Friday, June 26, 2009

Ooh, I Bet You're Wonderin How I Knew

My dick is shrinking. I’m sure of it.

“Honey, c’mere and look at it! It’s…little!”

D peers between, corroborates and prognosticates. “You’re on a lot of medication…maybe that’s why?”

I’ve been felled by the mighty woodsman of corona virus, or swine flu maybe, and have resorted to popping (in optimistic hopes of hearing again someday – my ears are that occluded) Sudafed, ibuprofen, and benadryl. If 2008 was the year of the Dark Night of the Soul, than ’09 has been the Dank Day of the Sinuses.*

The stuff that was so magnificent over the weekend, so virile, so…majestic, is now singing “Heard it through the Grapevine” with the rest of the Raisins. In this area I am evidently just like any other man, obsessed with size and certain that both my partner’s and my pleasure depends on it. Shrinkage terrifies me. This confirms a few things. One, that I am authentically trans, an identity that’s challenged me all muddy, febrile week.

Samantha has been demanding some attentions, insisting on living, ripping out all the IV drips, oxygen, feeding tubes I’d thought I’d so generously left her on: she’s not going gracefully, but that’s never been our thing. I was a woman of a sort for 47 years. I’d made some peace with that. I had little idea that in changing genders, I would lose any of her that I cared about. But there’s a death that’s happening here, a loss so vast, such an annihilation – this concurrent with the nearly inexpressible joy of finally allowing myself to be free – the best one can do is be bludgeoned by it occasionally.

All week long I’ve been looking at my scrappy, barely visible, adolescent chin scruff thinking “Really! That’s what you want!?” It’s so unglamorous, the facial hair development, for this guy anyway, whose overarching genetics seem to lean to the Scandihoovian side of the family. We are not a hairy lot, we Peterson men, and we are not a lot hairy.

I know a guy who talked about the death of him/herself, how unprepared he was to have to grieve the woman he had been, and how remote that person can feel to him sometimes. Our previous incarnations are like a dream, the opium smoker’s vision of something unreal, ephemeral. We lay in a den together and pulled on a collective hookah, conjuring up something feminine, some will-o-the-wisp or genie even to do our mothers’ bidding, be our fathers’ daughters when called upon, showing up for Prom, wearing heels to an interview, stepping behind our brothers and bosses and knowing our place.

It’s no coincidence in my life that Tim Burton’s version of “Alice in Wonderland” premieres soon. My world is richer with synchronicity than ever before – if as a woman I was intuitive, as myself I am constantly engaged with phenomenal reminders. Being Samantha was being Alice, showing up for social tableaus that made no sense whatsoever, except to themselves; it meant being prosecuted for disobeying random, constantly shifting rules that I could somehow never grasp. A real woman might’ve felt somewhat at home in this Wonderland, although misogyny makes it impossible for any person, man or woman to ever truly relax.

In those moments I think “what the hell ARE you doing Peterson!?” I ask myself: would you get off testosterone? And the answer is always, emphatically, no. At the very least I love being able to eat more. Lest I risk sounding completely shallow and cavalier, the truth is I reject my old body. Samantha was a fantastic construct that allowed me to breathe as naturally as I had the resources for. Sober addicts often remark that their addictions kept them alive, able to move about an overwhelming, difficult world, until this ceased to work. The saran wrap of Samantha that kept her freshness, retained something of her crispness, became a suffocating prison, a leaky reformatory, until I penetrated and broke free. Still, it’s sad to leave a delicious sandwich behind.

How does one prepare to grieve? I think a really good suit is an excellent place to start. And then maybe a practice of acknowledging who I have been, and what that’s given me. And some really spectacular wingtips to go with the suit, which I could wear while paging through old photo albums, immersed in all the hilarity and tragedy these documents evoke – and I’ll be sure to bring my sandwich, sodden and nibbled, but all the ham and cheese intact.

*seriously, I’ve been hammered nearly once a month by something. Maybe God is telling me to stop putting my finger up my nose.


  1. Sorry, you have been sick, but you are one funny dude. I have every confidence your dick will re-assert itself. I am absolutely confident of that. Actually, in the pictures I see of you, you usually have your finger up D's nose.


  2. yep. reassertion has happened ;)