Wednesday, November 21, 2007

shifting perspective

I had a few moments of dysphoria last night, that lasted into this morning for a while, and it took me until breakfast to figure out why I was so withdrawn and shut-down feeling. I'm not used to those feelings anymore (a fact for which I'm very grateful) and it was hard to realize that I was feeling, once again, a specific grief/frustration with my body and how it is formed and what it can do for me. I hardly ever feel betrayed by my own self these days, and I've forgotten how to deal with it, except by defaulting to a sort of silent aloof grumpiness that is inexplicable until it falls away and I understand, in its absence, how inhibited I was.

Anyway, it occurred to me that the little cycle of distress I went through last night/this morning (uncomfortable body'd moment-distance and withdrawedness commences-bell jar of disconnectedness lifts and I blink as I realize what I was just experiencing) is sort of a microcosm of my trans experience. Transition has been a great answer for me, to problems that I wasn't even fully aware that I had while I was having them. I didn't know what I was missing out on til I got myself into a body and lived identity that connects every bit of me together instead of enforcing frequent (continual?) disconnect.
Related to that, I've been thinking about how my goals for and perceptions of my own transition have shifted over the course of the past year or so. Everything, of course, is magnified early on- I'm sure that's true for most large undertakings. Every minute change or step forward is a MAJOR MILESTONE and cause for celebration. It does, of course, lead to a certain lack of perspective. When I first started growing out my facial hair, it was patchy and fine- there was a hole in the middle of my right sideburn, etc. I was so proud of it, though. I'm proud of my beard now, though it's still heavily skewed towards my jawline, and my (slightly wispy, if not actually patchy) moustache doesn't connect to the rest of it. I'm much happier with it now, but in a few years I'll probably look back and wince fondly at this experiment I'm calling a beard.

I found these pictures to illustrate some of what I'm talking about. The last two are from this morning, the first from over a year ago, just a few weeks after I had surgery. I was so delightedly, blessedly happy with the state of my transition. Now, I'm just as much again happier with how my body treats me, and I look back at the first picture with the satisfaction of having moved past an unfulfilling moment. I felt satisfied then, though. I wonder how my perspective will continue to shift?

I hope it'll continue to be positive. I remember, when I was first weighing my options for transition, hearing from some guys who found that, after the first blush of euphoria, found that some aspects of their dysphoria increased- getting closer to feeling "right" but still not perfectly satisfied, their feelings of distress increased around certain things. That scared me, and I'm glad that it hasn't been my experience. But I guess I'll have to add a 'yet' onto that, because I'm starting to understand that it's not much use to make pronouncements about how I feel about my transition and my trans experience. It's something I'm going to have to keep experiencing, and I'll have to call it as it goes.
first picture, fall (october, maybe?) '06
next: this morning (11/21/07). current mood: whimsical!
and here's a more straightforward look at my chest; 15 months post surgery.

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