The Adventures of the Boi Wonder: Patience is a Forced Virtue
“I am a patient boy
I wait, I wait, I wait
My time is like water down a drain
Everybody’s moving, everything’s moving
Please don’t leave me to remain
In the waiting room”
–“Waiting Room” by Fugazi
My level of patience for most things could generally be described as sporadic at best. For example, I waited months on baited breath for my ex to figure out how he really felt about me and if we could get back together. Yet I don’t order things online because I can’t stand the suspense of having to wait a week of so for whatever CD/DVD/book/instrument to come in the mail. I also can’t wait the 10 minutes it takes for a pan of brownies to cool before I can eat them without burning my mouth, but being stuck in traffic or a long metro wait doesn’t really bother me at all. Weird, right?
If there is one thing that I have learned almost immediately in my decision to transition is that patience is a tranny’s best friend, because there can be a ridiculous amount of waiting involved in the process. Ask anyone. And yes, I did just say “tranny.” (It’s a funny phrase; imagine how Fran Drescher would sound saying it.)
There are a lot of things one has to wait for while transitioning. Many of the aspects can take months, even years, to happen. Things can easily get delayed, especially when money is involved, which, let’s face it, is a knife in everyone’s side these days, trans or cisgender. Surgeries take time to plan and recover from, hormones can take quite a while for the major changes to kick in, therapists and doctors have to be seen, and name and paperwork alterations have to go through the courts and DMV (not to mention there are state requirements, like having had chest and/or genital surgery, before a gender change can legally be recognized). In short, it can be a super-fucking-long process filled with steps that are long themselves (though some people choose not to go through all or go through none of them).
I personally have only gone through a tiny taste of it thus far. It took a good part of the summer for me to put aside enough money to buy a formal chest binder, as opposed to improvised ones like tight sports bras, or abdominal supports, because of problems with my (now former) job. And there were other things to buy like clothes (mainly pants…I seriously needed more pants), food, and a much-needed weekend escape to NYC to stay with friends. There were also the CDs that I just HAD to buy like the new Grizzly Bear, Sonic Youth, and Casiotone For the Painfully Alone albums, and the copy of the Lungfish album Love is Love that I bought on Friday before Transformer. But I have been very good about cutting down on my music purchases. That one binder (plus shipping and handling) is around $40. I can’t imagine how long it will take me to get the several THOUSAND dollars it will cost to have chest surgery (not covered by most health care plans). And considering I am a full-time college kid with no job, I can tell now that it will most likely have to be several years until chest surgery can happen unless I strike gold. Even then there are certain procedures like the WPATH Standards of Care for Gender Identity Disorders to do before surgery and hormones can be received. Chances are that I’m going to be well into my 20’s or older before shit really starts getting done, which is extremely difficult for me to think about because I feel dysphoria pretty much every moment.
I am reminded of The Smiths’ song “These Things Take Time,” and also “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet” in regards to the transitioning process (and also because I was listening to The Smiths a few days ago). Basically, you have no choice but to be really patient about it. And if patience truly is a virtue, then I guess that makes us transfolk some of the most virtuous people around…
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