Saturday, January 10, 2009

Baby's Got the Bends

“You fucking ass-wipe, if you don’t stop riding my ass I’m going to punch you in the face.”

This is me, on testosterone, in mild traffic. The second this escapes from my mouth I break out in hysterics. I can’t sustain it. Road rage cracks me up. I never really had it as a lady, or at least, as a sober lady, but these little emissions issue from me now. They’re about as threatening as Habanero Cheetos – all promise of pain, but basically an overheated, hollow puff of non-peril.

I mean, how do people say things like that and not crack up? “Ass-wipe,” all by its lonesome, is warmly nostalgic, a reminder of sixth grade warfare, which in turn conjures up red-faced children ineffectually slapping each other. It would be a great drag name.

I can’t attribute my laughable wrath to testosterone per se; the need to let off steam some where might be from the pressure-cooker of transitioning itself. I’m sure I need some vents – and I can’t cry like I used to and that absolutely is a byproduct of hormone therapy.

I saw my GP the other day; I’ve been experiencing rather unnerving heart flutters and skips at night. I’m savvy enough to attribute this to anxiety, but old enough that I need to talk with her about it. This is also a byproduct of testosterone: I am increasingly anxious. My therapist warned me before I started by telling me “people who have a history of depression or are bipolar may find themselves depressed or manic. It’s something to be mindful of.” Fabulous. Because it’s not stressful enough, all by itself, to grow a mini-wee.

My anxiety is both specific and arbitrary – I have real stuff to be anxious about, but then there’s the stuff I’m making up in my own head. If you’ve dated me, and you know you want to, you know that I can be territorial and protective. I will fuck a bitch up who’s pestering my partner. Don’t “gross” me; it’s who I am. I learned, in rehab of all places, how to grab the nearest thing and slam it into a head. Again, don’t judge: you don’t know. Anyway, I mention this just to give you some insight for the following dainty internecine drama.

It popped into my mind, completely at random, that someone I once loved is dating someone. A crowd of anxieties shoved itself behind this thought, desperate to seek egress from this spontaneously burning building of my brain. Smoke was billowing, steam pressing the backs of my eyeballs as I stood, trapped by fear, amidst the towering inferno. Mind you, I’m confabulating all this; I haven’t seen this woman in a year and I have no idea who and if she’s dating. But this man thing…this man in me was inflamed.

I was not a generally jealous woman, or rather, I was estrogenically better equipped to handle or isolate it. I am a desperately, hand-clutchingly, hair-rippingly, jealous man. Insane. My mind is making shit up to care about, that’s how much this man part wants me to participate in some crazy male dance of ownership and territory. The “fuck a bitch up” piece is no longer pointed at the man who made some grossly offensive remark to my woman. It’s now directed at the (specter) male who’s (ghost) dating a (phantom) woman I’m (not) in an (apparition) relationship with.

Testosterone will fuck a bitch up, is what I’m saying to you. It’s awful, this feeling. I have new compassion for all the ill-behaved stalker men I know. I really want to punch someone in the face, repeatedly. The anxiety needs me to. I want to be the guy that’s strong, not the guy that’s psycho, but in these make-believe moments, moments of trespass, hurt, of sullying what’s rightfully mine? Crazy banana-pants, but in a Post Office poster, shaved-side of head, camo-wearing way.

It’s always been there, nascent, unexplored, or tamped down by the muted batting of estrogen. Male fury, rage, is a potent panacea to any freakout that ails you. I could be angry and scared as a woman, but this is substantively different.

Perhaps it’s just the unsettling newness of the hormones; they’ve amped me up in unpredictable ways. I’m making a connection between territoriality and testosterone, between my newfound anxious paranoia, and what I’ve observed as classically, albeit over-the-top, male defensive behaviors. Men are the border patrollers; men are the ones keeping Rapunzel in a tower; males are the ones who kill offspring not of their spermatage. I’m just saying. I think I’m getting a taste of this, even though my flavor is pathological and immature. I’m hoping it will iron itself out through this adolescence.

In the meantime, perhaps I need to find a hobby, an outlet for these heightened, overzealous expressions of ownership. I know a lot of guys who are into paintball warfare, but frankly, that looks like a lot of work and expense for something that makes you look like an ungainly 10 year old with a Human Growth Hormone disease and a gun. I hear tell men enjoy the sporting events and video games; maybe I’m beginning to understand why these things that evoke frustratingly bored, rainy Sunday afternoons where Dad bogarded the television have some appeal for people. There’s this fundamental drive to conquer, vanquish, and just generally beat the crap out of someone.

I give in. This free-floating, free-loading anxiety is kicking my ass like Becks with a soccer ball, a reference I only know from the Spice Girls, thank you very much. You humans must have figured something out – I guess I better pay attention. I need a team with some good colors – UNC has that horrible baby blue, but Duke’s is darker I think. There, I’ve picked a side. Let me know what I’m supposed to do next, ‘kay? If you should see me, sweating anxiously by the sidelines of Whole Foods or Harris Teeter, freaking out about this or that girl, please just unclench my fist and stick a pennant in there, slap me on the back and say “Gooooo, team.”

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