I think about how 80% of what I post about now is trans stuff and I wonder if I really want to make my frickin’ gender the dominant force in my life, as if being trans is a personality trait somehow. Then I remember, I’m going through some shit. And I’m neurodivergent. It’s actually a good thing that I’m making myself my own special interest for the first time in my life. This means I actually am paying attention to, am interested in and care about myself. Which has never ever been the case at all. There will be an adjustment period.

I think it’s kinda like that thing where, like, there’s this recovery period after a breakup, right; sometimes people roughly calculate it as the time you were in that relationship, halved. One’s basic sense of self seems a bit deeper than even a close romantic relationship. And I’ve got… a lot of recovery to do here. From all these different angles at the same time. It’s too much to even handle on a day-to-day basis. But, I am slowly chipping away at last. And the progress is tangible, even for the relatively short time I’ve been at it.

I sure hope to hell it won’t take 20 years to fully get me to a point where I’m able to move on from all of this, but if so, uh, I guess that’s only about 17.5 left to go at this point. Hell, I’ve been obsessing over the Dreamcast way longer than that. If not consistently.

So of all the things for me to be obsessing over, my recovery, realigning my sense of self, seems like one of the better things I could prioritize—as strange and tiresome as these discussions might be for people who are not me. I would find it deeply strange and a bit scary to hang around a cis person who spent all day obsessing about their gender. I know I get creeped out by straight people who only ever talk about sex. It’s like, I dunno. Having a neighbor who’s very aggressively proud to be white.

When you’re not trying to move and develop and understand the dynamics that make you who you are and how they relate to the past and the future and the world around you and everyone you know and everything you’ve ever learned, but just to declare a fucking self-evident identity, it becomes this strange assertion of turf and status and power. This show of dominance and declaration of what you imagine normal.

I am very blatantly trying to piece together who and what I am despite everything, and I’m very much not working from a position of strength in nearly any aspect here. I’ve just been fucking shattered by life. So I think it’s okay that I spend some time to marvel over my findings. I’m sure in the end it’s all part of the same meta-essay that incorporates every other special interest of the last four decades and what they have to say about the way we relate to each other as a people. This is just a bit more visceral than most of the chapters.

Inner Voice

  • Reading time:7 mins read

These voice lessons are really starting to click lately. And based on the feedback, that doesn’t seem to just be in my head. Beyond the voice stuff as such, I got what was I guess meant as incidental feedback tonight about my body language, and—well. That’s kind of significant actually, for a lot of reasons which I made an effort to explain to her.

So, there was a lot that happened around last August, right. Six months of HRT, and the changes were starting to go nuts. People were starting to respond to me differently. This was where that hand-over happened, and this body passed from my predecessor to me.

One key element that I didn’t recognize until months later is that my first semester of voice classes ended on July 27. Early on I caught a comment about all these kinds of communication beyond spoken language, curiously including dress and makeup. Which, yeah, makes sense. But, that was a new angle for me at the time.

A thing I seized and asked about not-infrequently through the semester was body language—a topic we touched on only at the very end of that final class. We barely had time to skim it, really, but I soaked it up all the same.

There were these columns of culturally masculine or feminine mannerisms, for the purpose of illustration, right. A thing that cut pretty deeply was for me to see that something like 80% of the behaviors described as feminine are things that I had been compelled my whole life to stop doing at risk of punishment. Like, I would get in so much trouble—from my parents, from teachers, from my ex-partners, from random people—if I failed to control this shit, most of which I only understood as inappropriate; that it was considered offensive, and would ultimately lead me into big trouble. Most of it was so hard for me to beat out of myself. I kept slipping, and getting so down on myself, over and over.

So much of my time not just around other people but on my own, a big partition of my mind was devoted to basically this constant running process: be good, don’t do any of that weird shit. In fact, just don’t do anything at all, ever. Just sit there. There’s no telling what’s even wrong anymore.

Then one day, for about fifteen minutes, I had a document in front of me that explained, oh, all that shit that you’re a terrible person for doing? The reason that everybody will always hate you if you let your guard down for a second? It’s all “girl stuff.” It took maybe a couple of weeks to sink in fully, but I think that put the last cracks in the shell who had been lumbering around the past four decades. And it just began to crumble.

