Showering used to be a rather normal part of my life. Like most people, I´d get up in the morning, without being too aware of my body, just park my ass in the cubicle, lather, rinse and exit. At that time, gender dysphoria was stored away far into the depths of my psyche, nicely secured by other challenges I had to face.
To tell you the truth, I think dysphoria had been bubbling below the surface of my awareness for a long time, mixed with a lot of anger and grief, which at that time I thought were the product of my past. In 2013, the tight seal that had been protecting me from old memories and gender confusion, blew up in my face, causing an enormous mess.
My tendency towards compulsive behavior tripled. I freaked out over just about anything. Drops of water on the floor. Sticking a key in a keyhole. Kitchen utensils that reminded me of the ones my dad used to have. And most of all, an increasing, incredibly uncomfortable awareness of my body, to the point where I did not want to touch it.
If I had known then what I know now – that my rather controlling nature did not just stem from bad past experiences but also from gender incongruence – the whole experience might have been easier for me. Maybe, I could have been easier on my body, maybe I could have skipped the relentless panic attacks and urges to self-harm.
Maybe. But what´s done is done. In 2014, thanks to Stella Carlin (Ruby Rose), it finally dawned on me that the intense grief and loathing I experienced in relation to my body might not be tied to the past after all. When I moved to a new city and sought out the transgender community there, everything made sense. These people understood me.
To this day, showering remains a very upsetting experience. Now and then I do have good days, when my confidence is higher – increasingly thanks to the testosterone. Those moments make the experience that much more enjoyable – a chance to unwind, and to forget about the stress and grief that dysphoria does tend to bring about.