I hurried home today, half-jogging up the hill that leads into our condo and running up the stairs to the door, where I gingerly took my glove off to look through my bag for my keys. It was indescribably cold out – the cold, given even the slightest chance, clings eagerly to any bare skin, and you feel it in an instant, in this sort of weather – I thought I’d be okay with just one layer of pants, but I was wrong. By the time I found myself in front of the door, rummaging with increasing nervousness through my bag, my legs felt like painful wooden blocks attached to my body. I could barely feel anything but pain, although the rest of me was all right. I couldn’t wait to get inside.
Funny, though. I couldn’t, because I didn’t have my keys.
You’d think the world could cut me a break by now. I missed my all-important appointment on Friday, I’ve got a really bad cold, it’s freaking -30 outside, and next I can’t find my keys and can’t get inside the house. Real nice of you, world. Thanks. Let’s do it again sometime.
I called my mom and she called my grandma to come pick me up. I stood, jumping up and down on the step and swearing, watching the driveway down the hill for her car. Eventually she got there and I ran for the car, jumped inside, and was driven off to Warm Land. I stayed at her house for supper and got to see my little cousins; I sneaked bits of cracker to my two-year-old cousin and played a video game with the older two. They were really into Minecraft a little while ago, but now they’ve moved on to Scribblenauts, which I actually like more. My six-year-old cousin kept asking me how to spell words, so I did, but I tried to get him to figure out the first letter for them so he wasn’t just totally mooching off of my older-person English skills. I ate two bowls of Kraft Dinner because my cousin wouldn’t eat his, and then I had two pieces of pizza, and then I weighed myself, just because I was feeling curious. I don’t really worry about how much I weigh usually, but I’ve actually lost about fifteen pounds since the start of school. I’m kind of worried that’s too much, but I feel better, so it’s probably good. My grandma was excited about it, way more than I was, because she’s a super-exercising health nut and that’s her thing.
Now I find myself back at home, safely encased within the well-insulated walls of the apartment building. The weather up here, as evidenced by today, can get pretty ridiculous. Isn’t it weird, that people actually wanted to settle here? I bet they landed here first in the summer and were like “Hey, this isn’t so bad, is it?” and then, come winter, they were sitting curled up in their balls of coldness next to the fire crying into each other’s arms while the Native Americans stood off to the side grinning. Now we’ve got heating and microwaves and so forth, so it’s definitely more bearable than it was, but STILL – I mean, wouldn’t reasonable people flock down to the US? I know some people go to Florida in the winter, but why not permanently? The only reason people live in northeastern Ontario is because some stupid pioneer decided to build some houses here once and we all just got used to it, to a degree, anyway. You can never really get used to -30 weather. Once you get past -10 or so your body gets annoyed at you, that’s my theory. Just because we CAN live this far north really doesn’t mean we SHOULD, you know.
In English class we did some vaguely annoying activity on Othello, where we had to choose a theme and find quotes to support it. The groups were random, so I got “I Think I’m Good-Looking Boy” and “I’m Stupid and Smart at the Same Time Girl”. It was kind of annoying because I was the only one out of the three of us that actually had my book, and I could tell right away that I was going to be doing most of the work. (Which is a weird change because usually I’m the one that doesn’t do much.) They had a handful of good ideas, because they’re not stupid or anything, but it was me who found the good quotes and figured out the theme statement. I tried not to act too nerdy, but I had to, to some degree, just to get the work done – and I can tell that I’m the leader of sorts, only because the other two don’t care enough to want to be. “I Think I’m Good-Looking Boy” is annoying because he thinks he’s good-looking. I don’t think he is, although I’m not the best judge – he has that thing that guys do for some reason where they raise their eyebrows and squint, and he sometimes puts a hand through his hair self-consciously. He was also hitting on Zoe, briefly, which I sniffed out in a millisecond since I was sitting right next to her (and I kind of like her, besides), and I can tell that’s a thing he does, he hits on people. Does he think people are in awe of his good looks? Probably. Are they in awe of his good looks? I’m not sure. I’m not, at least. Meanwhile, “I’m Stupid and Smart at the Same Time Girl” is less annoying, but still fairly annoying, since even though she’s definitely smarter than a good chunk of the class she acts like she’s stupid. That bugs me a lot. I got her to look for quotes in the book, and she found one, while CB (short for Conceited Boy, which is short for “I Think I’m Good-Looking Boy”) leaned backwards to stare longingly at a group of his friends that he obviously would’ve preferred to be with. The thing about CB is he’s not stupid either, although I think SSG (Stupid-Smart-Girl) is probably smarter than he is – but he acts kind of dumb, too, while at the same time thinking he’s handsome and desirable. I don’t know who I got along better with – I detect some kind of uppity attitude in SSG which I don’t really like very much, while CB is a little friendlier and we seem to get each other pretty decently. SSG and I get each other too, but she’s slightly more distant than he is and that’s hard when you have to work together. I don’t really mind them, though. I could’ve gotten a worse group, and at least I can make fun of them secretly on my blog.
