A young man deals with personal and societal struggles to transition from female to male
|There was nothing unusual about my birth, nothing I know of anyway. I'm sure there was the usual crowd of doctors and nurses awaiting my arrival, as my mother screamed and my father held her hand. I'm guessing the doctor held me up for my parents to see, proudly announcing “It's a girl!”. And I'm sure from the outside, physically, and biologically, nothing about that statement was incorrect.
And like most little girls, I was wrapped in pink blankets with bows, while family and strangers cooed over me saying how beautiful I was. And for years I played the roll well, allowing my mother to dress my in florals and lace, and tie ribbons into my long golden brown hair. I was a perfect ballerina, dancing across stage after stage in a seemingly endless selection of itchy tutu's. No one ever suspected that there was an unhappy little boy inside, anxious to play with Tonka trucks in the dirt. I didn't even know he was there till my early 20's when I strapped down my breasts with an ace bandage and went to a costume party in male drag. Pretending to be a boy just felt way too easy, too right.
“But you were such a pretty girl” people would say, or “But you used to wear makeup and skirts all the time! How can you think your a boy all of a sudden?” Most people don't really get it, and thats okay most of the time. I don't expect them to understand something so personal and uniquely individual. What normal person would want to, or even think about changing their gender? I guess it's a good thing I don't consider myself to be normal. Why would I want to be?
It wasn't really an 'all of the sudden' change though, but more of a long gradual, messy and sometimes bloody, confusing change. And like most huge decisions in life, one filled with doubt, anger, fear and denial. What kind of person would want to do something as crazy as change their gender? Someone who doesn't have any other option besides death, and who has already failed at that choice.
I failed at least three times. It's harder to slit your own wrists than you would think. It goes against all of our hard wired survival skills, to be able to press hard enough into your own skin with a blade and cut open an artery. To fight through the pain and emerging blood, and continue with enough force while your body is trying to save it self, and your brain is fighting its self to stop. Its easy to bleed and leave a criss crossed mess of scars, but bleeding out is a different thing all together. My second and third failed attempts were with pills. How hard is it to mess up when all you have to do is swallow? The first time I didn't take nearly enough, and ended up with a 3 day hangover. I guess my years of substance abuse had built up a pretty serious tolerance. I took 2 handfuls the next time, and woke up in a puddle of vomit. I gave up on killing myself for a while after that. I was too depressed to put in the effort I guess.
The idea to kill my self didn't appear all of a sudden either. That too was a long and painful journey. There was a time when I was a happy little girl, before I learned what it really meant to be a girl. Before I learned that my voice wasn't going to crack and drop like the boys in my school, before the breasts I never really wanted started to grow, and before my first period. Then for a while I was pretend happy, believing that if I just read seventeen magazine and cosmo girl, people would like me and I could be pretty with a boyfriend and everything would be fine. If you believe in it, it will happen, right?