10. Not being able to talk about what is in the forefront of your mind. Worries and troubles verbalized are released into the air and dissipate, while the ones that don’t eat you alive from the inside out. Besides, it’s not like you’re the only one out there with problems. Everyone is dealing with their own shit, so what gives you the right to unload your shit? Shut up and shoulder your load like everyone else.
9. Being surrounded by femininity is depressing and upsetting. Beautiful women are everywhere I go. They walk by at work, at the mall, in the grocery store, and they stare at me from magazine covers and television screens. It’s torturous. Why can’t I be like that? Why can’t I be them?
8. Not being able to be one of the girls. I teach, so I am around women most of the work day, which actually is preferable to a host of alternatives. When you’re a male teacher, though, the social connections you can make are limited by gender. Your work friends are much less likely to ask you out to their parties or include you in their personal lives. They don’t even understand what’s going on in that fucked-up mind of yours. You expect them to let you throw on a cocktail dress and meet them downtown for drinks and girl talk?
7. Not being pretty enough to “pass”. My runner’s legs dress up very nicely, and I have underthings that give me a feminine shape, but I am purely Dustin Hoffman from the neck up. No amount of makeup is going to have much effect on what testosterone and nearly fifty years on this planet have done to my face. Give it up, kid. You’re fugly.
6. The urge to self-medicate is very powerful. I didn’t understand why I, as a teenager, took to marijuana and Budweiser like a duck takes to water, but now I do. I don’t smoke anymore. Legal highs only. But the legal highs aren’t working like they used to. Must get numb. Ahhh, that’s better. Leave me alone. Snapping at wife and kids. Insomnia. SHIT, hung over again. Repeat.
5. The chances to “act out” are too few. My dresses and my shoes wait in my secret place, and wait. No adult with a family has enough “me” time to play dress up. Gotta mow the lawn, gotta grade some papers, gotta gotta gotta.
4. Watching your wife get dressed in the morning, and then having to put on men’s clothes. It’s a horrible way to start the work day, watching your wife straighten her hair and put on a little makeup. Admiring her as she selects and puts on the dusty pink blouse and matching skirt, then wrapping her curvy body in that pretty purple ruffled cardigan with the sparkles. She leaves, and I go to my own closet. Which pair of pants have I not worn lately, the corduroys or the khakis? Which button-down will match? The brown Timberland casuals, or the black? Ugh.
3. Worrying about how you will be perceived by your kids when you finally come out. They’re still in high school, so it seems necessary to be normal at least until they graduate, to provide the stability children deserve, to spare them of the social ridicule they would have to endure. Should I tell them, forcing them to carry my secret as well? They already know something is wrong. Stop torturing them and get it over with. Besides, they need to know that, whatever they are sexually, they are okay. Don’t perpetuate the shame that was instilled in you.
2. Feeling like a fucking freak of nature all the time. “Broken” is the best word I can think of to describe myself, and I’m reminded of my brokenness every day, all day long. It’s a kind of depression that Wellbutrin does not address. Hormones. . .when may I start my HRT? Next year? The year after that? Five years from now, when my children are in college?
1. Knowing that you will never, ever, ever actually be a girl. ‘Nuff said.
(Credit: The image above is stolen from Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.)