Motherhood

I don’t post much about being transgender because I find stories about just being transgender dull to read and dull to relate to others. I post a lot about the mechanics of my transition, the physical movements I am making through the universe to facilitate the end of that process, but rarely about what it is like to just be transgender, and that is not likely to change any time soon. Today I thought I’d make an exception though. I’m feeling sentimental, I guess, or maybe just generous, I don’t know. Anyway, let’s talk about babies. Or rather, being unable to have them.

I can’t have children, not physically. I can’t be impregnated and I can’t carry a baby to term and I can’t give birth and I doubt I will ever be able to. Maybe one day, in a beautiful distant future our medical technology will be better able to facilitate that sort of thing but I don’t live with my head in the clouds, I live in the now – and right now, in 2014, that technology doesn’t exist. For a while this solemn finality made me write-off the idea of having children entirely but I have since softened on the idea and hope to be a mother some day…I’ll never be a biological mother though. I will adopt maybe, or marry-in, or maybe my eventual partner and I will find a hostsurrogate, but whatever children I ever have will share no biological ties with me. I am a genetic dead-end on the family tree, a failed experiment. Evolution dictates that the only reason any organism exists at all is to make more of itself before it dies and I will never do that; I’m not just an affront to God, I’m an affront to science.

Feels good man.

To a lot of people the solution to this problem seems obvious: just freeze some sperm, dude, before you go under the knife. Simple! If only it were that easy. It’s not like there are physical reasons that that is not possible, I’m sure that even after years of spiro I still produce at least a few sperm that could fertilise an ovum, if only they were given the chance. And I’m also sure I could find a place to freeze and store the shit fairly easily and cheaply too, like, Google must be positively bursting with fuckers who freeze sperm, not just for trans women but also for ordinary men who worry about future infertility. There’s probably a whole industry based around it! (There is). But the roadblock here is neither physical nor financial, it is mental. I just can’t reconcile the idea of contributing the sperm to a child’s beginning and being a woman; it is a concept that causes so much cognitive dissonances that it is easier to just avoid the whole thing than even try to unpack it – and believe me, I have tried. I rewrote this paragraph about five times before I gave up. The idea is just so fundamentally foreign to me as a woman that I do not want to even consider it, and my fingers and my tongue actively fight against any attempt to. Fair enough.

So I resigned myself to alternative routes to motherhood, routes that do not cause me to taste battery acid at the mere suggestion, and that’s fine, I have made my peace with that to the extent I can. But the issue with being a trans person who seems to pass with a very high level of reliability is that sometimes people remind me of what I cannot have on accident, without meaning to, and there is nothing I can really do to correct them. Whether it’s the well-meaning old taxi driver encouraging me to try IVF before giving up on having biological children, or the women assuming my stomach pains are period-related and joking that at least I’m not pregnant, I am semi-regularly assaulted with reminders that I can’t get pregnant and I will never get to experience that aspect of femininity, ever; it is not just a closed door to me it is locked and bolted and submerged in concrete and wrapped in tripwires. But I can’t tell anyone that, or I will out myself, and I’m not the kind of trans person who is comfortable doing that, ever – I’m not out to fuck the system man, I don’t mess with squares for a cheap thrill, I just want to be seen as a normal woman. So I smile politely and I suffer in silence and I just try not to let it get me down too much but you know what? If I was born female, with a uterus and ovaries and the whole deal I would totally have had a child by now. Hell, probably two! But I wasn’t, so I haven’t and that’s just the way it is.

Sometimes people who know my situation try to make me see the bright side of not having the biological female bits – no periods, no menopause, no cramps! – but that only makes me more aware of what I am missing out on. It is a well-meaning thing, I know, but my usual response to such hyperbole is that they at least got/get to have children and I never will, and it quiets any further attempts to make it seem like I am having my cake and eating it too. I would take periods and cramps and menopause yesterday if it meant I could bear children, guys! I know they must suck, they suck to me just in theory (blood, ugh), but at least for all the anguish they inflict on you you can at least have kids. There is no underestimating how jealous I am that you have that opportunity. I would not kill for it because nothing is worth killing for, but if a procedure existed that could make that happen tomorrow I would take it no matter the cost or the risk. I would put my own life on the line just for the possible opportunity to one day birth another. I’d do it a hundred times, if I had to.

Anyway.

