Silas González: A 23-Year Journey
Every single morning, I wake up. Brush my teeth. Mouthwash. Wash my face. And for the past 4 years, I’ve applied a hormonal gel to my shoulders day and night—testosterone.
I used to have a higher-pitched, gruff-but-sweet-toned feminine voice, a slender figure filled out in my thighs and my face, a beautiful, healthy, full head of thick, dyed hair. My breasts were visible if I wore a tight shirt (which I wouldn’t very often) and if I matched with tight pants, you could definitely define the curves in my body. Thinking back to my childhood, none of this would have bothered me if I hadn’t grown up around sexism.
When I was a child, I remember growing up with cartoons like The Rugrats and Spongebob Squarepants. I, however, was definitely a Disney Channel kid. But that never protected my young and impressionable eyes from the seemingly thousands of sexist, misogynistic subliminal messages that the television poisoned my brain with. Not only that, but the crowd of people that I had hung out with weren’t really very open-minded; they seemed to have already developed a sense of their own sexuality, and what makes it worse is that they were all boys. So, if you put two and two together, you could probably figure out that that doesn’t help a developing “young woman” love herself for who she is, considering the toxic atmosphere provided by boys who grew up around the idea that women are to be loved for their bodies, and not their souls.
I think that the media (television, social media, etc.) is extremely influential towards today’s youth. I’m a prime example of this. Growing up, I wasn’t really paid much attention to by my family. It isn’t their fault; my mother was taking care of my ill father, and my older brothers, both five or so years apart from each other, were in their teens and trying to find their own sense of who they were. I was usually left alone to either play with my friends or figure out how to entertain myself with my LEGO blocks and characters. However, I often found myself lost in my imagination. I would watch a show on television and I would see a character that I really, really liked—so much, that I tried to BECOME that character. There was once a time where I saw this show called “American Dragon: Jake Long” and I began telling all of my friends to call me by that name, and even convinced myself to an extent that I could become a dragon. I did this with several other figures as well: Topanga from the show “Boy Meets World”, Lizzie from the show “Lizzie McGuire”, and eventually Amy Lee from the band Evanescence. There was actually once a time where I created a fake MySpace profile of a boy named Jaden who I pretended to be. This, to me (now that I’m older), just shows a child trying to figure out who they are. But then, I began growing older and growing out of the “identity crisis” phase, mostly because I started going through puberty and developing—or “budding” as my mother had always called it.
When puberty hit, it hit me like a bus on the freeway. All of my friends, being boys, were the first to notice when my chest began growing. Long story short, I was eventually taken advantage of by them on more than one occasion, reassuring me that my body—my temple—is simply just an object of lust. I also, through a certain ex-friend of mine, experienced my first pornography film. I was still a young child, and my brain had already been tainted.
My teenage years were some of the toughest years of my life, having fallen in love at the ripe age of eleven, right after my father had passed away, enduring constant pain and separation from my first girlfriend due to family indifferences and misunderstandings until the age of fifteen. Between fifteen and eighteen, I had a single abusive relationship, experienced my first (regretful) sexual encounter with a girl, and was sexually assaulted, yet again, by an ex-girlfriend. And then, at eighteen years old, I got back into a relationship with the same girl I fell in love with at eleven.
Considering all of my pain and trauma (not just sexual trauma, but a good majority of it) from a young age up until this point, the concept of “self-love” at eighteen was very vague to me. I had always been a tomboy when I was younger and thought nothing of it, but I noticed that as I grew older, I began dressing in tighter clothing and wearing makeup. It never felt like me; it more so felt like I was wearing a disguise. But again, I still think that I was trying to find myself through the way that I looked. When I got back into a relationship with the love of my life, she treated me like a human being and slowly began to accept me for who I was—human. Not male, nor female, but human. And slowly but surely, I began to adjust to the idea of someone loving me for who I am, rather than who I thought everyone else accepted and wanted me to be. Of course, there was still conflict in the beginning of the relationship which resulted in even more sexual trauma—I don’t blame her or myself for this, but I do have a lot of regrets about certain decisions that were made that could have been prevented had I been more open to communication. And then there was the decision:
I think I want to transition.
Now, looking back on everything that I had been through, I definitely recall situations where I should have taken a step back and thought things through. I should have gone through therapy and learned to love myself BEFORE ever considering such a drastic change. It didn’t occur to me back then that I had been through a plethora of sexual trauma that I never dealt with, and that maybe changing my body on a whim wasn’t the greatest idea. I thought that maybe, through changing my physical appearance, I could learn to love myself that way. Well, in a way, I guess you can say that I have. But not for the reasons you might have expected.
I am twenty-three years old, and I’ve been taking hormones (on and off) for about four years now. In 2017, I got a double-mastectomy (top surgery) and now, I live my life in the world as Silas Matéus González. It says “M” on my license, and I still can’t seem to grasp all of this change. Yes, I’ve learned to love myself... in the sense that, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I learned to love who I was OFF of hormones by going ON hormones. I’m slowly beginning to realize that the girl who I “hated” was just in so much pain that she didn’t know which direction to turn, and I can’t blame a hurting child for not knowing who she is. I’ve made many irreversible decisions that I can’t change or take back now, and I am still in the mourning and grieving process over who I used to be. And to this day, I still suffer from what I call “gender separation”—the “black and white” comparison of what it means to be male vs. female.
If there is anything that I want you to take from my story, it would be this:
Please learn to love YOU before you make any decisions. I’ve learned the hard way that, no matter how many changes you make to your body, or your voice, or your reproductive organs, you won’t find solace and self-love in that. Love comes from the inside. And until you learn to accept yourself as you were born, you might just spend the rest of your life wasting time trying to figure out who you are. Life is a journey, and none of us really know who we are; what’s important is that you are comfortable and happy. And nobody else’s opinions of you should matter but your own.
The truth is... we’re all human. We all have a little bit of masculine and feminine energy within us. Why do we have to be one or the other? Can’t we just embrace them both, and love ourselves as a whole? Think about that.
You can follow me on Instagram: @artworkbysilas