Response to my therapist

By Edie T


The 1990s is all about bears in bows, apparently. My mother purchases my older sisters the Cherished Teddies: Little Sparkles figurines. Each figurine corresponds to a different birthstone: my sisters are February amethyst and May emerald. As to not leave me out, my mother buys mine, also. April’s bear has a blank expression on her face, with one hand reached out. She wears a pearlescent white bow on her head, and a necklace with a diamond heart pendant. She is precious. Don’t let your dad see that, says my mother. So, I keep it on the corner of my bedroom windowsill, behind the curtain. On display instead is a bright red toy car, a Mercedes Benz. I don’t care about cars.


Barbie, Sindy, Shelly, Polly Pocket, Betty Spaghetty. Plastic dolls are not cuddly at all, but I quite like them anyway. My proximity to dolls is under threat, because my older sisters are going to outgrow them any day now. I must move swiftly on.


Video games are replacing toys. Pokémon Crystal Version on the Game Boy Color provides me with the great thrill of being able to catch Pokémon as a girl for the first time ever. The gameplay difference is minor: a couple of pixels resembling pigtails, rather than a couple of pixels resembling a backwards cap. No one can even tell that I’m not playing as a boy. The squashed avatar walking around on the screen is barely recognisable as a person, let alone a girl. This means everything to me.


I’m an 8-year-old child, and Section 28 is getting repealed. This means absolutely nothing to me. VI
Kids at school have been calling me gay since before I can remember. At first, I didn’t know what it meant, I just knew that it was bad.


I am a teenager hoovering the living room for my mother, when she asks me if I am, in fact, gay. I tell her maybe – which is a more appropriate answer than I even realise.


It’s 2010. Human rights campaigners are reassuring gay teenagers by saying that it gets better, eventually.


I don’t know if it’s getting better. X
I made it to university alive, and I am using every possible assignment as an opportunity to talk about gender, just because it’s a benign interest of mine.


I still don’t care about cars, and I will never learn how to drive. XII
My eldest sister is raising children. My gay guy boyfriend and I are thinking about buying a Nintendo Switch.


It’s 2020. The entire world is indoors, and I’m playing Pokémon (as a girl) once again. My gay guy boyfriend and I continue to rent a flat by the sea with single-glazed windows, no central heating, and no oven. My sisters both have mortgages.


I used to be a guncle, but now I’m a trauntie. I’m sure the kids will figure it out. XV
It has been 1 month since I came out as trans. I get my ears re-pierced and realise that I don’t even have a gay ear anymore. I feel incredibly underwhelmed.


It has been 2 months since I came out as trans. I’m still growing out an ill-advised mullet and wearing a backwards cap. I feel incredibly overwhelmed.


It has been 3 months since I came out as trans. My breasts are budding. My gay guy boyfriend can’t decide if they’re creepy or if they’re freaky. I do still love him.


It has been 6 months since I came out as trans. I can’t imagine getting in the sea this summer, because the summertime is famously transphobic. I am undergoing the early rounds of laser hair removal, and I casually rip the fried black hairs out of my face between treatments. For the best results, the technicians advise me against tanning. I welcome any excuse to not leave the house.


It has been 9 months since I came out as trans. I wear a skirt in public in the daylight for the first time, and I think I must be some sort of gender revolutionary. In reality, I am just another woman on her way to bottomless brunch and day-drunk karaoke. I can nearly tie my hair in pigtails, at this point.


I throw Chloe the teddy bear out, finally. I am decluttering, because I’m separating from my gay guy boyfriend. I’m a woman, and it turns out that’s not his thing. Dating apps are replacing video games.


So-called Daddy Doms love to send me (unsolicited) messages on dating apps calling me Little Girl. I’m not even into that, I swear.


Cishet men in their mid-20s love to send me (unsolicited) messages on dating apps calling me Mummy despite that being a biological impossibility for multiple complex reasons.


I’m obsessed with putting the tag that says I don’t want children on my dating app profile, as though I’m not already barren.


As of this evening, both of my sisters are engaged to be married. I just went on a second date for the first time in my life, which is kind of my transgender equivalent.


I get in the sea for the first time in two years, and it’s a huge personal victory. The most un/important and extra/ordinary act of all time. My sea-swimming is brief and unremarkable, but it fills me with a

pure sense of achievement. I am graceless, but joyful. I know I’m not a strong swimmer, but the sea is still sparkling, anyway.


Chronically online trans girls keep buying the same cuddly toy from Ikea, for reasons I don’t know. It’s a shark.


I am a grown-up woman, and I tell my therapist when he asks that no, I don’t own any cuddly toys, actually. I resist the urge to tell him how I don’t even own any adult toys, either. I explain to my therapist that I do have large throw cushions on my bed, though, as if that’s the same thing. I occasionally let them spoon me at night – if they’re lucky.


You are a young child, and you have so many cuddly toys. Your mother – my eldest sister – also lets you have guns and swords and rubbish trucks. Though you are brutish, you’re also sensitive in equal measure, and I like this about you. Your most prized possession is a glittering technicolour jewellery box, filled with shiny trinkets. You keep them safe. When I see you with your treasure chest, I wonder if maybe my sister learned something from me. It’s probably just where the culture’s at now.


I celebrate my first tranniversary mere months before my 29th birthday. I realise that I am at once the oldest and the youngest that I have ever been. Transitioning is the most mature decision I have ever made, and the most childlike experience I have ever had.

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