What is it like to be cis?

I’ll admit it. I don’t understand cisgender people. It’s hard for me to imagine what it’s like to have an uncomplicated relationship with gender and have a body that doesn’t need extensive modification to work with your brain. But just because I don’t understand doesn’t mean I go around villainizing all cis people and telling you you’re invalid.

Yet that’s what it’s like being trans. Everyone from children’s authors to radio personalities think they can attack us without repercussions. They tell us we can’t possibly know what our experience is and that we are somehow anti science for just existing.

I’m thankful for all of you who take the time to read my blog posts or educate yourselves about trans issues. It means a lot that you try to understand.

I am a walking contradiction

I am a woman and I am nonbinary. I am female and have a body shaped by testosterone. I am a femme and I am a tomboy. I am androgynous but I’m not gender neutral. I love my femmes strong and my mascs gentle. I am a racist and an antiracist. I am disabled and ableist. I am a radical and a pragmatist.

I am a person of opposites and contradictions. I break boxes even outside of the boundaries. Life isn’t black and white but it’s not all gray either. It is the opposites and the variety that make it interesting.

I contain multitudes. I am a walking contradiction.

8 Week Update

I’m now 2/3 of the way through the recovery process from bottom surgery and this week I seem to have really turned a corner. Before I was going through 2-3 pads a day and now I’m down to 1. The discharge is almost gone and even during dilation I’m not draining fluid.

The pain is also almost gone now and my energy is starting to return. I still can’t lift things or get in the hot tub but I’m able to do a little more around the house like cooking meals and cleaning. Work has been going well and I’m getting a lot done at half time. My mood has also improved this week now that my brain has energy (and I’m spending less time on Facebook).

I still can’t feel my clit but I think it’s there and just happens to have a low profile. It worries me a bit but I’ll hopefully get reassurance at my post op in a month.

Pet Peeve

I would never tell another trans person what words they can use for themself but can I rant for a minute about one of my terminology pet peeves?

I fucking hate the term “MtF” (Male to Female transition)! I was never a male and it wasn’t my transition that made me a female. I was assumed to be a boy and later a man based on the shape of my genitals at birth. That’s why we have the term AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth). But that didn’t make me a male. That was one aspect of a broader human personhood that was then generalized to dictate how I should act and label myself.

I have always been a woman. My brain developed that way and no amount of growing up a tomboy would make me a man. My transition has helped bring my body into alignment with my brain and that happens to follow a pathway that outsiders may perceive as changing me from a man to a woman. But they are wrong.

I am a transgender woman. I am AMAB. But I am NOT MtF.

When does transition end?

Now that I’ve completed the biggest step in my transition and relieved a major source of dysphoria, my mind is once again turning to the question of when my transition is “over.”

I look in the mirror most days and don’t recognize my face. Yes, it is significantly better than it was even a few months ago but the face I see doesn’t look like a woman most of the time, especially without femme accessories added. It doesn’t really feel male either which is progress, but I still don’t feel like me.

I find myself pondering whether facial feminization surgery (FFS) is something that I should consider. Or if it is hopeless to expect my face to ever be something I enjoy. Do I just need to work on self acceptance, or do I need to make bigger changes? Do I have an unreal image of myself (dysmorphia)? And is that rooted in internalized fatphobia?

None of these are questions I have answers to yet. But I am trying to have compassion for my brain. And remind myself that “passing” as a cis woman isn’t the goal or even achievable. I will always stand out in a crowd and maybe that’s ok. I’m fat, loud, and mostly unapologetic. And people can take that or leave it.

Girlhood

The saddest part for me about coming out late in life is that I missed out on having a girlhood. Sure, I did a lot of the girly things with my sister and my best friend. And I know I would have been a tomboy so my early life wouldn’t have been that different.

But there are a lot of formative experiences after puberty that I really miss not having. I never learned how to braid hair. I never got to experiment with makeup. And I didn’t get girl talk because no matter how much I tried to fit in with groups of girls, I was never fully accepted.

Instead I had to pretend to be a boy. I had to try to fit in and just feel awkward about the whole thing. I never felt like I could communicate with boys and I didn’t care about the things my peers did like sports and violence. The only boy I was ever close to ended up being gay. In retrospect, our friendship was the closest I ever got to dating in high school.

I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and have the right puberty at the right time. So if you have a trans teen or know one in your life, please advocate for hormone blockers and gender affirming care. Don’t let your teen miss out on having the life they want.

Inner Strength

I have always known that with my build and voice I will never “pass” as a cis woman. And I had to come to terms with that before I could begin my transition because it held me back from coming out for years.

But with my physical transition I think most people now read me as a trans woman which is really all I need. No one needs to think I’m a cisgender woman for me to be a full woman. I know that I am and that’s the most important thing.

Having this vagina now gives me an added bonus to my inner strength. No one else except people I choose to get naked around needs to know what parts I have. But now I feel like my sex aligns with what it should have been at birth and knowing that means I can stand up to transphobes without fear because I’m more of a woman than anyone they’ve probably met. I intentionally went through the work to align myself to womanhood and that means so much more than just accepting the cards life dealt you.

Face Changes

My partner pointed out last night that my face shape has changed a LOT in the last 6 months. It changed a bit right after hormones but I guess hitting the 2 year mark did something magical. I’m sure the weight I’ve been putting on helped round out the edges as well.

1 year ago
Now

It’s really nice to look at photos and start to see more of my mom than my dad.

Annoyances

The closer I get to surgery, the more little things about my current parts annoy me. Like the way my balls stick to the side of my leg and how I have to aim to pee.

I seriously can’t wait to just sit to pee hands free. I don’t care that it will require maintenance like dilation and douching. I will gladly do that to have the parts I want.

3 days left…

Remembering Childhood

I’m thinking a lot today about how much better life was before puberty and I started being aggressively gendered by society. I was so carefree and I miss that feeling.

I wish I knew that trans people existed, I wish I had been able to talk about my gender feelings, and I wish I had access to puberty hormone blockers.

Please take this as a reminder to protect and trust trans kids when they vocalize their needs.