I’ve been out for several years now and I still get giddy every time someone uses my true name and correct pronouns. I feel goosebumps every time Michelle calls me her wife. I am pleasantly surprised when a guy lightly flirts with me or a vendor calls me “Ma’am”. It’s not just validation, it’s a completeness of being. Dealing with transphobes, family that won’t talk to me, coworkers who are against me being in “their” bathrooms, I encounter little in the way of daily blatant transphobic behaviour, mostly I get microaggressions. Through it all I hold joy, this tiny life-giving sun, inside me even during the darkest of times. It carries me through dysphoria, through others bigotry and ignorance. I’m not above the pain, but I can endure this.
I’m fifty years old (this will come up again, wait for iiiiiiit) and I find that I am still evolving, mentally and emotionally. I don’t really know what role HRT may have on this, but I feel that it’s more about being marginalized when once I was benefiting from several privileges. Losing the male privilege took some adjusting and insight. I still benefit from white privilege and yes passing privilege. I’m not in any way saying I’m pretty, I’m saying that when others look at me now they don’t necessarily know that I’m trans, but assume I’m a cis woman. I have a different view of the world, one that isn’t searching for a way to make me comfortable in it and in many ways is actively trying to rid itself of anyone like me. The lens is no longer rose colored, it is a prism and it is showing me all the things I ignored before. It is also showing me that some people, those I thought of as friends, should be left behind.
I’ve been pondering a career change. “But Beth, during a pandemic, as a trans woman, in your 50s?” I know, great idea, right?! It’s just wearing, especially considering the “career” I have is one that was thrust upon me and not one I was intending to do. I don’t want to work in logistics anymore, nor do I want to work in IT again. I need something new, something to feel passionate about. Of course the real world concern is that I will almost certainly take a sizable pay cut and be starting over again. My timing has always been impeccable. I don’t know what I’m looking for or where I’m going. I’m kind of leaving it to the universe, which as I say it, sounds like so much privileged nonsense. For now, I still have a job, so I’m not immediately concerned with paying mortgage and bills, but I’m left with this listlessness of spirit.
You know the pixar movie, “Soul”? Well there is one thing in that film that resonated with me, in a very negative way. The lost souls, that just keep repeating things and find themselves trudging around without direction or purpose, they are how I feel during these moments. I watched this movie this weekend and when it came to this part, a small part that they weren’t trying for an emotional hit, I cried so hard it woke up our dogs. I told my wife that I was crying about another part of the movie, because I don’t know how to even broach the subject with her. And I feel that throwing this at her is emotional blackmail or at the very least making her somehow responsible for my feelings which isn’t fair. Anyway, these are tough moments and I am not sure what brings it on, except that I have my own issues to work on. These episodes aren’t all encompassing, nor do they last for more than a day at a time. I’m not downplaying their impact, but they aren’t my entire experience. But bursts of emotion like static on the radio when you are searching stations.
I get these episodes, they cycle up and down, and I don’t know if they are due to anxiety or depression or what. But I will work myself up with every real or imagined reason for why my wife doesn’t love me or want me. It quickly ramps up in only a few minutes, usually in the morning, and it stays with me the entire day. I feel unwanted and used, like this whole thing is so that I can take care of things but otherwise our relationship is just one of roommates. I have no way to know if this is true or not, I don’t know how to read cues and I don’t fully understand the motivations of people. I have trouble discerning reality when it comes to relationships, I either see the worst or see the best of these situations without seeing the nuances.
In those moments, of feeling disconnected and unwanted, I ugly cry and I feel like it would be best if I just left or died. Not suicidal, just in a general “what is the point of it all” kind of way. Intellectually, I know my worth isn’t tied up in other people. This is purely emotional, I will be leaving for work and in the time I walk from the back door to the car, I’m a mess. I sit in the car telling myself all the different ways I am not wanted. Some mornings, I spend a lot of time at work in the bathroom trying to fix my makeup.
I went to my doctor’s appointment last week. I love her so much, Dr. Ferrantelli is such a sweet and caring person, I am truly lucky to have her as my doctor. It was my standard 6 month HRT check in, bloodwork, etc. Because I hit a milestone age at 50, did I mention I was old now? Yep, I’m suddenly old, stupid time. Anyway, because I’m 50, she informed me that it’s time to start getting colonoscopies, yay? I opted for the less invasive test which will let them know if I need the invasive one. She also mentioned that women my age need to think about getting mammograms, though for trans women it’s more about the HRT timeline, and I’ve got a few years before it will be something I need to do. My bloodwork came back with normal limits on kidney, liver, etc. My T was not detectable and my E was 240. Considering my shots are on Sunday and my blood draw was on Friday, that means my levels are staying nicely on the high side of normal throughout the cycle.
<TED talk> Just a thought that has been running through my mind lately. The true difference between trans and cis women isn’t their gentialia, but thier privilege. I understand male privilege because it was bestowed upon me for the incorrect perception that I was male. I used that privilege like anyone does, who doesn’t understand it’s nature. Knowing this privilege, walking away from that privilege, it’s a window into other privileges. I can see them for what they are, unfortunate in the extreme. White privilege means that non-white people are marginalized. Passing privilege means that we are judged by our appearance and not by the substance of our character. Cis privilege means that non-cis are marginalized. Privilege really means inequality, inequity. “Check your privilege” isn’t a rebuke, it’s advice. Check the privileges you have and understand that you having them means someone else suffers. </TED talk>