It’s the fourth day of the nineties, a mere five minutes before the next, and my mother gives birth to a baby Boy. The baby was a calm one, who never cried or made a lot of noise, content to just suck on his thumb and be quiet. Or so he was told.
The Boy’s earliest memories are of kindergarten, where the lines were present, but blurry. As a boy, he was on team boy. He had to be. He was a boy, after all. It’s the only thing that made sense. And because he was on team boy, he was not on team girl. It’s impossible to be on more than one team, and he already had a team: team boy. Because he was a boy.
It never occurred to him, though, that he was supposed to find it odd that girl toys and games were just as fun as boy toys and games. In fact, if he had a choice, he’d play the girl games every single time. He never realized why he was one of the only ones on team boy who seemed to enjoy playing house or shop, or tending to the manes of colourful pony dolls, or did that thing where you draw flowers on another thing that’s now a complete blur in the Boy’s mind.
The Boy was four, and he paid it no mind.
After kindergarten came elementary school. There, the rules didn’t change, but they became stricter. Girls had cooties, and boys were aliens. As such, there was next to no interaction between team boy and team girl. Friendships also weren’t a thing that was automatic any more, either. The Boy managed to make some friends, kind of, exclusively from team boy, obviously, because girls had cooties, and he discovered the wondrous world of video games.
Video games seemed to be the only really boy thing he enjoyed. He didn’t like football, even though he really tried hard at pretending he did, and he wasn’t strong enough to build tree houses. He also didn’t get to do the girl things any more, because his parents never gave him girl toys. Not that he asked for them. His father told him that he should be a good boy in order to become a strong man later, so the Boy didn’t dare to admit that he liked things that were not boyish.
The Boy also didn’t notice how he had so much less trouble with school work than his classmates. When he would later be put into a special class for smart people that met every Friday afternoon, he didn’t realize it was because he was smart. At least not immediately. He had only himself to really compare to, and therefore thought everything was normal.
In the fifth year of elementary school, the Boy met another boy who liked video games and didn’t like football. It made sense to the Boy, and the two got along really well as a result. The other boy became the first real Friend the Boy had ever had, and the only real Friend he would have for many years to come.
The Boy also started questioning things more. The Catholicism he was brought up with, the existence of an almighty God who loved him, and the fact that the story of Adam and Eve had no dinosaurs anywhere, -which was silly because dinosaurs are awesome- all started making less sense.
The Boy was eleven, and he became an atheist.
After elementary school came high school. And with it, even more stricter rules and lines. What was picking on in elementary school became bullying in high school. Making friends was next to impossible, because the Boy was a silent sort, and would rarely seek out others to talk to them. The Friend went to another school, and later to even another, so the Boy was on his own during weekdays. Though he and the Friend did meet up occasionally over the weekend.
The Boy never had to study for school, either. At least not in his first years. As a result, he never learned to, getting by on the things he learned in classes.
The Boy also discovered the internet, and met people online. One of them was a girl. A really sweet girl. The girl lived in Scotland, though, which might as well have been the other side of the planet. This didn’t stop them, however, from declaring each other to be their first lover. All went well, for a while. As well as relationships where neither has seen the other go. It also confirmed to the Boy that he was into girls, and therefore not gay. Not that he would’ve minded being gay. It was just nice to know for certain which way the coin falls.
However, it wasn’t meant to last. The Boy met another girl, who very much lived in the same country he did, and they did things a boy in a relationship should never do with another girl. Like kissing and holding hands and laying in the same bed. The Boy felt he had cheated on his girlfriend, and driven by guilt, he ended the relationship with either girl, though he still remained friends with the Scottish one.
Puberty was also a thing, apparently, and with it came quite a few changes to the Boy’s body. His penis was growing, and went erect more often. Hair started growing all over his legs, and his arms, and on his belly, and on his face. His voice cracked more often, and then grew deeper. His face also got covered in pimples. He told himself that these changes were part of the becoming a strong man thing his father informed him about, and forced himself to like them. Except for the pimples. Those could go to hell. Secretly, though, deep down, he hated these changes. Especially how his erect penis would strain against his trousers and be incredibly uncomfortable. He repressed these feelings.
The Boy also started growing his hair long, despite initial protests from his father. When asked why, he would simply state that he liked it that way. It wasn’t a lie. Outside of school, he would also start wearing more and more black, and was really drawn to goth fashion. That is to say, he really like the clothes the girls got to wear. He was less than impressed with the options for the boys.
One day, in the summer of 2005, the Boy went home from a summer camp he attended together with the Friend. They were being driven home by the Friend’s father, and he dropped him off at his front door. The Boy wanted to ask them in for a bit, but for some reason didn’t.
When he entered the kitchen, he found his parents waiting for him. They had something important to say. His father did the talking.
His father had met another woman. The woman became to his father what the Friend was to him. And then the woman became more. His father loved the woman. He also still loved his mother, but he loved the woman more. And his mother couldn’t accept that. At least, that’s how the Boy understood it. His father was leaving his mother, and his family, to go live with the woman. He was most likely going to divorce his mother, too.
