Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Hi, Mum

I write this having had a conversation over the phone with my mother who was trying hard to understand where I am coming from. It's hard, from my perspective, to explain how I feel to someone who has never felt what I feel, putting me in mind of the Prom composed by the Pet Shop Boys about Alan Turing and that quote they lift from Andrew Hodges's biography: "do you think what I feel? Do you feel what I think?" As an endpoint I suggested that she read this blog, she was a little uncertain but I have now shared the link to a few of the posts on here and so, well: hi, Mum.

Hey, Mum. When you called I was applying
eye-shadow. I tried to capture it on photos
but have failed. This is the best I could do
with FaceApp making me unrecogniseable.
My mother asked if I wanted to become a woman.

And, no, the honest answer is no. Or, rather, I cannot. If there was a button or some sci-fi method of making it happen, then sure, yes, of course. But no such thing exists. Surgery wouldn't make me a woman any more than anything else could, in the reality I experience there is no method to make someone a woman or a man. Nothing. However, I would be hesitant to call myself a man. I could no more become a woman than I could become a man. And, as it stands, I would argue that I am neither as society understands the concepts. Which brings me to the next point: I would like to occupy that societal space of being recognised as coding female or 'woman'.

Hormones can make one more emotional, did I want to have a cycle and be given to bursting into tears?

Apparently so. But I have known many women. And not all women fall into such stereotypes. In society the people I know who perform the gender of 'female' can cry, sure, but most of them don't seem to. Physically they have a 'cycle' and, yes, I get that this can be debilitating. Again, if there were some sci-fi method or button to press where I could make myself have such a thing and experience it then, even knowing all the negatives and horrors, I would do it. But not because of the cycle, if you see what I mean, but because it would allow me to understand society's view of what a female is more and it would allow me to more easily code as female in society with that experience. And, again, my aim is to code female enough that no one look too closely - or, rather, they see the presentation. Now, I am aware of my privilege here and have spoken of it often: I code male and that means that I have never truly felt in danger on dark nights, walking cycle paths under street lights or even going out alone. I have always been able to rely on society's penchant for leaving men alone when they can avoid confrontation. Women do not have that luxury. I would be giving that up, I would be in danger. But more, because as much as society has an issue with women it has it double with trans-women.

Can you even tell here?
Grey mixed with deep pink up top,
flesh tone beneath.
Oh, and mascara.

Goodness, my hair is a mess.
I said I didn't want surgery, so why take hormones: wouldn't they also result in physical changes?

I have said it often, I am more or less at peace with my plumbing. I don't hate my body. Or, rather, not in the sense that I have heard some say when describing dysphoria. I have always been put off by what I saw in the mirror, it has never matched what I thought should be there, I guess. I have never had a clear image of what that should be, by the way, just that what I saw wasn't it. It wasn't until I got the FaceApp on my phone earlier this year and played around with it that I got glimpses of what I was expecting in the mirror all this time. And, yes, hormones would absolutely result in physical changes. I can't explain that rationally or logically - but I have said it before and I shall repeat it: having a stuffed bra feels right to me somehow. That's it. I have no better words nor clever phrases, just that feeling. There are surgeries that I know of, but I am no fan of surgery for any reason. Not that I wouild refuse life-saving surgical intervention, far from it, but it's the sort of thing I consider last if at all in day-to-day life. I just... don't think about it. Not ruling it out, but nor would I see it as a go-to.

My mother remembered reading Little Women and wanting to be more man-like or mannish, like Joe.

I have never read Little Women so I can't really comment. But, no, I don't want to feel 'womannish' or be 'effeminate'. I mean, I kinda already am the latter in some ways, it's part (part) of the many reasons I was bullied at school for so long and a principle reason I was so careful to present as 'boy' as possible in clothing, hair cut and everything else. No one ever said I was effete when they targeted me with bullying, but I knew that was a potential avenue and did everything I could to prevent it being a reason for being targeted. I couldn't alter many of the reasons I got bullied for, but I could avoid adding to them! I mean, I read the Beano for many years and recognised that Walter and the softies got bullied (and it was assumed they kind of deserved it) because they were not manly enough. They were wet fops, effete and weaklings. And, thus, I knew to keep my thoughts on identification with girls under-wraps.

So, what did I want?

This photo was what made me believe, even
a little bit, that maybe, just maybe, I wasn't
going mad. Ha, my hair still isn't this long.

I recognise that what I want and what I can achieve are very different things. If I could, I would alter time itself and be born 'female' enough that I would be assigned 'female' at birth and then live likely as a tom-boyish girl. I would realise I was a lesbian. I would still face bullying, discrimination and probably face greater challenges than I do now. I would lack that privilege that saved me from countless assaults and allowed me to access academic halls that would have required greater effort as a girl or woman. I would have had to work more and harder to achieve what I have academically and financially, such as it is, and I would likely have had even less luck in relationships than I have enjoyed so far. It is very likely that I would have gone with a man because that is what society expected and I may even have been pregnant by now. It is very likely I would have passed undetected as ASD for longer and may still not be diagnosed, with all the issues that this entails. But this is not what I could achieve.