There are very few boys in the world that I find good-looking. Count ’em off: Jake Bugg. Well, that’s one. (And he’s an asshole. Why do I like him, even?) Meanwhile, my list of pretty girls is far more involved and extensive. I find Zoe quite pretty. Also occasionally I’ll pass some pretty girl in the hallway and pull my “look down, think of kittens, and don’t make eye-contact” routine – just so I don’t show any outward signs of noticing that she’s pretty. I feel like I should stare for another moment to properly appreciate how pretty the girl is, but that might be weird, and God knows I never do anything weird.
I don’t know how romance stuff happens, not even a little bit. Partly I feel like my Asperger’s should be blamed for this, but it might also be the gender dysphoria. Or it could just be me. For a while I liked girls without questioning it, and then I thought I liked boys, and now I’m just floating around in some mostly girl-oriented place hanging on to the idea that I might not be completely disgusted by boys. I’m not even sure anymore. I don’t really think it matters, at the end of the day. I like who I like, and that’s that. Although I’m kind of worrying about if I should like Zoe or not – we’ve known each other since we were toddlers, and our relationship has always been more like cousins than friends, and I feel like for her it might be extremely weird to ever like me back, especially since I’m a “girl.” If I had been born a boy then maybe it would make a little more sense to her; although I wish I could just explain to her that I was, in fact, born a boy, I’ve just never looked like one.
Now let’s take a hard turn right out of here, thanks very much. I’ve written embarrassing spiels about this stuff before, but it’s never been graced with the eyes of other people, and I think it’s probably better that I keep it that way, for all our sakes. I don’t want anyone’s eyes to burn from reading what I’ve written about that. I really do think it is that bad.
The following is a paid presentation by Oh-de-lay-HEE-hoo.ca (Yodeling Since 1954!) – the only company in the universe that is obscure and confused enough to pay for a section of some teenager’s blog, which does not exist, although 1 out of 4 Swedish people agree that it should.
Hmm, is it that time of the day where I lose touch with reality again? Well, I’ve been really sick for days, maybe that’s why. So, you’ve reached the Transgender Crap Section of the blog, which actually does have a jingle and everything (if you scroll down a little you’ll find it) and is now paid for by a completely made-up yodeling website. If you read this far, congratulations: you’ve braved the obscurity, or maybe you’re just continuing to read to see how much obscurer it gets. Unfortunately, not much more – here’s where I get normal again. (Or at least where I’ll try.) I like writing about all my various transgender issues, just to get them out of my head and down in a place where they’ll be clearer and make more sense – so here’s today’s effort. It’s extremely frustrating that my doctor was in Mexico during my appointment on Friday, and that I have to wait even longer for any of this crap to even begin to get sorted out. My best way of dealing with my dysphoria stuff right now is just to convince myself, in my head, that I can pass myself off as a boy. In school, especially, the need becomes pretty strong; it’s that or I feel completely suffocated by my self-esteem problems, and have to wallow through feeling awful and uncomfortable. The best time of the day for that is when I sit next to Zoe in English class – for that hour or so I feel incredibly better about myself, and things in general. She’s so nice that I can’t be upset and sad, and suddenly the girl version of myself is shattered and gone, and I get to pull off that fifty-pound weight that constantly sits on my shoulders otherwise. For that hour or so I get to be myself, which is an amazing thing.
