Since I changed my name/pronouns/gender, writing is all I feel like I have left. My writing has changed, too, but the will to practice hasn't left, at least. When I began my transition I told myself I wanted to lose my footing in terms of the gender binary, to realize what I think deep down, what I need from gender to feel whole, what parts of me gender cannot touch. I don't have much to offer you yet-- I am only just beginning to recognize the depth of my reliance on this ugly system. I seek to rewire without repressing the good stuff, to unearth what is both helpful and honest, that crucial intersection.
Mornings now go like this: After I wake up I have about twenty minutes before the nausea sets in. I usually stay in bed for this time, savoring the haze until I remember everything. The minutia. The exhaustion. The wasteland of impending adulthood. The loss that's waiting there. The whiplash from looking from past to present to past, to watching the future fold in front of me, then that's the past, too, and all the while I am sick, I'll throw up any minute now even though I never do, and beneath my chest a thick web that keeps me heavy, barely lets the breath and the words and the feelings out. The nausea and the web persist throughout the day, until I fall asleep. No cures beckon to me, imaginary or otherwise, but I treat symptoms. Coffee helps.
Stories stretch out in front of me. I dip my toe in, but it's too hot, too cold, and I recoil. I don't move, so the will to move strangles itself inside me. I see sentences forming, how I'll tell it to myself, but nothing glows the way it used to, that inevitable promise born of real conviction, real want. It's just a story, I tell myself. You're more than a story.
For instance: I am Emma; Max, some days, that childhood dream, that secret, all mine, that precious alter-ego, the creative little boy inside. But Emma is your body-- Emma is lived. You have recreated femininity so that it fits you, have grown out of the oppressive force you rebelled against for your entire life. You are not what the world projects onto you, as a woman, as a lesbian. Still, a woman you are, and you know where you stop bleeding into a stereotype. Your body is almost foreign in its beauty, its vulnerability-- and is constantly validated, since you are cis and thin and white. You recognize your gross privilege in this. You push back against the dismissal and the talking over by the men in your life, the grabbing and the catcalling by men on the street. You finally claim this fight as your own.
or: I am Max; Emma, some days, in the privacy of Madeline's bedroom, where no else can hear you, no one else can question what sort of man wants this. When you are Emma you cry in her arms for your long hair, and for feeling at home in your body, you ask for her help in returning. When you are Max, you are outside, confident and safe in a way you've never been before. More than that, you are seen. People tell you that now, something about you just 'clicks,' they're shocked they didn't see it before, you look much more comfortable this way. And maybe you are. You've moved on, in some vague sense, and you realize this was probably always waiting for you, that womanhood never fit, and this is why. A stronger union between your body and your mind awaits you still, after surgery, inside the syringe, and your heart opens like it hasn't in years. Finally, with the chronic doubt and confusion shed, your life can start.
or: I am human. I have two names; please do not call me either. Do not use gendered language when you speak to me. Touch my entire body like you want it, or don't touch me at all. Do not remind me of what I am, or what I might be, do not remind me of what is lurking. Let me forget what I am, reduce me only to what I do. Do not gender my actions. In fact, abandon English. Let us only talk in looks and gestures, a pinch, a kiss, your hands in my hair-- my hair, without length, hair extending infinitely in all directions, forever growing and stunting itself with split ends, my hair without style or message.
I do wonder if, at some point, I really am going to vomit. I fantasize that it will accompany some realization about my gender, or my core values in general. What will leave me is the fiction, the fear-- my body free to fill with life again.