To adopt feminine body language was simply a matter of letting go—of being myself for once. It was really that simple. I was who I was. Deeply, fundamentally, unarguably, I was me. All this torture that I’d been put through, that I’d been coached into performing on myself every day of my life because I was just that bad, it was all to hide and deny the fact of who and what I am.

Like, this gender transition business, it wasn’t a matter of changing my mind about how I wanted to live my life, learning some new shit, performing some new behaviors according to someone else’s ideas, to fit into some other category. It was about dropping everything that had been put on me, deprogramming myself of this self-abuse, and permitting myself to just fucking live.

That’s when it really hit me that there was a real person under that numb facade, fighting to come out. To make the next move was just a matter of stepping aside and allowing it. This wasn’t about becoming anything, about transitioning to anything. It was about letting go, finally.

So, they let go. They never wanted to be alive in the first place. Their job was done. They got me to where I needed to be.

And then there I was.

Tits and everything.

So when my grad student today just kind of nonchalantly commented on my body language, how never mind the voice or dress or anything else, that it struck her how clearly feminine I read to her just from the way I moved and gestured and sat—it meant a thing, to me. I’ve pretty much not put any effort into “feminizing” my behavior beyond working on my posture and finally figuring out how to walk properly after spending my whole life awkwardly jerking around while trying to avoid doing the things I was told I must never ever do, or else.

I’m not really—I don’t want to perform, right. Not in the sense of putting on an act for other people’s benefit. Everything I’ve been doing, it’s about stripping away layers and figuring out what the truth is that has been buried for so very long, then building out from there.

What then she was saying to me was that, after just fucking letting myself go, allowing myself to live, the mere way that I fill up and use space clearly communicated to her that I was a girl. She picked out several examples of things I was “doing well” or whatever, but they weren’t things I was doing. They were just a consequence of my being.

From what I heard tonight, the fact of my being, in and of itself, communicates who and what I am, when freed and allowed to just exist on my own terms.

And, like. That’s kinda—

It wasn’t even a thing that dwelled on in particular. We were talking about how visual information makes a difference in communication, and how that makes phones suck so much. How the more channels you’re using to communicate at once, the clearer the picture will be. She told me that when she looked at me, my voice automatically sounded feminine to her from the context of all the other cues. They colored the impression of what she was hearing, informed what it meant. Mine was obviously a woman’s voice, on the basis of my behavior.

What she’s saying then is that it’s obvious that I am who and what I am, on the basis of my simply fucking existing. I am self-evidently me, by virtue of nothing more than letting go.

This is just who and what I fucking am, and always have been. And it’s so hard for me not to be.

So well, another hearty fuck-you to all the dummies who turned their noses up at this, who spent so many years trying to prevent me from existing. But more to the point, it is just a basic fact that I’m a girl. I cannot hide it, I can’t pretend to not be. I’m terrible at it, and it fucking kills me to try.

This is my natural state, right here. Like this. Without anyone else’s bullshit on me, this is what I will always spring back to because it’s just the fucking truth. And that’s how the truth works, in the end.

Anyway. So that was kind of mind-bogglingly affirmative.

The rest of the class went pretty well too. Starting to really get a hold of things, and I seemed to really startle a few people from how much had developed since last class. But more than anything, I’m kind of dizzy right now with my own inevitability. And… weirdly, for all my gaping wounds, my innate resilience.

The truth is always gonna come out, if you just give it long enough.

Diagnostic Culture

  • Reading time:3 mins read

In some ways it feels like transness is a thing for Other People, to explain to them why I’m not behaving the way they expect me to. For my part it’s more like I’m finally getting care for a condition that was negligently misdiagnosed and so has gone untreated all my life.

It kinda feels like… making a transition from, say, an assumed free-breather who keeps coughing all the time, goddamn, to an asthmatic. Like, this was probably always the case, right? Or more close-to-home, a transition from a neurotypical to an autistic with ADHD issues. I was obviously never neurotypical; that doesn’t even make sense. Pinpointing my neurological situation is about correcting for a previous set of false assumptions and lack of care and support.

By the same reasoning, at no point did I ever agree to my gender assessment. I just… didn’t want to argue. It’s neither here nor there that as a result of that misdiagnosis it took me 40 years to work out what was wrong with my situation. It happens all the time medically. I’m not changing anything. This is a diagnostic process. All I’m doing is correcting for other people’s mistakes.

