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Shut up. I’m just drunk.

  • Posted on December 23, 2012 at 11:08 am

I was slightly chastised this week by an old friend who has greater grief and hurt than I, in her life, and about whom I care very much. I can’t remember when we last met, but I’m glad we can still be straight and not just get miffed. It was a chastisement I have given myself too, when with other people.

The trouble is, people are curious and I am very open. I know that I have had it very easy indeed on this gender journey, and that for many it really isn’t that straightforward. So if I can be confident and normal and direct about it, then others will also find it normal, and if they then meet someone else like me, they will pass on that understanding and be supportive instead of bemused or worse. So I talk about myself. And rather too much sometimes. Am I listening as much as I want them to? Probably not, and I have to learn that. So my New Year resolution, if I am to have one (apart from getting fitter – again) is to shut up. And listen.

This Christmas required giving some explanation to The Christmas Card List. That longer list of people stretching back to where I/we studied, lived, worked. Yes, those people you largely forget about except for Christmas because you hardly ever see them anymore. But it felt important because one was my best man (definitely the better now!), and others used to be good friends when kids were all the same small age. So despite Lynn Truss’ deprecation of the ‘round robin’ newsletter, I told the story my way, of why cards were coming from me separately, and of the big change. And the breakup, and no recriminations. Maybe this was my last big shout, because that’s everyone in the know now. Except the tax man (yes, I do still think of him as a man, so I’m sorry if you work at HMRC and are a woman, especially if you are trans in the HMRC, no offence intended. HMRC alone will insist that I am male to the bitter end (my GRC) and I really do resent that.) So by now there is no-one left to inform, and just one to correct.

That should mean I can shut up, and listen more.

This week was also the Christmas meals week, and the opportunity to wear my best ever Monsoon chiffon dress. In spite of awful weather on Wednesday night I braved it, and felt amazing. Wet at first, but chiffon dries quite quickly. I had a lovely night, and yes, people were, shall we say, free to ask. I didn’t mind, I rarely do, because again I want people to know that I feel as normal as they do, if a bit more self-aware (not self-conscious) than some. It has been a huge change, and the first experience for most, of a trans* person. But we talked about a lot else besides, and I had a truly lovely night.

You know how it is at these occasions. Well you do if you’re driving, because as you stay sober, others dissolve into a happy or sad or uber-loving haze. There was quite a bit of happy-drunk, and as I came away, I realised I too was a bit drunk. But I was actually feeling drunk with happiness. I was finally ending a year in which I had started not knowing quite what lay ahead, with a great deal of unhappiness and terrible fears of consequences. In that year I had finally had to face myself, and grasped that the final choice, and the only real choice I ever had, was to be between being true to myself and keeping the love of my lifelong companion, lover and friend. It was the year, too, where I came to understand just how easy suicide can be. I looked over the edge and the wind blew back just hard enough to overcome the vertigo. It was a year in which all my fears came to meet me, and all but one were resolved. All but one.

So why should I not be drunk with happiness?

A second Christmas dinner, and I was moving around freely with 60 other people with whom I work, just being me. Being normal. And with this wonderful realisation that I have made it, that I am safe, that I am well on the way to resolving the deep need to correct my defects. And in arriving here, I can now shut up about it and get on with life. I will always have the same his-story, and I can’t escape that. I hope I will always be an advocate for trans* people of all kinds, and a help to some. But the truth about who I am is finally, and completely, out, and those who are happy with that are happy, and those who aren’t will have to catch up as best they can or be left out.

Happiness and sadness aren’t like matter and antimatter; they don’t annihilate each other, and it isn’t really a balance. It’s a cohabitation of aspects of reality. My sadness would never be there if there hadn’t been happiness, so you could argue that in sum, there must be more happiness than sadness in my life. And pain? Every week I lie under the needle of electrolysis for an hour, focussing on ‘this is just a single hair’ so the pain is made tiny. Friends passing through surgery remind me that a fair amount of pain lies ahead there too, but not for a while. And there is painful relationship surgery right up ahead as well. So I have one surgery I can’t wait for, another I simply hate to have to do. And that one will be a lot more private because it’s only half about me and must remain as amicable as possible, even though I know I will feel somewhat clinically disposed of.

So this year you can chastise me if you like. Tell me to shut up. I’m probably just drunk – on happiness.