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Je ne regrette rien

  • Posted on April 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

We all regret a lot, but today’s Guardian (UK) listed Top five regrets of the dying, and these should be our regrets before it’s too late. Why not regret them now, while we can do something about it? The five included ‘I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me’, which meant a lot to me.

So what did people expect that held me back? None of us knew, actually. It’s mostly in retrospect, as I looked at the pieces and put the jigsaw together, that I realised that I had done everything ‘right’ in the wrong way. I have been a breadwinner – and a successful one, I was a father figure – albeit a gentle one, and a good and faithful husband – albeit a feminine one inside. But I wore the clothes and presented myself in a way that I now know was uncomfortable because it made me look right to everyone else, but meant I never felt I really fitted in like that. Square pegs do fit in round holes, so long as the diagonal is the diameter. But after a while, either the corners start to wear, or the circle starts to catch. The friction got too much, and everyone else got confused, except for me, because I understood at last.

Yesterday I wasted a lot of time in great anxiety (I am a bit of a perfectionist) because my wife remarked that this blog site ‘didn’t look like that᾿ to her. Oh no! It’s been looking wrong all this time! I live on Firefox, Safari, Chrome – any browser except Internet Explorer (IE). Now Microsoft may be big, but it does sometimes live in a world of its own, and when it comes to certain standards (CSS if you know what that means) it likes to do something different. My beautiful orchids were obscured, the page ranged left, pictures pushed out of place, simply because one little instruction that means everything to everyone doesn’t to Internet Explorer. I tracked it all down, fixed it, learned something new, and now everyone can see my pages as they are supposed to look. Microsoft had been expecting me to absorb all their quirks, and I had been beautifully doing my own thing. There was no real gain, and I didn’t write anything useful all day, all that happened was that I was looking right to everyone at last.

Sometimes you think from the inside that you are doing everything right. Others see something different and think that is how you are supposed to look. Sometimes you give up: you could read my blog before on IE and ignore things being in the wrong place, or just think I wasn’t very good at web design! In the same way, you could look at me as a man before, and think I was just a bit unconventional or not good at having friends. Now I am as I should be (or on the way) people are confused. They got to live with the square peg because it fitted, or the skewed page because it could be read, or the bloke because he worked OK like that. I realise I wasn’t doing anything the way I was because I was a man, I was just being me, and if was doing things from a female perspective I thought it was normal. It was being seen and expected to be male that fitted everyone else’s expectations – except mine. And that’s why I keep saying: ‘but I’m still here! I am still just being me, just filling a bigger space differently!’ and everyone else says I am not fitting their expectations any more.

A little while ago a trans friend said to me with utter conviction: ‘I just don’t want to die a man!’

Back to the top. I have to be true to myself, because the cost of not doing so will be that regret on my dying breath, and I have a life to live that doesn’t belong to anyone else.

It kinda makes sense of my obscure Eostre poem on here. I don’t have to deny my life to date, it doesn’t have to die, and I am not ashamed of any of it. There is no dying and rising for my male life here to rescue me from evil – just a coming to life, a dawning, of my female life as a just fulfilment.