In the closet: mapping my dysphoria

Come in, come in. I’m just taking stock of a few things. 

Let’s start with hair supplies. Most don’t keep them in the closet, but then, most don’t live there either. 

These are the hair things I like, gels and pomades and a single comb. I can look at these things and feel like a man. 

Here are the things I use in my costume. This hairbrush, still tangled with hair long sheared. Clips for keeping growth out of my face. Elastic bands, only useful when it’s long enough. And the hair itself, itching at my neck, my ears. Hair itself saying what I refuse to: this is a woman. 

Here are brassieres. They don’t mean much. By all rights, mine would be a less pleasant life without them. I won’t mind. They don’t bother me much. 

Here is a binder, long discarded. Mayhaps I have grown out of it; regardless, I can’t afford to compress my chest. Sometimes it makes me sad, knowing that. Mostly it makes me tired.

Men’s shoes. They gave me blisters, several times. The leather never learned to shape to my feet. Still, they might be one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve been given. 

Here’s something harder to see: the weight of my pain beneath my skin, as if a little shape and some dead cells do a woman make. Here’s something else: each day I try to pin my hair back and choke on bile as I refuse to cut it. Each day I comb it as best I can to look like a man’s. Each day I contemplate hacking it off, and each day I do not. 

Most days I can barely stop the tears. I want to be a woman in surgery; I want to be a man. I’m not sure which I want more.

This is my closet, and my hips are my blessing because here I lay my sorrows and joys. Here I lay my broken dreams. 

Maybe one day I’ll cradle them beneath a man’s belly, in a man’s hips. Maybe. 

A boy can dream. 


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