It’s weird going through the world presenting as a man who nonetheless feels like a woman. Not in the Shania Twain way, either. Really, firmly believing herself to be female. And, it’s hard to believe other people don’t notice when I’m out in boymode.
I remember being 10 and changing in my bedroom. We lived on the second-floor of an apartment building (a project, lol). Some of my friends were playing outside and saw me through the window and said “hey.” I wondered if they saw me naked, started freaking out; I could see me naked, they could see me, so didn’t that mean they could see me naked? Not really. From their perspective, looking up through the window, they could only see me shoulders up. Maybe shirtless, but not exactly naked. Only from my perspective could I see that. “Hey guys…”
That’s sort of how introspection meets real life. We see ourselves and expect others to see what we see. They don’t. Most people, to some degree, I think are like this. And, everyone’s got their “thing.” Their big secret, maybe, or else what they’re really thinking about all the time. Beyond the one secret, we’ve all got lots of little ones. I think mind reading is the coolest superpower, but I’m glad my mind can’t be read. It’s kind of an invasion of personal space. And, you know, I think a lot of horrible things. Sometimes when I see a stroller with a baby I think, if I picked up this baby and punted him or her, what would the expression on mom’s face look like? Of course, I don’t have any desire to kick babies, I’m not a psycho, but thoughts of “what would happen?” have crossed my mind. I’m big on what-if games. I don’t need a mind reader getting into that.
Anyway, the point back there was that we’ve all got a thing. There’s a nice aphorism that says something like, everyone’s facing a struggle of some sort, whether or not we’re aware, so be extra nice. I think that’s good advice. Anything that ends in “be nice” is pretty good advice. We think people see our thing (it’s an entendre and referring back to my anecdote earlier, see what I did there?), but they really don’t. Or at least they don’t say anything.
Maybe you’re thinking, hey, how is my worldview as woman really going to be picked up on by others? I don’t know, but I guess because that’s not all I’m rocking. Like ginzu knives, but wait, there’s more. That thing where you say something funny and I laugh and flip my hair. Yeah, that. Or when I’m saying oh okay, and I do that thing with hand. Probably that, too. No one’s picking up what I’m putting down? Or, if they are, they’re being quiet about it. Maybe to be polite. I think more likely, though, no one’s really paying others much mind. We’re mostly looking inward too busy wondering if others can see us naked to look out for other peoples’ (even obvious) bits. So, there we are.
Maybe being out means those who do notice now feel better asking questions. Or something. I don’t know, the people I’ve been out to haven’t really asked much. Most weren’t terribly surprised. It’s probably easier to pick up on it from someone you’ve known for a long time. At first, answering questions sucked. I’m pretty much past that point. That’s what transition is, not from male-in-public to female-in-public, but from the mental point of what will the Joneses think! to who really gives a flying f–k? It’s helpful in life, transsexual or not.
Even with the long hair and earrings, I move through the world pretty incognito. It helps that I’m in college. Everyone’s got piercings, now. Some of us even have the ear stretcher doodads. Maybe I’m not even that exotic. We’re pretty common on daytime television, now. Seen one trans person, seen ’em all. Not gotta catch ’em all! Nope, we’re relatively common Pokemon. That doesn’t mean we’re unevolved, though. Let’s stretch out the metaphor as much as possible, yeah?
I’m in a class that has six people. That’s friggen tiny, especially at (insert Ivy League university here). I’ve been in classes literally a hundred times as large. So, hey, why not have a small class. There’s a vegetarian who reads Thoreau paperbacks until they’re falling apart. He has an amazing reading voice. He’s probably more interesting than I am. I imagine the girl with the laugh who’s making her own major, blending two different disciplines, is more interesting, too. And, it’s kind of nice to blend in.
I’d consider myself outgoing. All of the personality tests say I’m an extrovert. But, there are things we want attention for, and then stuff we don’t. I don’t want to be the person who thinks of kicking babies, just to see what would happen, I don’t want that to be my thing. Or that I’m trans. Or that I’m from the ghetto. I guess, I don’t want it to be quirks or demography so much as what I do, good or bad. That dude/chick who won the writing competition? Yeah, know me for that. For now I’ll be known by others as dude. Later I’ll evolve into chick. See, can’t say we don’t evolve, common Pokemon or not. And I told you I was going to stretch this metaphor out. Painfully far.