Tuesday, August 25, 2009

hard times

I can be pretty glib about my transition. In some ways the seriousness with which I take it has traced a parabolic path- I distinctly remember a night out at an East Village gay bar in July 2005 (the Boiler Room on 4th & 2nd, if anyone cares. it was the night I first laid eyes on my partner R) when I ran into a young man I'd known for a brief time in college. He called out my old name with pleased surprise, and I sounded oddly breezy when I replied.

"Actually, I'm a man these days!"

Even to my own ears the statement sounded brash yet flat, particularly coming from someone who hadn't physically changed an iota from the babydyke he recognized from college. I hid the awkwardness with an extra-large slug of my gin and tonic, the quinnine in which was glowing faintly blue under the blacklighting. I expected him to laugh, perhaps even politely as though at an unoriginal joke. The harsh well drink was welcomed by the burning in the pit of my stomach. I was none too steady in my newly declared self, and I knew if he laughed, I might well laugh, too.

I still cried in those days- or nights, to be more accurate, sometimes alone but more often on a girlfriend's shoulder- but in public I was more likely to laugh at myself in moments of tension, still unsure of how to be serious about being taken seriously.

To my friend's credit, he didn't laugh, merely asked what I was calling myself. Even more embarrassing, that I hadn't thought to start out with this necessary fact rather than an assertion I needed to to keep lighthearted in order to be able to say at all. We didn't chat long, for which I was grateful.

That breezy approach to outing myself didn't last long. As I grew more used to educating friends and old acquaintances, I grew surer of myself and more serious in my discussion. I learned to be matter of fact, and firm. I found that people mostly would respond to the tone I set, rarely flat-out questioning me or my decisions. Like my friend in the Boiler Room, as overwhelming percentage offered nothing but gentle support- exactly what I needed and wanted.

That my earnestness was met with almost universal support is something I am grateful for, and something that probably contributed to the second-half of that parabola I mentioned above. The hurdles of my transition weren't insignificant, but once I stopped dealing with them daily, I began to lighten up again. This time, not as a defense mechanism, but because I was secure enough to let go of my defense mechanisms.

I know that this is due in large part to the various factors that make up my success story. Because I was able to negotiate my transition with a minimum of grief, relatively speaking, I don't carry around as much psychic dreck about it anymore.

1 comment:

kkryno said...

I'm just so glad that you are finding your way to being the person whom you are meant to be.

That is a true blessing; and I applaud you for reaching that summit.