Field Notes In/On Transition
I Am Trying To Become Love.
This blog seems to have become less about the daily weirdness, good and bad surrounding my transition, and more about my sorry state of mind. In hindsight I think that’s what its always been about. The daily and constant misgendering doesn’t bother me so much any more. I don’t even hear it really, I’m too spent emotionally from the last month or two of misunderstandings and confrontations with friends and family; to stand up against someone too much in their own world to see that mine exists in the same universe.
horoscope from here, (it links weird for me, so I screen grabbed)
One friend (out of the goodness of their heart, and with the best of intentions) offered to set out how I should go about re-writing the some early chapters, over and over again, showing it to them each time. This made me angrier than I have admitted. The other friends though gave me the exact feedback I was looking for, as did this person, in fact, as well as the extended offer that bothered me so much. It was hard for me to take the ‘right way.’
While I understand how well meaning this friend was being; to my pathetic psyche: that friend is telling me to do it their way, is condescending to me. If only you did things this way, you would be on the right track, you can only do it if I help you. I know this isn’t remotely true, but it is always my first reaction to go there. I would rather abandon the book than do that. Why? It seems like a nice offer right? It is a nice offer. But it has nothing to do with how I want to write my book. It’s MY book, but because I asked for an opinion as to whether it was entertaining enough to keep reading, as usual ( I think wrongly) people think I can’t do it without their help. All that I wanted was a Yea or Nae on the ideas. It’s a first draft, and the writing is very first draft-ish. I seem to lack the ability to turn down people gracefully.
I have always been a follower, rather than a leader. Never have I felt any real confidence in any endeavour. It’s all bluster in my case, if I seem confident; it’s like I’m always waiting for someone to tell me how to do something or take over whatever it is. A great part of this insecurity is I think due to my hiding my gender issues, or downplaying them to the comfort level of others. Lately I have been having (I am on hormones) a harder time being nice about this desire others (in my mind) have to diagnose me, or tell me what I should do, or how I’m feeling. I actually do know how I’m feeling - horrible.
History is important in understanding this knot I feel like I am a part of. I was always someone who was scared to do things as a kid. I was too scared to climb down a basement window when locked out of the house once when I was maybe twelve or thirteen. My pregnant mom had to do it. In family life, though, when this fear took over, usually people just gave up on me. My step father tried to teach me to drive a couple of times, but I had no confidence, and drove the car slowly, very slowly into the ditch each time. He stopped trying to teach me after that. I didn’t complain, I never wanted to learn to drive in the first place, but you were supposed to, especially as a ‘boy’ in the early 80’s. I still don’t drive as I personally think it is something that I have no need to learn. I have no interest in owning a car, or even driving. I walk or take transit wherever I go, mostly walking. If I was living in the countryside maybe I would feel different. But Vancouver is the smallest, and right now, only place I want to live.
I recently have had cause through talking with friends, and my mom, to come to realize that my entire history of living with other people is where this lack of confidence has wreaked the most havoc in my life, and stunted me emotionally, though maybe not intellectually. I took one of those dorky personality quizzes the other day about your ‘mental age,’ and I got 19. Pretty apt I guess, since I have avoided being an adult for much of my life. I have always put room mates and friends lives ahead of my own. At least I did until I moved to Japan, and realized how few friends really wanted to keep in contact. Despite the fact that I was the one who fled the country (not to get away from debt, but to pay it) I felt abandoned by some folks who I had unfairly elevated to being more important to me, than myself.
I lived with a bunch of the same people in the early 90’s, in different combinations, but always I had more interest in their life than my own, which I would mostly just complain and whine about, “I can’t do it,” was my refrain... I put so many women on pedestals, women who were firmly in what is kind of horribly called ‘the friend zone’.
