Making a choice to get to know your true nature but keep it hidden comes with many consequences. Not the least of these is the possibility of thinking some very interesting thoughts about the human condition and my condition in particular, of course. Today, a post for my benefit, and for the benefit of others who might have the same condition.
'C' and I were chatting and I started a discussion I usually avoid on the 'transition option'.
He is a wonderful friend and a very good listener who knows my heart and as such will not pressure me one way or another. When there is a question I have not asked myself but he thinks I should, he ventures to ask it for me. This time, he simply observed that "if you think you might be lonely if you do this or that, you might be lonely already."
Now even though the transition option is not on the table, a really good observation like that did send me down interesting paths of thought:
The way things stand, interaction with people in my world is stifled. I can be with a group of people and none of them really know the real me, but they think they do. Everyone is acting 'normally' and things can be as my wife wants them; stealthy. One of the things people do know about me involves the arts in our community. I am very recognizable; almost famous as one friend put it. There are so many opportunities for really good and interesting conversation. Sadly the commitment to stealth means becoming engaged in an interesting conversation can be risky because there are often ideas I cannot share. Faced with a possibility of outing myself, I 'clam up', generating feelings of loneliness and isolation. As 'C's observation suggests, how much worse could it be to simply be alone?
The real person and everything she feels and knows is a secret from almost everyone, so people think I am what they see. There is no need to fabricate a life story right up until a couple of years ago, it is only my current and new thoughts that need to be hidden. Stealth; simple but lonely.
For some of those who have no other option but transition, there seems to be yet another sort of stealth, living as though they were part of a 'witness protection program'; creating a new identity for themselves and hiding their back-story, all so that they can simply be their true sex. That sort of thing might work well for the very young, but at my age and in my case it could be a problem. I do not think I would want to have to become a hermit, or move to some place where nobody knows me then make up some sort of false history to be able to live in peace. To me, that would be the ultimate loneliness.
To be really true to myself might mean accepting the sort of attention one gets if you are an object of curiosity, at least for a while.
I don't hate attention. If it weren't for stealth, you would read here about parts of my life that already bring me some measure of fame. They are things that have come as a result of hard work and passionate commitment. To be an object of attention because of something you are rings as unpleasant to me.
There are definitely parts of my art and work that have become richer and stronger because of my transsexuality, but transsexuality does not define me. More and more, I wish to share that complexity and richness, but have not found a way as yet.
Some stories here in the Land of Blogs seem to imply that once people's initial curiosity over what it means to be transsexual passes, you can get on with your life successfully. They make me wonder how true that might be for me and what that might mean for the lonely feelings.
I wonder if it is time to
Accept and expose this very special quality I have, no fault of my own
Acknowledge its value and let others 'get over it'
Blend what have been two lives into one even more unique and public one.
Accept the stealth
Accept that loneliness is part of the human condition
Learn to live with feelings of loneliness
End the self examination
~ "move along... there is nothing to see here" ~
"Accept the stealthReplyDelete
Accept that loneliness is part of the human condition
Learn to live with feelings of loneliness
End the self examination"
Sounds like a plan to me.
Hmm, hadn't thought of a poll, but thanks for the idea 'An'.ReplyDelete
Reading you reminded me of Kafka writing "When you stand in front of me and look at me, what do you know of the griefs that are in me and what do I know of yours? And if I were to cast myself down before you and tell you, what more would you know about me that you know about Hell when someone tells you it is hot and dreadful?"ReplyDelete
Oh so correct Ellena.ReplyDelete
I cannot possibly know of your own joys and trials, but we can still feel some empathy because we have traveled our own road and felt these things.
We may have been treading parallel paths, I stared to become fairly well known in the arts here but that opened up curable wounds. I hated that the real me was being buried even deeper by the brightness of the spotlight. Instead of choosing liftoff panic caused the mission to be aborted and I have seen lesser beings sail on to great success and material comfort while I hid my ugly body from the world. I thought transition was impossible and would have had a negative effect on me and those close to me, now I suspect that may have been completely wrong. Being able to express myself as the real me would have been liberating, not to express the transsexuality part of me as much as the feminine side of me though anyone who has gone through our lives has to be an interesting cocktail of influences.
Stealth as in hiding my true self nearly killed me, stealth as in vanishing seamlessly into a society where nobody ever knows your past was never an option. If only it had been…
I have found that I have drawn “no” attention and curse that I did not know how little people would care. An occasional wave of regret will sneak up and knock me sideways for having had to live in the shadows and the wondering just what I may have missed but I will never know. I do feel that I have let myself down by misjudging the difficulty of transition and have to live out the remainder of my life with that weight of regret.
