“I came by myself to a very crowded place;
I was looking for someone who had lines in her face.
I found her there but she was past all concern;
I asked her to hold me, I said, “Lady, unfold me,”
but she scorned me and she told me
I was dead and I could never return.”
~ Leonard Cohen
I am still harping on the same old strings while I sway on my camel on my desert journey. So if you have heard the tunes before, you may want to leave now and continue on your own journey through the blogosphere. Peace be with you.
You decided to journey with me for a while? Well then, welcome and hold on!
Increasingly I am looking for that Lady Midnight, who would hold me while I unburden the load on my shoulders, listen with rapt attention and unadulterated interest and empathy to my story. Because, face it, coming out as trans is one of the hardest decisions any one person can make on their own. Nobody, but nobody, no matter how much they love you or care for you, can make that decision for you. Therefore it is also one of the loneliest roads you can embark on if you choose to do it brazenly.
The flip-side if the corn is just as scary: choosing to stay under cover, incognito, deciding to lock away your needs, dreams, fears – your very life – in a Pandora’s box. The only difference being that you know what you are locking away and hiding from the world – with the demons of misery, you also lock away your hope.
During the last few years, I lived mainly on euphoria. I had my top surgery, I cut my hair in a boy’s style and further masculanized (Is there such a word? There ought to be). But little else changed. I am still known by my given (very much female) name, treated as a woman and ‘ma’med’, ‘mama-ed’, ‘sisi-ed” – and then my all-time-spit-in-your-eye-form-of-address, “Lady.” Just as an aside, surely not all cisgender females are really and truly worthy of being called a “Lady?!”
There has been no progress on the home front. As soon as I hint about going on T, B clams up and you can feel the temperature drop to below freezing. Then my internal temperature shoots up into the red and we end up having a full-blown quarrel or one of those deathly silences that can last for days – neither of which is conducive to communication or making progress.
And I get her fears. It is not only I in this transgender cauldron. It is both of us who are in this hell-broth that boil and bubble (Shakespeare has never made so much sense as in my later years…). She, as much as I, has to be able to cope, firstly with the concept of transgender – a notion from outside the frames of reference in which we both grew up – and then with the daily onslaught of a hostile world. And if I look back at the road we have come, separately and together, it is strewn with the carcasses of emotional monsters we had battled and slain to be able to get to this point on our live’s journeys. Would it be fair of me to expect her to walk the road less traveled by with me, with the fiery, pungent breath of this new monster of society spewing close-minded condemnation upon us?
While communing with myself in this very clouded place I call my mind, I miss the intimacy of a friend who knows about the thoughts murkying my psyche and who would listen while I unpack those demons from Pandora’s box one by one and show my dysphoria, my fear of being ostracized, my trepidation of being rejected. A friend who will lend an ear as I tell them that my hearing is still deteriorating and that although I am a good candidate for cochlear implants, I can and will not run the risk of losing what hearing I still have left, as well. My hearing impaired world is already too devoid of sounds.
I value the few online friends I have made and am in contact with, but I am sure even they would agree there is nothing like the camaraderie of like-minded people or allies sharing a beer and pretzels (or cheese and wine for the more cultivated). I envy the guys in other cities in South Africa, who can get together and celebrate a birthday or share the exhilaration of a testosterone shot. With the approval of their partners. But even they have their own emotional mountains to conquer.
Meanwhile I don my mask and cloak and dream feverishly of the day B relents and I can cross that no-testosterone river. With my luck, it will be Charon and the Styx…
Oh well, I’ll just refuse to pay his fare and wander the shores as myself. One hundred years is but a drop in eternity.
“Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage”
~ Richard Lovelace