I wish I had a clear view of the future. To be honest, some days I wish I had a clear view of the present. I have never hidden (nor been ashamed of) the fact that I love the 80s. And though I was never really a big fan of the Bangles, this song has been playing in my head recently. Stuck on repeat. If she knew what she wants…. he’d be giving it to her. Despite the poor grammar (which makes me cringe), I apparently completely relate. Both not knowing what I want and therefore unable to give it to myself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am no enthusiast of the abstruse. I wish I just knew what to do, had a clear path, a simple answer.
I keep thinking that I’d like to try a series of inner experiments. In which I imagine each of my various options in turn. And let each option have its turn. Without interference from the others. But that never seems to work, even when I’m just trying to use my meditation time to focus and contemplate a potential. I am bombarded by the “what ifs” and “what abouts“. And forbye (admission: I have been dying to use this word since I starting reading my current book, which is set in ancient Scotland), I feel like in some ways I do know what I want. I just want it in a certain way.
And maybe I’m just a spoiled brat (though that may be my mother talking) because I want what I want when I want it how I want it. It is awfully obnoxious when I think of it that way. Which just taps into my deep well of shame. But I know better than to let myself travel too far down that dead end route. It does me no good.
What I want is to be and feel integrated and whole. I don’t want to be a *man* necessarily. I want to be *me* necessarily. I want this feeling of anxious frustration and utter wrongness to go away. I have certainly addressed and alleviated some of the issue by simply awakening and acknowledging the truth: that I am transgender. And like any source of shame, naming it is a big factor in moving toward healing it. But I want more. I want to stop hating myself. I want to stop walking by reflective surfaces and coming to a screeching halt of hostility at what I see. I want this paralyzing, depressing dysmorphia to stop. Really. It’s worse than looking into a funhouse mirror. It’s like living in a funhouse mirror. Only minus the fun part. I so wish I could explain it in a way that would allow people who don’t experience it to truly comprehend. Or even understand a tiny bit.
But how can that be possible when the majority of people I talk to about even considering testosterone (even the ones who I think get it on some level) ask me questions like, “You want hairy legs/arms?!” (said with that edge of disbelief that lets you know they think you are an utter moron) Yes friends, and I’m hoping for the hairy back and the tops of my feet as well, as long as I’m at it. Yes, that is my main goal in considering injecting myself with testosterone: male pattern baldness and hairy knuckles. How did you guess?! It isn’t the hairiness that I’m going for (in case you couldn’t read through the thick film of sarcasm). Neither is it that I want to simply assume the life of a straight white male. Not that I’d be mistaken for one in any reality. And at any rate, I’m going for something a little deeper.
Forget about the glamorization or the questions around intentions, have you seen the smile on Caitlyn Jenner’s ENTIRE BEING since her transition? She is positively radiant with an inner joy that Bruce never had (not even on the Wheaties box) And how about looking for a single photo of Chaz Bono before transition that even hints of a smile? You won’t find one. Chastity Bono, in every photo ever taken of her, looks like she is clenching her ass and clamping her teeth down on a lemon. Not so with Chaz. Photos of Chaz are buoyant, cheerful and project an inner ease, comfort and even a hint of silliness. Not to mention an effervescence that is palpable even in photos. That’s what I’m going for.
It isn’t that I think I deserve some over-the-top happiness, or even a happiness beyond what is “normal” for the average person. Or even a happiness that is elusive to everyone else. I’m simply wanting an inner peace that is, for most people, a baseline born at birth. Something so fundamental for the vast majority of people living on earth that they aren’t even aware that it could be otherwise. It just shouldn’t be too much to ask.
And the thing about wanting it how I want it? Well, that’s about wanting my being to not be so arduous, so forced, so burdensome. I just want to be the same person (ie: who I am) both in and out of my head. Unlike the celebrities who have had to transition in front of the cameras, I don’t want a press release, a big coming out party or some grand revelation. I don’t need a billboard, a bulletin or a meeting with our human resources department. I don’t want to have to meet my public (or even my friends) as a new me. I want to simply morph into the me I already know I am. I hate the thought of having to announce my self everywhere I go, to everyone I meet. Even something as seemingly simple as, Hi my name is X and I prefer male pronouns. I don’t want to explain myself, change my name, my status, my brand of deodorant or anything else that isn’t actually other people’s business. It feels apologetic to me, having to clarify my existence repeatedly. I’m sorry I don’t fit into any of your paradigms, let me flutter around nervously trying to make you feel more comfortable. I don’t want to have to define (and therefore limit) myself over and over again. Heck, I don’t want to have to do it once.
The not knowing what I want is also connected to not knowing what is possible. I know what living exactly like I am, as authentically as I can, is like. I’m doing it every day. But I don’t know what taking testosterone will feel like or how it will manifest in me. I don’t know if taking a low dose will result in me being content, helping to align my inner and outer worlds. But what if it will fuel a fire for further change? The thought of feeling more integrated in my body is tantalizing. The not knowing is hard.
If he knew what he wants, she’d be giving it to him.