I want to say something definitive here, but the only thing definitive I have to say is this:
What I have is worth too much to throw away with feel-good absolutes.
Meaning? I have run out of lengthy internalized debates and long-term goals for myself. I am trans, and that is all I can promise. Whatever that means in 6 months or in 6 years is a matter best left to time. Physically, I value a large degree of femininity, much more than the amount of masculinity I was granted by genetics at birth. Socially, I prefer a mix of the two genders, and I sometimes overdo feminine presentation in an attempt to make up for not being physically female. This happens most often when I feel I have something to prove, so maybe there will come a day when I’m done with feeling inadequate around those that frequent my life.
I am always reminded of Soul Calibur and how Siegfried starts most battles saying, “I’m through with nightmares!” Adorned with glistening plate armor, he proclaims his freedom from the creature known as Nightmare, the beast that he once was. Funny how something with such little depth can impact somebody who desperately wants to proclaim a similar victory. In this one instance, calling the monster “Nightmare” works really well though, because Siegfried can reference that dark past while making nothing more than a generalized statement about his attitude towards life. It’s kind of stirring. Stuff like that makes fighting game characters endearing, as opposed to using direct narrative or exposition.
So, in an attempt to become this shining new Siegfried, triumphant over past sorrows, I traverse each day telling myself that pronouns (he, him, his) and names mean nothing while still approaching each moment as a chance to conquer built-it masculinity like facial hair. I would love if English used gender-neutral pronouns like Chinese, but I’m not about to start asking people to use new words outside the normal English lexicon. What I’m saying is that I’m trying to forge some new identity, like Siegfried’s suit of brilliant armor, one that works outside of male and female. And I need to find pride in that creation to survive. I have told everyone I want to be a woman, that I have always wanted to be a woman, and that I personally feel like a woman. That will never change, because that is the clear-cut absolute, the simple road for myself and others. Even if the simplicity lead to pain, at least I could be categorized by myself and the outside world without challenge. But what if (cue Liam Neeson voice) I can become more than a man… (or woman)
What if I can find that answer outside given knowledge? What if I can find that self-sacrificing answer that still brings some degree of triumph? What if I could pull an Edward Alric and give up something important to me (a female body) for something equally as important (my marriage)? Could I be feminine enough for myself without always overcompensating? I think it’s possible, but here I am trying to make another far-reaching goal, instead of just living in the moment.
It would be easier if society just accepted that male and female can both fall anywhere on a spectrum of masculine and feminine without suddenly becoming taboo . Then it would be so simple and clear. That third choice would be so obvious if men and women went to the store and just bought “masculine and feminine” clothing instead of “male and female” clothing; if removing a man’s beard was just an everyday choice (however painful) akin to a woman who chooses to wear makeup (however time-consuming); if women could choose to bind their breasts without making a statement; if men could chose to conceal their genitals with more restrictive undergarments (perhaps in order to wear something more fitting and feminine). What if our entire presentation was just a cobble of what we liked and disliked about masculinity and femininity instead of a determined set of clothing for each sex? Is it really so radical? I have known enough people that wish for such a world.
But since that world does not exist, I have to pose a question to anyone that knows me. You don’t have to answer, of course.
Do you know what the above scenario means to me? How everything hinges on being able to believe in it, even though it’s not a reality? What successfully putting on that self-fashioned armor will mean to everything I hold dear? If you do, you have to know that the armor won’t always be consistent, that it will have to change, to endure hardship and trials, from myself and my loved ones. It will have to change with age but still represent all that I am in the process, both the masculine and the feminine. If it cracks and fails, I will find myself back in a realm of absolutes, where the only answers involve unimaginable loss.
What I mean to say rather pleadingly to anyone reading this is:
Please, help me find pride in this process.
Consider how the little things make or break a moment in time; how gender exclusion makes some people feel suicidal, depressed with their inability to be themselves without a barrage of medical adjustments, after which society will still exclude them from the simplest things in life. Or maybe just consider not laughing at a sexist joke that is particularly biting. Do you really think all women are one way and men are another? Even if a generalization is 80% correct, does that make it a complete truth? Does that make it worth saying for the bravado and pat-on-the-back assurance it brings? Is it worth breaking apart a human psyche that doesn’t fall into that percentage, even if that leftover number just amounts to a handful of people? Is that a worthwhile way of promoting our beliefs? Does ignoring or lambasting gender diversity make it go away? Or does it just ruin the lives of those caught between the two extremes?
I don’t mean those questions as an attack, just something worth thinking about. It would be boring if everyone felt the same way about everything, but there is always room for consideration -not wholesale support our lifestyle changes, just consideration. A very small thing.