Everything collapsed. Everything unravelled. One of the great big certainties in life, that the Boy’s parents loved each other and would remain together forever, suddenly vanished. This was a turning point in the Boy’s life. From now on, everything would be different. This was the moment where his innocence was shattered. The moment he opened the door of that kitchen was the last moment he was well and truly happy and without real concern.
The Boy was fifteen, and he cried.
The years right after this encounter became a blurry mess in the Boy’s memory, at least where his parents were concerned. At one point he hated his mother for hating his father. Then he hated his father instead, for being angry at his mother. Picking sides was difficult, and fruitless, and he resolved never to do it again, unless forced with no other option.
Other things, however, were much more clear. For starters, the few people at high school he thought were his friends turned out to be arseholes. They had a shot at getting in with the more popular kids, and did so by turning on him, leading him to be bullied like he never was before.
With one of the big certainties gone, he also started questioning everything again. He started thinking back to earlier periods of his life. How he liked it better where being a boy or being a girl didn’t mean all that much. He asked himself again if he wasn’t gay after all, but then he told himself, truthfully, that he really liked breasts, and that he really didn’t like penises.
Another turning point happened. It had less immediate impact than the previous one, but it would be more significant in the long run: The Friend’s father came out as a transsexual. This raised a lot of questions with the Boy, but the fact that the Friend’s father wanted to be seen as a she and as the Friend’s other mother made sense to him. A lot of sense, in fact. Almost too much sense. As soon as he could, he started looking things up. Looking up terms. Looking up how they could be applied to himself. He did a lot of thinking, and he liked the terms genderqueer, transgender, and androgynous.
The Boy was sixteen, and he became the Person.
The Person kept quiet about this, at least at first. Eventually they confided in the Friend, who was taken aback by this. There was never a real break between the two, but there came a distance that slowly widened. The Person had become bitter and overly sarcastic, almost cynical, because of how their life was going. This drove the Friend away, they later would learn, because he had problems of his own, and where they used to meet every weekend, they now didn’t see each other for weeks, sometimes months on end. The bullying at school grew worse and worse, at a point where the Person felt more and more trapped within the confines of their own skin. The Friend’s withdrawal at a time they most needed his friendship felt as a betrayal to the Person, and they considered suicide at several points throughout the period.
They changed schools instead.
The Person became more and more uneasy with their own body as the months went on. They went to a specialized psychiatrist, but didn’t like them very much. Still, though, how could the person be in between genders when they hated almost every masculine part about themselves?
The Person came to the realization that they were wrong about ‘stopping halfway’. That there was nothing ‘man’ about them, beyond the physical, that it was time to move on and grow into a Woman.
The Woman met another woman at a festival over summer. And they liked each other, and they got together. Their relationship lasted longer than any other she had, despite the distance between the two, and a few nights before her nineteenth birthday, she lost her virginity. The Woman loved her, and dreamed of being with her together.
A few weeks after that, the Woman’s girlfriend dumped her. The Woman was heartbroken, and it shattered what self-confidence she had.
The Woman reconnected with the Friend, albeit slowly at first, but over time he got used to the idea of her being a Woman. He also introduced her to his ex-lover, who was what the Woman thought she was back in the days of the Person. They introduced her more to the goth scene, and its people, and the Woman steadily started branching out her friendships.
The Woman decided that the path she took was the correct one, and as she started her second year of University, she went to a specialized psychologist again. A different person, one she liked, and she started her physical transition.
However, throughout the two years it took her to fail university, and the year afterwards, the woman remained by and large unloved. She had a few brief bouts of affection, but nothing that would satisfy her, and this gnawed even further at her self-confidence. She also found out that she needed this affection to feel alive.
Her two failed years in university went, and she moved onwards. She started her hormone therapy, which magnified her emotions greatly. This unleashed a torrent of feelings that stormed through her mind. Many of these feelings she couldn’t explain, but others she very much could. She found a new appreciation for her body, very much approving the changes it went through. She even agreed that she was beautiful, an idea she had never been able to agree with before.
Her loneliness, however, kept gnawing at her, and the idea that she was also disgusting, and unloveable buried itself in the back of her mind, and there it festered.
In July 2012 a year had passed since she had last shared a bed with someone. She realized that she had forgotten what the tongue of another tasted like, and since the breakup three-and-a-half years prior, she could count the amount of powerfully intimate moments on the fingers of a carpenter’s hand. The reassuring words quickly became empty and meaningless, and she lost almost all hope.
The Woman fell into another breakdown, as another emotional storm raged in her mind. She briefly considered suicide again, but once more decided against it.
As the storm calmed, and the breakdown slowly passed away, the Woman started becoming somewhat more hopeful again. As the year drew to a close, she looked ahead into her uncertain, but not at all dark future. In many ways, her life was just beginning, her story just past the first pages.
The Woman is almost 23, and wonders what her next chapter will hold.