"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Friday, 13 January 2012

Loneliness and Friendship

That title might make you think there is a downer coming, but quite the opposite. Discovering a truth in your life is always a good thing.

Many years ago, when my audience was the worn pages of my 4X5 spiral notebook, I wrote a short essay about loneliness. My scribblings there had to do with feeling totally alone even when surrounded by people. I wondered how it was possible to be in a room full of "friends" and yet still have a feeling that could only be described as lonely. Sadly, I never pursued an answer. Perhaps I was not ready, or could not handle the truth in what were truly difficult (as contrasted with somewhat difficult) times of my life.

We need each other and yet what we deal with is personal, and the paths we take are unique. Our true friends will not tell us what to do, but only what they think and perhaps, if we are really lucky, we will find some who will ask questions in a non-judgemental way, only seeking to help us to think a bit more about our concerns, rather than to validate some path they themselves have taken.

I cannot believe that after all these years it has only just occurred to me that my feelings of loneliness have been the result of a choice made, like a self-imposed penalty for having been born the way I was, in the circumstances I found myself.

Rather than choosing to believe in like-minded companions who I was worthy of, those people referred to above, I made the choice to try to fit in with those who, if I'd been true to myself, would likely reject me, only to find, so late, that the illusion of companionship is even more empty than true isolation. What is more, I squandered the chance to find those of that group who would not have rejected me at all, but might have embraced me as who I really was. I will never know.

A good friend asked me this week if I could stand to live alone. Yes is my answer. I could live alone, for that would allow me to take the risk that living true to myself would lead to a condition far better than lonely in a crowd.


  1. Lonely in a crowd just about sums up the life that is dishonest to yourself in one way anne to everyone else in the opposite way at the very same time...

  2. Not alone...just lonely...I believe that sums up what most of us out here have felt, at least at one time or another.

    Yes, I too could probably manage to live alone...if that is what was thrust upon me. After all, that is how most of us managed to get to this point in our lives, we push on. Now, if push comes to shove, I would much rather stay with my sweetheart of forty years. I have no desire to start over at this time in my life. Maybe I'm very fortunate to have the loving, caring, and oh so understanding wife that I do. She is a true gift from God.

    Halle...I can only pray that your circumstances will, at the very least, mirror my own. I wish only the best for you and your sweetie.

    Hugs and Prayers,


  3. A notebook may be portable but doesn't provide feedback in terms of comments. I guess that's why we blog. I'll join the chorus in having experienced the feeling of being lonely in a crowd of people. An experience I remember was as a teenager going through a crowded shopping mall to visit the tobacconist there, the feeling of "intensity" was overwhelming and intoxicating.

    As I continue my transition, I have to agree that it's really nice to encounter a friend who is genuinely curious about what I am going through. It helps make the journey a little nicer. It is my belief though that if someone is curious in the manner you mentioned above it is mostly because they don't have a good reference in their own experience. For those who did have a question of their own at one time or another, most are too afraid to admit to themselves, let alone anyone else that the thought ever crossed their mind. I think most of us here can certainly relate on that point. The difference there is that we found the answers were worth seeking.


  4. I've never had many truly close friends in my life, Halle. Perhaps 4 or 5 when I was younger and two that I can think of right now.

    This excludes the many, many trans friendships I have made in the last 6 years or so. Looking back on things, the friends I really wanted to have, especially in grade school and up, were girls. I wanted them as friends to talk to but not as friends in a male-female relationship.

    The male friendships I do have now and have had in the past now seem so superficial in that our discussions are just that...superficial. It's with my trans friends, however, that I can bare my soul and feel good about doing so afterwards.

    Nice post, Halle, and I'm going to link this post on the current post we have up on T-Central featuring Bree's similar comments.

    Calie xxx

  5. Thank you all for these comments.

    Interactions in the past two years with those met through blogging have been the most important in my whole life. The word friend gets misused online, but as Calie says, these trans-friends have been someone who I can lay bare my soul to, and that has made such a difference.

  6. Now you got me thinking. What am I to you? Not a trans-friend. A reader-friend? A friend is a friend. Does one need to specify school-friend, office-friend or f...friend? Is it possible that you have friends to whom you could lay bare your soul and that you have trans-friends to whom it would be wise not to bear your soul? All this because I am asking myself who my friends are.

  7. Ellena, you and I are not quite neighbours, yet I think we are not all that far away, physically or in our minds; both seekers of a sort.

    This experience (blogging about my personal issues and things that have been revealed by thinking and feeling deeply about them) has taught me that love and friendship are very different from the limited thing I knew before.
    I feel convinced that we have a basis for a friendship. How is that? :)

    Perhaps we need to connect at a next level? If you agree, my email address is on the right panel.

    I think your idea of "friends to whom you could lay bare your soul" is one we all wish for deeply, but rarely find. I do hope your investigations into what friendship means are successful, and you find all you are seeking too.


  8. You mentioned how you "squandered the chance to find those of that group who would not have rejected me at all, but might have embraced me as who I really was."

    This is something that eats at me constantly. I, too, believe that many non-trans people I know would accept me as I really am. Sometimes I find myself wishing I could "out" myself to someone besides my wife. At the same time, I know that such an occurrence would devastate her because we all know that if one person knows, soon, everyone will know. She is very uncomfortable with that fact.

    Walking that line has always been something that has kept me feeling lonely. However, the illusion of companionship you mentioned is not necessarily fake because many of those in that group actually WOULD accept you or me as we really are.

    Sometimes we underrate the true connection we have with others. We underrate the unconditional love they have for us. The result is sort of a self imposed separation...a wall which hides that true part of our heart we so desperately want to unleash.

    Isn't it wonderful we don't have to feel lonely with each other here.

  9. Suzi, I too worry about the self-imposed separation wall. It hides my heart from so many, and yes it bothers me that I am definitely underrating some portion of my 'companions' along the way.

    Thank you for all you do to help dispel the loneliness.

  10. Suzi,

    I find your observations are on the mark. One of the things that I run into in transitioning is that I by necessity am coming out to people that I know and love. This includes members of my family. I believe it will lessen the surprise of when I go full time and have to explain that I am Sarah and why.

    As to your suspicion that many of the non trans people you know would be understanding and accepting, my experience agrees with this. Every time I hear someone tell me that they accept me and will stand behind me in transition, it lessens my fears and increases my confidence about sharing with the next person. While I know there is a small number of people who can not or won't understand, and I expect this where I am, I am very thankful they are few and far between.

    I do understand your spouse's concern about your outing yourself, especially where you are. I guess that's why the contacts we have here among the blogs are as special as they are. Just the same, I found it helpful to seek out a local trans support group. Face to face contact with others who face similar challenges is very nice.


  11. Sarah, you have reminded me of how much easier it would feel to tell the world "I am transitioning" full stop and wait for reaction, instead of "I really should transition, but instead what I am doing is..." .

    That 'what is going on instead' part is so damnably complicated. Imagining the dialogue would be almost laughable if it wasn't more apt to make me want to cry right now.

  12. I have found some level of acceptance amongst the initial few with whom i have shared my secret. I have no understanding though of how they would be if I did make the jump. 

    Whilst this has lessened the feelings of isolation I still feel lonely to an extent in the non virtual world. People just don't understand how all consuming this thing is. 

    Virtual friends have been the saving grace through all of this. To share feelings and concerns with people who fully understand how hard this is has helped me so much and often a small word of encouragement means so much. 

    I do wonder how easy it would be to be alone again though. It would give me total freedom to be me always but once that issue was resolved then what next. Would I swop the internal loneliness for an external one - perhaps being me might be enough.