Tag Archives: dysphoria

Voice

18 Apr

One thing I only realized very recently that I have dysphoria about is my voice. I am a homebody, only talk on the phone to about five people and now live full-time with two of them, and if I had to do public speaking for a living I’d be dead from a heart attack by now. So I don’t often have the occasion to hear my own voice.

When I am having an especially terrible bout of heightened awareness about my dysphoria, I tend to feel that I’m disgusting. I don’t want to see anyone or touch anyone. I remember once having to hug someone when I was feeling this way and trying so hard to communicate that I felt too gross to touch them — that I thought that a disgusting blob like me shouldn’t be touching them.

But unfortunately, hugging is seen as a gesture that makes people feel better, so the harder I tried to get out of it, the more they insisted it was just what I needed. And there was part of me that was worried they would think I thought they were disgusting, which wasn’t the case. So I hugged them. Then I ran back to my room and hid under my blankets for a while, tucked up to my chin so I couldn’t see myself.

It’s just been recently that I’ve realized I also don’t want to talk to anyone when I’m feeling this way. Because my voice is very feminine. I have a doll’s voice. I could voice a talking doll. When I’m feeling particularly awful about myself, I don’t want to be reminded of what I hate, and I can’t tuck my blanket up over my vocal cords. I don’t want anyone else to be reminded of it, either.

For a while I thought maybe it was a dumb thing to worry about. I guess what I’m still getting used to is not that there’s an endless series of things for me to feel badly about, but that, when I’m feeling surprised I’ve found another thing to dislike, it’s because I have the right to think of my body as a non-binary extension of my non-binary self. And even though my voice is feminine, it’s not female.

Side note: it’s ridiculous how accomplished I feel when I write a post that’s under 500 words. A product of taking two years of journalism classes.

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My full name

15 Mar

I have been going by the short version of my name for a few months now, which for the purposes of anonymity I’m going to say is Alex as opposed to Alexandra (neutral as opposed to feminine). The other day I was filling out yet another online form, which asked for my “full name.” I reflexively typed Alexandra.

Then I felt hot all over, and vaguely sick, and started at the blank for much longer than necessary before saying “Fuck it!” and changing it to Alex. I immediately felt a bit better … but the uneasy feeling lingered for several hours.

This is the first time my dysphoria has been triggered by my full name. In this situation, I had the benefit of not really needing to put my full name, because it wasn’t asking for the name on my credit card or my social security card. It was just an online poll and potential gift card win.

But this isn’t the usual situation. In most situations where I’ll be asked to write my name on a form, I’m going to have to put my full legal name. Apparently I’m going to be tripping over dysphoria every time I have to fill out an official form.

I would go out and change it this year, but I’m moving in with Girlfriend in a few years, and we’ve already decided to change our names when we move in together. I don’t want to have to change my social security card, bank info, etc., twice in such a short amount of time. I guess I could go ahead and hyphenate my last name with hers, but I was looking forward to doing it alongside her.

My impression of the process is that it’s not that difficult, legally, although there’s tons of paperwork. I assume that because I’m just shortening my name, rather than changing it entirely or to a definitively masculine name, it will be easier to convince a judge to let me change my first name. Since Girlfriend and I will most likely be living in a liberal area, I also assume getting our last names hyphenated without a marriage certificate will not be that difficult.

I know that others do not have those privileges, and I feel awful knowing some people must face transphobic judges. I know I also have an easy time of getting people to call me Alex and don’t have to fight about it. My family has been doing it for years, and my offline friends were mostly just slightly confused and then accepting because hey, it’s still kind of the name they’ve always been calling me.

Which makes the road easier, for me. Hopefully it won’t be too long until the paperwork issue is also sorted out, and I have one less thing to trigger the dysphoria.