ترانسات Transat

الجندر جندرنا

Journey of the Shadow


By: Nicole Samaha


Translated by: Ivy Nasser

Edit by: Lilliane Elkady

Artwork: Nour Gendy


Happiness, my child, is to not know the difference between things, because therein lies the sorrows of humans, it is enough to know about its appearances, because you will not gain from learning their essence except for sadness and depression. Those were the words my grandmother attempted to ease my inner turmoil with

I replied: “Grandma I feel that I am just a shadow, I don’t understand the nature of what covers my truth, that it is the only thing that is causing me to be sad and depressed, and maybe this is a precursor to all those great sorrows you tell me about. Don’t look at me like that! I know that you wish to throw that drink besides you in my face to shut me up, because sadly you wouldn’t understand my words because of the great difference between words and experience, I don’t want to get to the point where I’d wish that you’d experience feeling like you are just a shadow, and unfortunately grandma, my soul is restless, and my bitterness is great, and that goes against all your wishes”

Unaware I woke up in a house and a family and a chaotic system that controls me and everyone else, It was impossible for me to process the idea of transition, I gave in to getting rid of it, and I gave in to fate. My house was warm and my family was big, I was the youngest, and everything belonged to them and nothing belonged to me, I once read on a yellow wall that there was no rest for transients in a home, and I knew later that there was also no rest for a trans person in public, and when I confronted my future, I realized that there was no rest for a trans person in the world whatsoever, I bitterly laughed then I became conscious, no one will ever know why the maker made us different, and I won’t tell you about the stones that get thrown at us, not for a crime any of us committed but for being trans, and from that cruelty we’ve developed a sense of intuition, that allows any trans person to easily differentiate between a good person and the ‘stone carrier’

I went to a war, and it wasn’t like a war confronting society, but it was just escape, I kept running for years and years to get to where and what I am right now. In my journey I relied on my gut, it determined the paths I took, and the same gut lead my body to its lost battles, I roamed through many countries, and tried to be loyal to each shelter that harbored me, during my escape, to every person who threw me a little piece of bread, and to every person who looked at me with compassion

I often felt regret, and I often coated my regret with faith, but I knew at the end, that the only faith I must have should be in luck, and I learned as well to not yearn for more than bread crumbs

And now that I am far away from all those who had authority and control over my life and a say in my body, I am able to break the normativity of my appearance, while all of them are watching me from the other side of the world; the government, my family, my neighbors, my teachers

When I decided to start transitioning, I realized my pressing need to adapt, otherwise I would have faced the same sad fate other trans women face, I gave in to some nasty jokes, and I often smiled when someone made fun of my appearance or my voice. And when I would scream after physical assaults it was just to prove to myself that I still exist nothing more and nothing less

I tried one sided love a few times, and the origin of that love was coincidence, and often times my body stood between me and others with its excessive roughness, as an old woman asserting her existence in mid age, I would run in haste, and others wouldn’t approach me, because a girl can’t exist in that rough physical form and there can’t be a girl behind that sharp face, and I am also not good at camouflaging, but I knew well what was happening behind my back, I knew that most men that would avoid me in public are the same who’d wish to be close to me in secret, when they’d smell my perfume they’d close their eyes and sigh, and luckily I wasn’t anxious at those times, and none of them noticed me noticing them, and after all those experiences with them I accepted my general appearance, and especially when I am in a gathering of men, I realized that my body in its current state is the safe distance between them and me

And now I can see everything with calmness and peace, all for the most important step in the journey of any trans person, which is the transition of the body, and disposal of its role as a prison, in an attempt to end the journey of the shadow, despite me fully knowing that even if I get rid of my body, it’s impossible for it to die completely, still nothing ever lives forever, even pain, insults, and bruises, all of those can be repainted and reshaped like play clay, it can be solid at times and erased some other time, yet remains the disaster that will accompany my new body wherever I may go; my memory

And as everything nearing a demise, it rushes to write down its will, as I have preferred to honor my body by writing its last will, despite my personal disagreements with it, but I respect everyone’s part in it, and I wanted to pay all the debts i owed to everyone who had a share in this poor body

If organ donations were legalized, I would leave my penis to the Government and the police, because they care so much about our private parts and what we do with them, and if we use them or not, and with whom, and where, and how, and if they fit our normative physical appearance or not, and if our physical appearance matches them or not! They care about us more than they care about searching for criminals, as once it is known that we don’t like our genitals, we will be facing worse consequences than those criminals face

I will leave all of my conforming male clothes to my old neighbor, as she always complained to my mother about how wrong what I wore looked, “clothes that had such feminine colors”, and I haven’t forgotten her mischievously smiling at me when she was sitting in our living room after my mom had used one of my colorful shirts to wipe the kitchen’s table, one that she had complained to my mother about after she had seen me wearing it in the street


And when it comes to the roughness of my body, I wish to give away my body hair that’s going to fall off as a result of hormonal treatment to my teacher that told me all about the many reasons why men can’t ever be models

And my voice that is of inconsistent pitch, I wish to will it away to every person that mocked me when I was on the phone with them, those who instilled in me a fear of answering the phone

And every aspect of my facial features, the distress, the wrinkles and the despair, I will leave to my family because they know very well the reasons behind them

These are the things that I wish to be given back to the people who owned them because I never had anything of my own in my own body to give away, because throughout my life those people had the biggest share in this body


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