What an incredible feeling it is to be in the last week with this body-as-born. Everything continues to fall into place, things are drawing to a close quite neatly and orderly. No spare time (except for the innate impulse to write), but time still to be ready. And time to reflect on what in the end has been a four-year journey.
How did I get here? I mean, if I had stacked the odds four years ago against the achievement, and gratitude and resolution I feel today, I would not have dared believe it.
I count the formal permissions I have sought, the doctors, psychiatrists, counsellors, therapists, the administrators, the letters, the deed poll, the notifications, the regrettable divorce, and next the Gender Recognition Panel. For which again, I have to pay. How many times have I had, in this time, to persuade, convince and appeal to people who have no experience of being born transsexual, that my birth certificate was inaccurate?
Have you ever had to do that?
I shall never need to do this ever again.
I began by asserting that it was quite normal to be transgender. To keep love in my life I tried persuading myself that I could be ‘two-spirit’. I fought myself, accepting others’ needs for me to be what they wanted me to be. Bit by bit I watched it all taken away (see Through my eyes) as those nearest me failed to recognise me any more. I hit a suicidal low as I realised I may never know love and intimacy in my life ever again. And despite everything, gradually, I became fully myself, with an inner peace I had never before known.
I danced through the past year as I released the bonds reluctantly with my loved ones, and found a real home among people who only knew me, as the dancer-poet-musician. I worked my way through from the rather obvious trans employee among a team of men (she’ll understand, she used to be a man!), to feeling now that I can go anywhere and do anything I choose.
I am proud. Not for being transsexual, but for being me. For beating the adversities, the misunderstanding, the distrust, the dis-ownership and the uncoupling. I am proud for being here, and being greater than all these things. I am proud for finally being released from doing, being, making others what they want to be – by not being authentically me.
And I understand: I am not beautiful. I am not slim. I will always have attributes that make people look or think twice. I do not have a girl’s teenage experience. I was not the pregnant and breast-feeding mother. I have never been chased by unwanted men (though I have been abused in the street as a woman). I do not have the ‘right’ history to remember. And I am not male, in any sense or memory at all. I never was.
I have yet to find anyone who finds me attractive. I have come to regard human love very differently, and that another love can exist that I value, but that is hard to find. I am not really unloved, because people have told me that they do, and in a way that I understand, accept and appreciate. I wrote the poem Realisations in 2012, even before I finally let go the old way of living, and sadly it is still true and with me today. I’ve grown to like it again though …
No, the sadness is still there as I watch so many other couples and families survive and refind their loving, when one of them goes through the unravelling of transition, and see instead ‘the wonderful unfolding of flowers’.
And yet in these last days before my surgery, I feel so empowered that I feel the world belongs to me. The surgery will flatten me for a while, and I expect post-natal blues as well, as all the effort comes to fruition with little more to do ahead than rebuild strength.
But my goodness, I am a woman with such a grasp on life that I am free, and I am strong. I have taken complete responsibility for my life, and I shall go wherever I like to make the utmost of it.