I always thought, or wished that somehow these women who were so nice to me, would love me enough to quell my urges to transition. I tried every lighter version of being (what at the time was called transsexual) Transgender... the term was very new, or unheard of to me, until later. I was attracted to a great many women, (and yes, a few dudes, but my own internal trans/homo/phobia wouldn’t and mostly still doesn’t allow me to express that attraction, for fear of negative reactions) almost none of whom ever saw me “that way.” I also put room mates on pedestals. I followed their problems, and tried hard to be part of their lives. This was something that ground me and my own life into dust more than once.
The last place I lived before moving to Tokyo (well I did do some temp living elsewhere just before) was a big old house where I at first lived with friends, and then a couple who I became friends with. Too close, in fact. As usual, I felt like my existence was as a sounding board. My own problems, I downplayed as much as possible. My self loathing at this point was at an all time high, as I spent most of my time getting wasted, it was reflected in my predictably terrible spending habits. I paid a lot of hydro and gas bills (in a shared house) with my credit cards, and bought a fuck of a lot of booze and drugs and pizza.
Once I got used to living on my own in Japan, I felt a great weight off my shoulders, in terms of feeling like I ‘had to be enmeshed’ in other people’s issues, lives. Maybe I could determine my own existence without the approval of these too close friends, who I felt disregarded every idea I had (whether this paranoia is true is sort of irrelevant, it was what guided and to some degree still does guide my life) and often denigrated me, as I laughed along with them at my own ideas about what I wanted to do, and who I am.
I have felt this way since being a child, and spending the majority of my time, drawing, writing. I received as much praise as anyone for these endeavours, at least until I got older, when all I remember hearing, is: well you won’t get a job drawing or writing. Be practical. What I really learned as a teenager was that my urges were wrong, my desires to write and draw (I haven’t really drawn since the mid nineties) were childish. Every ‘big idea’ I had I was talked out of, until I moved to Vancouver. I was offered $1000 in Microsoft stock in 1986, for example. I had the money, from working pretty much full time while going to University. I could have made a fortune. But more practical voices told me how wrong I was about computers. Just a fad.
Le sigh. Regret sucks. Sometimes that is the only thing rattling around in my brain. Regret.
Speaking of regret, which is the sad poor cousin of nostalgia; I have recently (since writing the above almost 1500 words) had reason to think a lot about the things I never let myself enjoy all throughout my life. No one stopped me from having an actual relationship that went on longer than a few dates, or a few months worth of mostly sex. You can say maybe those people who stopped dating me were involved. But that’s the problem, they really weren’t involved. I was unavailable pretty much entirely due to that thing that hung over me my whole life, my desire to be seen as a woman.
This last part: being seen as a woman is hard for a lot of people who aren’t me (and easy for others) but some of the people I would most like to notice me are pretty much off limits. I don’t get to be a regular straight(ish) girl. I have history, more than herstory, on my side, and straight men aren’t very interested in dating a Trans woman, at least not as anything other than a dirty secret. Yawn.
I give up pretty easily on things, having heard so often that my ideas were unworkable and dreams, not ambitions. I have lived a life of getting too involved in my friends’ lives, living their relationships vicariously, as I ‘know’ they are denied to me because of who I am. Not just because I’m Trans, but because I don’t know how to let them in, and probably wouldn’t notice them knocking at my door. Though to be fair to myself, I feel that since I’ve been living on my own, these last 5 or 6 years I have not had those kind of enmeshed relationships.
The only best friends I have, are all my friends. I am trying my best to honest with people about how I feel (when It is that I actually have that awareness) about things in our shared lives, and in our private stuff that we are able to share. Even I don’t share everything. I feel more grounded, and more like I actually have a self, every day. That has got to be progress, right? That self isn’t always hopeful or joyous, or loving, but she tries really hard every day to see Love, feel Love, and maybe someday become Love.
I would love to meet a man who could see the woman I am becoming and could be a partner to me on my journey, but I am also aware that the likelihood of this is slim to none, so I have to accept, once again, that in trying to avoid all the entanglements (partner/kids/cars/houses) of adulthood to make my transition easier, is of course that there is no ‘easy.’ Life is what it is, it flies past you whether you are prepared or not. I really am trying to make the best of it, I am trying to become love.