I’m not sure where this all came from. It didn’t fall out of me like some posts, I had to massage it and coax it because it is a topic that causes me a not insignificant amount of pain. I will be a mother one day, and even if there is none of my blood in my child’s veins I know I’ll still love them as best as I can…but the grim reality of my grim reality is that no matter how much I love them at the back of my mind I will always wish for more, for something I cannot possibly have. But it is what is, you know? Being trans is interacting with the world via a model that is still so new to society that the paint hasn’t dried. Maybe my children’s children’s children won’t obsess about this shit so much, hell, maybe by then gender binaries will have been so broken down by generations of tumblr users preaching progressive leftist gospel that this shit won’t even be a consideration no matter their gender identity. But for now I just try my best and smile politely and daydream about the things I can never have. Just whistlin’ dixie.

seriously i feel awful

i ate too much and now i am going to burst and die. i leave everything to my cat. i loved you all, remember not how i died but how i lived – on my couch, in my underwear, watching web videos, forever. that is all.

Words, For You

Not gonna lie, I am getting really bad at posting. Like, I had a six month hot streak basically and then I accidentally blew it and now my motivation is beginning to leach from me like…I don’t know, salt from the water table? Is that a metaphor that works? I don’t think so but I’m sticking with it because at this point, so late in the game, I do not have the energy to look up an appropriate reference. Just know that this whole writing thing is getting harder and not easier as the year drags on and that I kind of feel shitty about that. I want to write every day, I do! But more and more it just seems like I can’t, and it is kind of eating at me.

There are a few things to blame of course, but, like every other time I’ve endlessly kvetched on this non-topic, the biggest one is that my life is just fucking boring at the moment. Nothing is going on, nothing is happening, and I had my fill of writing the same three paragraphs about my work day a long time ago. So I don’t write them anymore and instead end up with weeks like last week where I forgot to post not one but two days in a row because everything was so non-eventful. I’m not even depressed at the moment – which is a good thing! – but when I’m depressed I can at least output a steady stream of consciousness day after day about the specific shape my depression is taking in that beautiful bubble of space and time. Right now I’m just content and bored and non-specifically anxious and my muse thinks this whole scene is way too dull for her and has taken off for a backpacking holiday around Greece in protest.

I have thoughts. Things come to me but they don’t come as reliably as I’d like. Like, yesterday (or this morning?) I had this horrifying revelation that my dad is mortal and my dad is actually getting old and it paralysed me. I wanted to write about it immediately, but I was driving to work at the time which kind of makes that impossible and as a result the idea and all the incredible prose that had burst forth from it disappeared back into the nothingness from whence it came. I can remember enough to recall it now, I can see the outline of its shape and tell you what it was to be, but the details are gone, and as a viciously detail orientated person that means the whole thing might as well be gone. Frustrating.

I’m gonna try and get back into the swing of this daily posting thing again, but I don’t know, there might still be a few dead patches here and there until the 20th of next month at least – at which point my whole world goes from a simmer to a vicious boil overnight as I submit all the forms and applications to have my surgery. Until then I will try my best! It is all I can do and it is all I can promise.

Molly’s Awesome Fried Rice Stir Fry Thing

It’s that time of the year again! That wonderful time where I try in vain to transform the methods and madness that led to my one-off culinary masterpieces into words so you to can try in vain to reproduce it. This time I will be describing a…thing. I’m not quite sure what to call it, to be honest, it is certainly asian-inspired and has qualities of both a fried rice and a stir fry but is distractingly distant enough from both that it seems to qualify as neither. It is pretty damn tasty regardless of the specific nomenclature though, and with my guidance and a little (lot) of luck you too will soon be making magic in the kitchen!

This is a vegetarian dish, but not vegan. Feeds two!

Ingredients

About half a red cabbage.

One brown onion.

Broccoli. You could probably get away with broccolini if you are feeling fancy but I was not.

Two or three large green chilis.

Soy sauce, Kikkoman if possible.

Honey.

Cayenne pepper.

Jasmine rice, about 250 grams worth. I buy these microwave packs to save me having to actually cook rice because nothing sounds as dreadful to me as cooking rice, but you know, you can do whatever.

About 200 grams of very firm tofu, flavoured if possible. I used a sesame soy variety sold at my local Woolworths but if you prefer to marinate your own tofu or prefer a different flavour (or no flavour???) go nuts dudes.

Peanut oil.

Method(man)

1. Preheat your frying pan or wok and lubricate it thoroughly with the peanut oil. I’m not sure lubricate was an appropriate word choice for this step but I’m sticking with it because it sounds kind of dirty. lol.

