Eulogy

My first shot of T is on Tuesday.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I am feeling sad, and uncertain, and scared.  I want the end result, but change is hard.  I have gone through the pros and cons.  I know I want the pros (deeper voice, more muscle, facial hair, fat redistribution), and I know the cons are minor (acne, mood shifts) or unlikely (hair loss, cancer, heart disease).  I have circled around and around in my head, and the only reason not to start T is fear of the unknown.  So I am going to start it, try it, and I can always go off it if something doesn’t feel right.  But the only way I can know for sure is to go on it.

Some of this sadness isn’t just about fear, though.  Some of it is because I am saying good-bye to the person I have been seen as my whole life, the person I have tried to be: a girl.  I was a butch one, for sure, but I always checked the F box, and it never really felt wrong to do it.  I never felt any animosity toward being female until I came out as trans, because I didn’t think about my gender at all until that coming out: I ignored it, ignored all the discomfort and anxiety that comes with being seen and treated as something I wasn’t because denial is easier than facing the fact that, although I was physically female, I was mentally male.  But being read as a dyke was pretty close, for a long time, and I made that ill-fitting costume my home.  Now, I’m taking that one off and I’m not entirely sure what I’m getting into.

So this post is about saying good-bye to that girl.  Of course, many of the parts of me, my sense of humor, my intelligence, my kindness, and (some of) my insecurities will remain intact.  But the world will use different hands when interacting with me as I start to be read as male.  I couldn’t really begin to understand what that might feel like.  I know that will change me, will shape me into some different kind of person, into a male version of this self I have been honing for three and a half decades.  But I imagine I am making a bigger deal out of it right now than it will be to me, practically speaking, in the future that will become my present.  The changes will happen slowly, and I will be pleased with them, or be able to cope with them as they arise.

I know I am jumping around a bit, and I do feel scattered in my brain.  I want to record here that I believe T will calm me in many ways, and that my anxiety will lessen as I settle into my new body and societal role.  I think some of the self-doubt and confusion I feel daily will be quieted.  I think I’ll get some more confidence out of this.  And because these changes will happen slowly, I might be saying good-bye to the girl I have been, have tried to be, and have been seen as, over many posts over the upcoming years.  This is the start of that good-bye.

It’s strange that as I look over this post that was supposed to be about the past, I am continually making room and excuses for the future.  Let’s step back and do this right:

Emily,

You served me well.  You were well-liked and made many friends.  I learned how to speak up for myself while playing you.  I learned how to be empathetic as a female-presenting person.  I leaned how to read maps and take pictures and appreciate art while living in your skin.  I learned how to listen in your ears.  I saw the Rocky Mountains through your eyes, and went to Paris in your body.

I smoked a lot of pot with that mouth, and kissed some very pretty girls.

You hands wrote beautiful poems, and touched your grandmother’s hands.  She is gone now, and my new hands will never know that feeling.  Your hand shook Buzz Aldrin’s hand.

I walked through the Rodin garden on your feet.  I walked up and down Chicago.  I ran to catch buses and went sledding with those legs.

Those arms held your niece when she was just a day old.  Those arms protected you in many a mosh pit.  Your abdomen has been a place for Violet to sleep for 7 years.

Your ears have heard Pearl Jam at Alpine Valley, Ani DiFranco at the Aragon, Bill Clinton in Iowa, and the World Trade Center collapse through your living room television, clutching your knees to your chest.

Your body has been rained on, touched gently and harshly, been rested and tense.  You have been tattooed and burned and massaged.  You have done some things in this world, but you have hidden from this world, also.  And so now I have to go.

I thank you for your service, and parts of you will come along for the duration.

Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli

26 thoughts on “Eulogy

  1. Farewell, Emily. I never knew you. But I have been getting to know Eli. And I look forward to hearing more of his journey.

    Safe passage.

    -Connie

  2. Thank you for writing such a moving and thought provoking post. I think transformative changes are accompanied by a loss of what we leave behind- and a sense of loss for what we never experienced and for what we will never experience again.

    • Thank you, Jamie, for stopping by and for your thoughts. And I agree: there is the mourning for what we leave behind, and for what we will never experience in the future when we change something so foundational about our bodies.

