today was one of those days…you know the kind…where things seem to be of two very different natures.
first there was the relief of ziona’s lab work showing that she is still pre-pubertal, thus no need yet of testosterone blockers to keep her from developing the largely unreversible male attributes of deeper voice, larger feet hands and facial bone structure, facial hair et cetera. this means that the decision of whether to go with monthly injections or trust that she can accommodate the gnr implant can be safely put off for at least another 6 months. this was the good part.
the bad part came when, for the first time since she was about 3 1/2 years old, she threatened to cut off “that thing”, as she calls it. it’s no secret that she is disturbed on a daily basis by the presence of a part that is so obviously NOT a girl part, in her mind. she can’t bear to bathe without a tub full of bubbles to keep it out of view. she has me dress her too lest she catch glimpse of it. altho, since her 10th birthday almost a year ago now, we have had a deal wherein she dresses herself most days, but on the days she feels the most dysphoric i dress her.
i thought i had helped her not to feel so angry at her genitalia by explaining to her that the ‘stuff’ that she has there now will later be used to fashion her girl parts. we’ve been referring to it as her “girl garden”. and for a while that seemed to work. but as she begins to experience inadvertent ‘stiffies’ more as she gets older, her level of dysphoria rises. today she once again threatened to ‘cut it off’.
i guess did i believe she would be capable of doing this to her self, i might be more alarmed. i might be tempted to hide every sharp edge in the house. but really it is just her way of saying that on a scale of 1 through 10 her discomfort…her psychic pain is at about 11. her inability to tolerate physical pain of any sort would keep her from actually being able to maim herself. but the days of her being able to simply accept her body as it is for now, knowing that in the future all would be set right seem over for the moment.
so i shared a secret with her from my adolescent past. the fact that, altho i’m not transgender and never wanted to be a boy, i was very disturbed when my breasts started to develop. i actually hated it! well into my adulthood this feeling of distance between my self and my *thankfully small* breasts persisted. i told her, in all honesty, how only after my first daughter was suckling at them did i feel any sense of acceptance and connection to them.
she seemed genuinely surprised at this revelation. guess she’d always figured that since i’m a girl in a body with the parts usually associated with a girl, i must feel okay about them. i told her that to this day i only feel happy about the fact that they are relatively small. that i would be okay with merely having nipples, like guys do.
this was a mixed day. altho relieved about the fact that puberty is still not immanent, i feel her pain…not as acutely of course. i am not, after all, in the body of a gender with which i don’t identify. and hearing her plaintive threat to rid herself of that member again after so many years and so much therapy only adds to the anxiety i feel…about whether anything i or her counselors have said has been of any benefit. but just when i’m beginning to doubt my parenting, i say the right thing and am able to breathe a sigh of relief.
ziona needed to know that she is not alone…she needed to hear what i blurted out without thinking. the fact that i don’t like my breasts. she realised that there’s no ‘cure’ for that! but that for her, there is a way forward. someday, (she wishes it were tomorrow,) she will have the right parts for the girl she is.