Thursday, 3 October 2013

No longer in my teens...


Isobel

What happened? Suddenly I am out of my teens and just getting on with an adult life…

A few days ago, visiting friends who had just received their newest puppy, one which they shall care for during it’s first year before it goes on to be trained for aiding the blind, I was handed an envelope from my friend’s clearing out. We are all at it! Getting our homes in order, decluttering whilst we still can without a struggle, not wanting to get caught out should it be necessary to sell up and move somewhere more manageable at some point in the future. Not that we are decrepit yet! What was in that envelope? Mostly exhibition invites from shows long ago and three strange photographs of a creature I hardly recognise, like a long lost dead relation… I am told that I actually inhabited that strangers body but those memories if I had them are long gone just as any memory of the waste disposal apparatus has long gone. Impossible to imagine that a cancerous like growth was stuck somewhere on my lower torso for over half a century when there is no visible scar or memory of where it might have been or what it might have felt like!

I read countless blogs over the years, as tidying through the computer files recently has reminded me, but few have ever written about the complete and absolute change that transition can bring. I never imagined what it would feel like to just wake up and live an authentic normal everyday life where my body and mind match and all in the world around me accept me for who I am. Occasionally someone I have not seen for a while will ask how I am doing and I can hardly blame them since I have made my change openly and amongst people who have known me for half my life…

Not only have they accepted the new me they have embraced me, literally which I never expected, naturally I enjoy the women’s embraces more than the men’s but more of them have stepped forward than I could ever have guessed would. It is less than unpleasant to someone who has known themselves as a lesbian soul for nearly sixty years…

I do still curse that it has taken so long for the world to slowly turn to accepting and treating us less like pariahs and more like fellow humans suffering unimaginable torment and in need of help. If I could bottle up a taste of just how good it feels to have got through what I saw as an impossibly long and hard process, few sampling that bottle would have a moment’s hesitation in getting on that path if their circumstances allowed the slightest chance… 

In retrospect transition, though I took a long and tortuous route myself, was not as hard and painful as I imagined it would be. Strangely I suspect that some of what flashes through my mind these days is survivor guilt. I never though that I would get all the way through.

I started the journey slowly expecting to falter at some point but it pains me to hear of others not fulfilling their dreams. Recently coming across so many names from the past and knowing that as brave as so many were to step forward and be counted, some, I felt sure would well ahead of me, have not completed their journey... I have been lucky that here in the UK, where forty years ago I was told that I would never get help in this lifetime, it has become somewhere where our taxes can pay for the change. Had they done that forty years ago I would have probably paid back something like a hundred times what I have paid in but that was the stupid governments fault and loss. My heart goes out to those who find themselves in difficult relationships or countries like the US where health care and jobs can often be near impossible to find or afford.

I remember thinking as a late teenager that if I was able to find the resources to go abroad and get the operation I would have placed myself in a situation where I would be a second class citizen in my own country, unable to enter into legal agreements without a “male guarantor” and would only get paid a fraction of the pay a male would get for the same job. That would all be for being female not for being transsexual! It still seemed to be a harsh but reasonable choice and the idiot doctor who said that I would forget about this stupid idea and just get on with life was completely wrong. Even with life as a downtrodden woman I would have been happier, richer, made a greater contribution to society and have a pension and probably have a lifetimes memories to fondly look back upon...

What an amazing group of people I have come across along the way. What a loss to the world that our talents are often wasted and a loss to our friends and families who often only know the miserable side of us and many cannot bring themselves to discover the joyous versions of ourselves hidden deep inside.

So here I am, twenty months on from that momentous day when during a few hours of chemically induced sleep life was utterly transformed...



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4 comments:

  1. Looking at the photo at the end of this post made me think you'd turn into a bush! LOL. You are so right in what you say Caroline, Society's decisions made years ago left it without the many years of contributions you undoubtedly would have contributed as a valued member but instead they shunned and placed innumerable obstacles in the way. I am glad to rose above all that though and made a determined effort to go it alone and not only that but to succeed. The past is but a dream the future a stream flowing to your destiny and better times ahead.

    Shirley Anne x

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  2. Sorry it should have read 'am glad YOU rose above all that'

    Shirley Anne x

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  3. few sampling that bottle would have a moment’s hesitation in getting on that path if their circumstances allowed the slightest chance…
    This for me comes under the caution "be careful what you wish for."

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  4. I am looking forward to writing one of these posts myself in the future

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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.