regrets, I’ve had a few

me rearview

This is the time in the Jewish year where we are offered the opportunity to stop, breathe, take stock.  How am I?  Who am I?  How have I been?  Who have I been?  Who and how would I like to be?  This year’s taking stock felt very positive, energized and fruitful to me for some reason.  Less beating my chest with a closed fist and more patting my heart with an open hand.  I’ve been trying to live my life going forward and not looking back.  Trying to focus on what I have and who I am rather than what I don’t have and who I’m not.  Trying to let myself be who and what I am now, knowing what I think I know in this moment and not beating myself up for what I thought I knew in my past (but actually didn’t) or what I truly didn’t know and decisions I made based on that *knowledge* or lack thereof.  It’s easier said than done.  Though, given that lengthy run-on sentence, it apparently isn’t even all that easily said.  At any rate, and in more concrete terms, just like when driving a car, it is impossible (not to mention unwise) to only look forward without so much as a glance back or in any other direction.  Where we have been informs who we are and oftentimes where we are going.  Or at least the course we have set ourselves upon in order to get where we’re going.

This line of *reasoning* could apply to any of a number of topics in life, but for me, in this very moment, I am talking about being transgender.  I mean, I knew on some level when I was 5, probably even when I was 3, that I was a boy. I was called in to the house more times than I care to count for playing outside without a shirt on.  I mostly played with the boys.  Ernie and Billy and I were always searching the neighborhood for bugs or hideouts.  We played spies, army guys and sometimes kickball or hit the bat.  When the neighborhood girls got together, if Ernie wasn’t around to play, I sometimes joined them to play house.  Kathy was always the mom, Maryann and Michelle were her daughters, the dad was traveling on business (despite the fact that none of our actual fathers traveled for business).  And I was *Mike*, Michelle’s boyfriend.  I’d ride up on my bike (without my shirt on), pick her up for a date and we’d ride off together to a pretend drive-in movie.  I never joined the girls for dolls or jumping rope though.  Even if Ernie was not around.  Hey, everyone has their limits.

And while I am trying not to beat myself up over things, I do wonder why I never said anything?  Tell anyone?  DO anything?!  How did I even know to keep my mouth shut?  {of course there is always the theory that I did actually say something and that the response was so traumatic that I buried the whole thing and never spoke of it again}.  I know that it’s easy enough to beat myself up for my cowardice or whatever it was that prevented me from speaking my truth.  I just wish I knew.  And I’m quite sure and quite clear that I did know that truth all along.  I have those distinct memories and I moved away from that neighborhood by the time I was in the second grade.  So I know I knew.

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As I got older, I got better at hiding it and/or denying it.  Looking back I can see, feel, so many whispers like tiny ripples on the surface of my conscious memory.  So many incidents, instances and interactions that said quite clearly that something was not *right*.  There was the time in college, studying for my Bachelor’s degree, when I took a human sexuality course and the professor led us through a guided meditation where we were supposed to envision ourselves as the *opposite gender* or something like that.  I remember being so freaked out at the ease, normalcy and rightness with which I conceptualized myself as a guy that I raced out of class at the end, leaving the friends I typically walked with in the dust, not speaking to anyone and hiding in my dorm room through dinner.  The time not 10 years ago when a new friend said that I was trans (as if it were common knowledge) and I responded (even internally) with absolute, unmitigated bafflement.  As if I’d never even considered that possibility.

The chasm between the 3 year old who knew absolutely and the 50 year old who couldn’t even fathom knowing was stark.  To have not acknowledged, to have kept hidden, to have denied that knowledge, the real me, for close to 50 years feels like a colossal waste of those 50 years.  And I can’t help but have regrets about that.  Now that I know that I am transgender, I can’t help but re-imagine my childhood as a transgender kid – the ones I see now so often being able and encouraged to live their lives as who they really are, loved and supported by loving family from the very beginning.  What choices would I have made for myself if I were allowed to be me?  What career path?  What skills and abilities and life-affirming…

And then I get drawn up short.

Who would I be?  What about my friends and my family and my career!?!?  All these wonderful people and things I have in my life that I have chosen to be part of my life with the utmost care and love!?  As I said above, who we have been informs who we are.  Because I have wrestled with depression, grappled with anxiety, been desperate for belonging, I have developed some very amazing, compassionate, connective and loving qualities.  Would I still have developed those qualities?  I don’t know that I’d want to give those up.   If I were socialized as male, would I be gentle and kind and demonstrative in ways that girls are required to be?  In some ways, and not to sound grossly smarmy, I have been offered the best of both worlds.

I’m grasping at a paradox that defies my attempts to contain and master it.  Part of me is excited to be able to create who and what I am or will be, without the constraints of convention.  Part of me is scared.  Part of me still laments all those lost years.  I guess for now I will say I am looking ahead and allowing myself to be guided (but not stopped) by my past.


About halitentwo

i am. god is. we are. as soon as i write something about me i change, am different, evolving. i am trans. i am a parent. i am a partner. i am a human. i am attempting to live a well-lived life in the spaces in between, beyond definition, fluid, dynamic, omnifarious and always changing. hopefully growing.
This entry was posted in feelings, no man's land, relationship. Bookmark the permalink.

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