Body Image and Dysphoria: I hate my body. Why are my mind and genetics at odds?
I quit letting Mary Jane dominate my life about a month ago. As a result, I am not able to disassociate as easily from the pain of having this body. Look at myself in mirror is painful. having the wrong genitalia is making me wonder if I will ever be comfortable enough in my body to have sex again. I know I will need many surgeries. Will I be ever able to afford the medical care I so desperately need?
I went on a hike this weekend with a local group of lesbians. I had a really good time, as I often do with friends who allow me to live in the relationship, but when pictures of me started to be posted online I was just reminded of how masculine my features are. People tell me I have a great smile. Wonderful. I wish I could feel the same way. It’s hard sometimes to not feel like I went from being a beautiful man to being an average woman.
I have always had a heavy build even as a baby. I have a rather nordic build, am six feet and two and a stout hundred kilos. This causes me to envy other transwomen I meet whose skeleton does not immediately out them. Although I have met other xx women my height, they usually have a much more delicate bone structure. And I always feel a kinship with them, knowing haw we both cannot find clothes off the rack easily. I come from tall people. On my maternal grandmother’s side they are five foot ten women and six foot six men. I suppose my massive bones have been a benefit when I’ve been hit by cars, perhaps pain in life comes from many vectors, and this scar on my soul is what has impacted me.
I feel like my size often outs me. If I speak on the phone people cannot see how large I am, so they often misgender me and I have to correct them. It’s annoying, but feels like a minor point compared having doubts I will never be able to enjoy sex completely and without reservation.
I also realize that looking at my childhood my chronic depression has been lifelong. It never really hit me until the trifecta of my mother’s cancer, my parents breakup, and her death hit me at ages 9-12. It feels like a genetic predisposition, which, considering my paternal grandmother killed herself a couple of years before I was born it is quite likely.
Compared to other genetic dis-eases mine would perhaps seem trivial to most. I wish I could feel the same way. That I am still generally able bodied has probably increased my internalized guilt, shame, and transphobia for being who I am. I hope that through this process of writing perhaps I can better understand myself, and the cosmos I experience.
monday is a day of long black tears
with heart torn and heavily bruised.
where i wonder again why didn’t i kill myself
so long ago, before i had met you.
only the simple joy of folding laundry
can save my life now.
why can’t i say goodbye to those
who go away, without remorse?
as a preteen i lost my mother
i should have just ended it all
way back then. for now i still have
the monumental pain of losing you.
moonday morning, bleak white sky
of winter. i only need to find
my direction again. a reason
to live again. without you in my life.
for now i am at a loss
with no reason to get up in the morning
and little hope of finding work.
and i wonder what i am to do with myself.
for what is my true reason for living?
how can i pull myself together and
find a way to make a new life?
it seems now all i can do is paint and sigh.
why? did i have to pin my heart on you.
no one should ever hang their reason for living
on the life and love of a lover, and yet
that is exactly what i made the mistake of doing.
i must refocus my heart to
the broadest face of humanity.
and live for strangers as well as
dear lovers and ancestors.
yet i will still long always
for the warmth of your
soft touch, and your sweat singing
salty on my skin in the night.
I was given some excellent advice by an older transwoman when I told her I was trying to pass, having just gone to living 24-7 as a woman a few months earlier. “Don’t” she said. “By trying to pass you only make yourself more nervous and will be more likely read by anyone you meet.
Now here at transadvocate.com is an excellent article on the perils of passing, and the difficult history of the term. I can also recommend the book “Nobody Passes“, an anthology of genderqueer perspectives.