Hey there, people who follow my blog. I’m still alive!
I’m aware that I’ve been unusually quiet recently. But I suppose it’s a case of no news is good news, because I actually don’t have that much to say—shocking I know . Life is ticking along, I’m doing pretty well most of the time and a lot of my transition stuff feels mostly over and done with now.
I decided to write an update today because June holds a couple of significant anniversaries for me, so it’s a good time for reflecting on where I am now and how I got here.
It was in June 2016 that I first truly admitted to myself that I was ‘probably transgender’ (my thoughts at the time), and started to tell family and some close friends. Speaking the words out loud is what set the wheels in motion for transition.
Then one year ago tomorrow, in June 2017, I had chest reconstruction surgery. This was a huge milestone for me, and was an incredibly positive step. It’s probably no coincidence that this was the point when I started to blog less often, because it truly felt like I moved into a new stage of my life once that surgery and recovery was over. The physical change came with a great sense of peace, and I finally felt as though I could stop chasing something that was out of reach and just be.
That’s not to say that my transition feels over necessarily. My body is still changing slowly from the hormones, puberty is a long haul, but the changes are slower and more subtle now. I’m starting to get gendered correctly more consistently by strangers, although it’s still a bit hit and miss. (The demographics of who reads me as male and who reads me as female is fascinating but there’s probably another whole blog post in that. Feel free to remind me to write it). Getting misgendered is weird and awkward but I’m used to it by now. More annoyingly, I still sometimes feel slightly surprised when I’m gendered correctly, but I can’t help it. I look forward to the day when I can just expect it. I guess my brain still needs a bit of catching up time. I have a lot of years of thinking I was female to override.
One of the interesting things I wanted to touch on today, is how being read correctly as male sometimes causes problems for me in a way that I never anticipated. The problem is, that when people read me as male, they are usually reading me as significantly younger than I am—probably around thirty at the most.
You might think this is a good problem to have, and in some ways I’m totally okay with it. But where it becomes problematic is when I have a conversation with someone and start talking about my life experiences. If I mention that I used to be a teacher, and then say I gave that up eighteen years ago, there’s usually an awkward pause (if not an outright expression of disbelief). I can see the mental cogs turning while the person does the mental arithmetic and realises something doesn’t add up. Similarly, if I say that I have a seventeen year old child, that sometimes gets me some pretty weird looks too.
This is frustrating, because on the one hand it’s wonderful to be read as male and just be myself. On the other hand it’s uncomfortable to feel that I have to be cautious about everything I say. I’m normally an open book type of person, but I don’t necessarily want to have to disclose my transgender history to new acquaintances. It’s not a guilty secret, yet I’d rather that wasn’t the first thing someone finds out about me. I don’t want to be ‘that trans guy’ to everyone I meet for the rest of my life. I’d rather be ‘that short guy’ or ‘that guy with the octopus tattoo’ or ‘that guy who makes up weird shit about his life that can’t possibly be true, because he’s way too young to have been a teacher in the nineties…’.
I’m not sure what the answer is, other than some kind of ageing potion. Maybe I just need to talk less.