I have an announcement to make...
I am thinking very seriously about gender reassignment.
If it makes you feel less confusion on that point, you weren't wrong. I do identify as a woman.
I'm not uncomfortable in my female body.
I'm uncomfortable in society.
I tried to make it work, I really did. But it's impossible!
And now, after all these years, I am becoming invisible, the way older women become invisible.
I am fading, and if I don't do something drastic and fast, I am going to disappear completely.
Think about it: It's genius, isn't it?
When I emerge as a man, I will still be in my prime.
I will look distinguished.
I will go to a bar by myself and have a beer. Someone will strike up a conversation for the sheer pleasure of conversation.
A lifetime of adventure and travel will make me one of the most interesting men at the bar!
I used to believe it was possible for a woman to be friends with men, because I was interested in being friends with men.
Come to find out, men are not interested in being friends with women. It either confuses them, complicates their lives unnecessarily, or makes them feel neutered, as though my desire to be friends means I am not attracted to them enough to want to destroy our relationship and devastate the people we love.
Like so many things for women, friendship with men is impossible.
As a girl, I grew up being told that I needed to have an education and a career. But as soon as I got a career, there was all this pressure to have children.
There is no logical time to have children.
If you do it when you're 16 or 18, you'd rather be out having fun than stuck at home with demanding babies and toddlers.
When you're 25, you're trying to find an inroad to a career.
When you're in your thirties, you may be saddled with job responsibilities that you've worked hard to prove that you can handle.
There is never a good time to have a child.
I had my baby when I was almost 38, but I was lucky, because for many women 38 is physically too late.
Like I said, it's impossible: the whole being-a-woman-and-having-a-career-and-family thing.
I don't know how other women with kids manage to hold down full-time jobs. I was lucky to work freelance from home for many years.
These days, however, I'm just writing and not getting paid for it.
I used to feel guilty about not earning money or having a job, but I have worked through that particular strain of guilt because I do clean the house and buy the groceries and make dinner and manage our finances and plan our vacations and clothe and feed and ferry our child, etc., etc., etc.
So, there really is nothing to feel guilty about, except that we divide the labor of family life along traditional gender roles. That seems really lame, but the alternative seems incredibly difficult if not actually impossible.
In a few years, my son will go to college, and there will be less reason for to my be at home.
Speaking of impractical and having no value, I continue to write blog posts and work on my manuscript--that same manuscript I've been working on for nearly four years.
Nobody's ever going to publish it. Why? Because it's a contemporary adult novel about a girl and her horse. There is no such genre as that, and therefore it doesn't really exist--much like I won't exist for much longer if I continue to live as a woman.
Don't get me started on publishing and genres. Another writer has written eloquently about the perverse human need to stuff everything into tidy little boxes, without which a thing cannot be properly understood or identified.
I'll just say this: Who is the most successful author of all time, with the possible exception of Shakespeare?
Answer: J.K. Rowling.
And what is J.K. Rowling's nom de plume when she writes adult murder mysteries?
Answer: Robert Galbraith.
Even J.K. Rowling (whose original pen name tells you nothing about her gender) chooses to publish under a man's name.
I can guess what J.K.Rowling's advice would be to me as a writer: Man up.
Okay, let's do it! I'm ready! Sign me up! Quickly, I'm fading!
I want to be gay with men and friends with women.
I wonder if my men friends will make me feel bad about wanting to be friends with women. There might be rules against that kind of thing. Will I have the temerity to shirk those rules?
YES. Of course I will.
Women friends are the greatest thing since sports bras, and before that, they were the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Women friends, hear me: Nothing is going to change except my gender. We will still be friends, you and I, only I will be more visible than you and more respected and more powerful.
Who knows? Maybe I'll become a humorist or a commentator.
I mean, a female commentator, blech!, who cares; but a man...?
I could totally rock commenting.
Imagine me, a man, saying something like, "Despite popular belief, feminism isn't about man-hating, bra-burning, screaming, or angry females; it's about equality."
YEAH. And everybody would be like, WHOA, did you hear what Barmack just said?
People will pay attention!
In a few years, you'll be able to Google "Barmack" and there will be more pictures of me than of my cousin Erik!
Yes, I know that's over-reaching and being a man is not that simple.
It's not like you become a man and you get all these perks and people admire you and pay you a thousand dollars just to cut down a tree.
But I do know that being a woman is just about impossible.
If you want me, I'll be the distinguished gentleman holding forth in the bar... talking loudly, being witty, and making new friends.