When I was a child I could not imagine the future. I could not picture myself as an adult. What I might look like, who I would live with, or what I would do. I drew blanks.
I knew what I didn’t want to be. I didn’t want to be a girl. I didn’t want to be like my mother. I didn’t want to marry a man and have kids. I didn’t want to be a wife. I didn’t want to be a career woman in a skirt suit. I didn’t want to grow up. I didn’t want to do the long list of things that my mother did to get ready. I didn’t want to bother with pantyhose, lip stick, eye liner, foundation, perfume, hair spray, or nail polish. I didn’t know there were other options.
I survived by resisting my mother’s attempts to make me look like or act like a girl. I survived, but I did not thrive.
I thought in double-negatives. I didn’t do what I didn’t want to do. This is not the same as doing what you want to do. Whenever possible, I didn’t do the girl stuff. I dragged my feet and resisted. Sometimes I didn’t do anything at all. I stayed in my head or I read.
All of my fantasies were about being a boy. I kept the cognitive dissonance to a minimum by not fantasizing about being either a man or a woman. I didn’t want to grow up. I didn’t want to be a blank.
I didn’t make a lot of compromises. I didn’t twist myself into a pretzel to make other people comfortable. I figured out what kinds of jobs and workplaces to avoid. I learned that if you are really good at what you do most people will cut you some slack for being eccentric. Others will not be able to get past what you look like, no matter how good you are. Some people don’t like butches.
I do not regret being a butch. I regret that I didn’t let the trans out earlier. That I lived for so long in the land of “I am not” instead of in the land of “I am”.
My life would have been different if had I been permitted to say what I wanted without fear of reprisal or punishment. I’m no longer afraid, but I still have trouble imagining my future.
I want to be free from dysphoria. I want to feel comfortable in my body and in the external world. I’m not there yet. Changing my name and getting top surgery both brought me closer. The next sentences all start pulling back into the “I don’t want” construction; it is a struggle to re-write them. To turn resistance into initiative. To turn “I don’t want to transition into a man.” into “I want to continue my transition at my own pace and in the same direction.”
Notes: I’ve stalled out on thinking about testosterone due to the high cholesterol count (282) on my blood test. Right now all I can say is that I want to get my cholesterol down so I can have free choice. And that sometimes I hate being middle-aged and having middle-aged problems.