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Weird Trans* Symptomology (Or Is It Just Me?)

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As if we aren’t considered weird enough already (no, it’s true, an old friend even commented here to tell me what I was doing is “inherently insane and weird”), I’ve noticed in comparing notes with other trans folks that some of us share some additional peculiarities. Let’s talk about that for a minute because I can’t help being curious about this. Something coincidental with trans* worth looking more into, or just my usual ramblings? I am thinking of creating a bona fide poll if I can figure out how to do so, but this post will serve as a fleshed out version for the mean time and at least a good reference point should I figure out the poll thingie. The examples, unfortunately, all come directly from my personal experiences.

Please indicate if you experience any of the following symptoms and whether you consider yourself to be trans* or not (it’s not in me to exclude anyone from participating):

1. Every Day is Yesterday Syndrome: Do you have an atypical memory that allows you go back 10, 20, 30 years and more and recall the minute details of some event or conversation? Do you often embarrass the hell out of old friends by recounting blow by blow some incident they desperately hoped everyone forgot? Are you considered to be a huge pain in the derrière when you constantly correct the personal memories of others making them doubt their own sanity? Whether you use this power to annoy the living shit out of everyone around you, or keep it confined to head shakes and quiet eye rolling sighs, you may have this.

2. Count von Countulitis: Do you have difficulty doing math in your head? Particularly easy math, requiring you to either use your fingers or break out your iPhone calculator to figure out the tip on a $10 tab, or divide the check 3 ways? Did you end up in a math heavy field like engineering or accounting by spending countless hours on rote memorization and now thank the living stars every day for the invention of Excel so you can keep the illusion alive? If you have an abacus at your desk, and it’s not just a toy, you may have this.

3. Southlefterly Confusion: If the passenger in your car says, “turn right at the next light”, are you equally as likely to do so as careen across 4 lanes of traffic to get into the left hand turn lane? Do you often hold both hands up so you can visually see which one you write with when someone asks you a left/ right question? Do you find compasses maddening? If someone at work says, “come down to the north side of the building”, do you pull up the Google satellite view and hope the NSEW position indicator is there so you can figure out which side that is? If you feel totally turned around at sunset or frequently infuriate your GPS by forcing it to recalculate, you may have this.

4. I’m ADD, Yeah You Know Me: Has your mind wandered more than 4 times since starting to read this post? Do you often read 3 or 4 books in parallel because it’s really no different to you given your mental wanderings just reading one? Has anyone ever stated, “I know to get anything important in within 30 seconds before your eyes start to glaze over? When someone asks, “what did he just say?” when watching TV, do you never know because you were zoned out? If your brain works in 30 second intervals before moving on to something completely unrelated, you may have this. I have found an upside to this condition; I’m never, ever bored.

5. Comparatative Normalcy: Amongst your group of non-trans* friends, do you still appear to be the “normal” one of the group? Has your favorite cousin repeatedly called you a ‘weirdness magnet’ based on the friends you have managed to attract? Do you ever watch ‘Big Bang Theory’ and think, “yeah, I should be so lucky to be Dr Amy Farrah Fowler.” When you are out as a group, are you not the reason for a change that people keep staring at your table? If people like this have found you, and you befriended them because of your unique ability to look past appearance, behavior, and overall lack of conformity to societal norms in ways that significantly differ from your own personal idiosyncrasies, it may be a good indication you suffer this malady.

6. Lois Laneitis: Were you also astounded the first time you saw Clark Kent take off his glasses? Have you ever worked side by side with someone for years and get confused as to their identity when bumping into them at the mall? Did you ever think two people at work were the same person, and called one of them by the wrong name persistently until you finally happened to see them together? Did you ever find a movie super confusing because you thought two actors or actresses were the same character? The medical term for this is called Prosopagnosia and you may have it if you didn’t realize that was an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie until he said, “I’ll be back.”

7. LoTR Type Fixation: Do you really fricking love ‘Lord of the Rings’? Yeah, this one is a pretty simple yes or no. Every trans person I have thought to ask loves LoTR. I know a lot of people do, but this just might be statistically significant.

I’m sure there are probably more, but let’s face it, we all stopped paying attention like 3 symptoms ago, so I see no reason to drag this out further. Now, let’s see if I can figure out this poll thingie…

7 Warning Signs of Post Traumatic Guy Syndrome

No matter what symptoms I plug into Web MD, Post Traumatic Guy Syndrome never seems to come up. I may, however, be at great risk for either scurvy or kuru, even though I eat lots of fruit and hardly any human brains. It stands to reason I guess, since I just made the term up while stepping on the toes of our veterans who have very real, and very debilitating problems as the result of being put in situations of high risk of imminent death. I really think I might be at risk though, and if you are a trans woman, you probably are as well.

If you are a trans woman, or at least know some or one, you may have noticed that some of seem just a little bit off. OK, to be less PC, some of us come off as batshit crazy, or at the very least, went through a long adjustment period as they settled into womanhood. I think the root cause of all this is having to have lived for so many years as a male; an endeavor that was bound for failure, but attempted with great vigor for decades at a time. We like to tell children that they can be whatever they want to, but the reality is that over time, if what you want to be just isn’t you, it’s not going to bode well and you may end up just a little bit fucked up in the process. Prior to the onset of PTGS, there are a number of indicators and symptoms worth taking a look at even though I just made them up on the fly.

