In the simplest of summations, I am currently in my ninth year at my job. A place where I not only transitioned but stood my ground. Soon, I’ll have my B.F.A. All the clues are here. In my life, I have lived in Spain, Germany, and across the United States where I would eventually settle in Kansas City with my cat, Grimlock. None of these things is particularly relevant without the context of what it is I have become, which I’d have considered a monster before transition and a hybrid where it suits the world after. I’ll gloss over my many potential deaths, both at my hands and at the hands of others. I swear they’re as mundane as humanly possibly, if not haunting in my lore.
If I were to start anywhere for my so-called gender highlights I would start in Florida. You know things about yourself and you know things about the world, even at two or three or seven and ten. When you extrapolate what you know, you learn that no one can ever know what you are. Having a word for it doesn’t matter. My Floridian adventures as a child offset my physical dismay. Adventure waits for no one.
At eleven, I moved to Germany where I would spend ample time with anything I could if it were to accommodate the sex I was. Clothes are a type of magical boon when you can’t quite reach what’s under the skin. It had to do. I continued to keep my secrets for years. Although the locks loosened when a friend I found in Virginia mysteriously began pretending to be female characters from the comics we’d read with me. We did what we assumed normal girls did. Maybe we didn’t assume incorrectly.
When I was shoved through the magical pubescent doors is when worldly collapse became imminent. It was at this time, aged thirteen years, like a goodly liquor, that I came to Kansas City. Years after my arrival I would come out. Terrifying experiences, these. Unfair, ultimately, that I will have to come out for the rest of my life as I date, as people learn of me, etc. However, no friend let me down, turned me away, or violated my physical or spiritual form.
Kansas City would be the place I would tell my ex-girlfriend, now my bestest of best friends. She is my cosmic friend forever. She wrestled with me as much as I did. It would eventually be her to force my hand in my transition. From there I called Caroline, who, in a cab, helped me until we could meet by appointment. Her office was cozy, and tiny, and hot. We formed a plan to tell my family involving letters, blackmail, and breaking and entering with a touch of evidence planting. We were prepared for two frame-ups and body disposal, where necessary.
Only the letters would come to pass—mostly because the rest was illegal, and I just now made it up—but the case of my transition became strangely compelling to me nonetheless. My family just added it to my black sheep list of traits and continued loving me as they always have. Ish. My grandparents still use male pronouns and deadname me, but I’ll take what I can get. I haven’t lost a single person in my life from my transition. From there I was put on hormones. The door had been pried from its frame.
On the other side, however, was a war I was determined to win. Believe me, the tyranny of the many is formidable, but not impossible. If I choose to stand, I will. The effort of no longer pretending to be someone is as abstract as it is burdensome; it’s terrifying to be so exposed. I chose a name that would give me a goal, but more than that, it would give me armor. My personal image would spring from this single word that I claimed as mine, and I have spent years tempering it. My middle name would follow not only the flow but also the precedent.
Caroline mused about other things, such as teaching voice feminization, compartment, groups of therapy, and things like shows. I was there when they began and stayed at her disposal if she needed a volunteer to help out for a few years. I would pull away from the trans community here. To be fair, it had been pulling away from me.
Now, I tend to think of my name as a whisper echoed only in passing by ghosts long departed for the past. The future, though, couldn’t be brighter.