Just being

  • Posted on July 22, 2012 at 9:11 am

Fifty years ago I was just being me. I was too small to know there were choices and comparisons to be made. I stirred cakes and I helped mix cement, I pushed a straw-filled polar bear (this is before really cuddly toys!) and a bulldozer equally around the floor.

Forty years ago I was wondering why I was different, an outsider unable to break in. I was a teenager, and I guess a lot of teenagers have very mixed-up periods in their lives where finding their identity is based on culture, friends, media and family. Few are free enough to see things as they really are. I had long hair, a bright pink shirt and purple heather-cord trousers. And a lot of feelings and wishing about myself that I couldn’t tell anyone.

Thirty years ago I was in love, and in public ceremony, made commitments that I’d felt for a long time. I had found someone who made me feel alive and brave enough to be vulnerable with; someone who I didn’t feel so much an outsider with.

Twenty years ago we had children pushing cuddly toys and bulldozers around, and we were still making cakes and mixing cement. But I wasn’t the one making cakes; we had a well-organised division of labour that worked well. It was a sensible layer of complementarity and partnership.

Ten years ago I was starting to feel an outsider again. Maybe I mean an insider; inside I was wanting to just be me. The children were at a stage of not running up to me when I got home and my role was changing, and calling me to find myself again. ‘Being me’ meant art classes, then returning to music. The role was doing beautiful things and expressing myself, without a role or expectations. And I really began to come face to face again with feelings from forty years ago.

This year I came to terms with my decades, and with what it means to be myself, instinctively, in terms of how I live and understand what it means ‘to be’. I am living a normal life again, going to work nine to five, sharing housework, cutting the grass, mending stuff, doing the ironing, playing music in several bands. I don’t feel an outsider any more, but I’m doing all the same things, for all the same reasons and in all the same ways. Living, loving, doing, being.

This week I shall remember the decades, especially the thirty-year anniversary. I was a commitment I made for a reason I still hold. I didn’t make vows because I felt any absolute divine obligation, but because it was what I wanted, wholeheartedly to do. That was as close to being me as I felt about anything at the time. I still have the same heart, the same soul, and it feels no different. Am I not the same person? I shall leave that question open, because I read many discussions, and most are based on semantics of ‘person’ – does that mean the heart and soul, or the perceived human being shaped by roles, obligations, moods and emotions? I can’t answer that any better than you can, because we use words to mean what we mean, not what words inherently mean.

But thirty years ago there were two people, the same two as today, for all the external and experiential changes. Unfortunately one of them had gender dysphoria, and it had to be resolved. That has meant a revisit to love and commitment, and the basis for that. And on the anniversary day I shall bite my lip, go to work and live a normal day, because I can be nothing else than who I am, and nothing else would be better.

Sometimes, it is enough just to beSometimes, it is enough just to be.


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