Mark032018It is a novelty to be back blogging…but as what I want to say would make far too long a post on the usual social media, here I am. On March 15th 2018, I will have been taking testosterone for seven years. Easy to remember…the Ides of March, and in some ways just as ominous for me as it was for poor old Caesar. Sorry – I’ve got me an MA in Classical Studies since I was last on here, and I do love to show off.

So, seven years on T, and here I am, seven years older, and I’d like to think seven years wiser, but that is probably wishful thinking. I am far less involved in ‘transgender stuff’, such as politics, campaigning, running a support group, etc. than I used to be. Partly because health problems have reduced the amount of energy I have to expend on anything except the essentials, and partly because I just wanted to live my life as me, rather than a ‘representative’. Not a decision I am really proud of, but at the end of the day happiness (and not being exhausted) is key, right?

Seven years on, I am still misgendered regularly enough to cause me major self-doubt. Back at the beginning, I hoped, like everybody does, that all those hormonal changes, combined with chest surgery, would render me fully masculine to the eye. Now don’t get me wrong, I know for an absolute fact that I am masculine (even if my version of masculinity doesn’t always match up with everybody else’s…cue me singing “I am what I aaaam” at the top of my voice…) and that is not the thing that is in doubt.

I have amazing friends and colleagues who reassure me that the Mark they know and love is definitely not a thinly disguised girl, but sadly, that is often how I feel, and whatever anyone tells me, that is what I still see in the mirror. After seven years of hormones, my beard still looks like I’ve transplanted a handful of pubes to my chin, and glued them in place; my voice, though now more or less in the male register, is still more Pinky and Perky than the Hulk. Dammit, I am pretty. My decision not to consciously try to adopt ‘male behaviour’ is a two-edged sword. I am far more comfortable not trying to be ‘big and butch’, and trying to act in a way that just isn’t me is really exhausting, so I don’t. However, it has been suggested that if I did ‘work at it’, I’d probably have fewer incidents where I get called ‘she’. Or would I?

In the last two days, I’ve experienced two pretty typical encounters. Yesterday, I went to fill a prescription.

Pharmacist (talking to me, with my prescription ready to hand over, looks at name, then looks at me): “Does he pay for his prescriptions?”
Me: “No, I don’t”
Cue speedy fumbling to hand over pills, both avoiding eye contact. Not a big deal really, but depressing, nonetheless.

Today, I went to pay money into the bank…put my card into the reader at the desk…

Cashier (loudly) “OH! This isn’t your card!”
Me (getting out driving licence to wave at her) “Yes it is – does my ID help?”
Cue speedy fumbling to hand over receipts with lots of loud exclamations of “Gosh, I don’t know where I got that from!!” both avoiding eye contact. I leave, to peals of laughter. Theirs, not mine.

Again, not a big deal, but can you see that when stuff like this happens regularly, even after seven years of ‘being Mark’ it does nothing at all for my self-esteem. It’s all very well to try to ‘believe in yourself’ and all that kind of stuff, but sometimes I feel like one of the creatures in that fairground/arcade game that gets whacked with a mallet every time they pop up. The temptation, eventually is just never to pop up. The rejection can be too much.

Which brings me neatly to my next moan. Yeeessss, I’m blogging for the first time in ages, and I’ve got all sorts of negativity just itching to get out. As any of you who have delved back in my blog at all (or who have known me a while), my last relationship ended nearly five years ago. Not by my choice, might I add, a little bitterly. However, nearly five years on, I am still single. Five years. Single. Yes, the author of the bizarrely popular¬†How To Have Sex With A Trans Man¬†is absolutely single, and NO I’m not loving it. Ok, I enjoy my own space. Let’s rephrase that…I defend my own space with a nail-studded club. I enjoy my own company, mostly. Sometimes I say stupid things, even to myself. The trouble is, and I’ve blogged about this before, people like me are a bit ‘niche’ in the dating game. I’m attracted mainly to men, and I’ve yet to find a gay man willing to take on my physical ‘peculiarities’. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places…Norfolk isn’t really a dating capital, whatever your genital geography.

Online dating terrifies me…remember how I feel when the bank cashier makes me feel silly, then multiply that by a bazillion as to how scared I am of the potential humiliation of putting myself ‘out there’ on a dating site. Besides, I’ve tried. Really hard, on more than one site. No Responses At All. Maybe I’m not that pretty, after all. I’ve tried actually meeting guys and being honest, at which point their faces fell, arrangements to meet suddenly dissolved, they stopped calling, texts/facebook responses went from chatty down to the occasional ‘lol’, and if it was mentioned at all, I was told they couldn’t really ‘deal’ with me as I am (which was equally honest of them, after all). And you wonder why I’m not super-confident?

Well, I think that’s enough of the violin-scraping session. I’ll be back. I have an appointment at Charing Cross (that’s the gender clinic, FYI) later this month, so I may have some more positive stuff to share soon.

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