1. Sporadic Dickheadness: Guys often exhibit this trait from time to time, and it’s often in good fun. The medical terminology often refers to it as “ball busting” which is known to manifest in the presence of other men, especially when camaraderie is high or alcohol is being consumed. Sometimes the effects are felt by women, but they are often dismissed as just boys trying to be funny. When a woman, particularly a trans woman, shows signs of this, it’s not good. Other women do not lightly suffer this type of crap from other women. As a trans woman, sporadic dickheadedness will probably show up from time to time as a latent effect from male life. Fortunately, the worst side effect is simply being asked out to lunch with the girls a lot less. Secondary symptoms: mild depression and suspected alienation.

2. Minor Adjustments: Until surgical correction takes place, even the very best of restraining methods tend to fail from time to time, or become unbearably uncomfortable at inopportune times. In male life, dealing with this area was simple and expected. A quick look around followed by an over the slacks crotch adjustment, or a more covert hand in the pocket fix was socially acceptable. Women, however, never publically adjust their crotch for a variety of reasons, the least of which is lack of necessity. When discomfort arises, it’s easy to forget you are wearing a skirt and pantyhose, and that grabbing yourself in that area, unless in total privacy, is bound to get noticed. This symptom is unconscious and nearly unavoidable. Secondary symptoms: burning embarrassment lasting for moments to days.

3. Stoic Silence: When men are not interested in a topic being discussed, it is socially acceptable to remain in stoic bored silence until a conversation shift occurs. Women generally ignore this since they are under the impression that the men will probably not add much anyway. A woman, however, displaying this trait is often written off as being a real cold bitch and someone not to be invited again. After decades of enjoying this symptom without repercussion, a trans woman may be surprised and dismayed by the impression they are giving as being cold, or worse yet, just a guy. The only remedy is getting used to talking in groups about shit you really don’t care about. Secondary symptoms: more depression and perceived alienation.

4. Speaking in Tongues: As a male, it was expected that you know at least a dozen lines each from ‘Monty Python: Quest for the Holy Grail’ and ‘Scarface’. Chances are, you played along unless you are like me and unable to remember movie lines. Hopefully you did, and didn’t just stand there feeling like a schmuck like me. If you were successful, it’s now ingrained and going to come out from time to time. Remember though, you never, ever hear women drag out the infuriating ‘Knights Who Say Nee’ bit. This is good, because no one needs to ever hear that again. As a trans woman there is a good chance you will, and be left standing there feeling like a schmuck as you suddenly become aware of the disgusted and annoyed faces around you. Secondary symptoms: crippling embarrassment.

5. Benjamin Buttonitis: This morning I dressed my 5 year old for school, then came to work and noticed 30 and 40 year old men wearing essentially the same thing. Well, except for Spiderman sneakers that blink. As a male you probably got used to doing this, because aside from formal affairs and high power business, men’s and boy’s styles are virtually indistinguishable. Because of this, many trans women fall into the same trap and think that cute skirt in the junior’s section is perfectly all right to wear. It’s not. Unless you occupy a demographic where dying your hair Smurf blue is all right, there is a rigid age demarcation for clothes. The real kicker is that nobody is going to tell you to your face, because female culture doesn’t lend itself toward making others feel bad about their appearance, so this symptom can persist for a long time. Secondary symptoms: constant paranoia that people are talking about you and judging you, mainly because they are.

6. Space Invader: While never specifically taught, casual observation will reveal that when sitting or walking, men take up the maximum amount of space humanly possible, while women tend to fold themselves into the most compact package, often at the expense of comfort. Think of a man on a couch. Arms spread out over the back and legs splayed open to display his crotch. Now think of a woman. Arms and elbows tucked in, and legs demurely crossed at the knees or ankles. He’s taking up at least 2.5 seats worth of space, and she’s scrunched into three quarters. Trans women easily revert to the male configuration because it’s way more comfortable, but end up looking like a lumberjack in drag no matter how pretty they might otherwise be. Secondary symptoms: more paranoia caused by weird stares and people standing rather than risk sitting next to you.

7. Up In the Sky, It’s Super-Guy!: Men are expected to jump in and solve problems first, and listen second. Women often to the opposite and provide a good ear to listen, and assistance only when requested. This can get confusing if you are used to firing off the means to solve everyone’s worries or worse, jumping into a physical situation. When you do this as a woman, other women get annoyed, because if they wanted someone to go off half cocked, they just would have told a guy about it. With men it’s worse. While they will tolerate this from other men, they really don’t so well with women, and sure as hell don’t want it from you. Secondary symptoms: feeling left out of the loop; sometimes punched.

There are probably a lot more, but these should be a good start to watch yourself for as regularly as you check your breast for lumps. These items along with the secondary symptoms may indicate you are a candidate for PTGS, unless you are naturally an insensitive asshole, and then the secondary stuff doesn’t apply so much. While not fatal, PTGS can leave you depressed and lonely, and wondering if this was all worth it. Caught in time though, a full cure is possible along with a long and happy life as the correct gender.

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