I feel like at 26 I am supposed to have my shit together. Or at least, to have a plan about where I want my life to go and what I want to do with it. Being past 25, the age limit that I had put myself a long time ago is making me both very proud and very disappointed in myself.
At the same time, I understand that my life progression is not exactly a straight line. I spent most of my teenage years depressed, and then most of my early twenties in a frantic search for ways to exist in myself in a way that felt comfortable. And then I spent the rest transitioning, introducing a new identity to the world, and trying to put out the fires that this created in all the areas of my life.
From a certain point and after, I abandoned any aspiration of being happy for the sake of being “content”. I understood that happiness is not something that you can achieve if you can’t first be content with the situation you are in. Being content is a very low bar in measuring life satisfaction because it’s a very passive way of being, but it’s a good enough point of measure for letting go of things. And that’s what I did, and for a while it worked pretty well. It gave me stability and a peace of mind that I desperately needed.
It’s just that right now I don’t think that being content is enough for me. I want more from my life. I want more from myself. I generally, want more.
And I feel that it’s too late for me to want those things, because I spent all this time building my life around being content, without having worked out what being happy could mean for me or where I should put my work and efforts in order to make this a reality.
I feel like I spent so much time trying to be comfortable, that I forgot how to be happy.
And I have no idea what to do to bridge that gap, or even, if it’s possible to do so.
It’s funny, how the start of one’s transition can seem like an endless race to “passing”, your manners, looks, and outfits desperately trying to shout your transness out and justify your face. You are a man, but you’re also, a trans man. For a while. Because there is no other way for you to be; with your baby face and lack of razor scruff, your tiny arms and size 4 feet – your clothes from the kids section, your high pitched voice. The way people know you must change, in order to know you for real.
And then, within a year or so, all that changes.
People call you “sir” even on the phone, where they can’t see your patchy beard and broadened shoulders, your leg hair or your bushy eyebrows. No one stares at you in bathrooms, and you’re finally able to just be. A free man.
But are you really? Yes, you are a man, but you’re also a trans man, like you could be a tall man, or a black man. Now there is no reason for you to state your transness, now there is no reason for people to know, and your dysphoria is less and less prevalent as you swerve into the world – a public secret.
Your past is surrounded by fog, you exist only – from a point and after -.
Unless you don’t.
And then the race rewinds. And for people to know you, you must unpass.
And the race goes on.
If you ever found yourself worrying about something going wrong with your body, you’d most likely feel safe to the hands of a medical practitioner (or a group of them) to know how to “fix you”. It’s pretty simple really. These people spent most of their lives studying the faults and functions of human bodies, and many of them are specialised to offer specific treatment for specific parts, and since your body is just another one of the thousands they’ve seen, you’re sorted, right?
Well yes. Until your body becomes part of a very small percentage of alien bodies, that not many people know how to deal with. I mean, yes sure, you’re not that special after all – your bodily functions on their majority are the same as everyone else’s. But what happens when they are not? And what happens when the data and knowledge available for these specific types of bodies are not much?
Being a man who owns a vagina, let me tell you that visiting medical facilities is not the most pleasant of endeavours. Recently, I had to say the word “my vagina” to a medical practitioner and I immediately grasped a sense of “Oh! How do I deal with this right now” – not in a transphobic way, rather than in a human “I hope it’s something I know what to do about” way.
Given that I am still learning how my new body works, after years of it working in different ways, I would hope that medical practitioners would have a clearer idea about it, and they would be able to guide and support me through this process. However, most of them are just as confused as I am, and although both of us are aware of many of the things that are happening in there, we are still not sure if that’s the whole story or not.
I wish there was a specialty for transgender people. I mean, there are specialties for pretty much everything these days. It would provide so much comfort to people who need someone to empathise and understand them (us) when we go with a full on beard to a GP and talk about periods, or god forbid! vaginas.