The Gendered History, Part 2

This is a short (3-4 part) series that will post weekends until it’s done. This is a personal history, the evolution and experience of my gender. As such, this series will contain frank discussion of sexual maturation (specifically of the FAAB body & its genitals), gender dysphoria, expressions of dissatisfaction with body shape, disordered eating, direct physical self-harm, depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, and similar issues. Other topics mentioned include pregnancy, unsafe sex (and the consequences thereof), and underage persons having sex.

The day I got my period, I was at my father’s house. At that point, we got along by virtue of me pretending to do homework all night and him pretending to believe I was doing homework all night. My stepmother and I didn’t have any better of a relationship, but I had a phone. I called my mother.

“I got my period today.”

“I’m assuming you know what to do about it.”

“Yes?”

“Good. Thanks for telling me. I’ve got to go grade papers.”

I appreciated the short and emotion-free conversation, honestly. It was very matter-of-fact, like I was telling her that I’d seen one of her students at the grocery store. Actually, that conversation probably would have been longer. When I cried that night, it had nothing to do with my mother – it was probably her bland acceptance of a new fact that kept the tears in that long. When I cried that night, it was because I knew I wasn’t one of the lucky ones. I had drawn a female body out of the grab bag, and it sucked. It was a gross body that did gross things, and I wanted to go back to wherever I’d gotten it and demand a new one. I wasn’t intersex. I had a female body whether I wanted it or not, and I most emphatically did not want it.

I stopped running at the new school. I used some excuses that sounded pretty valid – there was a lot more work to do, more stress on us, but running was fantastic stress relief and escapism for me. I’d had knee surgery once and still had chronic pain, but it was no worse than it had been at my old school, where I’d run five miles a day at a minimum. However good the excuses sounded, they weren’t the real reason. Running had failed me. I had trusted it to keep my body from turning into a woman’s body, and it had failed me desperately.

This was a residential school. I was surrounded 24/7 by people with my interests, with my academic dedication, with my academic specialty areas. I was at the same time surrounded 24/7 by people under tons of pressure, some of whom didn’t have the best coping mechanisms possible. We were all just looking for a way to get by, and at some point we started looking at each other. The first idea I really adopted was to eat and drink less, to train your body to need less; the less it interrupts you with its demands for food and bathrooms, the more work you can get done. I read that if you did it right, you could get your body to stop being so horrendously female, but that didn’t work for me. I was already skinny, but when I started losing weight, I got compliments on how it accentuated my curves so much more. I glared down at my cunt and silently blamed it for everything.

Its reaction was to start my period early. (Yes, early; apparently disordered eating does not always work in predictable ways.) Great, I said to myself, this fucking thing hears my hate and bleeds in answer. I wish it would just bleed itself right out of my body. I wish the rest of this stupid body would bleed itself away.

I started cutting. It wasn’t to feel. It was in the hope that one day, I would stop feeling so much about my body. It was in the hope that if I bled from my chest and stomach and arms and legs enough, maybe my cunt would stop bleeding. I wasn’t overly concerned about how much blood that much take to accomplish. As far as I was concerned, any price would be worth it, up to and including my life. (Except I couldn’t die yet. I knew how mentally and emotionally fragile my classmates were, and I couldn’t break them like that. So many of them were self-harming to release the stress of our school, held in check only by each other and the fear of going to far and having to miss classes to heal. So many of them were dealing with suicidal thoughts, held in check by the same reasons I had. It would have started an avalanche of death, I still believe. I had to live and pretend to be okay to keep the classmates I loved alive and as healthy as they could be.)

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