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.

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.

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.

Rounding the Curve

  • Reading time:2 mins read

On one of the many occasions I had to drag myself out of bed last night to pee, I glanced at the mirror and—heck, my side-boob is looking really nice. There are all these artful curves now that I didn’t notice before. That whole arc from the armpit, down and under, is all filling out in this neat way. Gee whiz.

I’ve talked a little of the stages, where first all this mass builds up—this rough heap of tissue—then more recently that tissue has started to take more definite shape. Where there had been lumps, we’re starting to sculpt all that same stuff into more confident curves. It’s this slow process, hard to really notice day-to-day; hard to measure. Then one morning at 3 am you look at your tits from a new angle and realize, whoa. How long has that been a thing? It’s so fascinating!

And for that matter, since when did my butt look like this? The heck? That kinda came out of nowhere. Even when I stretch into a more masculine posture—which is starting to feel a little awkward now—there it is. It’s just, there are these curves now. All over the darned place.

Then, it’s a work in progress, but—I’ve always worn tights or stockings under my skirts, right. Beyond the whole issue of cold, I’ve just been deeply insecure about my legs my whole life. Like, it really really bothers me. And now, it’s… not terrible?? I yanked my tights off, and I was like: huh!

I’m not gonna say they’re rocking my, uh, socks off… aside from… my… just… doing that. But, it’s not making me want to die, to look at them! They’re just sort of there, and fine, and whatever.

So. That’s… something. I guess?

The birthmarks still make me feel weird, and there’s no real doing anything about them. But again, better. I’m starting to look almost look human!

I guess it has been a year, huh. A year and a day.

Happy birthday to me.

Girl Now: Second Muse

  • Reading time:5 mins read

I guess what all this is, is I actually had no sense of or relationship with gender at all until this past year. At first, recognizing that I was non-binary was about noticing that lack of a relationship beyond this vague resentment and disgust toward the thing I was expected to be. I realized I didn’t get gender, didn’t care. It had passed me by like so many things.

As I aged I never learned how to be anything in particular, and I sure didn’t want to be what was expected of me, so mostly I ignored it. It was clear that I wasn’t male and never had been, but until recently I’ve never had the liberty or awareness to explore other options, and wasn’t thrilled with the concept of a hard binary just in principle. Which I never will be. It freaks me out. Feels fashy.

I just preferred not to think about myself any more than I had to, to keep safe. Ergo, even after concluding everyone was wrong about my gender, I didn’t know that I was a girl until I knew what it meant to me to be a girl. Other people’s examples, their descriptions of what it was like… well, they weren’t me. They sat weird. Ideologically and just constitutionally I don’t do binaries, but now that I know some of what gender is and how to relate to it, there is no question that I have always been a girl. I have just been… regularly misidentified, as people will sometimes be before puberty hits.

I have talked about how underwhelming my first puberty was, and how poorly it stuck. I never went through those thoughts and feelings or really major body changes, beyond my absurd height and a decades-long creep of thin, weird facial hair. Now I finally am having a pronounced puberty—and God, I am feeling it. I feel myself becoming a person, finally taking some kind of a solid form. I am developing ideas about who and what I am, what I like, what I want, what I need to be healthy. I am becoming real.

I feel like a teenager, in a way i never did before, and all this stuff is rushing around inside me, and it just feels so obvious where this is going. How right it is. On my own terms. Like my life is just starting now. I am waking up into what it means to have a gender—which is a new experience to me. As far as transition goes, it’s not that I’m undoing or reconsidering anything, much. I was just basically in suspended animation for 30 years: physical and existential limbo. Now I’ve woken and am proceeding broadly as other people would have decades ago.

So until very recently I didn’t have the emotional language or connections to be able to conclude, yeah, I’m clearly a girl, especially since my only understanding of that came from examples that didn’t quite apply to me—but I am growing up now. And in my own way, this makes more sense than anything ever has.

It’s only now that I actually have a gender. It’s like I sort of grew one, emotionally, over the course of transition. This is my first gender, really, and it was weird and slow for me to recognize, same as all these strange feelings I now have: this happiness, boredom, loneliness—things I never really experienced.

I guess that’s the flash I had just now. Words are hard sometimes when you’re decompiling something irrational. It’s that I finally do have a gender, now that I understand how gender works and now that I can feel it. And it’s not one I landed on lightly, but rather with an enormous resonating thud.

