Thursday, 25 July 2013

You never lose the T in the word lifetime

I am still looking at the posts on T-Central. You might suppose that by now - almost five years from coming out, over four years on hormones, nearly four years full-time, two and a half years post-op, I would be past all that and living life without a heed to what other people in my position - but at an earlier stage - are going through. But you never lose the T in the word lifetime. It's always there in the word lifestyle too, no matter how cool and trendy and confident and fabulous you think you are.

And if you care at all, if you have any interest at all in other people, you will follow your own story again and again in whatever those other blogs have to say. Perhaps not in the detail; but in every case there will be that same series of all-too-familiar self-realisations, those moments of what-the-hell-do-I-best-do-now, the crunch times, the searing crises, and, eventually, some place reached in which peace of a kind has been achieved. Though never without a cost. Nothing whatever is without a cost of some kind.

I was going to post about something quite different today, but A Woman Named Sophie (see her in my Blog List off to the right, or visit T-Central also in my Blog List, or go directly to wrote a piece entitled She Decided yesterday, and I felt that I had some more to get off my chest on the whole business of relationship break-up and its fallout. Don't worry, I won't bleat on about my own case. You've heard it all before anyway, ad nauseam. I've found my plateau of relative peace and contentment. But that doesn't mean I can turn my back on all those parallel lives going on here and there, as if I've survived and that's all that matters. Even if nearly all my posts nowadays read as if life is now one uninterrupted garden party, with myself in full control of all arrangements, including the weather, and not a care in the world. The flip side is always there. It would only take one incident, one horrible experience, to set me back. To remind me that I'm an invention, a constructed person, a polished performer maybe, but nevertheless different from most other people. But even this situation is bliss, truly a state of grace, compared with the old life in which I never felt right.

And yet at first the old life was so hard to leave. For one thing, nobody really wanted me to leave it, and some did fairly extreme things to block my way, such as emotional blackmail to keep me in line. I think that's simply human nature: the dislike (or intense fear) of change or disturbance in the 'natural order', the unwillingness to face a real world in which things shade off into each other, with many states of being existing, all valid and viable, not just two clear-cut, well-defined states.

I personally had no fear of becoming another sort of person. After all, I was still going to be a human being, I was still going to be the child of my parents, I was still going to have a position in my family hierarchy (and a senior one at that).

And I would remain a village resident, a neighbour, someone who could do useful things in the community if so moved, someone whose monthly spending, and taxes paid, would help to keep the country's economy afloat. If asked, I would gladly serve on a jury. I would certainly hold an opinion on what politicians should do, and vote accordingly. Given all this, why was there this resistance to my becoming someone different, especially if I would certainly become a more relaxed, more confident, more emotionally unchained, more effective person?

Sophie's ongoing story and many other stories like hers provide the reason. Becoming someone different means abandoning a role. No longer looking like a man or a woman. No longer looking like a father or a mother. Appearance is everything to some people: they will not accept that the person within is basically the same, and that it's a question of identity, of self-perception, not a failure of love. The yearning of a slave for freedom and a new status, and not the desperation of a madman or coward to push others off one's tiny liferaft after the ship has sunk.

It seems that a small percentage of relationships, obviously very special ones, do survive the shipwreck. Sophie put it at 3%. I'd put it at less than even that, not because I'm a pessimist, but because relationship breakup seems so universal. I personally know of one or two that are bucking the usual rule, and I hold onto them as if they were Glad Tidings Of Great Joy in a religious sense. They say: it can be done.

But I keep coming back to the cost. It's like a Law of Physics. Every action has its reaction, so that things stay in equilibrium and the energy balance is maintained. Perhaps the chief lesson in life, made vivid by having to become someone different and unfamiliar to others, is that there is no such thing as an act with no consequences.

Regret is something else. Regret has its place, but in a survival scenario it is a luxury no living thing can afford. It saps courage and the will to fight. But regret is not the same thing as sorrow for what has been lost forever. Every person, every animal I could say, experiences sorrow. It's a natural emotion. It makes your heart heavy, your throat tight, your eyes brim with tears. And then, having mourned, you step forward along a path that leads to who knows where, even if you have a map and think you know where you're going.

I've not gone far down that path yet. I still think I know where I am. But I'm already lost. It doesn't matter: the adventure is enthralling all the same.


  1. I gave up reading other folks' stories years ago. Interesting as they were I have my own life to live with its problems and so I get on with it. I feel you cannot keep going over the past even though there will be similarities with your own story and getting upset reading the stories of others.

    Shirley Anne x

  2. My choice. I am still interested.



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