Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nerves of Eel

Sang-froid is not a phrase I would ever attach to anything I do – nonetheless, as I watch myself inject the oily elixir of man-fluid, I’m like “Damn I’ve got nerves of steel!” Shooting T seems to be, anecdotally at least, a line in the sand for some trans-guys. From the git my hands were steady. I recall the nurse showing me how to do it proper, with the little foam sack meant to replicate your fleshy parts, and the enormous syringe with the exact amount of “prescription” saline. I became clinical, detached, a predator whose prey was his own fat thigh. There’s a quote in “Alcoholics Anonymous” that says “we will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.” I take this to mean that my historic IV drug use has finally come in handy.

I found a bunch of neophyte hairs underneath my chin – on my wattle, actually – charming. It prompted me to dream this morning, that I had undertaken a job that required my taking a “male-enhancer.” I lay on the bed/office desk (you know how dreams are: “I’m in a shopping mall that was my bedroom in third grade with Mrs. Cannon who was kind of our rabbit Snowball!”) and saw dark and lovely hair rising from my crotch up my belly, twining in that delicious hair mamba, snaking towards my chest upon which were what? Breasts? Pecs? I’ll never know because I had become distracted by a) the albino tarantula to my right, climbing ‘neath the covers, and b) this soft, nearly mold-like troll-head hair that was sprouting on the tips of my toes. The spider I ignored as I understood it to be an exotic omen of complete neutrality, but the hairs on my toes? I can still feel myself tugging them with wonder.

Hadley often asks me if I’m going to continue to take the T. She’s concerned by what I refer to as “crippling anxiety,” a former, recurrent state that has been highlighted by the hormones. Also, I suspect she has mixed feelings about me changing. Fair enough: we were partners for 3 years and I was her first “lesbian” relationship. I like to call it “crippling anxiety” because it sounds so dramatic. I don’t guess I’ve actually been incapacitated by it, but nearly, early on. I had to give a presentation at school and I got so nervous even my ass cheeks were trembling. It was awful. Now I force myself to speak in public situations to mitigate this symptom, and that’s helped. At least my ass isn’t quivering – sweating like crackhead attempting sexual congress, but shaking, no.

So my motto for this year has been “Tranny great in ’08!” – a pep rally rhyme generously donated to me by Amy Jae, my hair stylist. Will I be “Tranny fine in ’09?” What are the lessons of 2008; what, if anything, have I learned?

Lessee: I learned I can hold a grudge with an awe-inspiring tightness. I’m still hurt that an ex dumped me over the phone and you should see me: I’ve got my arms crossed, my foot tapping. I’m waiting for my motherfucking apology. Breaking up with someone you were in deep with over the phone is shitty. It just is. There’s no excuse. But hanging on to the hurt of it for nearly a year, and it’s as fresh as an unsweaty tranny bottom before school? My bad! There’s a guy, Michael, he was one of my closest friends ages ago, who dragged me around on the floor and forcibly removed my rent money from me so he could buy drugs. He’s been sober for YEARS. Have I gotten my apology from him? No. Do I think he owes me one? What do you think? This had to have been in 1980, people, NINETEEN EIGHTY. Then there was this girl in Austin, six years ago…

I wonder how many people are out there now, waiting on my apology? Could be dozens, actually. Yeesh.

I found out I have an incredibly deep reserve of inner-strength, but I could not tap it without other people. I mean, if you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m kind of an ass. And yet, the Universe has seen fit to surround me with the most stellar characters. I’m not sure how this happened, but I will share that asking for help is my third line of defense, and it’s often my best one. My first line is not asking for help. When that fails me utterly, I resort to my second line: fretting and hand-wringing. Then I call someone.

Changing this dramatically requires much of all of us. It asks that I be as fearless and honest with myself, about who I am, who I want to be, what happened, how I was able to sequester this desire, buffalo and fool myself, or perhaps not – maybe this is just a piece of my evolution and has little to do with anything but where I am at exactly now. Or all of the above.

My transition asks that you be open-minded, and generous in ways that may be new for you too, but if you’re in my orb you’re probably already open-minded and generous, and more. Transitioning in general asks that I challenge my notions of gender and sexuality. I’m coming to find out that all gender means is something inside of me, and has only the vaguest relationship to socialized “maleness.” It’s how I feel, not what I look like. It also has to do with how I relate to others, but that’s complicated and deserves more attention than I can give it right now.

I had my heart broken for the first time in 2008, really broken. I’d be kidding myself if I suggested I was anything but still on my knees from that. I so meticulously crafted a life calculated to protect me from exactly that pain, the suffering of lost love, lost life, profound change, and see what happened? I asked to be shown a deeper meaning, of me and of this greater consciousness and I basically got shit-kickin’ gay-bashed in the parking lot after the Sock Hop. I’m lying in the gravel, looking up at the stars, through swollen lips and loose teeth, and look, here come the cavalry! Here’s Jude, and Jessica, there’s Betty and Ben and Kevin. Jerilynn’s here, and Hadley, my brother and more and more and more, and suddenly I recognize this feeling, I know this one, it’s the absence of shame and an overwhelming wave of relief.

Thanks for being there, for extending your hand to the ladyman on the asphalt. Thanks for helping make 2008 Tranny Great. Happy New Year. And in 2009, we’ll all be fine, and if not, I got your back.

1 comment:

  1. Very strange. I was in band in Colorado in the lat 80's called "Nerves Like Eels" and we used to play shows with the "Sons of T." It's bizarre to see both phrases on one web page.