      -Eli

  3. Your feelings are totally normal. I was so eager to start T I didn’t really mourn the old me, but I’ve heard many people express the same feelings you have. The changes are slow and subtle (depending on the dosage your doctor prescribes and your own unique reactions, of course), so you’ll have time to adjust. Emily will always be part of you and more than likely you will get more and more comfortable with that duality. Hopefully, the T will help you feel less anxious about things. Good luck.

    • Thanks, TPG. I was hoping to hear, from someone further down the road than me, that my doubt and feelings were not unprecedented.

      I think I’m starting at a pretty low dosage, and am confident my changes will happen accordingly. I am also pretty certain that once I start it, I’ll be crazy eager to see some hair and muscles. I think I’m going to be just fine. I think. 🙂

  4. Good luck, my friend. This is scary and exciting stuff! Can’t wait to celebrate with you sometime down the line. Didn’t Men’s Warehouse say they do free tailoring on suits? You may need it soon 🙂

  5. Hi. I’ve read your blog a few times, but I’ve never commented before. But this post helped me get around some thoughts, so I just had to say THANK YOU for being able to put things into words that I couldn’t.

    I’m about to start T in a few months, and I’ve been struggling with this strange feeling of loss.
    I so want the muscles, the beard, the voice change, the change in fat distribution – all that. I want it so bad it hurts.
    But at the same time I had this sad feeling inside. Sometimes late at night when I couldn’t sleep a voice would get into my head and start nagging at me: “Oh, so you feel sad? Well maybe you’re not trans, ever thought of that? Maybe you’re sad because you’re really A GIRL, a crazy f***ed up girl, but still a girl. Why else would you be feeling sad now that you’re finally gonna get that T?”
    And you know, at 3 am on a sleepless night, I was starting to listen to that voice, because I didn’t understand why I had this sadness in me.

    But when I read this post it was like I could finally breathe for the first time in weeks. It hit me so hard! Because I am really saying goodbye to a part of my life, and even if it’s what I’ve always wanted, I have to respect that it is nonetheless a goodbye to an entire era of my life.

    Thank you so much, you have no idea how much you helped me!

    • A,

      Wow, what a great compliment to have been so helpful to you. It is my pleasure entirely. So glad to have been of service. I don’t imagine you and I are the only ones that feel this way, but it doesn’t seem to be a popular sentiment to express on the internet, for obvious reasons.

      Good luck to you, and thanks for reading,
      Eli

    • Thanks for the compliment Karen.

      I think this is letter is just part of my transition process, and I think it couldn’t hurt to mention it to Jake, even if it’s something he does later, and not now.

      xo,
      Eli

  6. I’ve been meaning to come back and reply properly to this. I’d also like to thank Emily for being such a great vessel of… life(?) for my good friend Eli until not that long ago. Eli is an awesome guy, and Emily, you have helped to guide and shape him into the man he is today. And although now he will be packaged slightly differently, and will undoubtedly become even more awesome if such a feat is possible, but he will be building on an excellent foundation.

    Ahem. So there.

    In short, I love this post. And now I will shut up 😉
    -JC

    • It got pushed back! I’m going at the end of the month now, for a few reasons. Everything is fine, I just felt I needed to tie up some loose ends, and so the 21st is now T-Day.

      But thanks for keeping me in mind today, how very thoughtful of you!

      -E

  7. I am so proud of this journey that you are on, E. I’m find myself thinking, “goddamn, Eli is forging ahead and doing it!”
    I love the Emily memories, and I love (and will love) the Eli memories. The two, as you point out, are not mutually exclusive and I am happy for that. Because who would you be if not for Emily before you?
    Fried egg sammiches, stegosaurus that lives in the woods, the lumberyard, tom petty, dubloons, spiderman pjs, taboo: all of us, collectively, love you. Especially that damn dinosaur in the woods.

    xooxox Sammy

  8. Pingback: Peering into the Abyss. The Abyss Peering Back. | My Life Without Tits

  9. Pingback: Retrospect | My Life Without Tits

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