The sense where I am obviously gloriously correctly trans is the cultural, ideological aspect. There’s a way of thinking, of relating to one’s self and the world—a sort of shared understanding of how things work—that is very different from those who don’t have to deal with this. And that is very much a part of who I am and who I want to be.

In an ideal society we wouldn’t dump these gendered assumptions on people the moment they’re born, and even before. Before roughly the 20th century, kids in western culture were treated as more or less androgynous until they hit puberty, at which point they adopted gendered roles. The past sucks and shouldn’t be taken as a model for the future, obviously. But point is, this is arbitrary that we project this garbage on our frickin’ caterpillars, way before it’s relevant to their lives or their self-concepts.

If our culture actually made sense, then… well, gender as we know it probably wouldn’t so much be a thing even—but more to the point, it would be pretty meaningless to be trans, as people would make up their own minds who they were and wanted to be at the right time—except in the occasional case someone realized whoops, they got it wrong before, or something in their life really changed the way they felt, which, of course, valid. But then, like, it still wouldn’t necessarily have anything to do with assigned gender, right.

Assigned gender has nothing to do with me. It’s never played into my self-concept except for the fucking trauma that it’s caused me and the way it’s forced me to react and sublimate myself to keep safe all these years.

To make a very cautious parallel that one shouldn’t look at too deeply, just as race doesn’t really have a biological basis yet it’s still meaningful due to cultural identity and history, I absolutely am socially trans. 100%. There’s too much wrapped up in that concept. As for me, though, the way that I see myself? I’m just… me.

People got things wrong, and I listened to them. And it hurt me. Then I worked out the truth, and I’m getting better. That’s… really nothing to do with me. Who I really am has no relation to what others expect.

I’m just Azure. I’m some weird kind of a girl. I always have been. People are just dumb.

Changing the Frame

  • Reading time:8 mins read

As I’ve approached and have since passed my one-year anniversary of HRT, I’ve found an increasing ambiguity to my attitude toward my genitals. What makes this strange to talk about, beyond the topic itself not being one I love to discuss, is that I don’t actually have a problem here.

I have zero dysphoria in regard to my genitals. None. I am way more concerned about, oh, the shape of my hips and butt. I don’t really gender genitals, right? Anyone can have whatever; who cares. It’s their own business. But I am partial toward a penis, and mine is very pretty. I don’t think about my genitals, hardly at all ever—it’s not very interesting to me—but in the event that I do, I am fond of what I have. It’s kind of an ideal situation, really: I got all the parts I want off the Ă  la carte menu—and all the best models at that.

Really, I’m just starting to like my body a lot. Which is so novel to me. And such a frickin’ relief.

With that established, a lot has happened over the last year. my body has changed so much, both in appearance and function. My relationship toward and concept of myself have transformed entirely. I am not the same person I was last spring, at all; that person’s time is well over. All of this has thrown what seemed like a fairly straightforward and boring relationship—this girl and her dick—into this great fog of uncertainty, and I’m not really sure where this is leading, if anywhere in particular. Ergo, I guess, finding words to think it through here.

Even that description, it indicates a thing that I guess I’ll get to in a minute, but first I feel like I need to set up the more practical elements.

Again, I really don’t… care, much, about this, beyond thinking that dicks are neat and liking mine in particular. I don’t and won’t have sex. Ever, under any circumstances. I barely ever masturbate anymore, which also comes to me as a tremendous relief! (Because, ew, fluids (except… not so much anymore).)

Which is to say, I sure do have full-on girldick going on at this point. In form and behavior, there’s been a big feminine shift. It feels different, responds differently; big change in character all around. All of which for me is somewhere between a shrug and a thumbs-up, right. It’s not doing those annoying things that I always wished it wouldn’t. It’s very polite. Still as pretty as ever. More so, even: better texture; no longer have to worry about semen—which I very do not miss! But again, I’m not really using it for anything, so ih, Whatever? Sure.

As incidental as this is to my life, it is emblematic of the way my body and mind are finally on the same page these days, agreeing on principle and acting more or less as one unit. There’s no longer this detached robot effect thing happening. What I am and who I am are intertwined. So on the one hand my genitals aren’t what they used to be; on the other, again neither am I. Beyond that hard existential hand-off that happened last August or so, there’s the much more current understanding that I am in fact a girl—a non-binary girl, yes, but there is no doubt.

