I get all kinds of intrusive thoughts, or whatever you wanna call it when stuff comes into your head unbidden and upsets you if you engage with it. I think they’re kind of like dreams- products of parts of your brain you can’t control, with wildly varying levels of significance. Sometimes it’s meaningless regurgitated images or words, sometimes it’s an expression of shit that runs really deep, sometimes it’s a nasty and disturbing combination.
Right now I’m stuck on “I want to be beautiful” or “I’m tired of being ugly”. It feels like it’s my 13 year old self saying that in my head. There’s so much shit there. When I was that age, I had started wearing push-up bras and trying to date guys. It was horrible. I “blended in” exactly as much as I could, and it gave me no relief. It didn’t work. I couldn’t do it right, and even when I got as close as possible for me, it felt like shit. After a couple years of that I gave up and tried to be myself- a cranky lesbian. This was not well-received. Another year and I wanted to transition.
The other day, my girlfriend said she wanted everyone in the world to think she was beautiful. I said I wanted that too. She thought for a little bit and then corrected herself, saying what she really wanted was for everybody to think she was valuable. That makes a lot of sense to me. All our lives, women are told a million different ways that our true value is in our looks. This can be incredibly destructive to any woman. Those who do “look right” have their own set of challenges here, but honestly, I don’t know nearly as much about all that. Sharing across that kind of experience gap takes so much vulnerability on both sides. What I know more about is being seen as an unfuckable freak. When that’s how others treat you, of course you think being seen as beautiful is the solution. It’s not really about vanity, or about looking a certain way. Beauty standards are temporally and culturally bound. Wanting to feel worthy of love isn’t.
That’s part of why, for a while, I straddled that line, trying to make myself fuckable for men. At the time, I thought that was the same as lovable. I wasn’t allowed to dress how I wanted anyway, so I tried to hide my butchness and play up my DD breasts. It was a really messy few years. I had sex with a man and it was disgusting. I saw my best friend assaulted. A lot of rough family stuff happened.
When I came out as trans and was eventually allowed to choose my clothes, that was a really amazing feeling. Throughout transition and detransition, ever since I got control over how I look at around 16, I’ve pretty much stuck with the same look. I get basically the same haircut (which I grow out to variable stages before losing my shit about how bad it looks “long” and cutting it again). I wear mens clothes a couple sizes too big. I don’t wear makeup. I don’t shave, except when I’m feeling self-conscious about my facial hair for some reason. The reason this stuff hasn’t really changed is because, when I’m not freaking out what other people think, I like how I look. I know what I’m comfortable in. So it really makes me feel crazy when I get echoes of adolescent wishes to be pretty and normal.
On the other hand, it totally makes sense right now. I feel like a repulsive freak an awful lot lately. It’s hard to remember that I don’t always feel this way. When I’m surrounded by butch women, detransitioned women, and others who don’t fit in a lot of places, I don’t worry that I’m a literal monster who deserves to be immolated for the good of society. What I’m experiencing is not innate to being a funny-looking woman. It’s not caused by my body, and it’s not caused by how I present myself. It’s caused by isolation from supportive community, and forced engagement with people who can’t (or won’t) really see me.
Anyway, my girlfriend and me went out to a nature reserve so I feel a lot better than I did when I started writing this. I love algae and willows and weird bugs. We met a nice couple on okcupid last week and I’m trying to make friends with someone from Craigslist. Would super love to have more than zero good friends within a 3 hour drive. Maybe we’ll get there eventually. A billion different pretty necessary expenses we can’t afford have been coming up for months and my work is super stressful, but all things considered, it feels like I’m doing a lot better lately.