by: Mar Curran
I am a transman. I am on hormone replacement therapy as a means of altering the body nature seems to have intended for me to have. I may opt for some sort of surgeries to further this goal in the future (though if you ask me which you’re probably either rude or my doctor, in which case, I might feel weird about you reading this, Dr. Anna). To most people it may seem like I’m investing a lot of time and money over the course of my life into changing the form genetics and a love of burritos has given me. This is why most people are surprised to learn I am actually in love with my body.
I grew up very self conscious of my chubby adolescent physique. A lot of cruel taunts were thrown my way, I couldn’t live up to my father’s expectations of me being a great athlete like my brothers, I was too shy to make many friends, and I drowned my depression stemming from my brother’s death in Ho-Hos and afternoons of PBS viewership.
Basically, I was Michelle Obama’s worst nightmare. As my peers went out biking together I stayed inside and read books. When they went swimming in the summer I was so ashamed of my pudge that I instead ate an ice cream cone and played Pokemon by myself. Not realizing this is actually a common story for many people who grow up to be extremely cool, intelligent, and semi-well-adjusted people like myself, I saw no point in liking my protoplasm. I was boring, fat, and lazy. What was there to like?
In high school I made the executive decision that I did not give a fuck if people did not like my life, my body, my mind, or anything else the government saw as my possession. After reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens (hey, whatever works) I decided I was tired of going to sleep hating myself and feeling worthless. I made a choice to turn the narrative in my mind into a positive one, and it worked. I started to like who I was, and made choices that reflected what an awesome person I wanted to be in the present and future.
A big part of loving my body was seeing a post (on Livejournal, I believe, because I was a teenager and that’s where teenagers congregate online) that has influenced a large part of my thinking about my body. Some people look at their hands and think, look at how gangly and large and pale they are! How embarrassing! But I look at my hands and think, these are the things that make my dinner for me to eat. These hands hold the hands of those I love. These hands pick up my baby sister when she falls and cries. They are instruments of beauty in my life.
This principle can be applied to any part of my body, because I have tried it for every square inch. My toes help me balance, my lower back is the perfect place for my significant others to rest their hands when we’re out with friends, and I can balance a bowl of chili on my rotund belly if I put a little effort into it. Not to mention, some people are even attracted to this body by some good fortune! My body is utilitarian and a masterpiece at the same time. Nice one, evolution and/or deity!
When I realized I was trans*, I felt like loving my body might be impossible. After all, saying I wanted to appear as male in society meant I had to reject my curves, my long eyelashes, my breasts, and the genitalia people saw as making me a woman, right? But my identity is my own. If there’s something I don’t particularly like about myself, I should only change it because I’m not happy with it. I can’t please every person with an opinion and access to the internet (or the courage to yell at me on the street). I’d rather die knowing I made myself feel happy over making John Q. Doe who I knew for half a second in the span of all my years think I was worthy of his time.
At the end of the day, there are always going to be people who see me as a woman (coughassholescough) or view my weight as being a negative character trait. You know what? Fuck them. I am an amazing person and my body is a vehicle for communicating that amazingness to the world. If they can’t deal with the fact that I use male pronouns but don’t bind my chest every day and have a friendly relationship with my vagina, they are dumb. If they have a problem with my butt looking bootylicious, they are the ones missing out, not me. Human beings are dazzling and complex creatures, and I am one of them. I refuse to miss out on life because I don’t fit into a false narrative about how I should look.
So take that, haters.
Mattis “Mar” Curran is a trans/queer rights activist and community organizer; he is on the boards of Video Action league, Advocate Loyola, the Queer intercollegiate Alliance, and works with GetEQUAL. As spoken word artist, he has read at each All The Writers I Know event. He studies Communications and Women’s Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Curran likes beer and cats.