Dear friends family and work colleagues,
It seems some of you have some questions along the lines of What's going on with "Son"? A few of you have asked directly and I hope I've given adequate response. If I've seemed vague or obtuse it's because I'm still working things out too. I've discovered that 'coming out' only really works if there's a definite transition between states of being and a permanent end point in mind. The following are (edited) excerpts from my journal:
So the biggest non-physical or at least mental/emotional change I've noticed is a certain gruff decisiveness that sometimes comes off as impatience or frustration (I'm told). I like this self because it conveys a confidence I've always yearned for. Of course it might also be attributed to a shift in the way I think about myself rather than an effect of testosterone. I've noticed not once in the last 3 months have I had what I previously experienced as an overwhelming concern for what others think of me.
Today I also realised that some more tangible physical changes have crept up on me. I bought clippers.
I looked up what I wanted online and walked straight into the shop to ask for it. The very pleasant young (bearded) man asked if there was anything in particular I'd like to learn about the device or their broader range. Where previously I might have begged for his knowledge and insight this time I simply said 'No'. I was a little uncomfortable discussing my personal grooming requirements with a kid who looked like he'd probably never thought about gender. This is partly because I intended pube trimming (embarrassing) and partly because I have no idea what I am intending for my face.
When I finally worked out how the goddamn 20 different little attachments fit together I tried the No. 3 beard trimmer on the down on my cheeks. Surprisingly it was quite long (though fine and blond) and consequently, once 'trimmed' there is visible bristle. I was suddenly hit with the fact that this 'transition' will eventually become noticeable.
How do I feel about having a beard? I'd have to offer explanation to people like my Auntie and my Dad and my sister and her kids. I don't really care what they think (and I don't think they really care) however it promises an awkward conversation that I'd rather not have.
A conversation took place between me and a friend who is also friends with one of my work colleagues. She had been asked the question. I had been observed to have 1) lost weight 2) had an extremely short haircut and 3) changed my dress sense. My friend didn't know how much she was supposed to reveal. We laughed together and I said I didn't think I needed to make an announcement.
However I feel some compassion for this third party intrigue because (mostly) they're just trying to do the right thing; to understand. But how can I offer a finite explanation when there isn't one?
All I can say is 'My new name is Son... but I will answer to Sonja' (part of me doesn't want to let her go but I feel her pulling away from me). 'I have a new asterisk tattoo and that's because 'unknown, footnote, multiplier and boolean stand-in for alternate endings' is how I feel about gender. I am a non-binary asterisk.
I don't want to be exclusively 'he' and am not offended by 'she'. However if you are willing or able to get your head around 'they' as my personal pronouns then it's worth the intellectual challenge.
And you'll get a grateful smile from me...
I am a teacher and a learner and an activist and an artist and a parent.