This is part of a natural process of evolution, of my finally developing as a person—and it’s nothing like arbitrary. Now that I finally get it, the it I get is so obvious. It’s not even a question. Of course, this is what I have always been. I just never knew what it was, how describe it, how to related to it. The only uncertainty is, how to be me—what else do I not know about me yet?

I feel like this is all a lot of nothing, but, well. I’m working through a vague yet to me vitally important point here. I didn’t decide on a gender; I grew one, same as I grew my breasts—though independently of those signifiers. (Bodies are just bodies, yo.) And, it was always latent. Always there, always me. I just had to grow into it to understand.

And now, I am growing. Now I get it. I finally get to be me.

I used to be non-binary in the sense that I had no real internal gender and that gender completely baffled me. Now I’m non-binary in that I have found my gender—and though it falls in a spectrum that a word can meaningfully describe, it doesn’t conform to this preordained binary reading. I am unambiguously some kind of a girl—just, on my own terms.

Girl Now

  • Reading time:3 mins read

So this is going to sound pretty weird and uneventful on the basis of the last two years or so, but as indicated yesterday I guess I’ve figured out for sure that I’m a girl here. Like, non-binary always. but also, I’m not just trying on femininity like it’s a costume or a phase. This is me. Me: girl.

At least, of some sort.

“Yeah, and? We done know that. Duh.”

Which I have been saying, sort of loosely and semi-fatuously for months now. I guess I’ve been trying it on existentially ever since that six-month mark with the HRT, where whee, this all hit hard and I began this psychological hand-over from my predecessor to the person I am now, the person they’d been protecting all these years. But I’ve been a little tentative and insecure in just declaring these things.

It’s like. I’ve been holding onto the idea for so long, not fully believing it could be true but leaning over, claiming some aspects of my own femininity. Tacking these lost pieces onto my new self, to try to give her form. I mostly use she/her for my own purposes. I keep saying “girl” as a handwave generalization for my whole thing. But it kind of felt like, who am I to decide these things? Even after years of transness, nearly a year of medical transition, psychologically it was so hard to stick that landing.

But, no. I’m not just a femme-leaning enby. Though yes, I am that. I’m also genuinely some kind of a girl. It’s clear to me now. After saying it informally for so long, almost making a joke out of it, finally it clicked. There’s a reason this feels so right to me, makes this much sense. It’s because it’s not a joke. It’s not me being cute with gender. It’s actually true.

I guess I’ve just been really slow to accept the obvious, even after recognizing that this is the only thing that’s ever really made sense to me, ever really made me happy in 42 years. That all this glow isn’t just from, like, superficial enjoyment. It’s because it was right.

Gender’s all made-up nonsense, right, except in the meaning we give it. And, this is meaningful to me as it turns out.

So, I’m a real-actual girl.

Because of course I am, Christ. This isn’t some major revelation, except in that the last part of me finally went, “Oh. Okay, sure.”

So that is, I guess, a subtle reorientation of my perspective on things.

Nothing changes externally. Still non-binary. Still femme. Still aroace, and pan with all the tertiary junk. Still autistic. Still wrangling with ADHD. Still gorgeous. Still Azure. Just me resolving a few things, going back and dotting a few stray umlauts.

Copy editing my gender, as it were.

Oh FFS

  • Reading time:2 mins read

So I guess as of like five years ago, the state Medicaid covers facial feminization surgery, with some reasonable hoops. (I think one needs two letters from doctors or mental health services, to contact insurance first for approval. Have to blame it on dysphoria.)

I’m not saying it’s a thing I want to do. But, fuck, the option is there. Certainly not a thing for the immediate future anyway. It’s just, wow, okay. Interesting.

It is the one surgery that’s not unthinkable to me personally—especially if we work in a tracheal shave (terrifying as that may sound in the abstract). I don’t like the idea of elective surgery, and the risks and process wig me out—but this is the hormonal damage that does bother me. And, well. We’ll see how I feel after a few years.

For the short term, HRT has done a bit for me already, even at not-quite twelve months in. I know things should continue to change for another 1-4 years, probably, so. We’ll just let that play out. Best to avoid anything really invasive if we can, right. Still, it’s good to know that I do in fact have real options for once in my life.

It’s all about repairing damage suffered through neglect. We’ll keep on going until we hit a plateau—then see what I still need when we get there.