I don’t know if there’s a word for the feeling you get when you hear a word for the first time and for some reason it feels like home. Something that you connect with instantly. I’ve experienced this feeling a handful of times but often initially rejected the word that speaks to me.
The first time I was probably about 8, sat in the school hall for assembly. The headteacher (or whoever was talking) was reading a poem or story or something and mentioned the mythical Griffin. The description that followed captured my heart and to this day if someone asks me for my favourite mythical creature my instant reply is that of the half-eagle half-lion. I can still picture the initial mental image that I had of the beast flying, and the joy that it gave me. It’s a strange example, but its the first time that a word really resonated with me and claimed a place in my heart.
Another time was coming across the word ‘asexual’ on tumblr. I don’t remember the exact circumstances, only that I became aware of the concept and immediately started reading more and questioning whether this was me. I rejected the label for a good few months because it just didn’t feel like I was feeling anything different to anyone else. I find it easy to talk yourself out of asexuality, easy to dismiss yourself.
The same denial process happened when I came across the word ‘transmasculine’. It was a similar situation, coming across the term along with the definition and how transmasculine is different to transman. Instantly I was intrigued. I felt like this was something I wanted to know more about, so I did some reading before deciding it wasn’t me. The concept stayed with me though for almost a year as I started to become more and more uncomfortable with my assigned gender, until I revisited it and it felt like a warm hug.Looking back its strange to me that I didn’t take the label right away, but its a process and I think the fact that my labels spoke to me long before I incorporated them into my identity says a lot.
I feel like there’s probably a word out there, maybe not in English but in some other language for the concept of connecting with a word instantly. And thats why labels are important.
I’ve wanted a pair of military-style boots for a while since I only ever wear trainers and a pair of shoes that are (slightly) more formal would be handy.
In an online sale, a pair I’d been admiring was half price: £29.99 instead of £59.99! I jumped at the chance and ordered them, and spent the 4 days waiting for them to arrive like a kid waiting for Christmas. They arrived today and they’re absolutely perfect, everything I hoped they would be (I mean the lining on one is slightly damaged meaning that the spongy filling is poking out a little bit, but its not going to spread).
I also ordered a few bits for myself while I was doing Christmas shopping at an online store that sells branded items for a fraction of the price. Riding the high of my boots I tried on the t-shirts. Two fitted perfectly, one was tight around the hips. Strike 1. Moment of disappointment that quickly passed because this happens all the time when you try on mens clothes.
The pair of board shorts fitted perfectly and did an excellent job of covering the curves but as I was looking at my reflection I got hit by how my face looked. It was not the right face. Strike 2. I wanted to cry, to stare at the face until it changed to how it should look. Breathe. Collect yourself. Tell yourself its just because you messed up your hair under that hat.
The button up looked great, especially tucked into my jeans (otherwise that too was tight around my hips), but that meant that my butt was more visible- I tend to wear a t-shirt or something that hangs to at least partly cover the curve. Strike 3, you’re out. Sit on the floor with your head between your knees.
The jumper I got is great. I’m wearing that and the boots as I sit here with a mug of hot chocolate that is probably 50% mini marshmallow. Someone said in a YouTube video that once you accept that you’re trans/decide you want hormones/surgery the waiting really begins (I can’t remember who). I didn’t realise how accurate that was. I guess now I’ve come out to myself though, so everything’s a bit different.
The problem is that I don’t know if I want to take hormones, its a big step that I’m not ready for. But I don’t want to live like this. And I know that I’d be so much happier with a more ‘masculine’ figure. With facial hair. With a deeper voice. But I’m scared.
At least I have the boots though. They’re great and I feel so powerful and confident when I put them on. It’s the little things.
Something that I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is my family and how they may react if I came out. Also I’ve been thinking about jobs- my current contract runs out soon and I’m going to have to find something else. It’s got me thinking that I’d probably actually prefer to be passing as male before using male pronouns, at least to strangers. I feel like my family would take me more seriously too. In addition, I got emailed a link to a guide to sexual reassignment surgery by junomedical a few weeks ago.
This led to me sitting down and really contemplating what I want for me, and what I want for ease of acceptance (which I talked about in this post). The guide was useful in that in broke down all possible procedures that are available in a concise bullet pointed list, which a) opened my eyes to procedures I didn’t know existed and b) gave short but effective definitions for things I was aware of but had never looked up the details of the procedure as it wasn’t something that I felt I wanted. If nothing else its a good starting point for anyone who would like more information on either FTM or MTF procedures.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I will probably consider starting HRT at some point in the future; the fat redistribution is something that I would really like (I’ve never liked having a butt or narrow waist), and facial hair would be pretty neat. Actually, just a more masculine face would be great. I’d like to like my voice for once. But it’s not something that I feel is right for me right now.
With regards to top surgery, I’m undecided. I’d like a flat chest, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about the loss of a part of my body. I don’t know that I’d be happier with scars than a slight chest. I think this is largely due to the fact that with regards to my chest I experience gender euphoria much more often than gender dysphoria, so its not at the forefront of my mind unless I wear my binder and see myself, if that makes sense? Bottom surgery is, at the moment, not something I can see myself being interested in. Genitals freak me out and I tend to ignore them as much as possible- which would be quite a lot harder with external anatomy!
If I decide to have surgery, I’m pretty sure I’d save up and go privately- I’d feel bad for using the NHS. The junomedical guide I was sent showed the variation in cost in different countries- I knew that American healthcare was expensive but the bar chart was a shock! I think personally I’d stay in the UK so that I’d be close to home, but for other people looking abroad may be the better option.
Right now to try and separate what I want from what would make my life easier I’m asking myself what would I want to look like if I was stranded on an island and nobody was ever going to see me again. I think I’d like complete androgyny. If I could customise myself like a video game character I’d have a flat chest and a bit of facial hair. A youthful male face. Based on that hormones are at the top of my list of possible steps, followed by top surgery, and bottom surgery being out of the question. But that means I’ll have to come out to the people I know, and I’m really not ready for that.