Other People

Sometimes I follow the links back to this blog from other sites. Sometimes I catch my name being discussed on Tumblr. When I do this I know my inner narcissist is alive and kicking. I try to not turn other people’s takes on me into a discussion too often, because they are allowed to react anyway they want to react. I think reading this blog could be useful to different people in different ways. I could see someone reading this blog and comparing it to their experience transitioning and thinking, “Hey, I really did the right thing for myself, what this lady is talking about is definitely not my experience.” I could see someone reading this blog and thinking, “Oh shit, oh no, this is like the inside of my head in a scary way.” Someone could read this blog and think, “this poor dude’s transition got fucked up, poor dude.” Someone could read this and think, “This lady sure is lucky life got in her way!”

If you have a strong reaction it’s probably a reaction that can teach you a lot about yourself. It’s more important that you understand yourself than necessarily understand me. I kind of feel like me being understood perfectly has been a totally lost cause for awhile. I just have to write about it all. It was a terrible, surreal, dark and heavy trip, and I’m glad I’m mostly out of it, but having to not talk about it or constantly editing myself to make sure no one got uncomfortable would mean it was always with me. It would mean it was never in my past.

All that to say, hey, yeah, hi I’m straight, not bi. Used to be bi, was definitely totally all about dudes while I was on testosterone, in a pretty scary and overwhelming way, and since then have just felt a really strong need to not be sexual or romantic with women. Maybe I was always straight and just acting out. (I don’t think so, I was pretty lovesick for some women before.) Or maybe all those creeper ladies when I was trans have traumatized me out of being bi. I don’t know, but I do know I am only interested in dating and being sexual with men. Not the most convenient orientation for how paranoid I am about being alone with them. What can you do?

All that to say, hey, yeah, hi, it’s ok if you think I’m gender essentialist, although I don’t think I am. I had all these intense experiences while I was trans realizing how epically disrespected the female body is. I also had pretty intense experiences of realizing that being on different hormonal combinations makes for very different patterns of perception and emotional response. (Oh my gosh PLEASE plan around this if you are going on hormones, please don’t undertake re-learning how to manage your emotions without planning on checking in with a therapist throughout the process.There are major psychological effects involved with taking hormones, don’t assume it’s going to be easy to learn to roll with those.) I do think we are generally socialized by being rewarded the more we behave like extreme versions of our respective hormonal cocktails.

I don’t know, you could probably pull quotes, especially from Ice Balls, where I sound like I’m saying men are narcissistic monsters and women are nurturing saints. I’ma tell you what: men are socially rewarded the more they act like narcissistic monsters. Those narcissists I was talking about in Ice Balls were making BANK. Women are socially rewarded the more we act like nurturing saints. Those women got to marry into some BANK. Men compete with men to be the best man, women compete with women to be the best woman, the people who win those competitions get lots of approval and support and opportunities. I find the woman competition very difficult and it doesn’t seem like my personality is designed to get me very far in that contest. But I LOATHED the man competition, and I also LOATHED the non-binary social role. If I act like I’m trying in the woman competition at least people tell me their problems and don’t try to befriend me to add another shade to their rainbow of oppressed friends.

I don’t think that’s especially gender essentialist of me, but you’re allowed to think different.  I am not upset by the ideas behind the writing getting parsed out and critiqued. If you were like, “you are a selfish person for not being more careful about the ideas behind your writing,” then I’d have to step to you and be like, oh better for me to keep quiet so no one knows anyone detransitions, right? Because that’s good for people making decisions about permanent things to do to their bodies, to not know that people like me are real, right? Kinda funny how this is another situation where I gotta disown large swathes of my experience to be a good person?

Believe me, I’ve been arguing with myself all year about whether my writing is selfish, so I have all the clap backs worked out.

I hate having a split persona on the internet. I hate writing under a pseudonym. I hate it because that comes from fear for me. I’ve had a mob hatred experience on the internet, and it was a life ruiner. But I hate being afraid of the mob hatred so much that  I just want it over with.

Honestly, I’ve never gotten a nasty email from a trans person about this blog. I’ve gotten some really nice ones, pretty much where people said, “hey my experience was the same as yours in some ways, and very different from yours in other ways, and yours was cool to read.” That’s awesome. I’m not trying to detrans anyone. I want people who already have a suspicion they’re on the wrong path to know they are going to be ok, and there’s a future, and it’s not a future where you gotta beat yourself up all the time and be ashamed of trying to make yourself feel better. But if you look in your gut and there’s nothing like that, that’s AMAZING and keep doing what you’re doing.