As it is I made it through and find that I am not alone or lonely which is a great compensation.
Parallel paths indeed Caroline, for it seems to me that just as an inner spirit is giving me the desire to try wings, the loneliness and stealth clip them. As you suggest, some opportunities tend to pass you by and growing distraction almost caused me two months ago to abort a project that is now bringing a great amount of joy.ReplyDelete
I am guessing that you are 'voting' for option 1 and the tally now reads 1:1.
Thanks for this heartfelt comment.
Is this conversation about the dichotomy between "Can I pass" and "this too shall pass"?ReplyDelete
Recently many are beginning to transition in place. Not everyone seeks the kind of stealth you describe be it in transition or no transition.
It's a little like having a history no matter what, is it not?
It is living a paradigm that has shifted and no one noticed least of all those that embrace the old paradigm and they can be 60 years old with a history or right beside you denying the history.
It is like going in circles on the inner side of the moat which lacks a bridge and really is an abyss. Loneliness
While all of the building materials to bridge the abyss are around, strewn maybe, but there. What's the fear?
Will you end self examination?
Kathryn, "this too shall pass" seems a faint hope now.Delete
I do often ask can I pass as myself, whoever that is?
Perhaps it is an old model of behaviour that binds me and stealth is high on the list of inappropriate actions found there, along with caring who knows your history.
Would self examination ever seem unnecessary? I doubt it, no matter what the future brings, so the answer there is not likely. I might stop sharing my thoughts though.
Good to hear from you. Hopefully this finds you well.
I found Aligning who you are and how the world sees you was the most important thing I have ever done.
Obviiously the exact path is different for us all but I found hiding myself was painful and led to lots of sadness.
Thats not to say there are not diffciulties when / if disclosure comes but I found the pain to much less than anticipated and definately the best decision I made.
Your options are vast from doing nothing more to full disclosure to all. Only you can make that excat decision.
My approach was small baby steps one at a time. This limited the risk and allowed me to explore things slowly.
To thine own self be true.
Sending you love.
Lisa, I do appreciate your observation on the vastness of the options, because it seems to me the extreme ends of that 1 to 10 spectrum are the most scary; 1. Do nothing 10. Become fully female; scary for very different reasons. Targeting that path that allows some wiggle room where one can explore seems to be the most desirable. It has been my habit in life to act suddenly, almost as though there was a bandage that was stuck and I had to take it off quickly once it had done its job and the time was come to remove it. When moving suddenly it is good to choose time and circumstance well.Delete
love to you too!
The more willing I am to show people the true me the happier that I become. With that being said most still only know those aspects that I want them to know, so there is still stealth.ReplyDelete
What an astute observation from C, as always. Thank you for sharing it and exploring it.ReplyDelete
I have always held firmly that I would rather be alone than lonely. Not that I will ever make that choice for myself. And as you said, sometimes the loneliness is worst in the company of friends.
Tough choices abound...
Whether we call them 'baby steps' (as Lisa has suggested, and my friend Suzi has advocated all along) or 'gradual self-discovery', this has certainly become the reality of my transformation.ReplyDelete
Much like an adolescent, I am slowly finding and revealing the real person hiding under the façade.
Leslie, the toughest choice and the one I have determined I will not accept, has turned out to be 'do nothing and end the self examination and self realization'. Who it will lead me to become cannot be known, and that is as it should be.
As for that loneliness, not even knowing oneself has to be the most lonely of conditions, and one to be corrected as quickly as possible.
A trans friend recently suggested to me that it would be wrong for me to meet another transitioner, in public, who is just beginning her journey. The reason is that many people in the community know me and she fears that I might be associated with the transitioner who, like most when they first begin going out presenting in the gender of choice, simply do not pass.ReplyDelete
I mention this because of your utter isolation from those like yourself...those you can express your most intimate thoughts to, face to face. For this reason, I cannot deny my friend a chance to present as female in public, while sipping coffee with me. That's what friends are for, and my friend needs the experience and confidence builder of being with someone perceived as male. I hope this makes sense!
Halle....you must find a way to meet a few trusted friends. It can be so good for your psyche.
Calie, thank you for making your choice to support this new friend. I am confident that someday I'll find a way to do as you say.ReplyDelete