The problems that I have now are not the problems that I had prior to transitioning. Or, more true, they are the problems I had, but was often blind to because of the gravitational focus of transitioning. They are problems, however, and I am sometimes successful in dealing with them and sometimes not so much. I am as liable to become stressed out now as I was before and I am often no better at dealing with the stress than I was before and more likely now than before to be more bluntly emotional as I deal with things…and just as likely to eat a problem or two into a carb cloud of “I don’t want to think about it right now”.
Transitioning solves a bunch of problems, but not all and, yes, I never expected it to do so. I’m not a fool. At least not a total fool.
Ok, maybe I am a fool. In my classroom, I have a rather large version of this tarot card decorating part of the wall. It is a reminder that the journey of my life is a Fool’s quest and my head is often in the clouds not noticing where my feet are leading me. I think that for many of us, transitioning is a Fool’s journey. We have an idealized version of what it will mean to get to our destination, but we are really just taking a leap of faith off of a cliff and hoping that it all works out for the best.
Sometimes things do work out. Heck, discarding the trappings of the male from my life has been a great relief and even though it has placed me in an embattled minority or two, I’m good with who I am. I like me, mostly. I like me now and I am often pissed at the person I was because I made a lot of mistakes born of self-loathing. If I had only known that I would not always have loathed myself, I might have been more inclined to forethought and less likely to look back, shaking my head at the idiocy of my youth.
I don’t think one has to be trans to look back at youthful transgressions. I think one simply has to live long enough to have enough distance to recognize that mistakes were made. But being youthfully trans made me more inclined towards the kinds of self-destructive activities that now occasionally haunt my present. Transitioning doesn’t change one’s fingerprints and I still own the actions done under a discarded name.
So it goes.
I have a better life, but it is not as good as it could or should be. Transitioning has not remade me perfect. I’m a woman with problems still. I saw my therapist a couple of weeks ago and she asked why I still talked about trans things. She said I wasn’t trans anymore and should leave that part of my identity behind. Not quite stealth, really. Just not existing in that space of being trans in any fashion. I defended my trans identity to a point, but really, I don’t actively engage in trans related activities. I am, but I don’t do. It’s like being Jewish. I am, but I don’t do. But when someone attacks trans people or Jewish people, I feel the sting of it. And if called to fight, I will fight.
I’m not called to fight, though. As I don’t exist in any real Jewish space, I don’t exist in any trans space. Aside from talking about it with a class at a local community college, I just about never talk about it. I think I thought while I was transitioning that it would be important to maintain some kind of active trans involvement, but when it comes down to it, I have problems still. Problems that need my attention and they are not always my problems, but many are and I need to address them more so that I do the problems of trans people. In some respects, I want to be more involved, but that would mean I have enough time in my life, fewer immediate problems in my life, to give me time to participate.
So it goes.
So it goes for me. I cannot be anyone but myself. I’ve worked hard to be able to be just me. I’m not perfect by any stretch and often quite foolish. And I’m alive and human, which is an inherently foolish thing to be.