I wish I hadn’t had the operation. Or hadn’t had to. Or something.
There. I first said that to another person yesterday, and she said, “I know”. Then she said, “You know I know, don’t you”. Yeah, s’pose- yet that is such a huge thing it is hard to admit it to yourself.
An androphile trans woman told a man who should have kept it confidential, “I’m a gay man trapped in a woman’s body”. She could have lived male, had she learned to accept it. He did shoot his mouth off far too much, that counsellor, but in my case he could be justified, be warning me.
“If I could not have orgasms,” a friend said, quietly, “I would miss them”. Well, I can have orgasms. I retain my prostate gland- I was told that was to prevent incontinence, but it also promotes arousal- and can ejaculate. It does not happen often, though it varies in other trans women, I understand.
You know, I still feel less than other people? They are more vital, spontaneous, vibrant, attractive than I am. I feel guilt, shame, envy, resentment, longing. Transition has freed me to be me, more than before, and it never feels enough. Those other people may also not be happy or sorted, and I am frustrated because being happy and sorted seems possible yet always just out of reach. I don’t care if everyone feels the same way, I still resent it.
Before the op, I said to a friend, “Women get a great deal of pleasure out of penises”. “Yes,” she said, “but I would not want one of my own”. Another friend said to me, before I went full time, “It is as if you are acting when you are Stephen, you are just you when you are Clare”. I treasure that comment like a spark in the darkness, one bit of affirmation when I cannot affirm myself. A not-ill-disposed man said to me that my emails on an email list were like “cries for help”- which I am still making here, perhaps. That haunts me too.
I am a soft male. I tried to make a hard man of myself. It may be like that man H and I saw in the pub, alone with his drink, skinny and tattooed, trying to appear hard, to me just looking threatening because he could do something weird at any moment, clearly not tough. “I wanted to give him a hug,” she said after. I lied to myself because I wanted to see myself as a good man, and my idea of a good man was completely other from how I was; so possibly my softness was visible to everyone except me.
-I’m quite resilient, I told Moira, my first girlfriend.
-Actually I think you are very easily hurt, she said.
My softness is beautiful and valuable, utterly natural and normal in a man- towards the end of the distribution curve, perhaps, but Good; and I thought it was weak, sick, perverted, disgusting, ridiculous and illusory. It is OK to be me, this soft, and I wish I could have realised that.
More on this tomorrow. Writing this has exhausted me.