Like I said in my last video, I’m taking a break from videos because I noticed my gender dysphoria was popping up more frequently. I don’t play when it comes to my GD, but I’m also at a point where I’m not very freaked out by it. When I experience GD, I know what’s happening, and I know what I can do that will make it go away. So it’s not a crisis when I experience it. It’s more of an alarm. When I experience GD, I treat it as a red flag that something is out of whack in the balance of my daily life, so I have to slow down and get re-balanced.
I got a comment on that video, “stay strong.” That’s not really what it’s like. I don’t react to my GD with a lot of resistance. It’s not like I have a closet of like, cowboy outfits that I keep a lock on. Most of my clothing is pretty loose and androgynous- not the stuff I wear to waitress, but besides that we’re looking at a bunch of plaid, jeans, and hoodies. I still have the same outfits I had when I was trans-identified. I do not have the binders I had, and I don’t have the packers, and I don’t have the men’s health magazines and the trans zines and stuff I used to love.
As far as the actions I was taking on my body while I was trans-identified there was binding, there was shooting T, there was some restricted eating, there was attempting to dress in a way that camouflaged the shape of my body. (Oh my gosh, poor sad me in 2013 and 2013 wearing pants 3 sizes too big to try to hide my thighs. So delusional about what can hide what, and so sad and nervous.) I don’t have binders, and I only have one sports bra that is kind of tight. I have half a vial of T that I keep as kind of a life artifact, but I don’t have needles. I think the way I eat is sometimes still affected by my anxiety, so I haven’t totally solved that problem. And I guess I’m ok with the idea that there would be some days where I need what I experience as the safety of loose clothing. Getting comments from strangers on the street about my body is a real factor in my life, it happens a lot, and if that happens when I’m already in a bad headspace it can really mess with me. So sometimes I need to navigate the world in big sweats. Luckily in Ohio that means I look like literally everyone else at the grocery store.
My GD is really two phenomenon right now- it used to have three aspects when I was trans-identified. We got:
- Feeling depersonalized- my body feels unreal, the boundaries of it and it’s shape are surprising to me, or cause me to feel disgust or disoriented
- Obsessive thinking about gender and my gendered appearance, how people are reading me, like to the point there really isn’t room in my head for thinking about anything else.
It used to be, when I was trans-identified, there was this third piece:
3. Obsessively fantasizing about how my life would be going if people could see the “real me,” the dude me.
Ok, so fortunately I don’t have to deal with that third piece hardly at all anymore. If I have an interaction where my head goes to the, “damn that would have been a nicer experience if they were treating me as a dude,” I literally just counter the thought with, “Well, what would your life be like if you’d continued transitioning?” I’d be living in California, which I hated, I’d be a lot poorer, I might still be working at either that clinic or maybe at a health insurance company, which doesn’t sound like a good time to me, and I would probably have a mastectomy by now but probably not have had thigh liposuction, so I’d still feel dysphoric about my lower body. CA insurance companies don’t cover that as part of trans care and I don’t think it’s likely I would’ve gotten the money together. I’d probably still be working on paying off that credit card debt I paid off my first year back home. So that avenue of obsessive thought is super easy for me to shut down. I’m very happy with my quality of life and I’m grateful I’m here instead of there.
So I’ve just got two factors to work on- depersonalization, obsessive thinking about how people are reading me. I know these are both stress reactions of mine. Getting enough sleep, going heavy on hot yoga classes and going real easy on what I expect myself to accomplish in the week does a whole lot to get me out of being depersonalized.
Managing staying out of contexts where people are commenting a lot about my body or the way I look is probably the trickiest part. The videos became a context like that. My work is pretty bad about this, and especially when it gets late at work and the guys start getting drunk that can become a very stressful time for me. I’m really anxious about guys who are drinking. Commenting on my body is primarily a social thing for groups of men- if one does it, it’s pretty likely 3 more guys are going to make comments. So yeah, I hate that, it stresses me out in a big way, and it can stress me out enough to make me obsess about how much I wish I walked around in a different body.
You might say, well, push back and don’t let them talk to you that way! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha, hahaha, oh gosh, that’s funny stuff. That has never worked out well for me. I don’t actually believe that strategy works. I think it could work if like, a ton of women all decided they would enforce that rule. But it would have to be so many women- like, if it was just me and my waitress coworkers and we all decided from this day forward the kitchen doesn’t comment on our bodies, that wouldn’t work. The kitchen guys would pitch fits, and they’d make the food slower, and it would be a big old thing that lost us money. Also I think my waitress coworkers wouldn’t like the idea of setting rules up about our speech at work, because we say all kinds of fucked up shit ourselves. So….I don’t know, when there are a bunch of guys drinking at my work, and they start doing this social thing where they loudly talk about my body, to myself and to each other, I just go home as soon as I can. I count my money, do my drop, get out of there.
Honestly I think the only thing that affects men’s behavior is the opinion of other men. I think the only way those men would stop acting that way is if there was some guy way up the guy hierarchy who shut it down. If Lebron James came in my restaurant and gave them a withering look for talking that way, they would never act that way again. So, if anyone can contact King James for me, I would love to be a Witness for that.
Anyways, because the world sucks and because I have a turned up stress reaction from previous instances of the world sucking, I’ve accepted stressful occurrences like that are going to happen and I just have to do damage control for myself. I count my money, get out of there, spend that money on a yoga class the next day, spend the next day putzing around my apartment in loose sweats and no bra, take it easy on myself, write, maybe go look at the lake for a long time. See, it really has nothing to do with being strong. It’s more like viewing my time around men doing that pathetic shit as something to recover from. I don’t expect myself to be a hundred percent after enduring the end of an evening like that. You might say, wow you’re whiner and a pussy. And I would say, pussies are the most miraculous phenomenon associated with the human body, you’re jealous of their power and that’s why you’re trying to reverse their meaning into one of shame, and your parameters of strength are just the enforced dissociation necessary to keep the wheels of control and violence grinding. So you’re dumb and weak and getting played and who cares, not my problem. There are other things to create besides people and maybe if you took responsibility for yourself as a creator you’d be secure enough not to try to impress dudes with disdain for women.
Yeah, so I feel pretty at peace with GD’s role in my life. Pretty much between the problem of episodes of GD that I work with like a chronic condition, or a fused cervix from testosterone, for me episodes of GD are the problem I’d rather problem solve around. For another person what they want to problem solve around might be different. And so if I feel down, and like oh I’m so unlucky to have to feel this way and the world is so unfair, I just think of it that way.
I’m just really easy on myself when it comes to these symptoms. I don’t think I created these symptoms for myself- I think the world is messed up in these big ways and my body’s nervous system doesn’t really know how to deal with it. But I just rest a lot, and I take how I feel seriously, and I take feeling bad seriously, and I don’t do this thing where if other people think I shouldn’t feel bad then I deny that I feel bad. If I have to feel bad for a couple of hours because some men are acting pathetic, I take seriously I have a deficit of feeling good to make up for, and then I make myself feel good until that washes out the feeling bad.
I will say sometimes the gay boys at work talk about the straight boys’ bodies and what they would do to them very loudly and explicitly, to each other, and the straight boys get flustered and quiet, and I just enjoy it SO MUCH. My friend Nick once told me he specifically does that because they do it to us. Oh my gosh. Ahhh, it really does bring me joy. It’s so problematic and I don’t care at all. Gay boys are such a blessing. If it weren’t for gay girls and gay boys this life would be a lot less joyful.