|Photo Courtesy Jessie Hart|
The longer we live, I am increasingly convinced we encounter many phases of our life which we can separate down into certain categories. For transgender women and trans men those categories maybe more intense than the normal human being. I have several examples in this post.
The first I place in the "would have "category. What if I defied all odds and proclaimed to my parents at any early age I wanted to be a girl instead of a boy. I didn't want the boy toys I received for Christmas, I wanted the girl dolls instead and why did I have to wear a hated tie to visit relatives. I so wanted to wear the pretty dresses, tights and shoes my girl cousins were wearing. Of course I couldn't do anything about my situation back in the dark days of the 1950's when a boy wanting to be a girl was considered to be mentally ill. Even though I didn't begin to know anything about my gender questions, I knew I wasn't mentally ill for wondering.
Perhaps the largest question in the "would have" category is, what if I had the courage and or knowledge to had come out of my gender closet earlier. Looking back now, I see the time after I had completed my military service and my daughter was conceived would have been an extreme possibility of coming out to the world as my feminine self. I had completed my patriotic duty and was indirectly rewarded with the gift of a lifetime...my beloved and highly supportive daughter. It was around this time when I was rapidly beginning to come to grips to who I was and was learning to dress the part.
The next category is "could have". It was during this period of great gender discovery when of course I had to make a living. I didn't have a potential pension to worry about such as a transsexual friend of mine, nor was I a very educated professional person. Similar to another trans person who was going through genital realignment surgery and moving away to a city where she knew no one. I didn't have the finances or the willpower to under go such a major step so I began to try to outrun my gender dysphoria by moving around and switching jobs. Most certainly I "could have" cut nearly all the ties of the life I was used to and moved on but I didn't.
This brings me to my last category "should have." Should have I have the courage to live my gender dreams earlier? Most certainly but as is said, it is too late now to cry over spilled milk. Even though I didn't cut ties with my old male self when I should have, I was fortunate to have landed on my feet, I turned "should have" into I did it. But before I try to put myself up on some sort of pedestal, again and again I have to give credit to all the people who accepted me as my true self and allowed me to grow as a fulltime transgender woman.
Maybe I can add another category "did have" because I did have enough help to keep moving until I reached my final goal of leaving my male self behind.
When you get to a "Certain age" it is inevitable that we look back, we will often think of the "what would have been" or the "what could have been". There are many ifs in all our lives and as you say in transgender lives a little more than most.ReplyDelete
I often wonder what would have happened if I had come out earlier and started living authentically when I was younger, what sort of relationships would I have formed? what sort of career might I have had? What would have happened if I had told my wife before we got married? Of course we'll never know the answer to any of these, but things would have been different. I might have missed out on knowing the two most important women in my life, my wife and daughter, I might have missed out on many of my music opportunities, I might not have had the employment, or self employment chances I've enjoyed. The one thing we do know is that it would have all been different.