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Displaying 1 - 5 of 14 entries.


  • Posted on December 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Of rain, relentless
memories drumming on my taut skin
running in gurgling rivulets, seeking
deep subterranean places
dark water, far beneath my groundsheet.

A turf-torn guy-rope
relic of a stormy past wound on itself,
spent, forgot, coiled without tension
white as a stripped nerve.

With intent I listen
there is no rhythm in the rain, no
reason or cónfine. I am choosing
storm-surviving, to hear my skin
streaming, streaming, streaming.


2012 © Andie Davidson


  • Posted on December 30, 2012 at 6:42 pm

When the bearing down begins,
is this courage for the passing through—
or bravery for the inheritance of blood?

Or is it the terror of tearing,
expulsion of not belonging—
the urging to be freed?

And this presence in my belly,
this yearning to contain and hold—
does it not consider pain or wound?

Do not admire the episiotomy
any more than some placental pleasure—
birth is not courage. It’s guts.


2012 © Andie Davidson

Loss and letting go (1)

  • Posted on December 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm

They aren’t there. The books. There are now only mine, not the ones about attachment and loss. By John Bowlby – who asserted that to deal with these things we had to know and understand our past. How bloody ironic! It’s my discovery that has caused the loss and grief of such a profound attachment.

That sounds bitter. Only sort of; but it is high time I processed this stuff, so I think it will take a few blogs over time to get there. Somehow this week I have been surrounded by people and events and other writings, that are all about why loss and attachment is so difficult, and how it ruins lives that can’t move on.

Last week I watched an old episode of ‘Lewis’ (UK police drama featuring a lot of doing what’s best as much a what’s right). In this one, a father with two young daughters feels his only way out of shame (not his own) is to kill himself and take them with him. Well, jumping out of the top window of the British Museum, wasn’t going to happen really, was it? No. The daughters are saved, he jumps, and is caught by Inspector Lewis’ sidekick, the intellectual Hathaway. He and the man grasp each other’s wrist as the man dangles over the assembled crowd. Hathaway somehow knows the man doesn’t actually want to die. Surely he wouldn’t be hanging on if he did? Stupidly/heroically Hathaway releases his grip to convince the man that he has chosen to hold on and survive. If the man had decided to go, of course, he would have dropped. His choice. Now affirmed in his decision, the man is hauled back to safety.

This is the way we like it to be.

Holding on is instinctive, and letting go is a product of decision. Maybe you have no more strength? Is letting go a sign of weakness, just a giving in? Does holding on hurt? If you are holding onto something hot, sharp, spiky, constrictive, then it would be a relief, and if you fall having lost your fingers, why didn’t you let go sooner? Letting go is a positive act of recognising loss as what it is. So why is that so hard? Maybe you feel that someone is letting you go and they should not: that you are such a benefit to them and they don’t realise it. That’s a hard one, isn’t it? It isn’t our call, truly. Loyalty, commitment, faithfulness are essentials to love and to life itself. But there is a world of difference between the altruistic refusal to leave someone ill or injured or old when they are not wanting to be a burden or even a danger. That is your choice. But just because you love someone who may have loved you even intensely, doesn’t mean you can hang around on their wrist thinking it’s in their best interests. No. It’s about you, isn’t it?

This Christmas I had to conclude that letting go my love is my responsibility. And that means understanding the loss so that I can let go well and with good grace, for my own sake. Am I resisting out of hope that love has not actually gone? That being a man was not really a prerequisite for the eligibility of being kissed? That somehow it may dawn that I really am the same person and all will be forgiven? The loss I resist is the cold hard fact that I am no longer desirable, and whatever I feel, that part is not my call. Yes, right now, there is no-one in my world that actually wants to hold me, comfort me, love me, be intimate with me, and in that way validate and affirm and trust me.

This is what I do not want to know.

And yes, I can believe it all began with my mother, and that from the start, I was a nuisance. A necessary one, a deliberately-generated one, but nonetheless a bit of a burden. I spoilt my mother’s young life as much as I enhanced it. It’s true: as soon as you find love you also find rejection. As a parent, you like the gurgle, but not the poo. That winning smile, but not the tantrum in the wine bottle aisle. The moment they fall sweetly asleep, but not the bawling at 2 am. From the start: will we ever really be able to trust anyone? And can we survive without unconditional love? Even if you find it, you will never really know that is the case. Unconditional love is a hypothesis we spend our lives testing. The science is inconclusive, as they say; more research is needed.

