Thoughts on the last few days:
One year ago today, I started taking estrogen.
My body feels more real that it ever has. The changes are helping, and I’m on the right path. My face no longer pains me when I look at it in the mirror after two days of not shaving. My breasts are really small, but I’m always really glad they’re at least there a little bit. I’m now sterile (at least as long as I’m taking the pills), which is a relief and a joy. And sometimes, when I’m wearing the right clothes and the right makeup and the right wig, I can pass. Which I never ever thought would be possible in any way.
It’s such a huge and complex thing, but so incredibly simple. I wanted control over my body, which was out of my control. I wanted it to look like I knew it was supposed to. So I took medication to make it right. I wanted to be referred to in a way that accurately reflects my reality, so I asked for people to do that (she/her or they/them, name Swift). It’s such a simple concept. Children understand it (better than adults, often).
Two days ago another trans woman was murdered in Philadelphia. Her name is Maya Young. We played the same trading card game, as it turns out. She is one year older than me. I spent yesterday crying, scared, so goddamn angry at this world that will not let people like her into it. At the law that would not protect her, that criminalized her existence and her labor, until after it was too late to save her.
I am alive right now out of luck. A trick of fate. I am alive because I was born into a family who is supportive even if it took a while. I am alive because I had access to education and a liberal open environment to start my transition. I am alive because I have affordable access to hormones. I am alive because I am white. I am alive, perhaps most of all, because Fringearts, Christ Church Neighborhood House and a few other theaters give me an income. Those jobs are the things that are allowing me to continue to live. I am incredibly grateful to them.
This has not been the easiest year of my life. I’ve been unstable, moving constantly, with no real job security, and for most of it, a city away from my partner. My depression has been as bad as it ever has, especially this last month or three when I tried to take medication for it, and the medication made me so much worse. My life is not sunshine, and sometimes I want out of it, but I am a very very very lucky girl. I’m just sad that I needed so much luck to get this far.
Two parts. In the first, we are staying in my grandmother’s basement, me, my two sisters, and my mother. Everyone is asleep except for me. I am reading a book, and it is very important that I keep reading it. I keep having to turn on more and more lights to see by, because my eyesight is dimming. When I am ready to go to sleep, I bump my mother’s foot on my way to the lightswitch. She wakes up and gets very very mad at me for waking her. I apologize, but her anger keeps increasing. I beg her to let me go to sleep and suddenly she is mad at me for not wanting to spend time with her. I am forced to say some things that are very cruel to get her to stop and let me sleep. She starts crying about how I do not love her. I just want to sleep. In the second, I am working as an electrician in a gigantic theater, enormous, where you can only get from one side to the other by train. I need to strike the lights, but the only way to get to them is by climbing up the side of the train onto the top and getting to the lights from there. However, the train is incredibly tall, and out of our control. It is going from station to station, picking up passengers and discharging them. I don’t know this when I get on it for the first time, so I am surprised and terrified when the train lurches forward while I am mid-work. I fall to the top of the train and hold onto my tools to keep them from flying off and killing someone, and pray that I don’t touch any of the electrical system. I get off at the next stop, and we try to figure out a better way to get everything out of the air, but we don’t have any other ideas. So I head back to the train, thinking that there’s no way I am getting paid enough for this.
Have You Been Saved?
I have not