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People! Who’d be one??

  • Posted on May 10, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Every now and then I realise deep, deep down, that to be human is the loneliest thing in the universe. As people, we make life as individuals horribly isolated and complicated. There is no alternative to the singularity of human life, and the only way not to be alone is to acknowledge this state of affairs and do something about it. And I believe the only way, is to expose the vulnerability of it, and not pretend otherwise.

I am a committing, bonding person, always have been, and probably always will be. That makes me something like a free radical. (Look them up on Google to find out more.) Basically they are molecules with a bit missing, that makes them highly reactive. Find them another molecule with a spare electron (or need of one) and they want to bond to make something new and extra.

It got me into trouble again. My natural tendency to bond made me too radical. My ‘missing’ particle, under discussion over a cup of tea, was subsequently interpreted as ‘too needy’ – and I lost a dear friend. Yes, another. But it’s alright, because very soon it won’t be able to happen, because I shall have run out of close friends. Look on the bright side.

I’m not being cynical or unduly sad, and certainly not bitter. What I want to repeat, is that going through gender transition – coming to terms with, and actually dealing with gender dysphoria – is a particularly difficult thing to do. One one hand, it is a tremendous self-actualisation, and unimagined move into happiness with self, that at times even feels absurd for being allowed to feel this good. On the other hand, there is everyone else. Those who shout in the street, those who humour you, those who distance themselves, and those who flatly reject you. So when one or two embrace your change, they don’t know what they are letting themselves in for. Self-obsession, a need for reassurance (or simply to be hugged without reservation), constant focus on the ‘big issue’, or no conversation that hasn’t got something in it relating to the problems of starting a gender life all over. It’s all there. Please don’t blame the transitioning person; they will get over it in a year or two! But please go gently, because it is so desperately hard at times to hold your new life together in the absence of love and affection and close support, and especially when you have lost it for becoming the best you can be. We take time to get there. My daily motto is still ‘I’m getting there …’ Maybe I should have it engraved on my headstone!

But this week also I got to the point where all the arguments, diatribes, philosophy and rationalisation are over, I feel it’s all been said. Over 200 blog posts since I started, and I have little to add. I shall write through the final phase, of course, since that too may help others, but when it comes to other people, this is it. A bit of genital reconstruction, a lot of pain, hassle and stuff to get through, and I shall be asking nothing more of anyone to help me ‘arrive’. The rest is self-discovery and development, with no ‘big things’. Take me or leave me, there are no permissions to seek; I am what I am. Period.

So anyway, what does this mean about us as people – all of us? What makes us feel safe? In a crowd, pressed together, we don’t fall over. Out on our own, and a little shove shows how vulnerable we all are. Some of us cope, by becoming small or lying down, where falling hurts less. Some hold onto one big thing that gives valency in the world – their lamp-post, shedding just enough light to give them a safe place. Maybe we are all looking for a simple, safe place, even if we venture out into daring other places and back again. I think I have faced some of this loneliness and outer darkness as never before, and have learned a little more. It is not so much threatening as empty. The scary bit is that if you were to need it, there might be no-one there, so I err on the side of daring to be hurt rather than playing safe. I think I’d rather stay a free and needy radical and work it out as I go along. Maybe there is a lot more hurt ahead, but maybe nothing worse than I’ve already felt. And maybe, just maybe, there is some other person willing to take the risk with me.

Being a people is so complicated – isn’t it?

I had a sleepless night chewing over how I had managed to lose my best friend. There’s no blame, a few reasons, and enough to reflect on and learn from. It made me realise (a good thing) a bit more of the impact of my words on my ex-wife through these transitioning years, and helped me see in a more generous light the hurt I too had caused.

And all I wanted was to start making peace with my oldest companion, friend, life-help and partner. It can’t be put back together, whatever friendship we find will be different, each free to go our own way – but we have over 30 years of memories that are shared, and always shall. Flowers, some tearful but sincere apologies from me, and I’m looking to make peace. Just that. A first hug in several years, and a hope that all this horrible mess of being people can be made a little more sense of, and with a little more kindness than I have shown. I think we are agreed on that.

We aren’t always good at being people, at being kind, or recognising the inherent loneliness we all have, simply being human. It’s a messy, untidy thing, and we hurt each other over and over, perhaps because we are lonely, and needy.

People! Hah! Who would be one?

Being a people is so complicated. My complication? Well the real one is that I still love the one I’m trying to make peace with, and that might scare her off too.

And you? Go on, do something radical. It’s OK to reach out and share needs. Love someone today, just because …