My body is startling. It has so many parts, first of all. Second, all these parts work at far less than minimum wage for a brain that pretty emphatically disagrees with them some of the time. A brain that has flatly disowned them at multiple points in their time together.
This body can work itself to exhaustion on a pull-up bar (not having accomplished much), but it refuses to stay awake through more than half an hour of Garden State. It can consume literally a plateful of ears of corn, but it feels full to the very edges before I’m halfway through a yogurt. It turns white and limp when I have to get even the smallest blood sample taken out of it. It sweats constantly, every single moment, of an east coast summer. It smells totally different now that I’ve been on T for a few months. Like I say, it’s a funny bunch of pieces.
My fingers, for instance, seem unfazed by the biting judgments my brain has passed upon them. Not once did my fingers rebel when I cursed them for being too delicate, for hurting when I tried to wrestle with other boys. Not once while I railed at them for being too thin for men’s ring sizes. Not once while I held them stiff at my sides, certain they’d outed me by flitting around like moths. My fingers just carry on, doing whatever I tell them to do. They’re either fiercely loyal or they’re huge losers.
I made the right choice when I decided to start medically transitioning. Not that many things have changed about my appearance yet (excepting the disappearance of some almost belligerently round ta-tas—that was pretty major). It isn’t about passing (often I still don’t), and it isn’t about erasing the body I was born in. I’m keeping this body. It’s downright hilarious. Acquaintanceship with this body became a roaring, raucous friendship when I started T. I didn’t have to medically transition; I was functioning all right beforehand. I decided to transition because I wanted to connect with my body, all the way out to the skin. Instead of just telling it to do things and letting it exist alongside me.
There are so many things about bodies that I could only ignore for the first 21 years of my life. In particular, I now cannot get enough of the multitude of words available to describe our body parts. There is nothing more satisfying than to have an itch somewhere on my body and to call out the exact right word for what that body part feels like to me. To be able to call out, with perfect accuracy and clarity, “I have an itch on the lower half of my left asscheek,” is frankly exhilarating. My manly, flat, unabashed asscheek, pale but still just barely tinged with my mom’s golden skin tone, has an itch and may imminently be scratched by my prim but resolved man-fingernails.
I have so many words and so many parts. It feels like I’ve just come into previously unimaginable wealth. My body is the funniest friend I have. I’ve spent so much more time laughing with my whole self lately. Using every muscle you can possibly engage in laughter. Being able to name each one of them as they spasm with mirth and let my voice fly.