This is the heart of loss: the possibility of replacement. You can never replace a parent or child, so you deal with the loss in an appropriate way. Parents go, a spouse remains, you are protected and loved, it is enough. You can tell yourself that a life was complete, well-lived, fulfilled, and that helps. A young life seems such a waste, and we may rationalise the perfection of their short life. The lost one has gone, and we are safe to gild memories, keep the photos, perfect the shared love, remember and preserve. There is mental replacement in a way unavailable to those with relatives gone missing.

We all had romances when young, and some have had affairs when older, and most of us know what it is to break up at a point that wasn’t just the fading of rose petals. We moved on best when there was another love; another lilypad to jump to. Or at least were happy when we found another after a short cold swim. We sustained our beliefs in ourselves that we were desirable, lovable – and dismissed our loss as ‘it’s their loss’. Even leaving a loving parental home was probably best survived by having a boyfriend or girlfriend, especially if parents were becoming a nuisance who didn’t understand our needs – just like they felt when we were born.

Really dealing with loss, really letting go, means something else. It means when there is no-one to catch you, no replacement or substitute, no affirmation of your desirability or personal value, and you are letting go something you really do still want but that will never be what you want – you are not killing yourself, or even part of yourself.

OK. Shut up Hathaway and stop intellectualising or your wrist will snap. This feels bad, but I am beginning to understand that I really am alone in this world and that I have not lost unconditional love. It was never there. In truth my feet are inches from the grass, and like it or not I have to walk away. It isn’t night, and it isn’t sunset, it’s just grass. There is nowhere greener, but at least I am allowed to walk on it. No-one is holding me, I have to let go. I don’t lose anything by letting go; I lost that some while back.

To be continued …

Anniversary, a new year reflection

  • Posted on December 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I started this blog one year ago. I wanted to tell my story as it was writing itself, I wanted to share my poetry, and I wanted to offer a concept of normality about the gender spectrum.

What a year it has been. In an early blog I did write ‘I don’t need to be a woman. I never really can be.’ The subtitle of my blog was ‘reinterpreting gender for a better fit’, and I was at pains to place myself in the centre, with a healthy balance between living one gender or the other depending on who needed that of me.

Meanwhile some people were taking one look at me and saying: ‘No way! She’s a classic transitioning one!’

That story is well told in the poetry collection I published in March: Realisations. I still read it and perform it and share it, as a closed book, but also a very emotional and poignant reminder of the traumatic thing it is to come to terms with being transgender.

So it was, that I applied in March 2012 by Deed Poll to change my name and gender marker for good, and as far as I am concerned, I transitioned then. The story of how it went is on here.

There is very little support though, for what ultimately is a clinical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and even that term has been heartily discussed among psychiatrists and trans* people alike for its appropriateness, this year. Basically it is down to self-help. Somehow we meet each other, and if we are lucky, it’s a useful meeting. YouTube, feminisation secrets websites, borderline suppliers of herbal remedies and hormones, places you don’t normally associate yourself with because it’s easier to visit a ‘drag supplier’ than find genuine mastectomy prostheses. And it is expensive and painful, even before surgery. Despite 1 in 4,500 men and 1 in 8,000 women having diagnosable gender dysphoria.

So a year ago I had been toughing it out, convinced I could tread a middle ground, be dual gender, and keep my family. Yes, that is a pretty big reason to delay facing the truth. And the price of failure? Well, two things, I guess.

First (and mercifully we were going to therapy as a couple at the time) I reached the brink and looked over. It was a place devoid of everything, including light. It wasn’t inviting, but it seemed the only answer. If those who loved me and whom I loved the most could not live with me as a woman, and if I couldn’t live as a man, then by removing the common denominator (life) it would all be resolved. The frightening thing was that I knew how I was going to do it, and it was easy. So easy. I looked over the edge a few times. Now, I feel my record is blemished forever. ‘Have you ever felt suicidal?’ appears on forms sometimes, on your medical record, elsewhere. And if you answer ‘yes’, there may be a penalty, an impression, or just a knowing look and a Note. I have a Note. But at least I didn’t pay that price. The wind blew back just strongly enough to overcome the vertigo.

