The Squircle

2021/5/10 Update

Oh my. I'm way, way less anxious about it now. Now, re-reading this is a bit cringe-inducing for me! Was I really that anxious? It feels like I'm a different person! I'm keeping this entry even though I find it a bit embarrassing now. If this piece resonates with you, well, it gets better!

Original Entry


Although the sides of the squircle look flat, they actually never stop curving – just like a circle!

The squircle is a fun shape. It resembles a square with rounded corners, but the shape is actually a generalization of the circle. Specifically, its a superellipse. You can think of it as a "fat" circle. Some parts of the circle have just been pushed out a bit.

If you play with the shape's equation, you can make it look even more like a square. If you keep pushing out the corners, eventually you get a shape which is almost indistinguishable from a square. If you pull the corners back in, you'll get a circle. Once I realized that, I couldn't help but see the shape as a metaphor for my own life.

I'm extremely nervous about my transition. Aside from waiting for hormones to slowly do their thing, I need to work on behavioral cues. For example, I need to train myself to speak in a higher voice. I need to retrain myself to walk differently. I need to learn the patterns of speech that women use. I need to train myself to use new gestures and movements. You may think that these subtle cues won't make a difference, but they actually matter for being able to "go stealth". During the period of transition, I will be a squircle: neither a square nor a circle, but reminiscent of both. I'm going to stand out and attract unwanted attention. That's just what my life is going to look like for the next few years. What scares me is that I may never be able to pass. It seems like there are just too many things I need to learn and practice, and I'll never be able to do it all. Even if I try my hardest, I can't make up for 29 years of testosterone. I'll never stop being a squircle. People will always be able to tell that something is off. I'll need to fight for every inch of progress. Even thinking about it is exhausting. When I'm wallowing in that pessimism, the squircle is a manifestation of my anxiety. It represents my fate: to be stuck in the middle.

When I feel optimistic about my future, I see the squircle as a symbol of hope. Its an acknowledgment that, yes, there are limits to what I'll be able to accomplish with my transition. It won't matter, though. I'm going to be my own worst critic. I need to remember that other people won't see all the flaws that I do. I need to remember that most people who look at a squircle see a square with rounded corners. It doesn't have the sharp corners like a true square, but people still call it a square – a square with rounded corners! They certainly don't see a circle imitating a square! People come in all shapes and sizes. I may never be as beautiful as cis women, but I can get close enough that people won't be able to tell the difference. Besides, the squircle is awesome! I should be proud of who I am, regardless of how things end up.

Somehow, this silly little shape has become the embodiment of my worst fears and my greatest hopes. It seemed appropriate to name my site after it. After all, I made this site to catalog my experience during the transition!