As I continue to think about myself and my gender, there are certain questions which sprawl through my mind. I often find myself quoting in my head Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / by any other name would smell as sweet” (Shakespeare II. ii. 47-48). These lines are important to remember, meaning that no matter what the name, the make up of the individual remains the same. Names are assigned, only a signifier of the person you are. So why am I discussing names?
I am slowly admitting to myself that I really am trans, that I do want to transition. I feel more comfortable with male pronouns, with a masculine chest, with my hairy legs. So how do you tell someone that? How do you explain to someone that your gender is not truly female, the sex you were born, that you are really male? What can you say to someone to get a person to understand?
I’m beginning this post much sooner than I normally manage. That’s because it’s Spring Break! It’s so exciting to be out of classes for a week and travelling and not working. And it means I’m halfway through the semester to graduation. So I’m still stressed, but in a manageable, determined to have fun kind of way.
But you know the exciting thing about traveling? No one knows you. You can be whoever you want to be. It gives me a chance to see who I am comfortable being without anyone asking questions. And I can just be. I can just do. I don’t have to think or worry or anything like that. I can just wake up and do whatever I want that day. Well, whatever I have money for anyway.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about myself, my personality, and my relationships. Generally, I tend to live for other people. I place my happiness in theirs. I try to make things better when they go wrong. I try to make sure everyone can pay their bills, has a place to live, and that no one is worried about me. I tend to place everyone else’s happiness before my own. And I don’t think I can do that anymore.
I don’t think I can because if I don’t live for me, I will never live. I am about to graduate from college, and I have to make sure I have a job. It isn’t realistic for me only to apply to jobs in my current town, even if that means leaving all of these people and places that are so important to me. There are only so many private, non-denominational schools in the US, most of them either being in big cities or in the North. I can’t limit myself geographically or I might not be able to take care of myself, let alone anyone else.
Let’s just get this out there: I am an English nerd. I love grammar, poetry, literature, letters, words in general, and I spend most of my days, whether in class or elsewhere, thinking about the nature of words and communication. I find it fascinating that a single word can mean so many things, yet each word means something only because we give it that significance. My personal definition for pretty could actually be ugly or some other antithesis, but what gives words their power is the meaning we all, as a united English-speaking (or any other language) entity, entrust to them.
Over time, words change: in meaning, spelling, some even are dropped from the language, or added. According to TIME.COM, the words bromance and frenemy were added to the Oxford Dictionary of English in 2010, words I had never heard until a few years ago (TIME.COM). Language is constantly evolving. So how has the word gender evolved?