Is “cringey” a word?
I do not know about the rest of you, but I dislike moments that make me cringe so much. Like, with a strong, hard passion. When you are Trans and transitioning, there are many, many cringeworthy moments that will occur. I’m dealing with one right now from an old image that popped up and that is the reason for this blog. I’m going to name a few of the most cringe-EY things I’ve experienced during my transition. Not because I’m unhappy, but more because I think it’s important to be real about what it’s been like for me. Seriously, I am so happy and proud to be me – it’s just also so messy and absurd sometimes.
1. Seeing Pictures from Early in the Transition
- This is probably the top for everybody but seeing pictures from early in the transition is like WHAT. WAS. I. DOING??? And also, I’m looking at my wife like thank you SO MUCH for the support but feel free to step in and be like “hey, babe – not sure that’s the look for you.” Yes, my sensitive feelings might have been hurt but it would have been worth it to avoid disaster. Every time I see pictures from certain points in my transition, I think of the word ridiculous but then I laugh because at the time – I felt great. I thought my hair looked cool – I now see the error of my ways – but still. That’s where phrases like “you live and you learn” come from I guess.
The interesting thing about this one is that pictures from when I was a kid don’t really bother me. It happened you know – I haven’t scrubbed my social media of old images because, it happened you know? I think there’s more to unpack there but… I digress. Am I uncomfortable sometimes? Yes. I think the difference is that now, I’m the real me and it matters and means more. Being able to make the outside match the inside is such a big deal – so yeah now that I’m looking more like the me I’m supposed to be – looking back at early transition pics is a cringe moment sometimes. I didn’t know what I was doing. 🙂
2. It’s Getting Hot, Hot, Hot
- I’m just going to put this out there because I mean, I go through it and it is what it is. It’s also the worst. The reason I haven’t ever talked about it is because it’s something that I can’t do anything about – it keeps me tied to the fact that I was born in the wrong body and makes me feel insecure and dysphoric. But anyway, it’s hot flashes. They are the worst. They are unbelievable. Like number one, WHAT! And number two, WHY!?
You know how when we were kids and we’d see a woman on TV or in the movies having a hot flash and she’d be fanning herself and then we’d all laugh? Yeah, it’s not funny. I don’t know how to describe it except to say it’s real. Real HOTNESS all over your body, randomly and with no rhyme or reason at all. For me it happens in one of two ways: either the sweat instantly appears on my body and I am like HOT. Like need to take my ‘clothes that were dry 30 seconds ago but are now soaking wet off’ hot. OR it starts to slowly creep up and at first I’ll be like, “am I getting hot?” And then about 5 minutes later I’m sweating and nauseous.
I’m on a weekly dose of testosterone but because sometimes I’m busy or lazy, I miss my shot. It happens. Sometimes I miss it twice because it’s annoying. When that happens, the chemicals in my body don’t like it – and here come the hell flashes, I mean hot flashes. So I guess this is both a sharing of the messiness and a tip, don’t skip your shot. Depending on procedures you may have had, you’re likely already going to go into early menopause. Also, it sucks to have to say that. No lie, two nights ago I feel like if I had gone outside and run around, I would have looked like that dude from the Fantastic Four – FLAME ON!
- Transitioning is a journey. What a profound cliche. It’s so true though; so many things have happened and changed and it’s only been just over four years for me. I think the next cringeworthy thing I’ll share is the fun of passing. See when I started on T and then got a few whiskers, then was able to get top surgery, I was feeling pretty confident. Even before top surgery I was feeling good about myself and the steps I was taking to become who I was supposed to be. Confidence is a huge part of all of this but so is patience. I’m also fortunate to have great friends who looked out for me in public places.
So when you’re transitioning, there is the in-between time – where things are starting to happen but your facial features are still soft or your hips might give you away or your voice hasn’t dropped yet. So there’s the “sir/ma’am” cringe, the little kid “are you a boy or girl” cringe, and obviously the family gathering “pronouns” cringe that’s definitely going to happen. My most cringeworthy passing moment so far happened in 2020 before the pandemic shut everything down. Someone was introducing me to someone else, and I was full-on transitioned MAN by then. Nice beard, deep voice, maybe even wearing a tie and they used the wrong pronoun. After three years, I had gotten pretty good at these because I no longer looked like a “she.” So while it was like COME ON – it was also an opportunity for me to turn it back on them like they were dumb.
Another cringe of passing is that sometimes the community doesn’t know you’re actually part of the community. I think that’s the sad part about it and why it’s important that those of us who can speak up and speak out, do so.
4. Internal Thoughts
- If I was to throw out one more thing that makes me cringe sometimes just by thinking about it, that would definitely be my internal thoughts of how some people see me. I guess if you know me that might surprise you? But I’m a Trans guy and I know I’m not wrong or weird but I do know that it’s seen as different; I know that our community is under attack right now.
It’s not lost on me that my decision has an affect on the people around me. I understand that as I transition so do those closest to me. That’s a lot. And sometimes I wonder what people really think; I wonder if people didn’t say anything about my hair in 2018 because they were being supportive or if they thought it was a phase and that I looked ridiculous. Why do I think about that? Why do I care? And it isn’t that I care so much that I would let it influence my life or decisions – I think it’s more the human part of me that wants to be accepted for who I am. I wonder if the guys I grew up playing basketball with ever feel uncomfortable. THAT makes me cringe. I think because it’s really, really personal.
I 100% understand why a Trans person might move across the country and start over. To be free of scrutiny and pressure – that may only exist in my own head but sometimes, it doesn’t feel that way.
These aren’t end of the world examples but they are things that I’ve experienced and maybe you have or will too. Maybe you’re reading this to learn more about what it’s like to be Trans. There’s much more to it of course – a lot of great and wonderful actually.
I won’t expound right now but do want to give a shout-out to the cringeworthy things that didn’t make the cut today but are certainly honorable mention in the cringe category: anger/rage, weight loss, voice. 🙂
One thing I’ve learned about the Trans experience is that while we all have our own unique path, there are so many similarities in our stories. I think we should share them with each other more. I also think we should learn from each other and laugh at ourselves along the way.