Monday, 2 May 2011

Perhaps the end of an era.

Strange day in paradise. Sorry no pictures.
With the weather so changeable trips to the beach have been few and short, Julie no longer enjoys the beach being unsteady on her feet and for many years has hated the struggle to get out of the sea if there is any kind of wave action. Today there was wave action! The day was sunny and warm with a light wind, hardly enough to excite the meeting of the Mondial de Vent just round the headland, an event in some world series of windsurfing and such like. Blocked that village for over a week. I wandered off by myself for a stroll along my favourite beach with perhaps a short dip in the water. What I encountered was waves breaking a hundred yards offshore a couple of metres high, I come from a mixed up units age! Not since the evening when I nearly drowned had I seen waves like these! Shoulder high waves crashed, just 20 feet away from where I stood, into a hollow and the wash was surging high onto the beach.
I wonder how many in the western world get more than a few steps away from their civilised comforts, sensual pleasures in a darkened room. To be a mile from your car and clothes, just a light rub of suncream your only link with modern life, wind and surf up to the neck invigorating the skin at one with the wild elements more than makes up for the sensations I do not seem made to enjoy. Sadly our time here is drawing to an end, not quite as pleasant weather as we might have hoped for and not as many trips out as we could have done in the past.
It takes a long time for me to get my ears accustomed to the French sounds and start to understand what is really going on. What this has done is confirm my suspicions that this is the one place where I am least accepted. Not by visitors but by some family! Not anti what is happening to me, not wishing that we were not here but constantly miss gendering and in French it is quite blatant. I had been asked not to be too pushy with my brother in law and he sees no difference in his mind and happily uses masculine terms in public which cut to the quick. My heart is heavy, not a term  really understood till now and my desire to return to this place, which for many years I have thought of as a second home, has diminished. They have had longer to get used to the new me than anyone and I have failed miserably to win them round. There are moments when you can see that they know that they should try but then when they are not concentrating it all breaks down…

At that point I had run out of energy and so had the laptop battery and all shut down and went black, at bit since my mood has been in the days since I wrote that.
Tomorrow we leave here and head north towards friends in Germany. Normally I would be a touch tearful and sad leaving this place and friends behind. I shall be sad and tearful tomorrow too but this time because I now know that I do not know when I shall be able to return if ever. They have been very generous towards us and in many ways as friendly as can be but the truth is that I have failed to be really accepted for who I am now by the two people who most need to be onside here. All their friends and new people we meet have had no trouble or even question my past then the spell is broken by yet another stupid offhand remark. I have been down for a couple of weeks now and have done very little because of it surfing the emotions on the edge of tears.
Julie now knows that I cannot return without positive proof that they have come round, I cannot return after another year and allow myself to be outed like this all the time. I have no idea where I shall have evolved to in a years time but I fear they will be in exactly the same place.
A few hours on the road and I am sure the sick tearfulness will abate and I may even be able to start enjoying the trip again. This part is all down to Julie’s planning, mine was to get us here!
I doubt that I shall get much sympathy, this is after all the only setback I have really had to face but it feels as bad as a bereavement.


  1. Such a terrible sad reality when we have to change and cannot find a way to take others with us. This is when late transition really does bite. It is like a premeditated bereavement.

    I hope the remainder of the trip brings new good memories.

  2. BTW, you make me wonder when you write that you had been asked not to be too pushy. You really were only going to get one chance to build a new relationship with these friends and family. Maybe being a little pushy might have been more successful? Just thinking...

  3. I can understand how this made you feel.
    I have met them and know they are basically good people. They seem very practicle people who maybe look at things from a logical perspective and possibly not to much from an emotional perspective.

    I am sure they didnt mean to hurt you and didnt realise they have hurt you so much.

    Maybe if you have the chance it would be worth talking to them and explaining how their approach makes you feel.
    At least this gives them a chance to change.

    If they dont change then you have lost nothing.

    Possibly your wife could talk to her sister if you felt this would be difficult to explain.

    I am sorry this has made you feel bad. You know my number if you want to chat.

  4. There have been enough changes happening naturally for everyone else but in retrospect I could have been more assertive and if I had not lost my Chanel gold paint I could have done my my finger nails to match my toes. When your ex brother in law hangs about with chest bumps and wearing floaty skirts and you still think it is OK to use male pronouns in company with no hint of a mistake being made or apology then I think all is lost.

    Sorry Lisa that may be the end of cheap holidays in the sun for us both!

  5. Yes, very probably you will not go back. I know I would not want to.

    It's not that difficult to remember which pronouns to use. My elderly aunt in South Wales is also my godmother, and for that reason wants to keep calling me by the name borne by her godchild - she is quite religious - but only in private. In company, which includes her own family, she either contrives not to call me anything, or if she must, then it's 'Lucy' and 'her'. Well, if she can manage that at 89, after a lifetime of using my old name, I really can't see why other people can't do the same.

    I will allow one or two inadvertant slips. But if they persist - for whatever reason - then there is nothing for it but to withdraw and stay away. Whatever the regret.


  6. I'm not sure if they're not people you really need to take a sledgehammer to, not because they're hostile or generally insensitive but are simply blind in this situation. I've one friend who still has problems with name and pronouns but is truly extremely supportive and totally relates to me as female.Others who are very correct and, I suspect, view me as some sort of sexual deviant.
    But then I'm clearly out, so it's an easier situation.
    If you feel like contacting, you might be heading towards my neck of the woods...

  7. You Caroline, I have a litmus test for acceptance—it is NOT rejection. If that is at least there, it's likely that over time, sometimes a LONG time, everything else will follow. We were who we were for a LONG time. It will take us a LONG time to become who we will be. Allow them to come along for the ride on their own LONG time.

  8. ((hug))

    hope the tears are dry soon

  9. I have read it several times, but am still at a loss for words. It is just sad, but I think there is something to what Zoe says, it takes time and gentle constant reminders.

  10. I'm sorry that you felt so miserable. Don't give up - don't let them beat you.

  11. It was so sad, reading this, Caroline. I hope things change and that you can go back in the future and find acceptance.

    Calie xxx


Many thanks to all who ever joined in the conversation and to those who took the time to follow my zig zag to a new life..

I can be contacted on the email found on my profile page.