By: Arthur King
The above quote has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. There are many moments in my life when my thoughts drift to Nin’s words and I wonder when my own need to blossom will become too painful. I am afraid that I will slowly fade away without reaching my potential, without the world knowing who I am. It has taken me years to open up about being a transman. In fact I am not completely out about this very fact. I live in a compromise of genderqueer with my name as only an initial. A remnant of who I was born to be and the signifying letter of who I am.
I feel awkward in my own skin, my name, and in most of my relationships. When I was 18 I admitted to myself that my gender identity was not congruent with my anatomical sex. I had come out to myself as a lesbian at the very young age of 12 and finally to the rest of my friends and family at 16. This coming out process did not go as well as I had hoped with some of those closest to me either turning their backs or being taken away from me. So, when I finally came to the truth of my gender, I could not go through this journey at the time. I could not risk losing the ground that I had made up over those difficult two years. In my mind, I could suppress it by being more feminine and immersing myself in the rich lesbian culture of the ’90’s.
My closest friends were very supportive but my partner at the time was extremely transphobic and all dialogue was quickly shut down surrounding the topic. I buried my feelings for three years and began to explore my attraction to men which was even more confusing than growing up queer and dealing with my gender identity. There was point in my life when I realized that my attraction to men was actually my desire to have that body. I hated my own body from the moment I hit puberty. I wanted that flat chest, those muscles, the facial hair, and yes even the penis.
I rarely hear my own name or see MYSELF in a mirror. I find comfort in the few friends and family that actually see me but I still wonder if I will ever bloom. There are days that I feel myself withering away and this creates sheer panic. Intellectually, I rationalize my place in the world because gender is socially constructed and so it should it really matter but it does, every day that I never see myself reflected back at me. It matters even though I teach others that gender is fluid and policed. It matters even though I pray every night that it won’t in the morning.