Finding Hope in Unexpected Places

Finding Hope in Unexpected Places

Thinking back to my early days in transition, all I had to look forward to was shot day.

Despite my fear of needles, getting my T shot was the sole highlight of my week because it meant that I was getting closer to the person I wanted everyone to see. With the way everyone described their testosterone experience, I thought changes would happen quickly. Which is what I had hoped for since I was not physically blessed with masculine features.

As with all things, unfortunately, second puberty did not happen overnight. It didn’t help that I was deathly afraid of parents finding out that I was on hormones as well so I haven’t had the courage to go to the barber yet. During this time, I didn’t have any friends to lean on or to reaffirm that I was a man whether or not I physically looked like one. Back then, I didn’t really expect people to just respect my gender identity walking around with long hair and a voice that betrayed me. Everywhere I went, I would get referred to as she/her and called by my birth name. Feeling hopeless in my situation, I couldn’t do anything else other than endure it and hope testosterone will do its work.

It was November 7th, 2014 and my first month on testosterone just around the corner. As a small treat to myself, I had purchased VIP tickets to go to Watsky’s All You Can Do concert in New York City. Being out in public for the first time ever, I’d be surrounded by many fans and I would also get to meet Watsky himself. Knowing that, I figured that enough was enough; I delayed it for too long and I wanted him to see the real me. Swallowing my fears, Islowly stumbled my way to a local barber shop. Despite the confused look on the barber’s face, he attempted to scare me off saying that he will give me a man’s haircut. I told him that it would be fine and, with a slight hesitation in his movements, he turned on his clippers.

When he finished his work and held up the mirror, I was wide-eyed with joy and thanked the barber for his work. At first, I felt weird because I never had my thick hair shorter than shoulder-length. I knew my mother would never approve but I didn’t care; the damage was done. Alight with newfound confidence, I rushed home to get ready for the concert.

After hours of waiting on line outside the venue, I managed to get in and go to the VIP room along with some other fans. As part of the VIP poetry performance, we received autographed posters with our names on it. When it was my turn to receive one, he smiled at me and asked what my name was.

Fearing the worst, I managed to croak out an answer: “Marcel.” I was still up in the air with names during this time.

I was expecting to be looked at weird, possibly even asked “No really, what’s your name?”. Since most people did, what else could I have expected?

What happened next blew my mind — he smiled back, asking me how to spell Marcel so he could write it on the poster and then proceeded to have a small conversation with me about the New York weather before moving on. I went to my seat, wondering if that really happened or if I was merely dreaming. After the VIP poetry show, he stayed behind for a picture to chat with his fans.  I went up to take a picture with him, telling him a bit about my story as a transgender man and thanking him for being such an inspiration. Having my gender identity respected was all I’ve wanted and he’s done that no matter how I looked. I wouldn’t forget this evening — the orange/purple wristband that I received there would make sure of that.

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Me (1 month on T) and Watsky [November 8th, 2014]

Two years later, I still haven’t.

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Watsky and me (1 year, 8 months on T) [June 14th, 2016]

I went to his book reading on my birthday (June 14th, 2016), which also happened to be the day his book ” How To Ruin Everything” came out. Waiting hours in line after the show was worth it. Thank you for giving me hope when I really needed it, Watsky.

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