February 14, 2011

I Got A Big *Ahem* Ego.


Let me preface what I’m writing today with two things: One, I’m always excited to see the multitude of transguys that exist on sites like tumblr and youtube, and I have nothing but love for them. Two, I realize that talking about body issues and transgender individuals is always a touch and go subject, but this is my experience. If any harm is caused, I meant nothing of it.

I spend a lot of (read: too much) time on tumblr. If you didn’t know, tumblr serves as some sort of virtual hub for trans people to connect and share their lives. One day, I bumped into a blog that claimed to focus specifically on the FtM community. Upon first finding this blog, I was pretty damn excited. However, the more posts that I saw, I found that I was slowly starting to feel worse and worse about myself. Though this was supposed to be for the community, I found that the portrayals of transmen were this consistent pattern of white, fairly skinny, indie/hipster looking transguys that popped up in my feed.

It’s not that I’m not a fan of (or not attracted to) this population, but when you are constantly bombarded with images that are supposed to be “you” that actually look nothing like you, a disconnect occurs. PARTICULARLY when you are transgender and you spend the better portion of your life living in the gap between what your body naturally presents itself to be and who you are on the inside.

So my acceptance of my transgendered self exited stage left, and the questions set in. What if I lost weight? What if I ate a bit healthier? Less? Will I finally look the way I’m “supposed” to look?

Would it be possible to exist as a non-skinny black transguy, and will I ever be content being this way?

So for a few weeks, I found myself doing the self-hate shuffle. For those of you not familiar with how this dance goes, there are several key moves. There was the “I don’t fit in a size smedium” shake, which progressed into “the only six pack I’ll ever have is the case of PBR on my floor” twist, which was followed up by the “ I’ll probably spend the rest of my life alone because girls don’t like non-skinny dudes, especially ones without a penis” cha-cha.

3AM two Mondays ago, I was in my room, consoling my friend who had just been rejected. I went on and on, preaching a sermon to my friend on self-love that John the Baptist would have given me a standing ovation for. I continued to tell her that her curvy physique made her no less qualified than any of the other duke women in the dating pool. Finally, at 4:30AM, she cracked a smile.

“Xavier, I get your point bro. Chill”.

What she failed to realize that instead of me expending my energy trying to convince her of her self worth, I had actually been talking to myself- through her problems.

Whoa.

You see, us transguys have a lot to be insecure of. For some of us, its our chests. For a lot of us, it's the lack of that organ in between our legs. For some of us, it's the inability to pass as male in the eyes of the people around us. During the past few months I had the pleasure of dealing with all of these insecurities, so this tumblr situation wasn’t helping.

After that conversation, I kept thinking about what had happened. As I sorted through everything I loathed about myself, one question kept coming back to me: Is this issue really going to make me any less of a transman, or further more, any less of a man?

The more I sorted through my insecurities, the sillier I realize that they were. Instead of focusing on the negative qualities about myself, I began to see that perhaps my physical attributes were something to be celebrated. I mean, do you really want indie hipster boy fighting for you during the zombie takeover?

So lets discuss all the things I love about this body. (This one is especially for you, ladies.) I’m fairly tall, and I can grab things pretty easily without the assistance of a ladder. I’ve always had a bit more muscle mass than my other female-bodied counterparts, so I can move lots of things: bags of laundry, furniture, even you. Stature wise, I’m a bigger dude, so I can go toe to toe with any guy who is giving you trouble, and at worst case scenario, I can deliver a pretty mean belly flop(though I do not advocate violence- peace all around, dude). I’ve never had someone leave my bedroom unsatisfied with the results of our interaction. Last, but most certainly not least, being a bigger guy means I’m a great cuddler. Chances are there is a lot more of me than you, so during those cold winter nights we can put away those blankets, and instead I could keep you warm ;)

To wrap this monologue up, this one is for my bigger guys out there (or anyone who doesn’t fit the physical profile of who we are “supposed” to be). Love yourselves. Chances are, those you meet will be more impressed by your kindness, your humor, your love, and your sincere nature than they will be of any physical “lack”. To put it a bit more succinctly, in the words of the honorable Kanye West:

Coulda let the dream killers, kill my self esteem,
Or use the arrogance as a steam that power my dreams.

So yeah, I got a big ego. And if we ever meet, you might even get to see it in action.

3 comments:

  1. Oh, wow, what an awesome first post! I love you for this. Being a fat transman, for me, is just body-hate on top of body-hate (two great flavors that taste great together!). I don't have to deal with the double-whammy of race issues, but I know exactly what you mean when it comes to the image of the skinny trans guy.

    I was actually anorexic for about a year in high school and I got so, so tiny; whenever my boobs or my gigantic hips start to really bother me, there's always a little voice in the back of my head saying, "you could try that anorexia thing again, do it on purpose this time" and it's hard to fight off. Well, it was hard until I realised that because I always lose weight from my waist/stomach, and never from my boobs or hips, getting "smaller" would actually make me more hourglass shaped... but I haven't been able to defeat that longing to be skinny.

    Your point about cozy cuddling really helps, though. I can certainly heat up a bed... in more ways than one. ;) You've made me feel a lot better about myself today. So, thanks! :D

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  2. this is one of my favorite posts. thanks so much for sharing...as a white cis-gender person, i appreciate getting to hear about your experiences with regards to race and gender and the intersectionality of the two.

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  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel you just tackled an issue that I almost never see on the blog, and for that I am really grateful. I only started to realize how "silly" (to quote you :) my insecurites were, when I started to realize how other people saw me. And it was then I realized that the people around me weren't seeing any of the negativity that I was seeing; and that maybe it was never there at all.

    Self-love, self-hate, self-I don't even know but I'm so glad you wrote this post. I feel I get better at accepting myself every year, but it's such a process. P.S. When we have that long-awaited lunch, I can't wait to bring this up to, if you're up for it. =)

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