So, what do I want?

The earliest photo I have of living
without the disguise. Or, rather, presenting
more as I expected.

I mean, beard aside.
I want the joy and the euphoria of the summer to continue. I want to dress in clothing that I feel is like me. I want the outward appearance to match more what I expect to see in the mirror. I want an end to that War, I want out of the trenches, I want peace. Finally, peace. I want acceptance, but that cannot be achieved either. Not from my family and friends, I think I have that, I want society to accept me too. As me, not the disguise. I want to ditch the careful mask I have created and worn for so long. I want a chin free of beard - not all hair, I recognise that women have hair on their chins - but free of beard. It is irrational, beyond analysis, but I want to be me. I want to stop screaming just below my skin and, instead, to sing from my core to my outermost extremities.

For the longest time I said I wanted an end to me. I wanted to obviate the self and be a shade. Whatever I did to my flesh jacket and clothing I would still be the same hateful lump of barely formed human shit staining all that came into contact with it, the stench trapped in the pores and unable to be removed. Whatever the outward performance I would still be the same small-minded and useless waste of flesh on the inside, good for nothing but the funds on death. Not suicide, much too logical to embrace that option, but hoping, praying and waiting for death. I can't say yet with confidence that I don't want this any more, not yet, but I am beginning to see that there is another path. It sometimes gets lost in the dark, as I flail in the fronds of pines in the inky night, but it is there now. I want to explore this path more, I want to see where it takes me. Maybe I can find what it is that will make me place value and worth in who I am and myself. Maybe I can find out what makes Joanna smile so much when she is glimpsed through FaceApp. Maybe that can be the me I wear. Or, rather, maybe I won't have to wear anything at all, in that sense, because I will be myself. Yes, that is what I want, I want to not have to wear a persona, a mask, so much.


  1. To not be yourself, or perhaps more accurately, to not be able to be yourself: that's, well, a bit pants really. I hope you start to find your way and as you do, it takes you further away from the darkness.

    1. I mean... it's been my life for as long as I could conceptualise it so... Pants? It's hard to say - but I'll tell you what: since April(ish) this year I have been loving the concapt of being more me. Dressing was one thing, certainly, but hoo Nelly, using 'Mx' and accepting myself along with those FaceApp pictures: it's not called euphoria for nothing, is it?

      But, yes, thank you and, seriously, I can almost see that path sometimes, when the moon peeks out for a bit. That's a lot.

    2. A bit pants - the usual British understatement.

      As to euphoria, to draw a comparison, and for me at least, it's not so much a high of feelings, but one akin to being pain free or well after an illness.

    3. Indeed, I was playing with the understatement myself a bit. I meant to say that... well, I remember a sci-fi story I once read about a society that got trapped in dreams because some people had such powerful dreams it trapped everyone else after they'd managed to code it to advertise in dreams. An alien race turns up and, to protect society and humans, prevent these humans from dreaming by educating them instead - our protagonist learns that his business partner, the one who helped make dreams interactive for everyone, is one of the people being educated to prevent them dreaming and says to her "but that's terrible!" and she responds "don't you mean..." and offers the word 'terrible' in something like Swahili, the language the aliens are teaching her.

      It struck a chord because, in not dreaming and having the experience of dreaming wiped to prevent her dreams destroying humanity, she had no ability to comprehend whether or not what she was living was terrible or not. Indeed, it was a mental curiosity, such that she wanted to share what she had learned. It's not a great story.

      Point is, I know what you meant, understatement included, about it all sounding "a bit pants" but my response was a humorous (well, YMMV) suggestion that I have no basis for comparison. Is it pants? Is it really all that bad? I don't know, it's all I have ever known. It is my experience. That's it. I have no understanding of whether that is bad or... neutral. It just... is. :)

      And yes, I totally recognise your depiction of euphoria here - the weight lifted, the breathing fully, the sudden realisation that one can walk normally again when a foot stops hurting - or, as Morpheus might say: "I know *exactly* what you mean." :) :)

      For me, signing e-mails as Mx rather than Mr has been... well, like breathing fully after a nasty case of something affecting the lungs; FaceApp has been being able to walk again without pain after a nasty sprain or using my arm again after it was dislocated at the elbow or just not feeling the pain when I think my elbow was shattered that time years ago. Dressing, at least before this year, was more how I imagine it would be to take a caffeine tablet before pulling an all-nighter as a teen - invigorating but with consequences that you can effectively ignore until you can't. For me, I mean, that's not a take-home for everyone with any of these points.

      It makes me wonder what signing off as 'Miss' would do or being called 'Joanna' by people IRL would be like. I mean, seeing parts of me doing what I always hoped they'd do, like, you know, no beard or having a bosom: that might just make me pop.

      In short, you were understood and the comment warmly appreciated. As was the follow-up, because this has been pootling inside my noggin all day but isn't quite a blog post! :)


All comments are welcome, I have a thicker skin virtually than I do in real life!