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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trans Thoughts and Reflections ~ Caroline

Caroline is my very good friend. We correspond regularly but have not yet met. She lives across the pond you see. 
It feels a bit strange actually remembering that we began corresponding because we are trans, since we don't often mention anything to do with that now. It is of course, a shared experience so it is something that everything might be filtered through. 
Caroline authored the blog TIME REGAINED and before this week's postscript, her final entry there was eight months ago. Hers was one of those that helped me to understand I was not crazy having the feelings and desires I did five years ago. 

Anyway, I was so happy to open her letter and see that she had "tapped out" these thoughts on her past to share with you. 

~ Postscripts From the Other Side ~

Woke up, fell out of bed, 
Dragged a comb across my head 
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup…

A random couple of lines from a Beatles song which drifted into my head whilst thinking about T Central, the recent past and my life now.

How do you get over to a world full of people who just wake up, get out of bed and live their lives without a second thought about who they are or what role they will play in the world, that we have never had that luxury? 

For a special group of us, for most of our lives that was just an impossible dream. Instead, each day we woke and played out a role to suit the world around us: 
A life and death performance day after day living in fear of being found out and ostracized. 
A life laid out by our appearance not our souls. 
A role set by a brief glance at our anatomy at birth and branded on to the paperwork which shall determine our lives…

A few short years ago, about the time online video was becoming possible, I bought the shiny new computer which would be my portal to the world. It would let me see and read about a huge range of people similar to me and make direct contact with many of them as we each found our own way to deal with the problem nature had dealt us. This was my therapy, my support group and I have to say for a few years something of an obsessive life. Now it lies mostly idle, creaky with age and gathering dust. Today, my fingers already ache through lack of practice tapping the keys.
I found that new life which seemed so impossible, and in a way so few can appreciate I wake and just live the life I should have been born to.

There are no fanfares playing; life is not exciting and there is no longer a stream of messages about other’s ups and downs of life filling the inbox several times each day to respond to or write a blog post about. In fact after returning from a month road trip there were only a handful of messages in that box at all!

The world has discovered the “selfie” though “we” have been using them for decades to see ourselves as others see us, to examine how we look and assess the ease or impossibility of “that look” ever being accepted as who we wish to be. I started while in my teens, decades ago, to see the creature with long nails and hair who was often assumed to be a girl. Just how true was that vision? Without the onset of facial hair it was the me I thought I should be and I sought help to fix that image. I should explain that I was a photographer in those days of chemical photography, hence the ease of being able to make self portraits. Sadly my search for help was a disaster and I foolishly believed them when I was told that I would never get that sort of help in my lifetime… I should “marry and produce children and these silly thoughts will be forgotten”! How many have tried that and failed, probably locked themselves deeper into the hiding role? I destroyed the photographs, much to my regret, and looked forward to a short life of misery…

Eventually in my twenties those girlish looks started to be hidden as the testosterone finally stared to make it’s mark and a silky facial fuzz appeared. I tried to scrape it off a couple of times but the blood and pain was too much. I hid behind the growing beard thankful that by chance I was living in an age where a Hippy look was not uncommon, it did not help you get on in life but you could mostly be left alone. It would be about thirty five years before my random stumbling about online led me to T Central and the discovery that I was far from alone.

Reading Blogs by people like Lori and others she had gathered about her was a revelation and soon I felt that even though I had not written more than a shopping list for decades I too should have a go at my own blog. We all have our own stories, good and bad, and we need to see ourselves within the big picture.

That big picture has covered far more than I could ever have imagined, joys and sorrows, rejection to total acceptance, unemployment to career enhancement, from the birth of a child to two mothers to inevitable deaths from natural and unnatural causes, all life is here…

When I first clicked onto T Central I thought I was a hopeless case who had missed the boat. I was too old, I was too tall, I was too ugly with hair in the wrong places and thinning hair where I really wanted lush flowing locks, I had a life with a partner whose career I did not wish to disrupt, I had friends I might loose and a partner who might reject the new version of me and leave me homeless and with an impossible future. The “selfies” I had restarted taking after decades of evading being in photographs proved all this to me but something drove me on and knowing that others were doing the same helped me along. The time scale of years of treatment seemed immense but it passed in a flash and astonishingly the evidence of the “selfies” now is that everything I thought a handicap or saw as an unconquerable obstacle melted away once met head on.

They say that there is no such thing as a cured alcoholic and much the same goes for us too. Our past cannot be denied. We may always find ourselves helping a fellow sufferer along their chosen path to the new life which awaits us if we only find the courage to make that first step into the unknown.

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