Say it with me now: "Existence is resistance."
I'm so fucking tired of talking about bathrooms.
I posted to Facebook last night to ask for emotional support. My safety network never lets me down, either.
There have been a lot of conversations lately where people tell me I'm overbearing, argumentative, or unnecessarily explosive in normal conversation. I understand I can be difficult -- it's hard to deal with gender dysphoria every day, and on some days, it may only feel like you're getting maybe 10% of my capabilities as a human.
Let's talk for a minute about what gender dysphoria feels like. It's like an itchy sweater I can't take off: always nagging, makes me feel awkward and sweaty, like I stand out in the middle of a crowded room. It makes me want to claw at my skin or avoid the idea of dealing with my body at all. It makes me feel like giving up.
Most days I can handle that on an intellectual level, generally speaking. Living in the Midwest makes it impossible to pursue surgery, though, due to the astronomically high cost of out-of-pocket GCS -- because insurance companies see it as selective.
They'll pay to put a cast on a broken arm, but despite the widespread medical consensus supporting surgical intervention as a way to alleviate gender dysphoria so individuals can live healthy, productive lives, the insurance companies refuse to take care of me, so I'm left to do it on my own.
Then there are the bad days.
I wake up feeling like I want to stay in bed -- I'm nauseated by the sight and feel of my own skin. I put on my panties and feel awkward, like there's a bunch of extra tissue packed into the front of them. It feels tight, uncomfortable, and then I have to look my body in the mirror.
Mirrors are fascinating, because I can't count the times I've caught myself in front of one, staring at the changing curves of my body. It starts with my cheeks, starting to hollow in some places while the rest of my face rounds out a little.
I agonize about my lips, chin and sideburns every day. It hurts to shave my face every time. My skin type has changed and softened after two years of hormone replacement.
Then my collar bones. I can finally see them! But my joy is cut short by broad, rounded shoulders attached to arms thick from years of needlessly pursuing bigger biceps.
My ribcage is too wide for my breasts, and they look flatter and less-developed. It makes me cry a little inside every time.
You get the idea -- it's a laundry list of things I have to face every day. This isn't a unique scenario, even to trans people -- many women have similar morning routines -- except there's no amount of working out or corrective surgery I can pursue to put things how I want them.
My body has twisted itself into this shape from years of unnecessary exposure to Testosterone. I tell myself: If only you'd have been a little braver, maybe you could have had x, y, or z.
It's torture that I can't escape most days because I'm always conscious of why my body is different than cis women. It's not that I think it's ugly, it's that it breaks my heart that it could have been different. If only, right?
But that's not the reality of the choice I faced: I could have come out to my family at a young age, but the community I lived in felt exclusionary -- I'd heard my friends, family, and neighbors make jokes at my community's expense my entire life.
The point of talking about these bad days is that I feel a mishmash of guilt and depression *caused by* gender dysphoria. The incongruence between my biological gender and my gender identity. On the bad days, it's all I can do to exist. And that's okay, because that's progress.
If you *feel* like you're getting 10 percent of my ability, you're probably right. It's a struggle just to get dressed most mornings, but you won't be capable of understanding that unless you also make an effort to understand the material conditions of my daily reality.
So say it again with me: existence is resistance.
But that does not mean I will not go meekly into the night, either.
On my best days, I will stand boldly at the bar in my heels and skirt, I'll walk alone at night, I'll return your death glares, I'll vote you out of office, and I'll protect the rest of my TGNC family from the rest of your bigotry, too, if I can help it.
All I wanna do is live in peace. And that's somehow too much to ask. I wonder what it will feel like to finally feel 'at home' in my skin.
Recently, someone asked me what I wanted most in this world. That's what I told them. Surgery. So I can finally know what it feels like to call my body 'home.'
Here's to the journey, y'all. Thank you for your continued support.