Why couldn’t I be myself otherwise? I don’t know. I can’t. I think any other transgender person will understand that. The world holds this image of you and it takes a lot to make them alter it – for instance, I’m constantly called “daughter” and “granddaughter” and “niece” and “sister”, which are strong reminders that the way I see myself is not how everyone else does.
It’s hard, though, to hold on to that boy image, especially when you’re getting smacked in the face with “she” all day long. My mom knows most of the particulars about me and my transgender stuff, but she can’t switch the pronouns until the rest of the family gets the memo, or else there’s going to be some really confused aunts and uncles and cousins around here. (I think it’ll actually be a relief to my eight-year-old-cousin, though, because he’s always been frustrated with me not conforming to a gender that he can figure out. He’s gifted, so he’s really smart, but gender isn’t a thing that kids get – not because they can’t understand, I think they would actually be able to understand better than adults, it’s just because gender gets shoved into your head when you’re little as black and white, blue and pink, and it’s hard to adjust to the fact that it isn’t really like that.) Anyway, I’m worried about not just the immediate family knowing, but the rest of them, too – all those vaguely familiar aunts and uncles there on the never-endingly enormous French side of the family, how will they react? Like, “Tu sais Brynn, la fille de Shanon? Ouais, elle est un garcon maintenant!” That is truly terrifying. A bunch of Catholic Quebecois relations having to come to grips with the transgender child of Shanon – I can’t even imagine it. I think most of them probably won’t care very much, but I’m worried about the kindly, older aunts and uncles who still live up in rural French nowheresville, and never got out of the 1970s. I don’t want to be an outcast, not just because I’m not Francophone like they are, but also because I’ve done such a “weird” thing to myself that not everybody will understand.
And the English side, meanwhile? I’m not as worried, but I still have qualms. My grandma, as flustered as she can get over things like this, will accept it pretty quickly anyways, I’m fairly sure of that; my uncle won’t care because I doubt he really thinks of me as a girl anyway; my great-aunt will definitely be weirded out at first, but she’ll accept it like my grandma – my other uncle and his wife, I don’t know. I think of all of them my other uncle will take it the most smoothly (that’s just a feeling, but I feel right on that); his wife, I think she’ll follow suit. My grandpa is the only one I’m worried about. We get along perfectly and always have, and I can’t imagine he’d react badly, but I think he’ll be upset. He’ll just keep it to himself, like how he keeps every big thing to himself, and never tell me how he feels. My uncle will probably shrug and say something simple like ‘It’s fine’, and proceed to cast the issue out of his incredibly nice and accepting mind forever – but my grandpa won’t. It’ll stress him out. I think, in the long run, he’ll deal with it, but he’s so touchy about things like that, and I’m worried for him. And my dad, it’ll hit him hard, but we have philosophical conversations when we have issues, and have since I was little, so we’ll probably just have another one about being transgender and I’ll make him understand using my best obscure metaphors and he’ll respond with some of his own obscure metaphors and that’ll be it.
It’s (because obviously you haven’t been able to tell by now) something that’s been on my mind SO MUCH lately, all this stuff. How’s my family going to react? How are my friends going to react? One consolation is that I’m probably not going to be burned at the stake like I might’ve back in 15-whatever because some innocent farmer saw me wandering around the field in boys’ clothes. So that’s… good. No, it is; the society in which I have the pleasure to live is a pretty good one, and the people with whom I live are pretty good people.
So, now I’m exhausted and still really sick, and now that I’ve got that nice long ramble out of me, I think it’s time to say goodbye to the spam bots and one or two actual people reading this and try to get to sleep.