Content warning: depression, dysphoria, breakups, suicide
One time I was in Zul’Farrak, because I’m a gigantic nerd and also because it was better than being present in my actual surroundings, on a military base. It was like meditation but with other people and hit points. I was helping a guildie and when we were finished, sitting there together in the sand, she surprised me.
“Can I tell you something, like really personal? I feel like I can trust you.”
“Nobody else knows this so can you keep it a secret?”
“I was born a boy.”
Agonizing seconds passed. I knew she’d be spending every single one of them bracing for the worst. I had to decide. I swallowed hard. My hands shook.
“I’ve never told anyone this before, but… me too.”
I explained to her that I hadn’t transitioned, that this was all completely new to me, that I was terrified, but I was also dying.
“I don’t have any friends,” she told me, “they always leave. I can hook you up with some support groups in the PNW though.”
“I’m not saying you can’t do this, but it’s going to draw attention, you know? I’m just saying.”
“I have a big awful crush on a boy in the guild. I’m like 99% certain he feels that way too. It’s hopeless, though.”
“Yeah. I’ve fallen for plenty of internet boys I can never be with too. You learn to deal with it and enjoy it for what it is.”
I logged out and reread TSRoadmap for the 112th time. It was utterly impossible. Not happening. A fantasy at best. But if I’d been cursed with eternal life like some kind of fucked up transsexual character of Greek myth, I’d have spent eternity rereading it and dreaming.
I’m out of the military. I’m in college, like before I enlisted, but this time I’m gay. I certainly wasn’t a woman, because I couldn’t be a woman, life just didn’t work that way. Oh, it did for other people. Those other trans women out there, actually transitioning (somehow) and existing and all that? Totally. Best I could do is put my face up to the glass and wonder what the secret was to passing through it. No, I had to accept being a guy and that meant being gay, and doing something with the knowledge I gained about myself the previous two years. As if one can ever return to such a state of ignorance.
This was actually worse than simply being in the closet. The cognitive dissonance will really screw you up. It’s like trying as hard as you can not to think about an elephant, except instead of picturing the elephant ever more clearly you get ever-escalating dysphoria and emotional rot and desire to jump from the 10th Avenue bridge into the silty, swirling currents of the Mississippi.
Mostly, I dealt with it by listening to heavy metal. Like man, have you heard the new Agalloch? It’s so good. Fucking bleak, man. You might go goth, instead. You might even stay goth when you transition. I grew a beard. It was a magnificent beard, aside from the fact it was just something to hide behind. Something so I would at least have a different face to stare at in my mirror and not recognize.
It’s a few years later. I’m transitioning, somehow. I’m dissolving estrodial under my tongue, anyway, and what happens as a result of that is simply going to happen. It’s not that I can’t imagine doing those things so much as that they’re happening and I don’t have a choice.
I have a girlfriend for the second time in my life. The literal first thing that happened when we became a couple is that she moved in with me. Before our first date, even. On the bright side I’m pretty chill about calling or not calling for a UHaul now because I already mastered it.
I shave my face. I cry. She touches me. I cry. She chuckles and I ask her what’s funny and she says she was just thinking about how completely different our bodies are. I cry. She says her needs aren’t being met. I cry.
It’s a few years later. I’m still transitioning. I’m not out at work. I’ve been in the hospital, I’ve been out. I found religion and pop music. I want to scream. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting to scream. I’m one of those trans women. I’m alive. You can be too. I promise. It’s brutal out there, but you can be too.