Small Talk is the Worst

Around the holidays I end up at a lot of parties full of people I don’t know that well. Whether it be my uncle that I haven’t seen in two years or that girl my friend just started dating, there is a lot of mind-numbingly dull small talk surrounding the holidays. The worst part of it all for me at the moment is the question, “What have you been up to lately?” because the answer is “fucking nothing”. Any other response ends up needing more explanation that I want to give and way more personal information than I feel like divulging to someone I practically just met. So, I end up talking about my research into opening a cottage kitchen or the cross-stitches that I’m working on for friends.

The truth is, the only thing that I’ve been ‘up to’ is starting hormones back in September. This is a miserable conversation topic for a multitude of reasons, but it is something that has become somewhat all-consuming in my life. One reason that I hate talking about it is that this is insanely personal both emotionally and physically. People keep asking if I feel different, and I don’t really. That’s not true. There are quite a number of physical changes that are happening that I just don’t want to talk about with most people. Hell, I don’t want to talk about a lot of it with my husband. You want to know what’s different? I’m horny all the time. Like, ALL THE TIME. My appetite wavers from not-eating at all in a given day to completely ravenous, cannot make my stomach stop growling. My junk is different. I’ve lost some weight. I’m really proud of the fact that I have become competent at stabbing myself with needles (which I never thought I would be capable of). I occasionally feel the need to be active for no reason because I want to build muscle, but rarely give in to such feelings because I don’t actually like working out. I’m feeling pretty zen because I feel like I’m finally taking a step into the future that I’ve needed most of my life. I’m also pretty angsty, because puberty. But I haven’t turned into a unicorn or stumbled into some deep understanding of the universe, sorry I’m so disappointing.

The primary reason I hate talking about starting hormones is because it’s really fucking personal. This is something that simultaneously defines me at the moment and is completely superfluous to actually knowing anything about me. I would much rather people know that I prefer Picard to Kirk, or that I know how to weld, or that my dog died last May, or that my little brother joined the circus. (All of these things are true, by the way).

Being trans is in no way the most important thing about me, and I hate the idea that someone would walk away from a conversation with me knowing nothing else. I get indignant when people want to talk about my gender expression if I’m not in the mood (which is pretty much all the time), because it’s really none of their business. I don’t ask cis people about their junk, or how their spouse feels about them being cis, or other supremely invasive personal questions. I understand that you’re just curious, or you’re genuinely concerned for me and my life, but I am tired of being your token trans person. I barely understand what the hell I’m going through and I’m in the midst of living it. I’m not capable of speaking for an entire group of people- no one is. Sorry black kids that get called on in class anytime white people want a perspective from your entire community. I finally understand your pain, but from a totally surface level perspective because you are an interesting and nuanced individual that surely experiences things very differently than I do.

One day hormones won’t be new and the whole world will have gotten the memo that I go by ‘he’ now, but until then I will continue to trudge through awkward questions and invasive conversations about my gender. Just know that you’ll get a much better conversation out of me if you lead with D&D, or art, or Star Trek, or beer, or literally almost anything else in the whole world. Except the weather, fuck that.

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