I wake up; notice the cheeky sun shining through the window, the rays giving me hope. My hands go wandering and clumsily knock into the breasts on my chest. I let out a huge sigh, the dream I had last night was not reality. I am still trapped in this vessel I am forced to call a body. My hands are soon inside my boxers trying to find something to grab onto. My cheeks are soon kissed with salty tears as the anatomy I am craving is still not present. I stand looking in the mirror. Does life really get better?
I glance across my room, books, clothes and dirty underwear providing a perfect obstacle course. I soon find my best friend, my binder vest. I struggle to pull it over my head, lungs screaming out against the daily torture, rips in despair. I stand there trying to take a deep breath, my breath slowly wheezing out of me. A shirt is tugged down over the top and instantly pulled away from me, not wanting to look at the bulge underneath that is staring me in the face. I get onto my hands and knees and pull out the familiar box that is hidden under my bed. It holds my penis. I am not your average guy as I can take mine off whenever I choose. However this is not as fun as it sounds. I long for a penis that doesn’t rot if not cleaned or dried properly. I dream to be able to walk into the guy’s changing room and not fear for my penis escaping my boxers and flying down my trouser leg. Such a simple want; I want the correct anatomy. However, this morning is simply the same as others; I haven’t woken up from my nightmare yet. So, my penis goes into my boxers and it feels so natural. Almost enough to make me smile. But then I am pulled back into reality.
I hear a conversation outside my bedroom door stating how you need facial hair to be a ‘real man’. I want to crawl back into bed, hide from the world. Such comments like that haunt me as I stroke my soft, hairless, baby face.
Will I ever be a real man? I doubt it. I do not have any faith in my ability to be strong and overcome obstacles. My short height may allow me to duck underneath them, but I am never brave enough to tackle them head on. I allow my mind to wander, thinking of what it might be like in the future. My eyes begin to sparkle. Maybe there is hope?
I hastily get ready for school and make my way outside. The moment my foot touches the outside world I feel a thousand eyes on me. I start to walk; I can feel my breasts moving inside my binder, rubbing together, I feel so uncomfortable. I struggle to breathe. I close my eyes to clear my head but then I fear someone may hurt me. Instead I insert earphones into my skull to drill out the constant taunts I receive. Music is my therapy. I arrive at school and am greeted with a mixture of male and female pronouns. I get called names that no citizen in society should ever have to hear. I eventually make it to the sixth form common room and slump into a chair. I just want the day to be over.
I struggle to drag myself to my lessons, having to battle a sea of younger years in the corridor. Some are oblivious, so caught up in their mobiles to even acknowledge my existence. Others hold a stare that pierces into straight through me like hot lead. I let out a muffled sigh, my chest straining in my binder, and arrive at my lesson wearing my frowning face. My teachers try to comfort me but it is no good. I do not trust them with my identity so I have not told them how to address me. I am faced with hours upon hours of the wrong pronoun, the constant use of my birth name that makes me want to scream. There is a war going on inside my head. One side is telling me to focus on the lesson, the other side is telling me to storm out the room crying.
I eventually settle to stay put and distract my mind. I start to focus on my hopes of top surgery, no more sweating in the hot summer with multiple layers that clearly don’t take emphasis off my chest no matter how much I try. The day drags and I try to spend as much time with the people I love and who understand me. However, some of my friends are all so open and will happily discuss the monthly fair and pregnancies right in front of me. They have no idea why my eyes feel prickly and I feel a lump in my throat. They state how guys are lucky not to have to go through such things. Little do they know, I am the unlucky one.
My mind begins to wander once more, what is the harm in telling more people? I will feel happier with the correct pronouns used. But then I remember, I live in a town where it is wrong to be ‘different’. The constant anxiety and fear of my friends, who I trust and love, telling others overwhelms me. Maybe I shouldn’t have told anyone. Maybe I am just a freak. I excuse myself from school and make my way home. I have decided that I am a failure. No prospects and never going to be accepted.
Once home, I glance over at the obstacle course in my room. My hands feel numb as I reach down to pick up the belt lying on the floor. Is this what I want? Yes! Yes it is!
I place the belt around my neck, blood pounding in my ears. I tighten it, allowing the grooves to neatly lock into place. I close my eyes, breathing becoming increasingly harder to maintain. Then I see it. The memory I adore. My best friend. She is smiling at me and telling me that I am a real man. I am the guy who always stood up for her and made her feel wanted. The real man who is compassionate and always puts his life on hold to make sure she was okay in her hour of need. Then it hit me. With me gone, who will look after her? I have been selfish. By doing this, she may never be protected. I could not face the possibility of something happening to her.
My eyes snap open, hands fumbling; I loosen the belt and let it thud to the floor. I slowly take off my clothes and look at myself in the mirror. My hands caress over my body once more. This time there is a little voice in my head and I begin to smile. Regardless of my body, I will always be male. These breasts upon my chest? They are simply moobs. The lack of balls and penis in my pants? Unfortunately nature created them but they did not fully develop — science’s fault. Not mine.
I have always been a boy, it is simply something I could never control. I used to be angry that I was given the wrong anatomy and it is still something that can pull me down, but there is one thing that never fails to make me smile. No one is born a man. To be a man you have to overcome life’s challenges, be compassionate, stand up for what you believe in and be the very best you can be.
I, DJ, am now a man. I feel more complete in myself than being cis-gender could ever give me. I used to hate the very experience of being transgender and the constant battles but one thing is for sure…I had the opportunity to develop into a man. Not something everyone has the chance to do.
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