Though, as a child, I did think about being a woman before, when there was no need to accept my biology. After I bathed, I would drape my towel on my head, trying to imagine myself with long hair. And in the deep of the night, when everyone was asleep and I was alone in my room, I’d wrap my blanket around my body, pretending that I was a celebrity wearing Givenchy for the Emmys. But now, there is only a temptation to continue growing my hair into endless locks, and buy crop tops from H&M—though I’m not sure if I’d ever wear them.

So it’s no wonder there’s another line by Smith that sends chills straight down my spine.

A man was a man was a man.

I know the sentence is taken out of Smith’s context here, but reading it haunts me, because I'm not sure how to reconcile with my biology. Or maybe there’s a fear of reckoning with the fact that I want another body. Even if I do get it, this other body, would anyone still know me then? Would anyone still love me then?

Then I’d step out in an Ibanese women garb, which I’d seen before in some civics textbook when I was in secondary school. Always, I’d wake up at that point, and there’d be a rattle in my bones. I got used to it as I grew up. But when I was a kid, ine would be right there if I woke up afraid. It’s always like she knew when I would make that dream. She’d hand me a glass of water. Then she’d stroke my hair, and her soft coos faded into the night only as I returned to sleep.

Then she’d go on to tell me I’ve forgotten about that dream of becoming a shaman again. She’d always talk to me about it as if she was actually inside that dream.

‘Don’t you see? Don’t you understand? You are a vessel of the celestial. You’ve transcended; you can heal!’ ine always says. ‘I’m supposed to tell to heed that dream, that calling. But you already have enough worries weighing on your chest.’

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