Which is to say, I always have been of course. A girl, I mean. I just took a very long time to get to a place where I could wrap my head around the idea. Even after recognizing I was clearly not cisgender, I didn’t dare make this leap, as much as I wanted it to be true. It felt… preumptuous? Well, that’s my own neurosis. Point being, the psychodynamics here are very different from what they used to be—and what this thread is, is me trying to chip away at what the hell they may be angling toward.

In the past I’d sort of… not fully understood, even as I sympathized with, trans women who adopted other, often gendered, terminology toward their genitals. Again, lacking that dysphoria and actively liking the parts I had kinda made it not… land, for me personally. But there’s been this shift recently, and I feel like I recognize the pattern from my earlier slide into acknowledging my actual full-on gender.

For months before it clicked that I am and always have been a girl, I kept applying the term playfully, descriptively—in half-jest. Here it’s harder to grasp what i’m doing or why, But I have realized I’ve begun to feminize my anatomical terms. It’s one of those things where until I heard myself begin to verbalize them I didn’t notice that I had been using them internally. I’m searching back, and I don’t even know when it began.

It’s not consistent, either, as even this thread will show—and indeed will my reticence to actually write the things I’ve been thinking and saying to myself, without knowing quite why or how I got here. (Because… well. that’s my own business. And it’s confusing, and doesn’t matter in substance.)

Dancing around that little point, where we are is that I’m still in a situation where I am actively very fond of the genitals I have, right, to the extent that I care at all, but everything about the situation from the tangible to the emotional has become increasingly feminized.

So what’s going on here? Am I just being cute, the way I thought I was being cute in calling myself a girl—until I realized, oh wait, there’s a reason I keep asserting that, huh? The parts I’m referring to are very different from how they used to be, as is my working relationship with them. But, I don’t want anything different from them; that much is 100% definite. If anything, I only like them more than I did before. We’re certainly on better, uh, social terms, as these things go. They’re gorgeous; they’re a part of me. There’s no desire for an intervention whatsoever.

I guess what’s happening is I’m reinterpreting their meaning and purpose as I reinterpret my own. I think this may be related to the reclaiming—or I guess i should say claiming—of my body as my own; as an inextricable element of what it experientially is and means to be me. It feels arbitrary and peculiar to me that I would just start to think and use these terms in relation to myself. It’s unclear to me how or why i made this leap. It’s like… seriously, where did I pick that up, and why is my mind wanting to assert it? It feels a bit silly to me. But I think it’s to do with this ever-gathering holism to my relationship to myself. I guess now that it’s begun to click for me that I’m a girl, my perspective to a whole lot of things is just realigning, subconsciously—maybe experimentally, before I get to be aware of it. My subconscious presents me these experiments it’s been running, to test its ideas against the reality I’m living, and is like, okay, so what do we think about this, then? Does this make sense? And I’m all, huh?? Why are you handing me this? And my subconscious shrugs, and melts back into the shadows with a chuckle.

So I guess that may be what’s happening. I think I’m probably just quietly realigning a whole mess of things without actively trying to here, with the new information about who and what I always have been—and there are some… artifacts as a result, which will pop up. Every day I’m crunching through decades of misalignment, incorrect framing, misapprehension, that I’m whizzing through an effort to rebuild with the knowledge that I now have—with the understanding that I have always been a girl—which carries all of these major implications.

Alongside that, every day I’m growing closer to myself, more wholly integrated as a real person who actually exists in the world—so I guess subconsciously, there are some implications to my understanding of and relationship to some practical aspects of myself. Which doesn’t mean I’d materially want them to be any different—which I very much don’t. Especially now, after all these upgrades. It just means, I guess… I’m settling into myself? Starting to resolve my history and reality? Solving mysteries, rewriting history?

So. Okay. I’m not sure that this is the last word, but I think I’m a little clearer on what the hell my head is doing now.

And there’s your daily dose of awkward content. Enjoy.

Filling the Void

  • Reading time:4 mins read

To own myself is to unlock so much that had been inaccessible to me. So many thoughts and ideas, so much of my understanding of the world and my relationships to others. And it all started with my aroaceness. Through that came enough of a sense of bodily autonomy and self-possession to permit me access to my gender, some aspects of my neurology, and everything else that defines me as a person.