Hey even if you look in your gut and you’re like, “oooff, my motivations were kind of a mixed bag but in general this trans identity makes possible a pretty fun and happy life I’m living,” KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You do whatever makes you happy and peaceful. It is so hard to be happy and peaceful so any little or big thing you can do to get yourself there you really need to do.

(I have had some weird exchanges on twitter but that’s because twitter makes everyone inconsiderate and hateful. Including me. I get very oppositional and quick to pop off on twitter.)

You know also, I do actually want to be accountable for what I write. I don’t want to deny myself that. I don’t want to be in denial about my affect on other people’s lives. I want to know what I’m creating in the world, good and bad.

(Ooof, do I want that? That’s a very heavy thing to get. But I certainly have been on a rampage of letting other people know what they created in my world.)

I feel like I’ve been so afraid of bad reactions I’ve been cutting off the opportunities for people to talk about difficult things past different worldviews.

Or maybe I’m just setting myself up to re-visit past trauma by getting piled on. I don’t know folks, we do the same shit till we learn the lesson.

4 thoughts on “Other People”

  1. maria, i think you put a lot of wisdom and care into this. you put a lot of that into everything. i hope you are not wearing yourself too thin. it’s hard to be a public face, as i’m sure you know intimately. detransitioned women get kicked around in pretty much every space & get used for all sorts of people’s agendas. it has to be agonizing to hear everyone’s bullshit when you are just trying to tell your truth. when i was in trans spaces i felt like i was selling pieces of my soul in exchange for desperate bits of validation and understanding. are you in that place? i hope writing here isn’t feeling like that all over again. if it is, i wonder if you should take a break to regather. talk to the women you know in private. you can have witness to your story without exposing yourself to the world. i just hope you are doing alright. ❤ to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Hey even if you look in your gut and you’re like, “oooff, my motivations were kind of a mixed bag but in general this trans identity makes possible a pretty fun and happy life I’m living,” KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You do whatever makes you happy and peaceful. It is so hard to be happy and peaceful so any little or big thing you can do to get yourself there you really need to do.”

    thank you for this. i am a trans guy who has been reading your stuff for a while now (as well as other detransitioned women and gender critical radfems) because i find it important to hear out people who have made different decisions than me, to get a better understanding of my own decisions

    i relate to a lot of what you’ve talked about with the burden of being the token trans person. i am in the middle of transition and i do not pass, though i try. so to people who aren’t Educated About Trans Issues, i’m just slightly confusing. but to people who can identify me as transmasculine, i am suddenly Important and Different. i’ve had people walk up to me in the hallways and ask me my preferred pronouns– people i had never seen in my life before!

    i don’t want to fill the non-binary social role. i want to be a guy (i wrote normal guy at first, but i’m definitely abnormal in so many different ways), and transition is hard but i do have a lot of affirming experiences, and i can see the light at the end of the tunnel in the form of some older trans guys i know who live their day to day lives like any other man. so i’m pretty confident about my choice to pursue transition, and while i recognize a lot of my own experience in yours, i truly believe i am on the right path for me. it’s so freeing to realize that two people can have similar experiences and different solutions– and both are valid. it’s something i need to keep in mind more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha on the complete strangers needing to know your pronouns- oh my gosh I do not miss that! Good on you for reading different perspectives and challenging yourself! The work of understanding yourself is so easy to want to skip and yet so foundational to creating the life you want. Thanks for reading and lots of good energy to you!

      Like

  3. I’ve been reading your blog with a lot of interest because you approach this topic with a lot of care and nuance while also being vividly yourself. It’s really nice to read about the detransition experience of someone who doesn’t want to invalidate other people’s experiences or identities in any way, and who’s honest about her own reactions and biases and sensitive areas. I’ve learned a lot from reading your stuff, and I think you’ve talked about a tricky hot-button subject with care, but also candor. That’s an ideal balance to strike. This entry is perhaps my favorite of all because I come away from it feeling affirmed and valid, even though the route I’ve chosen is very different from yours despite all the similar feelings we share.

    Liked by 1 person

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