Sunday, January 10, 2010

What I like to call the big itch

I can't get the thought of transitioning out of my head. Now that is not to say that I have never not thought about it till now, but now it is incessantly. Ever since I came out I thought about transitioning but my feelings towards it have greatly changed. At first I thought about transition as something that was really far away in the future, it was something I wanted eventually but not at that time, partly because of sports but partly because I was still figuring out who I was, what I wanted to become, how I saw myself and what would help achieve that vision. I then saw transition as something I wanted very much but I was not yet ready to sacrifice my participation in sports. So transition became almost a reward for my hopeful success and accomplishments in sports.
But more recently I can't stop thinking about transitioning and sports and trying to get this perfect plan on how I can have them both. Or I have been thinking about transition as the primary goal right now and sports becoming more of the distant future after transition instead of the reverse. I've been reading non-stop about other transmen and their transitions, listening to their stories on you-tube, reading up on resources, how to start the whole processes, doctors, therapists, legal requirements, surgery prices, etc... It has been addiction doing all of this, I hide when I am doing this, I pretend I am not as if I was doing something illegal making sure people don't really know how crazy I am going about this. My fiance barely knows I hide it from her because I know how much she worries about me and she knows how much reading and watching all the stuff kills me so I hide my new come obsession. I also hide it because I can pretend I am not this obsessed with transitioning and that I am still the athlete I know I am. I also hide because I am ashamed of how cowardly I am because all I did was come out and I haven't really done anything since then. I know everyone's path to their identity and through their transition is different; but I so often at times find myself wondering what good coming out did me if I have nothing to show for it. I am not trying to diminish the importance coming out and being out and open about who you are can have. But coming out has had done so much negative things for me that I can not help but feel that way.
With all I have accomplished in school and in sports, and having learned to dress more masculine and look more masculine; I still can not look into a mirror. I can't stomach what I see in the mirror. I want to resume bad habits in order to forget about transitioning for 2 more years or at least numb the pain of not, and subdue all of the self-hate and disgust that is bottled up inside of me. I've found that I have become increasingly jealous of those around me who can transition shortly after coming out, of the younger people able to transition and of those who have seemingly found solace in not transitioning. I hate myself for being jealous of them because I know it is a case of the grass is always greener on the other side.
I still love to throw, I live and breathe the hammer throw; but at the same time I can still throw after I transition. I have also come to realize that I don't want to leave track yet because of this preconceived belief that I will always regret not seeing how far I could go in athletics and that my whole career would have been a coulda, woulda, shoulda. I have accomplished a lot in sports thus far but I have always had two dreams in my life one: to figure out and become the real me, and two: to go to the Olympics. I know a lot of people dream about going to the Olympics and never go and I may be one of the people but how I will know if I don't try. But at the same time I wish I could try as a man so I could at least mention my sports accomplishments and not feel like I am lying about what I have done, or not talk about it because it would out me as trans. I already now can barely talk about it since I compete as a female, I want to compete as a man but I fear that once I do my shot at getting to the Olympics is gone.
I have also been thinking about how part of the reason I haven't transitioned is because I care way too much about what people think about me. I was at first concerned about my parents which I have now gotten over. But more so than that I have been terrified that once I choose to transition people won't see me as an athlete anymore and being an athlete is as much of my identity as being trans is. I fear people will see my transition as also my failure in sport. People may never think any of that. But in a way think all of that.
THe debate of starting to transition as soon as I return to Boston in April or waiting two more years has consumed my entire life, it is all I can think about. I am starting to wonder if anything not just a sport if anything is worth the sacrifices I have made and the potential many more to come

*sorry for the long post**


  1. I am going to ask a series of hard questions:

    Is it worth it to go to the Olympics in a body you hate? From what you've been writing, this may not be the case.

    Is the Olympics more important than your mental health?

    Is the Olympic bid a positive dream or is it a cage that keeps you from being who you know you are?

    Perhaps one thing to think about is all of our identities change as we age. I used to be a classical musician....but we're a dime a dozen and there was no way I could continue after I came out queer (lesbian to be specific). The financial penalties were fairly severe in the 1980s. So, I walked away from something I had loved, something that was at my core, so I could stop LYING about who I am.

    It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but my mental health was worth it. As a dear friend pointed out, I wasn't really walking away from something, but instead was embracing my truth that my profession actively hated. That hate wasn't worth my truth.

    I wish you the very best as you continue along your path.

  2. I've been asking myself those questions everyday. I find that I often can not come up with a solid answer to those questions. But your third question I must is the one that I would answer yes to it is a cage and a dream and a goal and an aspiration.
    I can't come up with a solid answer to what is the right choice and I probably never will.
    But I am going to start talking to a someone to try and figure it all out.


  3. I compete in Masters mens 50-54 hammer throwing, 41m with the 6k, so I encourage you to continue throwing-

    but the passion and desire to hit that "B" standard and hope you win the trials so no-one with an "A" standard mark displaces you.....sometimes USA can bring 2 throwers to the games, like Beijing, but not always....

    another point to consider is these two names:

    Stella Walsh
    Caster Semenya

    anyway, for now- keep throwing!

    Peter Van Aken

  4. Corbyn, I wish I could help you with this struggle. I hope you are getting the support you need from people who care about you as you made these decisions. You are very hard on yourself for the choices you have made, the path you are taking right now. I think you are an amazing courageous young man with a two important goals that seem to contradict each other, but both mean the world to you. I hope you can at least not beat up on yourself so much as you move through this process. You'll get where you want and need to be. I know that. Thanks for sharing your process.