Illustration: Pedro Nekoi
This column first appeared at John Paul Brammer Hola daddy Newsletter you can subscribe to on Substack.
So I realized I’m a guy. Yay. Unfortunately, I’m also British.
I’m thinking about being postmenopausal before getting testosterone. I am fat and look very feminine. Can I flirt with gay men? Will any of them want me back? My tits weigh about two kilos. I am loved, but given the weight and surgery, will I ever be wanted again? The gap between the desirable woman I was ten years ago and the invisible, never seen as a man The current self is considerable. I sometimes wonder if that isn’t the case crossingbecause at least as a fat woman I would keep the only “hot” features I have (the aforementioned tits. People love them. Not me)
I guess I’m just scared and alone and want to know that I’m worth something.
Search for value
I’m sorry to hear you’re British. I’ll do my best to look past it, but I appreciate your patience as I work through my ingrained biases.
As to the crux of your issue, I should note above that I’m not trans, and I’m sure aspects of the journey you’re on would go over my head. If anything I say here doesn’t serve you, please attribute it to my ignorance. However, I see a lot in your letter that I can relate to.
Like most people, I want to be wanted. Being wanted feels great, especially as a person who has always felt excluded from beauty. I grew up with a pretty sister and two pretty cousins who I went everywhere with and people would stop them on the street and ask if they were all sisters because they were so beautiful. Meanwhile, I stood back from Walmart in my XXL Pokémon shirt and wondered why God had allowed me to be born. I couldn’t even enter Claire’s! Terrible.
This feeling of ugliness led me to engage in many behaviors that some would describe as “destructive.” I fasted, I stripped myself down to skin and bones, and guess what? I got a lot of positive comments from people back then, along with the occasional “Are you sick?” question. I was dying, so to speak, but that didn’t seem to matter! I got what I wanted, albeit at great personal cost.
I think, SV, when we do that, when we prove that we are willing to harm ourselves in order to be validated by other people, we send ourselves a dangerous message. We say: “Other people’s opinions are more valuable than your well-being” or even: “Other people are more valuable than you.” And things like that stick in your mind! This makes you trust yourself less and get annoyed with yourself more.
When this fundamental relationship is damaged, it affects absolutely everything else in our lives. Yes, SV, it is possible to transform yourself into something that other people might see more value in, but if it comes at the expense of your own needs, if it requires you to deny your true self, then it’s no longer worth it . And then you have to think about whether you are prioritizing strangers over the person you have to take care of every day (you).
And look, I know. It’s not as easy as saying, “Screw everyone else, I have to be myself,” and it’s not like we can or should completely stop doing things that make us more attractive to others. This stuff is complicated. Yes, it can bring us joy and boost our self-confidence when we, for example, dress up really nice, take some hot photos or go to the gym to get a nice breast pump (a personal favorite of mine. Person to person, me I’m here to tell you that you can have beautiful chests too.
But ultimately we have to realize that we weren’t put on earth to cater to other people’s desires, and you can’t spend your whole life worrying about whether other people want you. Is it a factor? Yes! This much is inevitable, and I won’t pretend otherwise. But there are more important things than being conventionally attractive.
And who knows? You are seeking a huge change that will bring you closer to your truth. While it will present unique challenges, it may well open up avenues of love, expression, and confidence that were previously inaccessible to you. What if you discover new things about yourself to appreciate? What if it causes you to look at yourself in a completely different way? Something to consider!
As for flirting with gays, you see, I’ve been a gay for a long time, and I still can’t predict how gays behave, aside from the general response to a new Kylie Minogue song and general financial habits, the one about “In debt but with hot pictures in Mykonos.” If in doubt, just say “Poppers”. This always elicits a little giggle or two.
In any case, you should realize, SV, that there is a good chance that we only have one chance to survive. One thing I have always admired about the trans community is the realization that while there is much in this world that we cannot control, there is also self-determination. That within each of us lies the ability to create a future that holds more happiness, more truth, and more beauty than the one that has been forced upon us. Everyone, regardless of their identity, should embrace this.
And I hope that as you move forward, you are able to prove to yourself that you are willing to submit to the approval of strangers. Yes, consent can feel good, but it can also be limiting. Sometimes good things exceed other people’s expectations.
With much love,
Originally published August 29, 2023.
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