I have a lot of sorting to do.

I have an underwear drawer to sort.  I have a closet to sort.  I have a bathroom to sort.  I have habits and patterns and assumptions and expectations to sort.  I have friends and relatives to sort.

I have twenty-seven years of memories to sort.

A few days ago, I took the most public step so far in my social transition and I changed the gender line on my Facebook profile from “male” to “female.”  From now on, Facebook will not misgender me: people will be prompted to post on her wall, look at what she has posted, tag her in photos.  I made a life event post out of it, and the collected well-wishing of 150 people of varying levels of closeness to me was a welcome reminder that, where I go, I do not need to go alone.

I needed that.  The self-actualization on which I embarked a few months ago is the single most terrifying thing I have ever done.  A dozen awkward courtships, becoming an atheist, admitting my disinterest in medical school, moving 1600 kilometers away from my family, enduring being grilled by professors until they were impressed enough to turn my nascent MSc into a Ph.D. in waiting, learning the hard way that one of Mom’s six siblings is too toxic a person to have in my life any more than absolutely necessary, recognizing my autism without a formal diagnosis—none of that compares to the thrumming, thrilling existential terror before me now.

I am not even talking about how I am a trans woman of color, and the biggest protection I have from the world’s desire to murder women like me is an ambiguous complexion and a well-off background.

Continue reading “Sorting”