It’s funny. I didn’t really want to be in the romantic or sexual relationships I have been; I just felt like I didn’t have a choice, right? That it was what was wanted from me, was the trade-off I had to make for retaining those… what-I-thought-were friendships.

I didn’t so much consent as relent. I gave myself up—or I suppose just handed myself over, from where the last owner left me. I didn’t feel like I had any real agency over myself. I knew I was always wrong about everything, and I didn’t want to upset anyone because of my hang-ups or preferences, which I knew didn’t matter.

And it sucked. A lot. I hated the expectations. I hated being objectified. I hated the constant criticism and judgment. I hated having no control over my body or my mind or my life. I hated having everything I cared about diminished and demeaned, all my principles dismissed.

Sex was upsetting on so many levels. I couldn’t manage spending every waking moment worrying about someone else’s actions and feelings and well-being, and getting nothing but contempt in return; that raw disgust and fury at my just… being a real person, and not some fantasy idol.

In hindsight, somewhere in the deep recesses of my subconscious, I think beyond the toxic decayed friendship that offered me nothing in the end, the thing I wound up clinging to in each case, that intoxicated me enough to freak me out over losing, was their femininity—being in its aura, right? I was too meek to engage with it much, but there were all their girl things all around me. There they were, as a point of study; something I could never be, never have for myself, in a way that felt almost unfair. But I could do osmosis.

(Though sex and physicality freaked me out, I also did find boobs hilarious and fun—another thing to low-key envy.)

And yes, all my past partners—all those I will ever have—were cis women, though they needn’t have been. That they were is largely due to the circumstance of they being the ones to have pursued me; in part because of internalized homophobia; in part because I just… I think had all that unsettled business, existentially. I saw in them some part of what it hurt so much that I was not.

I guess it’s probably no accident that embracing my own femininity led almost directly into realizing all my tertiary attractions were pretty much regardless of gender. Once I had filled that void in my life, it was easier to step back and take measure.

Now that I understand I am my own girl, I’ve got no special need to live vicariously—so that weirdness is cleared up. I am the person I want to be now, or am on my way at least—so what narrow confused longing there was is gone, and what attraction I do feel, it’s free to be all about individual appreciation of the other, on merit.

People are just people, right? There’s so little that separates or distinguishes us except for who we are, and how we choose to behave—and that’s the power, the energy that generates beauty. Now that I’m on my way to being a complete person, it’s harder to discriminate—except in the sense that romance is dumb and sex is gross, and I have no desire for either. We really love to brand and package love in this culture. There are so many other, more interesting, more constructive ways to appreciate people. To show and receive affection.

I feel like I have missed out on a lot of meaningful connection, a lot of mutual support and fondness and care and joy, from playing other people’s games for so long. I want to learn how to love in my own way—a way without conditions or performance or… bodily fluids.

I feel like the world kind of needs it too.

A Cultural Divide

  • Reading time:2 mins read

I genuinely have never known what it’s like to be male. I was never raised as “culturally male,” as the TERfs would have it. I have never had any interest in masculinity. I have my whole life shied away from thinking of myself or being classed as a dude. I just never quite understood why it bothered me.

I had no connection with any gender, really. I tolerated other people’s assumptions about me, though it made me feel gross—but I had none of my own. The start of my transition was me, recognizing and accepting and exploring this lack of a relationship and what it might mean for me.

My gender is a bit weird and wibbly still, but I do have one now. That’s the thing, though—in every way that matters to me, this is my first gender; my only one. The one that’s always been latent, and that I’ve spent the last couple years grasping toward. It’s still a work in progress to define it and understand how it applies to my life. but it’s not a moving target. It’s always been pretty stable, even when I’ve had no active connection with it.

In a sense it feels funny I’m considered trans, as I’m not really transitioning from anything that I think of as real. It’s more a matter of finally paying attention and growing into myself, after putting it off for my whole life.

This is the only me there has been. Yeah there was this protective husk, stumbling around for decades. but that wasn’t me. It was the parcel post shipping container. It had no awareness, no sense of self. It didn’t feel anything, want anything. It was just layers of swaddling, to get me through the long exchange.

I don’t know anything about my assigned gender beyond what I can read in a book or see on a screen. Experientially I can’t tell you how it feels any more than I can describe what microwaves look like. It’s an alien concept. It has nothing to do with me.