Damn Dysphoria

Yesterday we had a visitor to the house to finally fix our cable television. Turns out third time was a charm since the system seems to be working fine this morning. 

In advance of the technicians arrival, I had to decide how I was going to prepare. Since I was going to be wearing a mask for safety, I reasoned I could take the easy way out and just apply a touch of eye make up. Which turned out to be fine since the person who fixed the system didn't seem to look at me at all. I was the only one looking at me.

For some reason these days, I have been looking at myself longer it seems. Not so much out of vanity but more out of desiring to reassure myself of who I have become since I am not getting regular feedback in the world. By this time, my gender dysphoria was starting to really kick in. One time I looked in the mirror I saw myself as a barely feminized man and the second time I see a fully feminine trans woman. Deep down inside I know from long experience the mirror is just playing games with my dysphoria and I (in reality) land somewhere in between both images in my head. 

My surprise has been how much I need the public feedback which combats my dysphoria. I don't need to go through the contortions of getting all dressed up to help myself feel better. I just need to have a cute encounter with a young woman bank teller to accomplish it. Last week I finally did receive my stimulus check the old fashion way...by a paper check. I received it because since I am on Social Security for several years now, Internal Revenue doesn't have a electronic deposit number on file for me. Getting a check though, was the good news. The bad news was, it came with my dead name on it. So, since I happened to have a deposit slip too with my dead name on it (which ties in with my legal name also) I felt I was covered. 

The girl was a classic. She looked at the name and then at me a couple times before I went ahead and outed myself. Anything for twelve hundred bucks! Right?? The teller didn't miss a beat and said, there was no problem with me being trans, she was just concerned with the money finding it's way into my correct account. It was overall a  reassuring pleasurable experience.

Even though Ohio is beginning to slowly reopen businesses, I am fairly sure we will not be heading out very much anytime soon. Leaving me again to be alone with my transgender dysphoria.
Summer picture from 2015 overlooking the Ohio River


  1. One of the things about Dysphoria is that we seem to have an over whelming need to have others confirm what we already know about who we are. If you really look at it, you already do have some public feedback through this site. I don't know if you have a counter on it but just the fact that you get comments from others shows that you are getting the confirmation.

    Hopefully soon this quarantine will be over and many of the places we have frequented in the past will be open for business. Also remember that what we see in the mirror is not always what others see. We tend to be harder on ourselves than what others perceive.

  2. As I say, all too often (maybe), a trans woman needs to step away from the mirror and out to the world, where she can see her true reflection in the eyes of others. Although I say that more in relation to "coming out," usually, it is an ongoing process. If we leave it up to just ourselves for affirmation, we are much more apt to find our dysphoria becoming a larger factor in our own sense of self - even if we may not recognize it as readily as we did in the past. After all, most of us are our own worst critics, I believe.

    The other day, I did my weekly grocery shopping (the only thing I'm doing in public these days). I was trying to ignore the dysphoria that lingered from what I saw in the bathroom mirror at home. It's always been the lipstick that adds the finishing feminine touch to my appearance - to me, anyway. Wearing a mask over made-up lips seems ridiculous, if not downright messy, so I left the house feeling somewhat undone. While the checker was running my items through, I made some smartass remark (who, me?), and it suddenly dawned on me that my facial expression may not have been detectable because of the mask. Also, I couldn't tell if the young man behind the counter knew I was joking because he was wearing a mask, too. I immediately followed up with saying, "I just realized that no one can see my smile behind the mask. I was just joking...really!" The woman in line behind me, who was not wearing a mask, had heard me, and she bust out laughing. Aside from the probability that her robust laughing was sending airborne particles far beyond the six foot safe zone, the incident completely distracted me from my dysphoria at that moment. Even though, after I'd loaded the car with my purchases, I applied my lipstick in the rear-view mirror for the mask-less drive home, I did so out of a positive attitude, and not out of a desire to mask my dysphoria from myself. Hmmm, should I call it an "e-mask-ulating experience? :-)

  3. I had a similar validating experience at the 5/3 office on Fountain Square. I had euros left over from a trip that I wanted to convert to dollars. I was chatting with the teller and the adjacent teller (I was the only customer at the time). Everything was going fine until the teller asked for my ID. Not sure why the needed it, but their process wanted to link the transaction to someone in their records. So I reached in my purse and handed her my male drivers license. She started typing from the license, then got a confused look. She looked at me and then looked at the license and started fumbling for words. In my male voice, I said, " I wasn't dressed as nicely for the license photo." She smiled and continued on with the process. When I left she said that it was really a pleasure to meet me. The guard held the door on my way out and said, " Good morning Ma'am" . Great validation. I was on cloud nine.


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