Dreamtime isn't always so obvious; sometimes it feels as though I'm awake, but this time there was absolutely no doubt. A bitterly cold wind was blowing off Lake Ontario. Waves were crashing onto that beach of many childhood memories. There is no way I should have been there; too dismal a place for my current mood. And, yet, there I was strolling along in my boots, all wrapped up in woolies, watching the dark clouds scoot along overhead; nobody else in sight, until ...
The last time I'd had a dream about this place, it was to visit and talk to my childhood self. Because that was a dream and I had known it, I had projected myself as the woman inside to talk to that boy. Today, I was just me - now, as I look everyday. However, the person sitting on the beach was no boy, but a man. A rather rotund one actually; familiar as the male façade I'd projected to the world up to two years ago, but in much worse shape.
His hair was thinner, and unkempt (the wind wasn't helping of course), his clothing haphazard, and his eyes were almost glazed over as he stared out into that stormy horizon.
"D.....? What has happened? You look terrible!" I almost blurted this out because he really was a mess and I couldn't ever recall letting myself go this badly.
"What does it matter to you? Who are ... oh, no way!" The confusion in his face showed that he knew only too well who I was, but was shocked to think what that meant.
I had to know: "It is October 2017, right?" He looked a bit puzzled at this, and then the penny dropped for him.
"Yes, that's right, and you are an alternate me who has transitioned. Oh, ... my ... How can that be? There is no way I could make it work; it wouldn't work! What did you do?"
"What didn't you do is a better question! Didn't you go to the endocrinology appointment?"
"I decided that wasn't going to work, because there is no way I could have kept our marriage together if sweetie had thought I was going to transition."
It shocked me for a few seconds to recall the total, one-sided devotion that had been in force not that long ago. I was convinced that my job was to fix every problem in the world, and divorce had to be avoided at any cost, even if the price was my life or at least my sanity, if need be.
"I had to go to that appointment, because without the estrogen I would have given up on life. I would have been going through the motions and would have hated myself. I had to transition and nothing was going to stop me. You should know all of this!" I was almost yelling at him; so angry that he valued his own life so little and valued the lives of people who had no idea what we had gone through, so much. "Look what this has done to you!"
"Is womanhood so important, so wonderful? What price have you paid?" Clearly he was just as angry and disappointed in me, for his own reasons.
Suddenly my part in this dreamtime drama was clear. To have told the truth to this version of myself, who had sacrificed all to remain true to a lifetime built on selflessness, would be a terrible cruelty. What good would come for him to know of the life I am living; so fulfilled in ways that could never have been believed two years ago?
"Womanhood is wonderful, and it fits me so much better than the life you have preserved. I've paid a price for sure, but I don't regret anything that I had to do. You and I are different in some very important ways D..... , otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation in this howling wind on this cool afternoon."
He pulled his jacket a bit tighter and looked more intently out at that churning water.
I continued: "You needed this dream for some reason though, and the only reason I can see for having me here is to tell you that it will never be too late to do what you deeply believe you should do. If that is to follow your present course, then that is exactly what you must do. If you see me and it somehow gives you insight into your own mortality, know this; it isn't too late. I wasn't the oldest person having surgery that day last month."
It was time to end this, before the gulf that separated us, emotionally, philosophically, and physically became even greater. Neither of us could imagine the other's existence but there we were. Truth be told, I don't want to know what happens to him, but as soon as I say that, I know that there are as many different paths he and she might take as there are for me in the future.
As that beach and its horrid weather evaporated into dream dust, it was a relief to realize that most of the challenges I face are nothing at all like his. I don't miss gender dysphoria a bit.