Silly Books and Anime Boys

I used to have this obsession with anime, and not because I thought it was “cool”.

Well, when I was a lot younger I did think that. I, too, wanted to shoot fireballs out of my hand and learn martial arts so well I could teleport (??). My dreams were eventually shattered, sad to say.

But there was something else too. By the time I was in college, the smoldering fire of that childhood obsession had hardened down into a dark, carbon core. All that was left was the bare essence of what had been, and now, having transitioned, I finally understand it.

If you’re a trans woman, you might get it. You might have looked at the androgynous, anime pretty boys and found something in you stirred by them. I wanted their long hair, their graceful bodies. I especially liked the meek ones, who needed men or big sister characters to help them make it through the world. Also the pretty ‘bad boys’, like the character Sasuke from Naruto. I liked the female characters too, often, but I was too steeped in misogyny to want to emulate them just yet. These anime boys represented a femininity that could be acceptable somehow, somewhere. It was a small window into a world where I didn’t have to be the person I was made to be.

And to say I was different from myself now would be an understatement. I was six feet tall (a little bit shorter since HRT), had oddly cut, short hair (enforced by my parents who would get emotional and angry if I grew it out), and possessed a wardrobe hand-selected by my mother from preppy men’s clothing stores. I didn’t care much about clothes until I transitioned, and when I did it was always, in retrospect, furtive attempts to add color or something feminine to my wardrobe. All of these things bothered me and made me feel like I was strangled. I was from a dusty, bible belt town, though, not the sort of place where I would even get an inkling that I could be trans.

I was so overcome by misogyny and fear of the people who raised me, that I buried deeply in my mind the times I drunkenly told a friend ‘I want to be a pretty girl’ over the phone and wanted to buy women’s clothing my freshman year of college. It would take about six years for me to deal with those feelings.

And along with the anime, there were the books I read, and the fanfiction. Usually slashfic or romance novels about gay relationships between men, once again with a lither, more ‘feminine’ one that I identified with. I wasn’t gay, though, I tried that and found it distasteful. I was attracted to men, but I didn’t want to be with them as a man. I didn’t know what to do with that. I just tried to be with girls, and found myself hating being a ‘straight guy’ too.

Being a woman makes sense. It was like a game of Clue. God was sitting on the other side, and I described everyone who it could be, avoiding the least convenient answer. And finally, the last tab standing was her. Me. The woman in the black shorts in the apartment with the cats.

All this is to say, think about why you like what you like, and who you want to be. You never know, you could turn out to be someone else some day.

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