Second, I knew quite early in the year that I had already written the biggest cheque of my life. I had signed it. I had delivered it, and I was just waiting for it to be cashed. Very soon my account would be emptied. I wasn’t going to kill myself, but I was going to bankrupt myself. It isn’t often you have to write ‘Please pay from my personal account: my family; my marriage; the person I love most in all the world, all my life; and my home’ – in exchange for simply being true to how you were born.

I wrote on my blog about authenticity, about being seen as selfish or as deceiving, and I protested (as I still do) that I am looking through the same eyes I was born with and as when I fell in love, that I am still feeling and loving with the same heart, and giving from the same soul.

And I know now that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, it matters not one jot. Being the bio-male really does trump personality, companionship, commitment. And love. If you aren’t sexually attractive any more, you have become inappropriate. ‘You might “be the same person”, but I am not having any woman make love to me (even if the outcome is pretty identical)’. The only resolution to living behind this thick glass wall, looking at the one I loved and could no longer touch, was either back to the first price tag above, or starting again on my own.

So this blog subtitle changed to simply being ‘observations of gender dysphoria’. There was no better fit. I was a woman, and I really could be. The observation bit is important to me, and I do try to see from others’ point of view, though of course I can only do it as myself. You can judge whether my empathy and intuition are sound or not. Along the way I wrote about fairness, truth, justice, fear, self-knowledge, continuity, being a trans* father, being ordinary – and quite a lot about love.

I digressed into the awful realisation that ignorance is no defense under law, and that if my gender had been known, every wonderful act of love (that I always felt was in my heart a feminine space) would not have been consented to: was it all rape? Is that too blunt? That my own wife had only ever had sex with a transsexual woman? And that she would never knowingly have given consent for that? Because now it was known, doing exactly what had been invited before, was more than inappropriate.

Sadness, exile, yet becoming accepted universally as a woman socially and at work, and in public performance, featured on this blog, and finally put paid to any efforts of rational persuasion that I am still me, not trying to love differently, and still deserving of the same love and intimacy – but came through in the end to an intensely happy realisation that I have arrived at a place where the final administration can proceed smoothly, and over time. I even ditched the prostheses, and am getting my hair coloured so as it grows and appears a bit, it will blend. Then in a few months, the miraculous ‘shorter trim’ can appear and another prop, hopefully, be left behind.

And so I arrived at Christmas with all the reminders, redrafted scripts of grief, opening my space to others who needed it for similar reasons, and ultimately when they had left for home, feeling terribly lonely.

But I did cook a full and quite perfect Christmas dinner for the first time ever. And yes, I did set out a Gantt chart so I would get it right: (do not genderise that! The multi-tasking was fine).

Soooo … deep breath, and let’s begin 2013, and see if we can avoid the trauma somewhat, let go completely, negotiate sale of my old home, navigate divorce, and keep myself together throughout again. Because contrary to everything I protested last year, and rejection for being different, there is only one me, there only ever has been, and this is what I am.

Sadly, in terms of finding those essential, safe, daily, dependable hugs or kisses (*sigh*), one ounce of truth seems to linger from one past blog, ‘We cry, we dance’:

In the land where all is pink and blue
the purple has no face.
We cry, we dance, we love like you—
but cannot find our place.

A Christmas Carol

  • Posted on December 24, 2012 at 9:21 am

Radio carols familiar, smooth
words I cannot sing
a child safe song long lost
still played round and round
my wordless trumpet silent
since the final concert.

Another phlap on the mat
card-hope disappointed
by a Christmas Eve bill
an endless account, year around
filling the void of wordless friends
the list-recipients of my robin.

Tomorrow my son will annoy
his sister with rock and metal
compilations of his Christmas
his mother tolerant, the boyfriend
caught in a new family, the new
Christmas male, a word I cannot think.

Crackers will snap their jest
with an absent author and
a missing humour, an uncrowned
head of table, ambiguous not vacant
filled by silence, the last concert
forgotten as smooth carols.

Robin lost his red breast,
the unfamiliar call to friends
recognised by a few far away
as the fleeting, through-the-window
not-for-Christmas companion
the open bill, the silent carol.


2012 © Andie Davidson