“If you’re wondering if you’re trans, then you are on the trans spectrum, because cis people don’t ask themselves this question.”

GIRL. STOP. I NEED YOU TO STOP RIGHT THERE.

First of all, if there was any kind of research surveying cis people on whether they ever thought they were trans I would know about that shit. So back off on the “what cis people think about” tip. If you like that cis/trans line in the sand, then when you say “cis” you’re talking about the vast majority of people on this planet, and you need to have a little humility about what you assume they’re all thinking about.

Let’s talk about “wondering.” Wondering means you are thinking about one topic or subject again and again, asking yourself the question again and again. I’ll assume you have a life happening around you. You have school or you have work, you have people living their lives around you that maybe you feel affectionate towards, maybe you don’t. Those people have shit happening- people are dying, people are being born, people are getting addicted to stuff, people are getting sober from stuff, people are losing all their money, people are trying to make a bunch of money. Life is dramatic, and the lives of the people around you contain such drama.

You are wondering, while all that dramatic life is happening around you. Someone confides some drama to you, some part of you is not there at that moment. They say, “I’m so frustrated at my fiance,” you think, “I wonder if I’m trans.” They say “Can you believe that about the teacher getting suspended?” and you think, “I wonder if I’m trans.” They say, “hey I want you to meet this friend of mine” and you think, “I wonder if I’m trans.”

What would it mean if you were trans? If you were trans would it be in your best interest to not be paying attention to your friend’s problems with their fiance, with the inner politics of your school, with whatever relationship your friend thinks might develop from this meeting?

The question “am I trans” does not mean that your current life is any less important. Nor does the question “am I trans” actually narrow down for you what future steps you should take so that your daily life gets better. All “am I trans” does is provide you something to wonder about instead of being in your life.

Why don’t you want to be in your life? That’s the question that will produce necessary insight for you. Why is there a part of you that chooses to wonder about an unanswerable question instead of being present for where you are?

Now, the answer to this question can be dysphoria. You can be having a conversation you’re not really there for, ask yourself “why don’t I want to be here?” and the question may be “oh because I’m getting blasted with all these projections and assumptions about what I want and what I’m capable of by this person and I’m so alienated I feel like ripping my skin off.”

I’m not saying the answers to that question will be pretty. I’m just saying the answers to that question are actual answers.

There is a kind of person who spends their whole life with some section of their brain sectioned off, wondering about the same stuff over and over. The illusion is once they figure it out then they will start being present for their life. But what that sectioned off part of their brain is really doing for them is protecting them from being in their life.

Will a mastectomy make you a happier person?

Will new pronouns make you a happier person?

Will your life get better in such a way you will want to be present for it, instead of having a sectioned off part of your brain always wondering about something other than what’s happening right now?

These are all questions that you’re guessing the answer to. Don’t kid yourself, you can guess wrong.

But you need to at least consider if the action of “wondering” is doing something for you right now. Is “wondering” protecting you from being here, right now, and why do you need to protect yourself from being here, right now? When did you get in the habit of having an inner life that is more compelling than real life? When did you get in the habit of giving your attention to un-answerable questions, instead of giving your attention to where you are?

Where you are is pretty important. Shit’s going down. Life is being dramatic all around you.

I’m saying this as someone who wondered for years, and is not on the trans spectrum, but is just obsessive. That’s all. Just really prone to obsession. What that obsession does for me is I get to not fully experience my life. I don’t want to fully experience my life because I don’t want to fully experience being bored, being criticized, being scared, being angry, being unfulfilled. And since I don’t fully experience those things, I also hold at bay being overjoyed, being in awe, being humbled, being deeply connected to other people’s wellbeing.

You think if you just give your brain to it, that question “am I trans?” is going to unlock a life you want to be there for. That’s an illusion. It takes you away from the specifics of where you are and your possible choices where you are. I can’t tell you whether you should get a mastectomy or inject yourself or get everyone on board with calling you something new. But you can only make wise choices about those questions if you are present for where you are at the moment. “Am I trans” doesn’t actually get you closer to answering those questions.

“What’s happening for me right now that I don’t want to be here?” will eventually answer those questions. Now, you can’t ask this question to an internet message board, because those people don’t know shit about you. Your therapist can’t answer it, your parents sure as hell can’t, your friends can’t either. You have to be willing to bring your full attention to the exact moments you’ve been protecting yourself from, and sit in those exact moments, and think real hard about the reactions you’re experiencing in those moments. Meaning, yes, you gotta think about what your body is doing. Your heartbeat, the sides of your stomach, your shoulders, your jaw, what feels hot, what’s tensing up. Sorry! I know we all hate to be aware of what our bodies are doing! I know we all feel like our bodies are on some sustained campaign to wreck our lives and hold us back. But if you aren’t aware of what your body is doing you actually are not aware of reality. It’s a cold, bitter truth none of us dissociated idiots want to get on board with.

If you can’t seem to get aware of what your body is doing- you need to take “should I medically transition” off the table for awhile until you’ve got those skills. You’re not tuned into reality if you’re not tuned into your physical reactions to your life. I’m not picking on medical transition as a life choice here- you also shouldn’t get married, buy a house, start a new career, try a new, fun drug until you’re aware of reality. If you can’t figure out what your body is doing in those moments you’re protecting yourself from, you HAVE to get to a therapist and figure that skill out. You will not make a good choice without that skill.

Those are actually the stakes here. I’m telling you this as someone who obsessed rather than lived her life for years, and you don’t want to realize you made my mistakes. You do not want to wake up and realize that everyone your age is engaged in lives they intentionally created, while you just have the scattered, messy consequences of what you wondered about.

I mean, frankly, what they don’t show you in movies or tv is that the thirties, forties, and fifties are a time when many people reckon with the non-choices they made while they were out of touch with reality. So you won’t be alone. But also you will not be able to say I didn’t give you a heads up.

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