Where I'm from, school dances don't really... happen. we just have "little prom" and "big prom", little prom being after the 8th year of elementry school (when you're around 14) and big prom being at the end of high school (around the age of 18), the big prom is the one where the school rents out a venue and it's treated a lot more seriously, right?

So, I actually managed to convince my mom not to make me wear a dress for little prom, right? I had a slightly oversized suit jacket that matched with my fancy plack pants, and a red, loose dress shirt that was more femanine leaning, but the best I could get knowing what size I was. Getting there at all was... kind of a huge ordeal though? I remember mom was extremely frustrated with me the entire time we were shopping around, complaining to the people working at the store about my behavure behind my back (that I only heard because I was listening in from my dress room). She didn't understand why I was being so picky about my suit jacket and so pissy about their suggestions. I tried on so, so many but, again, for the size I was working with, nearly all of them were explicitly for women (meaning excentuating the waist, which for women looks flattering but causes dysphoria for me), or made with femininity in mind (if they were'nt actively making me look curvy, they'd have details or patterns or frills that were decidedly not the look I was going for).

I guess the worst of it wasn't even mom who didn't understand I wanted to look like a boy even though I'd come out to her as one earlier that year, The worst was when she realised I was binding my chest. I wasn't doing anything dangerous, like tape, but I DID have two pairs of sports bras on (bad idea, that usually makes my chest look bigger instead of smaller), with the elastic band brought up and over my chest so it'd actually constrict it somewhat. It never impaired my breathing, I still bind like that to this day, but I was desperate when looking for something to wear to little prom so I wore Two sports bras like that, overcompensating for my insecurity and trying to give myself some kind of confidence in my appearance. Didn't have as much of an effect on my silhouette, honestly, but it sure as shit had an effect on mom when she noticed. I can't say it's unfounded? In her eyes it must've looked a lot more self harmful, but she kind of... didn't have the appropriate reaction I think. Kind of whisper-yelled at me and tried to ask me what the fuck and why the fuck while also trying not to cause a scene publically. I kind of just avoided her questions, even when she asked me to stop binding. She never brought it up since.

Should I be happy about that? I can't tell. Like, should I be glad this can of worms didn't exploded in my face? Or should I be disappointed that my own mother seems disinterested at best at my relationship with my own body?


Big prom was a bit different. Mom knew from the get-go I wouldn't want a dress, though she was a lot more supportive this time around, being the one who convinced me to get a new suit jacket instead of wearing the old one again. Like a lot of things, though, it was kind of a thinly vailed attempt to make me more femanine again. In getting a new dress shirt, too, I wanted a different look, a different vibe, if you will. Blue instead of red. A darker blue, to match with the blue streak I'd get in my hair. So, we went shopping again.

I found a new size suit jacket much more easily (actual men's sizes too), and new pants lickity split. The problem came with the shirt that'd be underneath the jacket. At the mall we went to, there was a store for "men's office wear", essentially. Proper, fancy looking dress shirts, all neatly stacked with subtle, neat little patterns on them, you've probably seen a thousand of them. But I didn't have a single dress shirt like that. God, I was stoked to finally get one. I basically ran up to in front of the store with my mom and sister in toe like "look!! this place is bound to have what I'm looking for!!" and they both kind of just.. squinted at it. Sis didn't like the look of the store. Mom thought I wouldn't find anything that looks good OR that's in my size. "How about we look here, instead?" my mom moreso demanded rather than asked, as her and my sister were already walking to the store across from the one I wanted to look in. "Aphrodite" was the name of the shop. A literal goddess of femininity and beauty, that they were taking me to in hopes to make me wear something that'd make me look how I was Supposed to look in their eyes.

And I didn't think it looked good, and I didn't think it'd fit with the jacket, but mom and sis insisted it was the closest thing we'd find to what I actually wanted, as if what I wanted was somehow unreachable, and we bought the dress shirt. It was blue, but it was loose. The sleeves were long, and bunched up uncomfortably under a jacket. Made me look horrendously womanly when tucked into my pants, how I wanted to wear the dress shirt. My sis essentially just told me to suck it up.

