That is the sound of – inevitability…
For some thirty-five years I have lived conscious of the fact that I am not that which I have been told I am. With the never-ending ‘noise in my head’, I have lived in opposition to what I can only describe as an ‘instinctual knowledge’ of what I should be – of what I am.
To have to fight the instincts — that is the definition of decadence: as long as life is ascending, happiness equals instinct.
A while back, I was out with two girlfriends from work for drinks. We chatted about this and that when the topic of conversation turned to me (yes, they know ‘my story’.) One of them asked me if I was happy. I paused and thought for a few seconds before telling her that I was in a better place than I had been in the past – but happy?
Can one be happy fighting who they are everyday?
I have discussed this so many times with so many analogies that all amount to the same conclusion: I’m tired. I’m tired of fighting my instincts – tired of fighting my wife – tired of fighting the world at large. I’m tired of looking backwards at ‘the time I missed’ and of looking forwards to the ‘time I will miss’. I have been my parents’ son – my wife’s husband – my daughters’ father. I have been who I am ‘supposed to be’ for the benefit of everyone else and have largely put my feelings and needs second to those of others for thirty-five years now.
I emphasize the thirty-five years because it a long time to fight against oneself. It’s a long time to wake up every day and ready yourself to face a world who will never see you as you see yourself. It’s a long time to wait and hope that maybe perhaps some day you might possibly have your chance – all the while knowing that said ‘chance’ shan’t ever be ‘offered’ to you.
It’s a long f’ing time is what it is.
I want the noise to go away. I have paid my dues by now and I’ve earned the right to ‘my turn’ – to finally do what I know is right for me. I want to do it before there is no longer an opportunity or a point to doing it. I want, for what in the grand scheme of things will be but a brief moment, to feel right in the world. I want to be able to look at myself and know that I have been true to myself. I don’t want to die regretting never having ‘been’ me.
I have been told that I have ‘transitioned’. I accept that in some respects I have, but the path I am on has ultimately served to exacerbate rather than mitigate my the feelings of disconnect. I have a few friends who seem to ‘get it’ and accept me for who I am – for more than that, I ought not want. It is the unending feeling of being something ‘other’ that has taken its toll. There are days when I look in the mirror and I am defeated by the caricature staring back at me. I know how I want to look and how I want to feel – and rare are the days where I have that feeling. I understand that I am where I am because of the choices I made. I made them because it was what I needed to do at the time and for the most part, I don’t regret making them. It gave me some breathing room – a chance to further sort out who I am. But as genderqueer as may be my identity, it is not how I want to be seen and treated. At least not as ‘the rule’.
I’m tired of being seen as the freak – or ‘that odd guy’ – or whatever the hell it is people see when they look at me. What I want is to be seen as and treated as a woman: as much as is possible at this point in my life. I don’t need to be ‘beautiful’ or ‘sexy’ or ‘pretty’: I’ll be happy with ‘unremarkable’.
:: takes a deep breath and lets out a long, slow sigh… ::
Being trans has never been ‘our issue’, wherein we, as a couple (or family,) have striven to figure out how to make it work. Being trans has always been ‘my problem’ – one for which I alone have been responsible to find a solution. That solution has needed to be such that it impacts my wife as little as possible. To her credit, she has been more ‘flexible’ than many other might have been and I am grateful for that, but when push comes to shove, it is usually I who acquiesce to her ‘needs’. It’s my responsibility to not upset the delicate balance of the cosmos with the ‘silliness’ (her words) that is my transness.
The cosmos (and most other people I meet) seem rather indifferent to the fact that I am trans.
Forget about how being told that I need to hide might make me feel. Whatever discomfort or anxiety I may have pales in comparison to what someone else might think. Whatever ‘discomfort’ my wife may feel trumps mine, because it’s not like being trans is actually something real, right? While she will acknowledge that it must be difficult for me, it doesn’t stop her from dictating when, how and to what extent I get to ‘express myself’.
I do not tell her how to be ‘her’ – I never have.
The whole notion that I am ‘expressing myself’ gnaws at me. It trivializes who I am, how I feel and what it means for me to exist in the world the way that I do (I discussed this a bit back in 2007.) I am tired of being second or third or f’ing dead last to everything else. I am tired of having to negotiate for the right to be me.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
If for some reason it’s not clear about what it is that I am speaking, then let me make it so. I need to transition – ‘for real’ as it were. Not some half-assed in-the-middle-of-nowhere version there of, but the real deal. I am tired waiting. I am tired being patient. I am tired trying to put the world ‘at ease’. I am tired of being called ‘sir’ or ‘dude’ or whatever – regardless of how well-intentioned it may be. I am tired of looking in the mirror and feeling the life get sucked out of me. I am tired of ‘sucking it up’. I’m tired of crying in private.
I am tired of pretending everything is alright… It’s far from alright. It’s never been alright.
Realize that I am under no illusions that a world of sunshine and rainbows awaits me ‘on the other side’. But I know that neither being trans nor transitioning are a terminus in life. I feel that thirty-five years of grappling with this has to have offered me some preparation for this part of the journey. And if not, then I’ll figure it out. It’s what I do and I like to think that I’ve gotten good at that over the years.
:: looks in the mirror and checks her make-up – taking another deep breath… ::
People who know me will recognize that this is nothing new: I have been whingeing for years about all of this. But the last four years or so… it’s been tougher. I had planned to ‘do’ this in 2008, but the firm for which I worked went belly up that fall, so I had to put this ‘on hold’ as I didn’t know what my situation would be work-wise. In 2011 I found myself a victim of layoffs and in need of a new job – ‘on hold’ again. Now, my eldest daughter is going off to college, my mother-in-law is ill, and the firm at which I am currently employed is being bought… When will it be the ‘right time’? Is there ever a ‘right time’?
I cannot keep waiting, hoping for the ‘perfect conditions’ because there will never be such a thing. I need to start this sooner rather than later because I am running out of later. I’ll wait until after my daughter is off to school (maybe until after our anniversary next month,) then ‘man up’ as it were and discuss this with my wife – discuss what will be the start of my transitioning – the start of a new beginning perhaps…
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…
My wife has made it clear many times that she has no interest in being married to a ‘woman’ or to a man who looks like a woman. It’s not what she wants and she has no problem making it clear to me all the time. It’s clear every time I have gone ‘too far’ for her. It’s clear every morning when I leave for work – dressed as I do – and she winces as I barely get a kiss goodbye. And while I do not know exactly how she will react to this, I do have a reasonably good idea.
The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with me.
There will likely be a protracted discussion wherein I am cast as the villain. This will be me being selfish – me putting my needs before my family. I doubt there will be recognition of just how difficult this has been for all this time. All the time I have invested in ‘doing the right thing’ – all the concessions I have made – all the occasions where I have ‘sucked it up’ will not count for much of anything. I’ll hear how I have nothing to offer her as a husband and a host of other esteem-sucking comments – all of which I have heard before.
Still, it needs to be done – regardless of the degree to which it will suck.
:: Donna smiles softly … thinking that Suzy may have been right all along … as she feels herself succumb to the pull of gravity ::
Who knows? Perhaps I’m wrong and it will go better than I anticipate…
:: checks the sky for airborne mammals of porcine origin ::
I suppose I won’t know until it happens.