November 16, 2012

In which nothing special happens

Kyle approached me to write something for the lead-in to Transgender Day of Remembrance this year, and I agreed right away, but then I struggled to find something to say. It's harder to write about my life, these days. I feel like everything is pretty much normal and I'm pretty much happy, if maybe a little busy. There's nothing that requires deep self-analysis. Even when I reach some kind of important milestone-- October 28 marked one year on testosterone-- I don't feel like it's anything to write home about. I didn't celebrate; I'm not sure I even remembered to make a Facebook post. But, I'm coming to realize that the incredible thing about my life right now is that sense of normality.

All of these delightful things are now totally normal for me:

When I'm thinking about something, I'll often end up with my hands on my face-- and now there's hair there. So I'll absentmindedly brush at my tiny mustache, or the beginnings of my tragic neckbeard, and it's a satisfying feeling. It's all peach fuzz still, but I've gotten used to it.

I wear ties. I'm working in an office several days a week, so I've tied a tie often enough now that I can do it without looking in the mirror, and it no longer feels like a special occasion. It also no longer feels like any kind of sartorial transgression; what else would I wear to the office? I actually have a genuine need for a tie clip, and I can't wait until I can afford one and it, too, becomes normal.

My testosterone injections are no big deal. I switched from a daily gel to a twice-weekly injection a while ago; I don't really remember when, because... it's no big deal. I do have to make a point of scheduling the injections, because I have a friend actually give me the shot, but it's changed a lot since the first time. The first time, we had to dither over how to attach the needle to the syringe, and how to fill it with liquid, and how to find the proper injection site-- and we actually rendered that first needle useless before having the chance to use it, through sheer hilarious incompetence. (Luckily, we had a second.) This time, though, I just brought over my little cosmetics bag of supplies, and we carried on a normal conversation throughout the whole process.

My legal ID says Lawrence on it. It even says 'male'. Every time I get a paycheck or use my DukeCard to swipe into the Green Zone, I see my actual name. At first, it was a huge relief, every time I had to show legal ID for something. Now, it's just normal.

I even pass as cis. Not all the time, but often enough that it's no longer worth remembering each instance-- when I go out to eat waiters will sometimes call me sir, and so will the folks at the grocery store when I can't find something. Twice now, working at ABP, a customer has called me ma'am and I have replied by simply asking, "Did you just call me ma'am?"-- and they just apologized right away, and seemed genuinely confused at their own mistake. (This doesn't always work, but when it does, it's a beautiful feeling.) I tend to pass more in contexts where I speak less, so when I'm just wandering around town minding my own business, it's easy to just feel… normal.

Being trans is definitely still a major part of my identity. I love the fact that my top surgery left such obvious scars, because I like having evidence of my journey. I'm even glad that I wasn't born cisgendered, because I feel like I would be a completely different person if I hadn't had to go through this transition, and I'm so completely happy as the person that I am. But I enjoy it even more because, on a day to day basis, my life no longer feels like a fight.

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