A Very Transexual Christmas

I want to share my transition. I want to write to you about public bathrooms, navigating my name change and taking hormones.

Before me stood the boy that I secretly wanted to be in high school. I’m not sure if I’m exasperated that it took him this long to show up, or pleased that he finally did.

He has—that is, I have—a mere dusting of a flimsy mustache and the faintest of facial hairs breeding on my cheeks. My face looks firmer and a tad more angular.

I have slightly noticeable bicep muscles (as opposed to, y’know, no visible biceps at all, aka privileged university white boy flab). I haven’t actually been doing any exercise beyond occasionally juggling.

I explained to my psychologist that pre-testosterone, my emotional landscape was like standing on a hill overlooking the city in a fog. On testosterone, the fog has lifted.

I don’t actually have a roadmap to this city though, and have to check signposts a lot. I get lost in these city streets sometimes, but I’m finding my way. A lot of back alleys that didn’t make sense to me now lead me back to Main Street, so to speak. My world just makes more sense.

Hurrah for those injections of testosterone, eh?

Not really.

I have a fear of needles. You can imagine how much that complicates my morning.

Never mind how bloody difficult it is for a grumpy bear like me to get up, but I also have to deal with stabbing a sharp object into my thigh every Wednesday. I reward myself with a lollipop after each injection, just like I’m getting a shot from the doctor.
Okay, maybe not every injection. Sometimes I don’t inject at home and do it with a friend, for moral support, and I usually forget to bring the lollipops.

Speaking of rewarding oneself with lollipops, I think I should have eaten at least five after Christmas this year. Does anyone else find Christmas boring and superficial? I feel like there was a secret social contract that I forgot to sign somewhere. What exactly am I celebrating with a bunch of blood relatives whom I only see three or four times a year?

As I do with injecting, I used a lot of mantras to get through the holidays. Besides the usual ‘You are a good person’ and ‘It’s okay, you can do this,’ I wrote down a list of things to remind myself.

It was a handy thing to look at whenever I went to the bathroom, which was often enough because I drank at most of the obligatory family get-togethers. I figure that even if I weren’t trans, this would still be pretty crappy. I hardly know these people. Why am I here?

I spent most of the time daydreaming about what my winter holiday celebrations will one day look like instead. They will involve reading old Doris zines, watching cheesy ‘90s movies, scarfing down nachos and drinking spectacularly inventive drinks like screwdrivers.

All of my chosen family and dear friends would be invited, if they could/wanted to get away from their families. Or I could spend it by myself with one or two other people, maybe my hypothetical future partner, too. Or I will be all by myself… and like it!

It is okay to be alone over the holidays. It is okay to not want to go to church, synagogue, etc., to drink in your room reading poetry while ignoring all of your dad’s girlfriend’s friends.

I encourage you to get away from the festivities and other familial social interactions by walking your dad’s girlfriend’s brother’s dog to get some fresh air if you need it. Or stalk Facebook, or zone out by playing Skyrim on your PS3—assuming you can get away with this, of course. If you can’t, I wish you the absolute best of luck.

Birth families are weird and complicated. It’s been an enlightening experience for me, realizing that the mythical happy family does not exist. The media perpetuates this idea that American/Canadian/European families are beautiful, happy and loving.

They are not. They are often ugly, complicated and hurtful. Or they are somewhere in the middle, not in a black/white dichotomy, but are rather unpleasant to listen to.

Fortunately, I have my own cell phone so when I was finally able to hide and check my phone on Christmas day, I found four text messages from friends and chosen family sending me love and support. One particular message thoughtfully reminded me of my chosen name—a very grounding sentiment after hearing my birth name for days.

But on New Year’s Eve, as the world rolled into 2012, my dad whispered, “Happy New Year’s, Oliver,” into my ear. Maybe there is some hope for family after all.

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