I’m slipping back into a dysphoric depression that I don’t want to be in. Which is better, I guess, than being in one and not caring. I’ve spent my life being told everything about me is wrong. And everything I want is wrong. As a kid, whatever I told my mother I wanted (when I was brave enough to do so) she scoffed at with a deep “chhhh” in the back of her throat and utter disgust in her eyes.
I wanted trucks or matchbox cars. “Uchhhhh, what do you want those for?! They’re stupid.” I wanted high-top sneakers. “Ochhhh, they’re so ugly and clunky! Why do you want them?!” I wanted a skateboard. “Achhhhh, you’ll break your neck! They’re so dangerous. Why would you want one?!” I wanted to wear tails to my senior prom. “JESUS Hali! Why?! You’ll look ridiculous, stupid!”
And those were just a few of the things on my top ten list. I kept hidden and smothered the scores of other things I wanted. I could only bring myself to ask for those things which I most felt I needed.
Honestly though, I can’t fault my mother for not understanding my transgender issues (much as I’d love to, adding to the laundry list of complaints I have about her). Had I understood then that I was transgender, had I had the language, the awareness, the cognizance, maybe it would have made more sense to me. Maybe I would have understood my needs, wants, desires and I could have explained them in such a way as to make sense to others. Maybe my mother would have proven to be an advocate had I been able to adequately explain who I was and what I needed? Though, given who she is and her mental illness it is highly doubtful. At any rate, reality was that I felt like I was always grasping for something elusive, shoveling shit against the proverbial tide, never making “sense” to anyone, including myself. Nothing was ever quite right, and by right I think I mean normal. Even when small things offered almost imperceptible comfort (like the high-top sneakers or wearing a tux to the prom), the itch never got satisfied. It was as if the answer to my dilemma always fluttered just out of my reach, just beyond peripheral vision.
I’m not sure what came first, my own revulsion at being so wrong or the disgust and judgement read on the faces of others. They both existed. I lived with the two. I recently read the article “What They Don’t Tell You About Being Transgender“. With a sigh and a nod, I could totally relate.
That disapproval has always been my chaperone. I have spent a lifetime covering over, trying to bury that shame, while simultaneously living as if it didn’t exist. I try desperately to keep it from rearing its ugly head. But it pops up all the time. I am easily shamed. It is one of the reasons I do not allow myself to have needs or wants. I have interred those needs/wants so deeply, so deftly, in fact, that often even I do not know I have them.
I’m seeing a new doctor tomorrow. At a clinic that specializes in trans-health. I know that questions about who I am and what I want will be asked. I know that the question of testosterone will come up. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know who I am or what I want. And testosterone?! Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I haven’t considered T on my own. I have. Plenty. I just have forestalled any and all operative thinking about it with the response so ingrained in me, the big “Chhhh” at the back of my throat accompanied by that look of disgust and loathing. I’m too old. I’ll just look/be stupid. Of course I don’t want that! Why would I?! I have held any thoughts at bay because neither Jaime nor Kris (two bloggers that I follow, with whom I feel a particular kinship) were talking about it, and as long as they didn’t broach the subject, neither would I.
With this doctor’s appointment I feel as if all hell is about to break loose. Every trans story I read, every article in a major publication, is like a dent in my armor. My excuses no longer hold quite so rigidly. I know there were sessions on people over 40 at the trans-health conference in Philly last week. I have also found a group on Facebook for transguys over 40. Never mind Caitlyn Jenner in all her (65 year old) glory making it look so easy. Along with Chaz, Laverne Cox, and a host of others being themselves and being celebrated for it. And not one of them looks stupid to me. And to top if off, recently both Kris and Jaime have written about their T considerations. What if?
I cringe at what I have written here. My mind’s eye goes immediately from the image of me more me (ie: masculine) to being bombarded with the disgusted, disappointed, judgmental expressions of those looking back at me. So I tell myself it was just a dumb idea, stupid, something I shouldn’t really want anyway. And so I don’t. Until tomorrow.