Thursday, May 01, 2008

jailhouse tears

As I've mentioned, I don't cry very much these days. There are still some things that cause me to tear up, and others that, while they don't prompt actual moisture, still give me that tight gut feeling of "awww!" (In a similar vein, if I ever need a surefire tearjerker, I can always head over here.)

But getting teared up over that softball player got me thinking about my emotional instincts. As time goes by, one of the few aspects of my transition that I'm still actively dealing with is the ongoing process of readjusting to my re-shaped emotional and mental reflexes. I often say that I'm no longer dealing with my transition on a daily basis, which is true in a variety of ways: I'm no longer constantly defending my gender identity to the people I interact with, I'm not currently saving for expensive and much-needed surgery, I have all of my identity documents changed, so I'm not stressing about what ID is in my wallet, or when my next court date is, etc. Most of what I have to worry about is whether I'm due for my next shot, and all that takes is a quick glance at my calendar.

But the subtleties are still unsettling me, I think, in ways that I'm not always aware of. Easy enough for me to say "oh, I don't cry as much, and I get frustrated more easily" but I haven't fully adjusted to the reality of what that means, and I think I need to do some more conscious work around that.

It's much like what I've heard about some trans guys inadvertently straining their voices over their first few months on T. As our voices drop, we (unconsciously) try to keep our voices in the higher registers that we're used to speaking in, and feeling resonate in our heads. While we mostly adjust sooner or later, sometimes vocal cords can be stressed/damaged by being strained while trying to stay the 'same.'

Not being a voice specialist, and hearing all of this anecdotally, I obviously can't evaluate the physiological basis for such a theory. But it makes sense to me, and it fits in with what I've been thinking about my emotional state. I haven't (yet!) made a conscious effort to try to adjust my actions or thinking based on my new emotional instincts, such as the increased intensity of my impatience in frustrating situations. I'm not sure what such a conscious effort would entail, but I think it's worth looking into. Where's Amy Jones when I need her?


Anonymous said...

"Easy enough for me to say "oh, I don't cry as much, and I get frustrated more easily" but I haven't fully adjusted to the reality of what that means"

Welcome to the joys of manhood, lack of emotion, and easy confuzlement!! But at least we get wicked cool facial hair!

Bo Barah said...

Hi! You don't know me, but I found your blog when I did a google images search for "cute transman," looking for pictures for ideas for my next haircut! So, you should take that as a big compliment from google, I'd say.

Anyway, I read a few entries (Is that bad blogging etiquette or something? They're public entries, but should I have asked first?) and it was really awesome to see the perspective of someone who is transitioning, since I'm trying to plan out my own transition.

I go to school in Philly and I'm SO going to the trans health conference this month, so if you're coming, maybe I'll even run into you there- small small world!