2. Dice up all the vegetables to your liking. I like my cabbage to be kind of chunky and my onion to be kind of fine, personally, but if you are dead-set on being wrong then who am I to stop you? I am just one woman, I cannot repair all the world’s sins on my own.

2. Once the pan is hot enough throw in your vegetables and stir them around half-heartedly with a wooden spoon. Cut your tofu into largish chunks and add them also, resisting the temptation to eat a huge chunk of it before it even hits the pan (you will fail).

3. Add soy sauce, honey and cayenne pepper. There is no like, science to this, I just kind of follow my heart. If you add too much soy sauce it should be okay because the rice will absorb a lot of it later and become somehow more delicious in the process. I think it is an alchemical thing? I don’t know, I am not a gastronomist. Also, if you are not super keen on heat do keep in mind that you have already added fresh chili, so if you would like to back off on the cayenne pepper at this step I will not judge you.

4. Stir it all thoroughly and put the lid on the pan. This is important! By putting the lid on you are getting a nice steam-y thing going on and this will reduce your broccoli and cabbage from terrible crunchy atrocities to soft edible goodness. Let it sit like this for about five minutes, stirring very occasionally.

5. Once the food has been cooking for a while and you are confident it is almost about done, put your sachet of rice in the microwave. The brand I use takes 90 seconds! That is insane but perfect, because I fucking hate cooking rice. If for some reason you are cooking your rice fresh in a rice cooker or on the stove you probably should’ve started that ages ago to be honest, I just kind of assumed you’d be doing the intelligent thing and utilising the incredible technologies our modern age has brought us. Sorry! But not. I’m not sorry.

6. Once the rice is cooked turn off the frying pan or remove it from heat and stir the rice through immediately, while the pan is still hot. Get it all up in there, mix it in with everything, you won’t regret it. Serve on two partially chipped plates you’re pretty sure you stole off your landlord and enjoy! You have just made Molly’s Awesome Fried Rice Stir Fry Thing. You will not regret your decision for a moment.

(Note: If for some reason this recipe feels familiar to you there is a reason for that. It has become a sharper, more honed weapon since those early days, however, and I encourage you to try it again!)

no more flowers

There are a lot of things that have the potential to get me down if I think about them too much, but by far my biggest trigger is waste. I know that sounds fucking stupid, but if I allow my brain to ponder the mysteries of how our dying planet is able to sustain not just one but multiple brands of chain stores for cheap bottom shelf crap it really begins to eat at me. Think about it dudes: somewhere out there is a factory (or factories) pumping out millions of shitty tchotchkes of poor to middling quality to be sold (or not) to poor Australian shoppers only to end up in the bin at the end anyway, either the long way or the short way. That represents, to me, just a monumental waste of energy and resources and just human blood, sweat and tears and I hate it. There is a reason I live in a house almost entirely devoid of decorations or furniture, and that is part of it.

(The other part involves poorness.)

Other things that inspire the same kind of profound existential sadness in me include pet stores that sell live animals, pawn shops and pay day loan stores that exist almost entirely to profit off of people at their most desperate and miserable, and garage sales. Sometimes I think my internal empathy-o-tron might just be totally out of whack, but other times I feel like I’m the only sane person in a world of maniacs, but it is what it is. I have discovered a new thing that sets me off this week though, and it is bound to frustrate all attempts by future paramours to win my heart cheaply: flowers. Flowers make me sad.

Not at first though! Fresh flowers are lovely at first. It’s as the days wear on an petals begin to wilt and brown that it begins to make me feel conflicted and kind of despondent. They are just so impermanent, and so much went into the making of the bunch that for them to just die almost (cosmically speaking) anyway seems like too much to me, I cannot stand it. In an attempt to mitigate this internal stress response I have been burying the dead flowers in the soil of my mandarin tree as I remove them from the arrangement in some vain attempt to maybe continue the circle of life with them in a way that would be otherwise impossible if I just threw them in the bin and I am also trying to press some of them, but results may vary with that kind of thing so I’m not holding my breath. All in all however, as much as I love them and the gesture they represent now that the depression that inspired their purchase has passed I’m kind of at a loss as to how to fit them into my stupid, contradictory, hippy-esque world-view. I guess I’ll just keep feeding them back into my little pathetic garden as I go? It is as good an idea as any.

© 2014 Molly Speechley