My name is Rowan. And I have paper proof, because I went to my home town to change it on Friday, October 7th. The whole trip was intense. Not just intense because public transportation can be quite a challenge for peeps like me (anxiety plus dysphoria plus OCD is such an excellent combination to have), but emotionally touching.
Memories raced through my head as I waited for the train, then my bus transit, and arrived in the town where I was born twenty-nine years ago. My mother giving birth in our house,* my childhood, the petting zoo, the adventures at my old elementary school. Nothing had changed. Most of the shops were exactly were they used to be, too.
I walked around town for a bit, wondering if I´d ever come back. The last person I knew who used to live there, embarked on their own epic adventure, to move overseas with their partner. So when I walked up the steps to town hall, where my parents first documented my existence, I drew a deep breath in – and walked towards my future.
It turns out that I was the first person who had their gender changed in my town hall – in the history of the notary who arranged my papers. I could see her hand trembling when she handed me the papers, and I wasn´t so steady myself, either. When all was done, she leaned over, looked me in the eye, gave me a very solid handshake, and winked at me.
“Here´s to a bright tomorrow“, – she said. I told her that I would make sure. The tension dissipated from my shoulders. Though my spirits were more relaxed, my body was sure to recoil from the anxiety that the traveling, and the intensity of the moment, had given me. Unfortunately I still had to travel back. While I waited for the bus, dypshoria got real bad.
I tried to pretty much just ignore everything, by which I mean the social movings around me as well as the workings of my body, until I got home – and then I snapped. The breakdown was pretty massive, I did not manage to calm down until late afternoon. I know what you think: “could this be related to your name change?”. I think it isn´t.
Intense moments, coupled with challenges such as public transportation, can cause crashes like these. Unfortunately there isn´t much I can control about my body, but when in public, this feeling of having no say about my physical reality gets worse. I´ll write about that another time. In the meantime, I have things to do. Like change my ID card.
*I don´t actually remember being born, but it was a fun fact to include.