Only after I complied with what THEY wanted me to wear, did they let me go into the store I knew would have what I was looking for. Within minutes I found what I wanted, the store clerk found me my size, while mom and my sister stood by idly, hardly glancing at what the store had to offer, they didn't even want to give it a CHANCE. I showed them what I picked out, and they said it wouldn't look good. When I wanted to try it on, they said "sure, so you'll see how bad it'll look". I tried to ignore that, ignore all their backhandedness and pushiness, and in the changing room, jesus. I actually felt like myself. I looked like a complete nerd mind you, collar buttoned up all the way to my neck, but I looked like ME. A clean shaven idiot who'd rather die than leave his shoes untied. The kind of guy you could imagine would go to prom on his own just because the didn't know any other gay guys. The kind of guy who actually smiled at his reflection genuinely, for the first time in ages, because he didn't look like a woman anymore.

I stepped outside, happy to be seen, hoping to be heard, and they just said it looked bad. No particular reason why, just didn't look right. I knew that they knew, they knew I didn't wwant to look like a woman, and they saw that, and they didn't like that. Hardly a glance, and they decided I should wear what they cut out for me. The store clerk, however quiet that old man was, seemed like he had more confused sympathy for me than my own family did when I went back to the dressing room with tears in my eyes. Yeah, I cried. I don't think it could've been helped. I'm not ashamed of it, either, I earned those bitter tears after a day of what felt like constant baratement and being pushed and pulled into a box of poison. They could swim in it, they were immune, what was poison to me was water for them, clean and refreshing and normal. For me it's anything but, sufforating and uncomfortable and rotting me from the inside out. Thank god I convinced mom to buy that jacket for me anyway. Thank god.

Thank god because when I got home and tried it with the suit jacket and tuxedo pants properly, it looked fantastic. I looked like I actually knew how to dress myself. And it turns out, I did! Because the dress shirt mom and my sister picked out looked like garbage with my suit jacket, just as I knew it would. They only listened when the evidance was staring them in the face, passive-agressively tapping his foot with crossed arms waiting for their long-overdue apology for doubting my own snese of style and self expression. My sis didn't really apologise but mom did, though she only cared about the prospect that I could've looked bad because of her, not that she actively made me more insecure. Oh well.

... But maybe that's what sucks most of all. She's not as actively transphobis as my radfem sister is, but she's so much more... apathetic to my pain.

She was the one that taught me about my body the most when I was a kid. I remember being like 10 and really looking forward to puberty because me and my sister had this "guidebook for puberty: for girls" that mom got us, and she used it to explain stuff like periods and breast growth and hair growth, and it was all safe and non-sexual and supportive to the point I didn't see anything wrong with hitting puberty, I was STOKED for it because I was so happy to be growing up, I didn't wanna be stuck as a little kid for my whole life because I was babied by my sister and my cousins CONSTANTLY, and...

And puberty came and went. And it passed. And I'm an adult now, and when I look at myself in the mirror, I still see that same baby faced child. I never grew up physically the way I needed to. I think I was around 11 or 12 when, at some point, I listed through that book again and thought "... that's it? That's all puberty is?" There was this ache and disappointment and unease I wasn't ready for, and any further transformation and metamorphasis I could try to look forward to wasn't there. This was it. This is what my body is now. And it's a kind of existential horror to be stuck in the body you thought you would've outgrown ten years ago. And though I'm looking forward to my transition, I can't help but be scared that it'll be... odd somehow. Unfitting of me again.

Almost like it's a taught fear. They taught me to fear further growth. They taught me to fear picking what I wanted to look like dispite it not being what they want. They TAUGHT me to fear my natural need for masculinity. And I don't know how to un-learn that. The best I can do is go through with my transition even if that paranoid little voice in my head is asking if I'll regret it. If it's better to just stay i the poison because it's familiar, because I could get used to it, because I already drank some of it while drowning and the saying goes "you might as well lick the plate".

Fuck that. I'm getting an antidote. I don't care if I have to wait three more fucking years for it. I need a change.