The meaning of corners – and love

  • Posted on February 24, 2013 at 11:53 am

sat nav green arrowThe fat green arrow bent left in a right angle. Guide? Instruction? Or imperative – if we were to arrive where we were going in time. I hadn’t used a satnav before, but taking my friend to an early hospital appointment made nose-following less than wholly wise. (And as it happened, we were led into a dead end because the satnav didn’t know about a new road.)

The fat green arrow at my next glance was straight. We were going from A to B still, just as we had when we pulled away in Hove, but without it really registering that we had turned a corner – many times in fact. It’s funny how we talk about turning corners; usually to signify an important milestone, or overcoming obstacles – neither of which image has anything to do with a change of direction in order to stay on the straight and narrow! And the only way the satnav showed we had turned a corner was by showing no corner at all. Maybe ‘turning a corner’ simply means seeing the way ahead more clearly, feeling there are fewer unknowns.

When we don’t turn corners, but carry straight on, the only way we know the difference is that we feel more lost. But over this past week, I felt a corner had been turned. There was a slowing down, a checking of direction, even a signalling, and then the way ahead seemed a lot clearer again. A slightly different view, a reassurance, no acceleration, but going somewhere, not just way-finding.

I was going to write about love again this week. Maybe I am anyway; but I re-read ‘Food for love’, from 1 July last year, and it is still everything I need to say. I wrote it with regret and hope, as love was slipping away, all expression being withdrawn, but I still think I got it right. I‘d like you to read it again too, if you have a few minutes. And this blog is for anyone who, like me, needs a new perspective on love, in order to find freedom and hope above fear and loss.

It was a bit more than a month later than writing it that I turned the first really big corner, realising that I could no longer live together but in isolation and prohibition from someone I loved, so I planned, and finally moved away. Here the space and the peace are lovely, and I have grown. I have grown up. I have grown bigger. Not better, just more complete and without conditions. And yet you may have read the last number of posts relating to letting go, to loss, fear, isolation from love, a deep sense of rejection because of what I am being bigger and more significant than who I am. All those things and more. They are all still there, but starting to feel mobile. You know; like an i-Phone or i-Pad, where if you hold an icon long enough it begins to shiver, and only then can you drag it to a new place where it is more useful. (If you don’t know, well, that’s what it’like! It stops the button for email, for example, getting dragged about accidentally: you have to first make it want to move. A bit like therapy, I suppose.)

And something my friend said yesterday made sense: I have outgrown what I had before. I really do need something greater. This is not about the hoped-for clinical attention for my body’s gender. In a way that is routine; frustratingly slow, but all being well, it will come. The desperate yearning for completeness is very real and hits me at the oddest times, but it stops nothing else being normal. This is not even about being no longer required to live in the wrong gender. To be honest, from day to day I hardly think about it, so long as I avoid full-length mirrors when undressed. No, this is a sense of something even more important, and I continue to have a sense of purpose behind all this stuff of living a life. Something I need to do, or be available for, needs me to travel this road. And I am up for it; completely.

Writing a blog is a sensitive thing. I write about my life, and it is not in isolation. One past blog in particular touched something and I was asked to take it down. I didn’t, because I felt (and still feel, having re-read it) that it represented a fair interpretation of events. It may not have been exactly what the other person was thinking, or in the way they would have expressed it, but I don’t feel it was detrimental in any way, or even wrong to imagine these were their feelings. And so today, as I continue, I write what I feel is true, without speaking for any other concerned.

The corner

I felt that a friend and I had both come to an important recognition, and I think we are agreed, having talked about it more. It was a mutual realisation that our friendship had become different from most, if not all, our other friendships; it had somehow become unconditional. Enough trust, enough testing of misunderstandings or misinterpretations, and we are safe enough as two quite different people, in quite different circumstances, each to say ‘I love you’ and know that this carries no demands, and no expectations of the usual patterns of ‘being in love’. We are close; very close, but speaking for myself, I felt somehow I had jumped over an awkward middle-point into something more genuine than perhaps I have ever known. I did read my muesli love page again, and it holds true. Each of us feels that other and intimate relationships may well lie ahead, but that we have something perhaps even stronger than that.

It’s as well, since return to counselling for me has centred around how I could ever be loved for who I am, when for the one I have loved most thus far, what I am prohibited the continuity of love. It’s that paradox of being the same person, the same personality, same intent, whilst being changed in gender and in emotional clothing. I remember being asked during therapy to write on a piece of paper, and keep: ‘I want to be loved for completely who I am’. And that has seemed impossible. I am a woman with tricky history; history that might at any time change another person into something they don’t want to be (you make me gay / lesbian / bisexual or just uncertain). And that history is mine forever; it will always be disclosed.

Maybe, just maybe, to someone, my body will be loved unconditionally too. I hope so. But for now, yes, I am loved for completely who I am. And that is an overwhelming feeling, and so unexpected.

And so it was that I found myself getting up very early on a Saturday morning to take my friend to an appointment, experiencing a satnav for the first time and the straight green line of having turned a corner. ‘You don’t have to’, she said; ‘You have a choice and I would understand.’ ‘I have a choice’, I replied; ‘And I’ve made it.’ And that was a start of a day of hospital, a giant plant pot, home-made fish pie and taking our cars to the wash – and which was so much more because of a shared and understood love.


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