Heads up the following is going to be somewhat dark and a bit graphic, in fact don’t even keep reading. The thing is for me it’s not much of a thing. I realized today that it’s become a part of normal every day life. Just now I was sitting on the porch enjoying some nice weather when I bit into my finger. I did it out of habit, not hard enough to break skin but enough to make my teach ache and leave a good mark. I do it to feel the pain, and to tell myself it doesn’t bother me at all. What’s most disturbing is that it really doesn’t.
I don’t like pain, it is not something that gives me pleasure. How this condition relates to my gender dysphoria is anyones guess, but it’s something I think about. As I sat on the porch I contemplated the various conjectures that had run through my mind over the years, every reason not to transition. At first it was simple uncertainty, then as time passed I began to hope the feelings would simply fade. It’s just a faze, they would say.
One day I heard of a theory called neural plasticity. Naturally people who transitioned would say it was a need, there was an inherent bias. But on tv I saw interviews with sciencers, precocious bearded men in neutral tone button up shirts who knew how to spell the word resarch. They were of the opinion that of course transexuls felt that way, because that’s how they behaved. I bought into this. I came to believe I had cured myself.
As I matured I learned that this concept was absurd. Further evidence came to light and it became abundantly clear that one could not be cured of this. It is not a thing to be cured of. How silly I had been, the truth was obvious, since one could not be cured it meant I was never trans to begin with. Oh the mental gymnastics.
As I began to think back I pondered all the stages of my life where my opinion changed. When I was very young I pulled a deep fryer on top of myself, resulting in third degree burns on my chest and right arm. I considered how this event may have affected things. It occurred to me this might have been what caused me to equate pain with masculinity. When I was in the hospital everyone kept telling me how brave I was, how strong.
I’ve observed that most people recoil whenever they receive even a minor injury. They stub a toe or scratch their arm on something, there is a sharp intake of breath and pained expression, cursing is not uncommon. In public spaces I try to mimic these behaviours. Though I feel the pain, it very rarely overrides my impulses. I believe it’s the sense of self control that I find most appealing. If I can control this, I can control any part of myself.
I’ve spent a lifetime privately injuring myself. Entering puberty I began to create hangnails on my toes. It got to the point where I would often remove a pinky toenail completely. Oh yeah, this is the graphic part. You should probably stop reading. I would pick away at the nail for days. The first day wasn’t so bad, the second day was a lot worse. The third day made the first two days seem like nothing. There were periods where a day didn’t go by that I wasn’t picking away for hours at a time. Even now I have a tendency to inflict pain on myself when stressed.
Wow this is getting pretty long winded and morbid. Seriously why did you read this? One thing to be clear on is I despise injury. Pain doesn’t often bother me (waxing is the exception) but I can’t stand any loss of functionality. I eventually got over the more severe acts of self harm by focusing on exercise, or looked from another angle I found a healthier way to cause physical discomfort. Ok now for some happy thoughts and a nap… maybe some ice cream 😀