I know that I share a lot on this blog about my personal feelings, but for every thing I say openly there’s 10 things I tell no one. I am also terrible at telling specific people how I feel, preferring to instead post generalized subjects guaranteeing the target will never see my words. Although I’m trying to get better about standing up for myself, I can also affirm these posts help me build that confidence tremendously. So here it is, 10 Things I Don’t Tell You (personally) About Being Transgender.
- That what you said made me cry. Not even a little teary eyed. I sobbed. For a long time. I cried to my husband. I cried to my friends. Irrational, dramatic, ugly crying. I know you didn’t mean it, I know that you would never hurt me on purpose, and that’s why I don’t tell you this. One person hurting is bad enough.
- That your actions triggered my dysphoria. When I get a bad dysphoric episode it can completely destroy my day. I end up depressed, anxious, scared, and unable to function normally. Even basic tasks, including child care, are a chore and anything more complex is impossible in that fog. Imagine a day you are so sad you can’t get out of bed – like that. Thanks to an off handed comment.
- That I consider your feelings all the time. I didn’t selfishly make the decision to transition. I wondered what my parents, my friends, the people I run into every day would think and how they would feel. I cared about their thoughts and emotions. Not even out of fear for judgement, just that I didn’t want you in this awkward position too.
- That I heard you. Sometimes people say something that is so kind, so helpful, so symbolic of their acceptance that I am unable to respond. It’s a huge deal to me, but I don’t want it to become this big thing so I kind of keep the conversation going like it was normal – I desperately want it to be normal. Don’t think I didn’t notice you call me dad. That you said you don’t care about gender norms. That it doesn’t matter who people are. I did. Thank you
- That it consumes way more of my thinking than I would like it to. I wish that I could get my negative emotions in check desperately but right now everything about my life is a reminder of who I am not. It’s not something I can easily push aside but rather a constant tickle in the back irritating even the most fun moments and relaxing times. I hope one day I can get to a place where a good day doesn’t mean “no total breakdown” but instead a day I am just me.
- That I am embarrassed. I still struggle to say the word “transgender” out loud. I have been met with complete support and yet I am so ashamed of being this way. I don’t want it. I’ve actively fought it for years! It’s been very difficult to admit to myself, let alone other people. Every time someone finds out I feel this huge sense of shame, not because anyone treats me poorly, but because I see myself as less.
- That I feel like I have to prove myself. It’s something that plagues a lot of trans people – this whole “not trans enough” notion. To make matters worse, I’ve had people point out feminine things I’ve done in the past to kind of remind me that I haven’t always been “a guy”. They refuse to understand that I never knew who I was at best, but most of the time was just doing what was expected of me and trying to fit in. I still hang on to a few girly aspects, that are totally fine for men to do too by the way, but I do feel like other people are constantly looking for “proof” that I’m not me.
- That I notice what name and pronouns you use. A few people in my life are still going by my birth name, which I understand to a certain degree, however, it’s still painful to hear. Especially when they introduce me wrong or use it in front of people who only know me one way. I avoid bringing these people together to save myself the headache. For those who have known me a long time, and who have converted easily to using the right name and pronouns, I appreciate it and notice every. single. time. Still.
- That sometimes I want to give up. I know that I’m never going to be completely passable or able to move into a male role. I understand that my life is always going to be a struggle with this. On more than one occasion I’ve tried to push everything out of my mind and take the easy road out – and it’s made it so much worse. Despite knowing this, I frequently have the urge to give up and stop progressing.
- That I need you. I don’t tell people enough that their support means something to me. I can’t find the words to ask the ones who don’t to respect me. I need you. If it wasn’t for my support system of the years I never would have made it as far as I have. My support system helped me come out. My support system is there for me today. My support system is always changing – every day I add someone new to it. If I care that you’re not supporting me, it’s because I really value you and want you in my life. For those of you who already are, thank you.
I just want to make a special shout out to those of you who I don’t know very well and still read these posts yet don’t do anything to make me feel awkward. I really appreciate being treated like a normal person and it’s something I need terribly. Thank you.