Sunday, August 5, 2018

Dysphoria

Recently, I happened along a couple of close acquaintances who were commenting on their gender dysphoria "raising" it's ugly head again.

I got to thinking about it and whose doesn't?

I thought back to the days (especially when I wake up) and look in the mirror and see male. Then again, other times, I see female, or a mixture of the two.

As negative as it seems, I am trying to prepare myself for the prospect I will always be gender dysphoric.

I might point out too, at least one of the people I know has gone through genital realignment surgery. She thought surely going through the procedure would relieve the problem.

I would suppose the only words of wisdom I could give anyone seeking to travel a similar transgender path as I have is...be prepared to never quite lose your sense of gender dysphoria.

Just use it to make yourself a better trans woman...or trans man. 

1 comment:

  1. There are so many triggers that can bring on gender dysphoria - internal triggers and external ones. Waking up in the morning with a scratchy face from the overnight beard growth sometimes gets to me. Even the act of shaving can feel so unfeminine. 99% of the time, I can ignore it, knowing that, once I've completed the unpleasant task, my face will be all smooth again - ready for makeup and the day ahead. The other 1% usually occurs when I've overslept, and really don't have time to spend on a close shave before heading off to work. Still, I'll be late before I'll ever go a day without shaving, but even the feel of stubble (though not visibly detectable) at the end of the day is often a source of misery.

    External prompts that can bring on the dysphoria can come from a mis-gendering or even a sideways look from someone. Developing a thick skin reduces the dysphoria, but it doesn't block it off completely. Fortunately, these things happen quite infrequently to me these days. Last week, however, I was accosted by a man like I've never experienced before.

    It was early on a Saturday morning, as I waited, alone, for a bus to work. A middle-aged man with an aluminum suitcase appeared from the intersection, and I went into my vigilance mode, clutching my purse and fumbling inside it for the metal nail file I always carry. He walked by me, but turned and came back to ask me if I were going to work. I answered affirmatively with a polite smile. He followed up with asking me where I worked, and, still trying to be somewhat polite, I told him that I worked on the pier (there are 91 of them, so I felt safe enough saying that). By this time, he had ascertained that I was probably trans, and so he just had to say so with another question: "Can I ask you a question? Were you born a man and then became a woman?" I looked away at that question, grasping my nail file so tightly that I'm sure my knuckles were white. He persisted until I finally told him that I am a woman, and how I "became" one was no concern of his. I so wanted to ask him if he were born a boy and then never bothered to grow up to be a man, but there was no-one close enough to even hear my scream had he decided to get physical.

    My bus was not due for another ten minutes, and I was a captive for his lecture the whole time. He went on about how it was a sexual thing, and kept trying to get me to answer questions about my sexual preference and such. I finally had had enough, and I told him, in a voice that I realized was a channeling of my mother's sarcastic tone, that his questions were highly personal, inappropriate, and totally based on misinformation. He tried to argue with me, but I refused to say anything else except that he had no right or basis to presume that he knew who and what I was when I've been living with who I am for over six decades - longer than he'd been alive. As the bus appeared down the block, I stood up and told him that I had to go. He followed me to the curb, asking if I knew anything about spirituality, karma, or vibes. Just as I stepped on the bus, I left him with my parting words: "Yeah, I'm getting a bad one right now."

    Despite my satisfaction at getting the last word with a pretty good zinger, the incident stayed with me and affected my whole day. It's been over a week now, and I can recall it quite vividly, still. My battle with dysphoria has been to think of myself as a woman - not a trans woman or whatever anyone else would like to label me as. Knowing that there are others out there who do not see me the same way as I see myself is as bad as the itch of my growing whiskers, and such incidents can leave me with a lingering feeling worse than a full-blown beard on my face. If only it were as easy to zap away the jerks of this world as it is to zap away whiskers with electrolysis - which is not even that easy, really.

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