My mother got me a magic 8-ball, but on the same trip told me a story that when she was younger, she busted someone's 8-ball growing up, and saw the thing for what it was, less than magic, a nice-looking polyhedron word-covered creature floating in black ink.


I'd faith in the sucker even so, even after the creature inside it fell apart: sometimes, the 8-ball would give me two answers and sometimes only just inky foam would appear and I'd have to shake the sucker up or tilt it even to read the answer to my yes-no question.

Same reason I held to fortune cookie fortunes and horoscopes, and the fortunes you got as prizes in the Girl Talk game I played over and over, often alone, when I was 11.

When I was that age, I had these projections about my life and, for instance, the men who would fill it. You can get addicted to all the possibilities and, rather than exhaust them, obsess on them - and that, my friend, is exactly what I did. And do. Right now I'm thinking of the man who left me over a month ago, thinking what if I saw him in three years, in another city: better?.

And I got out my first diary today and wondered who I thought I would be at this point, 19, summer after my freshman year of college. Did I know I would turn out like this, though, with x cup and pant size and measurements, and what did I know about my hair?

And the wake of losing my virginity I remembered going back over all the fantasies that I had as a kid about that (or even more recently, more vividly): saw myself married, or just old enough, but of course, for all of us growing up, the year 2000 held a shiny certain faraway mystique, and I think I would have been impressed had the 8-ball let it slip that mine would happen July 4, 2000 - which, as a matter of fact, it did.

That aside, possibility, a favorite fascination of mine, is giving way to actuality, and I'm just in enough of a spiral to cry about it tonight.

Sometimes, it's necessary to revisit your childhood self (like in that stupid new Bruce Willis flick, which I would totally watch on late-night cable, by the way) and look in the mirror and said, "How did I get from that to this? Really."

Some mornings the absurdity of my life hits me so hard that I become frozen in place for minutes at a time. On mornings like that, I get into the shower and simply stand there staring at myself, wondering at the freakish thing I have turned myself into.

Six months of hormones have given me breasts better suited to the body of a 11 year old girl than a 23 year old male. My shrunken genitals hang limp and look grotesquely out of place between thighs which have suddenly become thick enough to rub against each other. My cheeks are fuller and my eyes are becoming (so I'm told) 'pretty'. Laser hair removal has decimated my facial hair. It's like I've gone back in time to being 15 years old again, only able to grow a sparse, half-blonde teenage moustache.

There's a line from The Matrix that's been running through my head for about a month now: "You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he’s expecting to wake up." My life feels like a dream. Not in a cliche way—it is by no means a 'dream come true'. But I just can't shake the feeling that this isn't really my life. It feels like if I turn my head quickly enough I'll be able to see the edge of unreality in my peripheral vision. Like when you're dreaming and objects suddenly jump into place as soon as you look at them.

And yet, despite my difficulty embracing my identity and despite the fact that my body is very much in an 'awkward phase', I actually feel much more comfortable with myself and my body now than I can ever remember being in my life. Ever since I learned about trans people when I was 10, I could never look into a mirror without wondering what I'd look like if I were a girl, if I took hormones to make my body more feminine. Wondering at which features would be an asset and which would hold me back. But now I look in the mirror and I just see myself as I am. And more and more I like who that is.

Transition is a desire so deep and so shameful to me that even after coming out to my friends and family, I still barely let myself indulge in it. If you'd asked me two years ago where I thought I'd be now, my answer would've been "dead". And not only am I alive but I'm taking hormones and going to therapy and slowly, very slowly, pulling my life together. Even in retrospect it seems impossible for me to have done those things. But then again, the more time goes on, the more it feels like it was impossible for me not to.

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