Being by Zach Ellis

Editor Colin Farstad, Editor's Choice, January 6th, 2014

Being transgendered is...

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Being transgendered is typing transgendered into your computer and seeing a red line underneath it which means it’s an unrecognized word and you look beneath you to see if there is a red line too.

Being transgendered feels like a lump in your pants when you are so depressed you neglect to take your testosterone for a month and your period starts again and you are sticking a pad in your shorts before you shave and put on a tie.

Being transgendered is like the rust on an old pipe when you look at yourself in the mirror and realize you don’t cry anymore and yet your eyes look like they’ve been crying for years.

Being transgendered is always wondering if you did the right thing.

Being transgendered is always wondering if you said it the right way.

Being transgendered is always wondering if there is enough love for you.

Being transgendered is defined as brave, but it feels no more brave than breathing.

Being transgendered is always wondering if your daughter will keep loving you once she understands you’re not like other dads.

Being transgendered is wincing when the wrong pronoun is used.

Being transgendered is not wincing when the word “dude” is used.

Being transgendered is always staring at one side or the other and knowing you can never completely pick.

Being transgendered is worrying about being in the emergency room and all things medical.

Being transgendered is wishing you could have been this horny at fifteen instead of forty-six.

Being transgendered is wondering when tits and asses started to feel like a matter of life and death.

Being transgendered is constantly struggling to use the word “man” rather than “person” to define yourself.

Being transgendered is being reminded you weren’t born that way, so stop trying to describe yourself that way.

Being transgendered is remembering who your real friends are.

Being transgendered is duct taping your breasts before wearing three shirts and hoping no one notices.

Being transgendered is taking off skin once you take off the duct tape.

Being transgendered is wondering what a tee shirt would feel like if it were the only thing between you and your skin.

Being transgendered is having chest surgery and waking up smiling.

Being transgendered is being asked if you are done yet.

Being transgendered is seeing a letter change on your driver’s license.

Being transgendered is walking at night and not feeling afraid.

Being transgendered is understanding how it feels to be raped.

Being transgendered is understanding abortion intimately.

Being transgendered is making yourself visible.

Being transgendered is staring at yourself in the mirror and saying hello for the first time.

Being transgendered is learning a new language.

Being transgendered is wondering if you can be loved no matter what’s in your pants.

Being transgendered is being called “son” for the first time at forty-six by your father.

Being transgendered means having your heart ripped open when you least expected it.

Being transgendered is deciding what kind of man you get to be in this world.

Being transgendered is understanding that no matter what kind of man you decide to be, you might become the exact opposite.

Being transgendered is freedom.

Being transgendered is your own experience.

Being transgendered is not textbook anything.

Being transgendered is a gift.

Being transgendered is finding a strength inside you that you didn’t know you had.

Being transgendered is who you are, but knowing it’s not everything you are.

Being transgendered is.

 

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zach ellis being essay nailed magazineZach Ellis writes creative nonfiction. He lives in Portland, Oregon and works as a bookseller when he isn’t writing. He is the father of a five year old, who gives him plenty of things to write about. He has written for The Gravity of the Thing and has travelled to Glasgow, Scotland to read his poetry at In Our Words: an LGBT literary festival.

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Colin Farstad

Colin Farstad's work has most recently appeared in Spilt Infinitive, Analekta Anthology, and Coal City Review. He is the editor of the short story anthology The Frozen Moment : Contemporary Writers on the Choices that Change Our Lives (Publication Studios, 2011). Colin has been a teacher, editor, writer, event coordinator and connoisseur of classic cocktails for years. Currently he's living in Brooklyn, hard at work writing a novel tentatively titled It's Never Over and working at the literary agency DeFiore and Company.