Coming to Grips

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All my life I’ve been a creative person. That has manifested itself in music, art, but mostly in the realm where I feel I do my best work, writing. If you’ve read my writing it’s your prerogative to disagree, but it’s the thing that comes easiest to me and the thing that I believe I do in a unique voice.

Or at least I used to believe that.

Since beginning to transition 15 months ago I’ve written exactly one story, a one-page thing about answering the phone when maybe you shouldn’t have. I typed it on a typewriter, which meant no editing, and I thought it was okay. But when I read it back I could see that I’d written it from the male perspective. That was disappointing.

But as I’ve said here before, my natural inclinations are dry and neglected and unnurtured. Those natural inclinations, were they healthy, would have made me write the story from a female perspective without giving it any thought.

Which leads me to the problem that I’m trying to come to grips with. Writing. The one thing that’s never been a problem for me. The single thing in my life that comes so easily and naturally that I’ve thought maybe it was what I was meant to do. Insomuch as I can believe something like that, anyway. I don’t put much stock in fate.

And so I’ve only written that one lonely piece, but maybe reading it kind of scared me, because I haven’t typed anything “literary” since. I feel like I don’t know what my writing voice is anymore. I don’t relate to a lot of the things I’ve written in the past, but there they are, with my old name plastered all over them.

I don’t know what to do with that past, that writing. I don’t want to change the name on any of it. I feel like that was my name when I wrote it, so that’s who wrote it, and it should stand as it is.

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But is that who wrote it?

Haven’t I always felt like what I did, what I said, everything about me, was kind of a ruse? That name — I’m not disgusted by it or someone who never wants to hear it. I don’t look at it as a “dead name,” as many trans people do. It’s just the name I was saddled with. I never liked it, it never felt right coming out of my mouth. It’s always embarrassed me.

So why wouldn’t I change the name on those books? I’m still proud of them, as slight as they may be. I still claim them as my own. You can see my conundrum, right?

But the old books aren’t even the issue that I’m struggling with. The real issue is, what do I do with the nearly-finished memoir of my life as a musician? Do I go back through that and try to de-dude it? If it’s even possible, is that what I want?

I’ve been working on that beast on and off for many years. When I finish it, I’m going to want to put my name on it, Hannah Phillips. But then there will be a whole lot of disconnect going on with the story.

Ayin asked if I was going to write about being trans in the book. That certainly wasn’t the plan when I started it. The aim was a book about being an unsuccessful musician. But maybe it makes sense now. I just can’t shake the feeling that it would be distracting, wedging a trans storyline into a book that was never meant to include it.

Not to mention it would require reworking the entire stroy. Which I’ve already done and wouldn’t be excited about doing again.

So I don’t know. I’m still here in in-between-land, which is understandable, but identifying it and understanding it doesn’t make it any less discouraging.

Not that I’m discouraged in general. I’m not. Life is great. I’m happy. I have about 5% of the stress I used to have, for a lot of different reasons. It’s just this thing. This part of me. It’s a drag that it’s so up in the air and I’m not sure which direction to take it.



  1. “…what do I do with the nearly-finished memoir of my life as a musician?”

    Hey Hannah. If I was in your place I’d continued writing my memoir as a woman without de-dudeing the existing part of the book and explained what happend in a prologue. It would kick”my” memoir in the ass and would make it even better.

    By the way I haven’t yet read alot of your writings here, but they are awesome and gonna read them all.


    • You’re right. 🙂 I talked it over with my partner yesterday and I think I’m going to kick the book in the ass and give it another run through from front to back. Thanks for the kind words.

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