I was the hairiest kid in the 2nd grade. It’s an odd but somewhat boring story, like most of my life, but here are the basics: some kid said ‘fairy lake’, (don’t ask) another kid heard ‘hairy leg’, and naturally our entire class decided we needed to know who among us had the fuzziest pair of shins on the playground. For multiple recesses, we chose one person to be the judge, and everyone else would shuffle around and sit on the dirt in a line while the judge would blindly feel each leg one by one. Of course, I would win every time I wasn’t the judge.
I always found it odd that my friend was ashamed for me, trying to convince me to come on a playdate with her so she could shave my legs with her sister’s razor. Why would I? It was another thing I could brag about. I walked with pride, my blond little leg hair catching the sun like little spiderwebs from under my hideous pink plaid shorts. I wasn’t like the other girls. (Hint: I am not a girl) I was grown up. I was cool. I didn’t need to be feminine. I was objectively the hairiest little monster in the 2nd grade.
2nd grade ends, obviously. I couldn’t be the hairiest until the end of time— or at least, not into middle school. I quickly learned that the only way anyone would take you seriously was if a man expressed interest in you, and, well, they would only express interest in you if they weren’t embarrassed to be attracted to a hairy, angry tomboy. So, I shaved my legs. And my armpits. And my arms. And I went through middle school smooth, pale, and crying too often.
In high school, I found out about feminism, which was the first step in reclaiming my title. I told my friends about how the patriarchy sucked (which didn’t do much for my popularity) and that I would never shave my legs again. In turn, They told me that it was nice to feel smooth (fair point) and that it was okay for someone like me to not shave, because my body hair was blond, and no one would see it. I told them that that wasn’t the point, and they told me that I would still be shaving my legs if people could notice. I respected their decision to shave (if you haven’t felt the rapture of a smooth leg in clean sheets I pity you), but many didn’t respect mine. I wasn’t ashamed enough. I was ashamed of somethings— the strange shape of my face, my hair, my height, the little witch bump on the tip of my nose, the chicken skin on the back of my arms. And by god, I was ashamed of my voice. So high, squeaky, and nasal. That was adequate for most of the people I hung around. They could excuse the unearned pride of my body hair and earnest love for my 80+ moles and freckles, as long as I balanced it out with the appropriate amount of self-hatred.
I finished puberty, gained some self-confidence, and slowly realized that my participation in traditional femininity was making me unhappy— while I found beauty in it, (probably because of the bisexuality) it was compulsory and left me bitter. When I loved being feminine, it was when I was feminine to the max, wearing go-go boots and faux-snake-skin jackets. The femininity that made me happy was performance— it was drag.
I started my second puberty (alternative title: Puberty: Age of Ultron) a month ago. I apply two doses of synthetic testosterone gel to my forearms before I go to sleep. I haven’t seen many changes, but right now, it’s been a recipe for teen angst that, by most metrics, I should not be experiencing at 20.
1½ cups of unbridled rage
½ cup of acne
1 lb. of horny (May be subsitituted for 1 lb. of being disgusted by the concept of sex)
2 Tbs of frustration
2 Tbs of feeling inadequate
1 ts. of taking out your self-consciousness on the people you care about most
1 ts of wistfully looking into a mirror
2 ts of wondering if this is normal
A pinch of crying when you lose a game of Magic: The Gathering
A dash of kosher salt
The greatest part of being trans, by far, is being consciously aware of what you want, who you are, and what you’re going to bring with you in the future. When you’re trans, your future doesn’t just fall into your lap, you must manifest it, and do the hard work of reconciling with what you must, can, and cannot change. And when that happens; when your body begins to feel like a home it hadn’t before, it’s a kind of relief and happiness that is irreplicable. So, as my arm hair grows, while I wait for my butt to get embarrassingly hairy, and as I eagerly watch the hair on my upper lip get slightly longer, there is pride, there is happiness, and there is a euphoria that just might beat being crowned the hairiest kid in the 2nd grade.