Vessel

My friends have suggested that I blog about being trans, but I was unsure of where to begin. Starting at my birth seemed rather extreme, and as I learned from Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, even birth isn’t a true beginning. Someone once accused my writing of being “pieces of a larger story”, and I can relate to that. All my stories are pieces, because nothing truly begins or ends. No tale can ever be fully told, so acknowledging that, here’s a piece of my trans story.

Last summer I realized I didn’t want to have children. Specifically I realized that I didn’t want to birth children out of my own body. That is something I’d known about myself since I was three years old, and I can recall other warning signs in my development of gender dysphoria, but last summer, when I told my husband that I didn’t want to have children, is when I officially became transgendered. That’s when I came out.

Once I let go of my body’s purpose—to create and carry life—I let go of much of what it meant for me to be a woman, and I realized that I didn’t want to be one anymore.

At this time I was still unsure about being a man, for being a man holds its own baffling and cumbersome social obligations, but I was making a shift. I talked with my husband about it, and we argued, but not as you would think. I always thought he’d make a great father, and I was trying to convince him to leave me so he could have that. He was still young. He still had time to find someone and settle down. He tried to tell me that having children wasn’t important to him, but I didn’t believe him. At first. I required much convincing. Finally, I had to accept what he was saying, and so we stayed together. Sans children.

When older relatives and friends discover I don’t want to have kids, they often target me for this decision, and heckle me in an attempt to change my mind, even though I assure them that my husband doesn’t want them either. Because the truth is that he doesn’t want them. Here’s another truth: I’m not being completely honest with them. I actually do want children. But I never wanted to be a mom. I always wanted to be a dad.

These aren’t conversations that you have with your relatives, or even sweet elderly people, who are just being their sweet and nosy elderly selves, but when I was dating women, I always wanted a family. I imagined myself with my girlfriend, married with a couple of kids (never mind that same sex marriage wasn’t legal then). She’d carry the children, and I’d love them as if they were my own blood. That was my fantasy, and something I strove for, until I started dating men. The fantasy collapsed, and the idea of having children began to repulse me, but I held onto my femininity, because the man I was with may want it, and how could I deny him the rights to my body’s biological purpose? This is merely an example of one of many assumptions both me and my partners made in het relationships, and I take full responsibility for my part in those miscommunications, but while I’m still forgiving myself for my ignorance, the truth is that these assumptions, these roles, caged me in my body. Sometimes I imagine I can feel the scars on my bones from where I beat against the bars.

Invariably I fell in love and married a man. He couldn’t birth children, so there I was, and that was all right. We can’t help who we love—a lesson I’ve learned so many times in so many different ways. I can’t fight my heart. It always wins.

After shedding this last part of my womanhood, I desired to rid myself of its useless shell. I called myself transgender—not a woman, but not a man.

That’s sort of where I am now. I’m not a woman. Sure, I’ll check a box here and there, and I recently got a job posing as a woman to make things easier for people. But if you ask me if I’m a woman, I may stare at you blankly.

Male hormones have been good for me. I’ve mellowed. My body is changing in ways I find indescribably more pleasing. Even with my testosterone levels dangerously high, it’s a slow process, and if you ask me if I’m a man, I may stare at you blankly.

In between. That’s what I call this place I’m in. It’s a piece of my journey. But as I’ve said, it’s just a piece. The odyssey never ends.


 

The picture is a caricature of Rand and I, drawn a few years ago.

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    “Someone once accused my writing of being “pieces of a larger story”, and I can relate to that. ”

    You might consider shared worlds. One of the things I love about writing for Torn World is that it gives me a choice between writing a whole story, or little slice-of-life snippets, or a description of a cool new plant or animal — whatever I’m in the mood for. And I like reading those tidbits too, when other authors write them.

    “Last summer I realized I didn’t want to have children. Specifically I realized that I didn’t want to birth children out of my own body.”

    Not wanting to raise children and not wanting to carry children are two different things, although often conflated. I’m glad you have the self-awareness you do, regardless of how your choices fall.

    “I actually do want children. But I never wanted to be a mom. I always wanted to be a dad.”

    Well, that’s fine. It’s likely to spark a different conversation with your husband though. Since neither of you are suited to gestation, if he’s amenable then you might consider adoption. If he doesn’t want children at all, you might look at ways to fulfill your desires elsewhere, such as helping take care of other people’s kids or — and here there’s a tremendous unmet need — mentoring trans children. What would you have given for an adult trans mentor when you were a child?

    Reply
    1. B. A. Brock

      I never thought about that, Elizabeth–what my life would have been like with a LGBTQ+ parent. Wow. You just blew my mind.

      As for me being a dad, in my current relationship, I don’t think that’s possible. I was trying to explain this to my mom the other day, the expectations of motherhood. It was interesting, but what I was trying to point out, was that being a mother goes beyond birthing and lactation. My husband, though he is wonderful, is not a mom. One of the conversations we had, when I became trans, went sort of like this:

      Him: But you’re not going to stop being Mommy, right? *panic in his eyes* You’ll still be Mommy?
      Me: Yes. Yes, I’ll still be Mommy.

      Lol, before we go there, let me clarify: we have two pets, a ferret and a dog. I obviously can’t be their mom in any traditional viewpoint, but I’m the one who remembers to feed them, I hug them when they need attention, and they come to me with their needs. My husband is sort of oblivious, and that conversation showed me there is a mother role, and I don’t want to be Mom. And neither does my husband. 🙂

      Reply

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