Remembering Without Wallowing

I had a chat with my wife last night. We were talking about a few things, but one thing we often fall back into, is trying to understand our lives and what happened. Neither of us had kind childhoods, neither of us really had childhoods at all. That experience has shaped who we are, and I believe we’re on a good path. But we struggle, myself more then her, with how to remember and understand, without wallowing in it.

I don’t mean wallow in the sense that I can’t escape these feelings, or that they bog me down daily. But I do have a hard time when remembering the past, with finding the positives. There weren’t many, So it makes sense that it’s difficult. Yet I have to reconcile my current positive state with the negativity that spawned it. Which I can’t do. I don’t know if I can ever appreciate how bad my early years were.

I understand that there’s always someone who had it worse. I’m not saying I was the most hard up kid in the world. But something I have come to understand is that we are all the most important characters in our stories, so I’m going to be the most important character in my story.

To truly remember means to accept the negative, but to also accept the positive. Unfortunately, being trans, and not feeling accepted is a really big undercurrent of negativity to even the most positive of experiences. That everything was tainted. That I didn’t get to be myself. It often feels like I was forced to live someone else life, That my life was one of duty and responsibility to maintain the illusions of those around me.

It’s hard to feel a lot of joy when you’re denied the most basic dignities, to be treated as the person you are, not the person people perceive you to be. It’s a scary place to be. And it’s easy to wallow, but I also think it’s important to remember where I’ve come from. I don’t want to hide from my past. But it’s getting harder and harder to acknowledge it.

 

Playing Pretend

It’s funny the questions I get about transitioning, and especially I find how people word things.

One of the most interesting things is when someone says “when you were a man.”

I’ll be honest, I was never a man. Obviously it was pretty uncomfortable I went through a lot of effort to get away from it. I’m also a financial professional who is white. I walked away from a lot of privilege, not that I ever wanted it.

But the idea that I was ever a man is crazy. It was a part to play. I often think about the issue of trans actors, especially with the few trans roles out there. There’s always a controversy because invariably they cast a cis man to play a trans woman. As if that trans woman doesn’t know how to play a trans character. But honestly, even those trans folk that don’t choose to be actors, have had to be actors.

Having to wear a gender identity that isn’t your own is exhausting and grueling. It requires a constant level of analysis and understanding, because you have to make your way in the world in a way that doesn’t feel natural. You have to question your initial reactions, your instincts constantly, lest they expose you and place you in danger.

So no, I was never a man, I just pretended to be one because it wasn’t safe to be myself. I was apparently pretty good at playing pretend, because no one ever guessed I was trans. Yet I was constantly fearful of the tiniest slip. Which is probably why I never outed myself.

We all have to play roles that don’t quite fit in our life. We need to be something for someone because that’s what they need in the moment. I’m talking about the surreal experience of living a second identity, honestly from a very young age too.

I was never a man, I just donned that identity out of fear. it never fit, and honestly I wasn’t very good at it. Yet it got me to where I am now, in only a few pieces. But I’d rather live a single day of honest, sincere, unyielding truth then a lifetime of pretend.

Happy Holidays

I took a few days to recharge the ol’ batteries over Christmas. Did the whole family thing. Which was less painful then I expected, but more painful then I wanted.

I had a tendency to ruin Christmas. I read into things too much. It makes it difficult to be satisfied with things. This year, someone else made dinner and we just got to visit. We bopped around a bit and did the rounds which was nice. All in all I think my Christmas blues are over.

It was nice to enjoy a nice holiday. Things are just getting nicer over time. I like it.

Being out and Proud at the same time

Being out has been a very humbling experience for me. Humbling in a few ways. The first of which is that things aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be. People mess up old habits die hard etc. but honestly the reception has been warm and my clients seem to be taking it well. For that I am very grateful, thankful, and happy.

But I feel a certain amount of responsibility now that I’m out. it’s the same thing I felt before, like I can’t make a mistake or that I can’t be too harsh or concerned about others. That I have to be ambivalent to my concerns. Because though there have been kind words said I find myself increasingly on the other side of doors then I was before. I’m not told things that are important. I’m not giving guidance or support I once had.

I can’t help but feel that part of it is my fault. Though I don’t think I deserve it. Being in the closet, being hidden is terrifying. To survive you have to be someone you’re not. I work in finance, I’ve had to act the “young buck” persona because it was expected of me. Not out of any affinity for it. I didn’t meant to lie to anyone, but I was afraid for my safety and well being.

So now I find myself in an awkward position. People want to treat me in a way I don’t respect. Or are upset that they treated me in a certain way. Sometimes I feel like I betrayed some sort of boys club and there’s a punishment for that. I never wanted to be a part of it. Nor did I participate in it/

I don’t really know what my point is here. I just feel so small so often. On the inside I feel like my body doesn’t fit. That the years and decades of expectations and assumptions have wrapped around me and built a second layer. One I can’t escape from.

 

The Overt Quality of Trans Nonacceptance

I’ve tried really hard to give my bosses the benefit of the doubt. It’s been difficult, I had a thought the other day about it. They have made my transition possible, but they have made it difficult.

Well that all changed yesterday.

After months of subtle coldness, and constant disrespect. They decided to go full on overt discrimination. We regularly hold client events, as an office we all go out, meet with our clients, we give a presentation. Not usually a big source of muss or fuss.

One of the partners comes to me yesterday as we start getting close to getting ready to leave. He asks me if I could stay back and keep the office open. He doesn’t want me to be a distraction. Also asks would be a strong word. I don’t feel I had a choice in the matter. I told him he could ask whatever he wanted but that he was being a little mean. That I could do as he asked, but that he was being mean, that it was a mean thing to do.

His response, I don’t want you to think of it that way.

Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put together that excluding me from something everyone else in the office was going to, an event I regularly attended in the past, is discrimination. All becauseĀ  my gender identity and expression differ from what they consider appropriate for their clients.

I knew the road would be rocky, but to be honest in this day and age I didn’t think I’d have to face overt, in your face exclusion based on who I was. The subtle stuff, 100%. The only consolation is I now know there’s transphobia in their hearts whether its hate, or fear or ignorance festering in their heart I don’t know. I have seen the darkness in their hearts, and I’m afraid of what’s next.

Soul lifting, warm, freeing joy

If I had of known that changing my name was going to make me feel so good I would have done it sooner. I got everythign back officially last week and I have felt like a brand new person. The world is brighter, my heart hurts less. I’ve been on cloud 9 for almost a week now.

Sometimes the little details make a huge difference!

Bittersweet

Flavors swirling, catching, changing

Experiences developing, immutable yet ranging

Dry eyes, full of scorn

Tears drip, newly borne

 

Bittersweet is the wine of life

poured carelessly, barely tasted

lovingly bottled, preserved, and rife

Enjoyed, hated, protected, wasted

 

Decanter open, smells unleashed

proudly displayed, ashamedly fleeced

bad vintage, bad year, faultless, fear

tended, cared, loved so near.