A Love Letter to My Pre-T Body

I wrote this almost two years ago, when I was about to start testosterone. I no longer identify as binary and (exclusively) male, but this writing is still very important to me. 

I know some people think I’m taking testosterone because I hate you. I don’t hate you. I’ve looked in the mirror so many times and thought, “Yeah, that’s a cute girl.” I’ve thought, “Those are nice tits. What are they doing on me?” I’ve thought, “Those are lovely hips. It was super nice of their owner to let me borrow them for a while. When is she gonna come back and pick them up?”

Some cisgender people have assumed that my transition is about self-hate, but it’s really about self-recognition. I don’t hate you for your round face; I just don’t recognize it as my own. I don’t hate you for the pitch of your voice; I just want to hear myself when I speak and sing, not someone who sounds like a girl or a little boy to me. I don’t hate you for your lack of chest hair–and in fact, thank you so much for growing all that leg hair, because that’s saved me on some bad days.

I’m sorry you have to go away. I’m just so fucking tired of not recognizing myself when I see you in the mirror. I’ve raged against you so many times, smashed the mirror with my eyes when I’ve seen your breasts, wanted to scratch the skin off your face in the hope of uncovering some stubble. I’m sorry for not appreciating you. It’s not that you aren’t beautiful. It’s just that you’re supposed to feel like a home, and I feel like a stranger inside of you.

There are things I’ll miss about you. My voice will never sound like yours again. I will never sing the way you do again. Sometimes I wish I could keep your hips and just add more body hair and chest scars. Maybe someday I’ll go off T and welcome your curves back. You can keep the periods, though. Having my dick bleed for a week every month is not an experience I’ll miss.

Thank you for the experiences you’ve given me, even though I’ve resented you for them sometimes. They’ve made me a better person, and anyway, the way other people have treated you and me is not your fault. I’ve decided to stop cursing you with every “ma’am,” “she,” and “her” I receive. I’ve decided to take my anger at being sexually harassed and point it at the stupid misogynistic world, not at you. I’ve decided to vomit up all the wounded pride I’ve swallowed from being ignored and belittled and seen as lesser by other men, because you don’t deserve to carry that with you. I’ve decided to extract the bitterness that simmered in me every time someone told me that masculinity couldn’t and shouldn’t truly exist in a body like yours, that it was cute that I bought a dick from a store but it would never be as good as the real thing.

Your dick is real. Your masculinity is real. Your manhood is real. My effeminacy does not compromise it. Your shape does not compromise it. The shape of our genitals does not compromise it. And I will try so hard not to listen to someone else’s doubts about us and invite them into my heart and use that as an excuse to deny you and deny who I used to be.

You are beautiful. You are cherished. You are worthy of love. I’m so sorry you’ve been so mistreated by other people and by me. Go in peace.

Love,

Tristan

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