A bit off topic.

I’m not sure if it’s post-holidays, post-Finals, nothing-I-am-forced-to-do depression or not, but I’ve mostly been, well, sleeping, for the time in which I haven’t had work (and as mentioned previously, I did have two surprise days of work, last week).

I haven’t been able to decide whether to get myself up and get to work on my own projects and needs, or to soak in the time when I don’t have to do anything — because it will be over soon.  Consequently, I’ve been in bed way too long, and apparently I’m starting to have nightmares in which I shout in my sleep.

On top of this, the entire identity tangent has become stronger…now that I have the time to deal with it, it’s kind of become a bit overwhelming.  I can see why people have pets, now — in the times where there is nothing to do, a pet can keep a person from thinking about all the things that are wrong that they can’t do anything about.

I was also gifted a small amount of money for New Year’s, which I’m trying to figure out what to do with.  I suppose I don’t have to do anything with it, though; I can save it for the art supplies I’ll have to buy later this month.

(I’m not looking forward to carrying 7 units in Spring [I had enough trouble with 5 this last semester], in addition to probably at least $200 in art supplies and books; but I need at least 6 units, to avoid money stress.  Amazingly, paying for the books and supplies means I avoid repayment of my loans, which seriously drain me and are the main reason I’m planning to look for a second income, after Summer.)

There are a couple of things I can think of to use the money for.  Besides art supplies (I probably need to channel this energy into one or more art projects, as the art has tended to be what has kept me sane) — these would be experiments on the way to some sort of body modification.

I really don’t want to go through with it — I’ve tried to buy myself out with the promise of exercise and large-gauge jewelry, so far — but there are unavoidable signs in myself that at the very least I’m extremely androgynous; at the most, I’m trans* and digging my heels in about not wanting to transition.  The in-between approach would say that I’m gender-fluid and have swung heavily but temporarily into a trans* masculine state.  The problem is that when I do this, it feels entire, complete, and like it will last forever.

It’s only really been since break started that I’ve become OK again with calling myself trans*.  In addition, the desire to be physically male was something I could deal with while I was in classes and talking to people and having distractions.  Now, it’s just overwhelming.

I know ways of altering my visible physiology so that I look more male.  I’m just really resistant to doing any of it, largely because it isn’t simple.  I’m not a textbook FtM TS case; until recently I considered myself solidly genderqueer/gender-fluid.

It would be easier if I didn’t have the fluidity ranging back into feminine territory, because then I wouldn’t have to feel like, “well, what if I want to be pretty again and I can’t do it anymore?”  Because it would clearly be like, “I’ve never wanted to be pretty as a woman,” and the decision to transition would be easier.  The thing is, though, the qualities of “man” and “woman” are unclear to me; I think they’ve always been unclear, and I’m not sure anymore that it’s a point of training.  I think it may be hard-wired, given that we seem to be a diverse species (even as much as certain elements try to constrict and hide that diversity).

There are a few things that are holding me back from medical transition:

  • my hair (which has always been a point of pride with me)
  • acne (which used to be really bad; I don’t want it worse)
  • my gut (it’s bad enough that it’s the way it is, now)
  • heart disease (I don’t have it yet, but have a family history of it)

Three of those things are relatively trivial.  The fourth is one that makes me pause — two close (male) members of my family have had high blood lipid levels and cholesterol; they both went on statins; both had adverse reactions to statins which were life-threatening, both went off of statins.  At least one of them continues to have ongoing problems which weren’t there before the statins, and now seem more or less permanent.

I have seen a doctor who has said that if I start to lose my hair, he can treat that; if I start to get high cholesterol, he can treat that.  But, not only is that guy not there anymore; but I’m wanting to avoid being on as much medication as I can.

This is given that I’m already taking one hormonal medication because of irregular cycles and virilization (though no one has told me exactly why I was having high testosterone in the first place, it was there [and apparently not PCOS]), and three others for mental problems which have arisen because of the peer abuse I got for being gender-nonstandard.  Although — it’s very possible that my depression, which started at puberty, was a response to my body changing, not necessarily my peer group starting to be stupid (though that happened, too).

My main issue is that I want to be beautiful, but my idea of beauty includes both feminine and masculine beauty.  So, I’ve wanted to have the combination of muscles and curves, and a full head of hair with a deep voice and a somewhat not-sparse beard.  The first is possible; I’ve done it before.  The second…not so much.  Before I started the hormones I’m on now, my hairline was beginning to recede, which — along with the unpredictability of my cycle — is the only reason I started them.  And then there are things like wanting to be taller and stronger.  I can do the latter, but not the former (even though there really should have been an intervention to delay my puberty when I started talking about this in high school; that would have likely made me taller).

There’s the possibility, although remote, given my diagnosis — that if I did start testosterone, my mental state might lift to the point where I wouldn’t need as much medication for the other issues.  However, in between now and then, I’d probably need more, because the stress of transition would likely exacerbate my illness.  This is, until people get to the point where they’re used to seeing me masculinized, and aren’t trying to engage me in dialogue anymore about why my hair isn’t longer.  (Or laughing at my large muscles — like I did it for them.)

The biggest issue here, for me, is the one of being kind of trapped in metropolitan areas because of people outside of them having no idea or sensibility about what I’m going through.  I would like to live outside of a major metropolitan area at some time in my life, though I’m told that the politics are very different in rural areas.  From my time away at college, also, I know that there are areas of the country which just basically have no connection with my ethnic diasporas as well…and it’s just really tough to live like that.

This is not to mention the unemployment and underemployment rates of trans* people (who were hit very hard in the last recession), and the doubling of that rate when it comes to trans* people of color.  (Speaking of underemployment, I do fall into that category, as well — largely because I was too scared, given the statistics I’d read on unemployment and abuse, to put myself out there right after college, as someone who was visibly gender-variant and disabled.)

When I look at it that way, it’s enough to make one not want to be gender-variant; but then again, I don’t have a choice in the matter.  My choice is in how I want to present it, and if I’m able to hide it.  I’m pretty sure that living my life in the way I want to is going to lead to people knowing that my gender is different…

I’m having a hard time being quiet about this.  When I feel like I can’t talk about it to people outside my immediate family, or online…it’s hard to deal with.  And yeah, I know this can get back to me.  I’m a creative person, though, and when I feel I can’t express what I need to, I shut down.  Like I’ve been doing for the past week, or so.

But then, should I do what I want, and really get back into shape…dress for my gender, and maybe start to bind…people are going to know, anyway.  Yeah, it’ll lead to some stares (like the ones I got from the two kids the other day), but that might be preferable to straight men thinking I’m a sweet little girl who doesn’t know that my gender is made to please them and I’m doing it wrong…


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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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