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.