07 July 2008

Welcome to Transwoman Times

I have one year left.

When I say that, you're probably thinking retirement or--death.

Rest assured that neither is the case. I'm nowhere near old--or, for that matter, rich--enough to quit working. And, as far as I know, I'm not going to die, at least not in the immediate future.

You see, one year from today--on 7 July 2009--I will undergo gender-reassignment surgery. I plan to share my thoughts and feelings about my impending surgery every day, or at least every chance I get.

Sometimes people ask me whether I'm nervous about the surgery. I'm not, really: I'll be full of drugs and knocked out while the doctor does her work. I've been warned about the pain I'll feel afterward. That doesn't worry me, at least not yet: I'm anticipating it, but I can't imagine how or whether it will be similar to, or different from, other pain I've experienced.

Tonight I am writing after a day at work that was no different from others at this time of year. This day was another Monday after a long weekend: It's always difficult to return under those circumstances. But this weekend was different: It began with a Friday, the Fourth of July--which just happens to be my birthday. My fiftieth. That doesn't disturb me nearly as much as turning forty, thirty or twenty, possibly because of what I'm looking forward to.

Not long ago, a friend said that what I'm doing is as close as I can come to giving birth because I am, in a very real sense, giving birth to myself. She is mostly right: Since taking the first steps toward this transition some seven years ago, I have been in the process of being born. And during the forty years before that, I carried within me the person I am becoming. There were times when that girl, that woman, seemed dormant or even dead. And, believe me, I spent more time and energy than I can measure in trying to kill her.

She has cost me a lot, but she is making me a wealthier (and healthier) person now that I'm giving her--me--what she needs. I may not be a pretty woman, but the woman I am fills me with her light--which is still, at times, brighter than anything to which my eyes are accustomed--when I see her--me--in the mirror.

Nothing could have prepared me for becoming her, for her becoming me. And I don't know what, if anything, can prepare me for that day one year from today. I can plan, I can anticipate, and fortunately for me, my parents have offered to accompany me to the hospital when I go for my surgery. They were no more prepared--or surprised, really--than I was for the day when, for the first time in my entire life, I was entirely honest with them about who I am. And, although my therapist, former social worker (and current friend), and various other friends and friendly acquaintances have offered advice and various kinds of support, none of us can really anticipate what will come next. It's as if I've researched the country, learned its language and packed my bags for my trip. But, for all of my planning, will I be ready?

But then again, how much of my success or failure, memory and forgetting, tears and joys, were really the results of mine, or anyone else's preparation?

At least I know one moment, one year from now, won't be a continuation of the past, which is what most people mean when they talk about the present. There is tomorrow; there will be dying, and we will be born, all of us.

But we're different after we give birth. I know that much. The question is, how will I be different? If I pick an outfit to wear that first day after I leave the hospital, will I still want to wear it? Will I be like those mothers who, during their pregnancies, binge on foods they'll never touch again after their babies are born?

I know I'm getting ahead of myself. But this is the first time in my life that I know where I'll be and what I'll be doing on some specific date in the future. It's hard, for me anyway, not to speculate.

For now there is the journey. And there will be a birth: mine, and whatever else that brings.

4 comments:

Michael said...

Justine, congratulations on your new blog. You certainly will have lots to write about in the coming year. Just so you know, I admire your motivation, courage and determination. As a gay man who didn't come out until my mid-thirties, I can relate, to a certain degree, what it means to feel like being reborn. My life truly began when I took the major step, back in 1980, of coming out of the closet.

I'll be reading and commenting as you go along with your blog.

With much love,
Michael

Justine's Jottings said...

Hello Michael,

Thank you so much for your encouraging response. I understand how you feel, and I admire you: after all, you came out more than twenty years before I did!

I do feel "reborn," as you say; but sometimes I also feel as if I am trying to make up for "lost time." I guess the reasons why I am doing this blog are for the satisfaction I get from writing and because I'd like to make what I do matter, both to me and other people, like you!

Love and best,

Justine

Michael said...

Hi Justine,

I'm delighted that you intend to use your new blog as an outlet for your thoughts, ideas,as well as for helping other people understand what transsexualism is all about. It takes a great deal of courage to embark on the path you have chosen, and writing about it in an open and honest forum should bring you a sense of pride and satisfaction. I have found that writing can be such a liberating experience.

I shall be keeping my eyes open for your new entries, and I hope we can engage in a correspondence that will help us to get to know each other better. Our mutual friend Sonia, introduced us several years ago, but you may have forgotten that we had exchanged a few emails at that time. For some reason we lost contact, but now we have the opportunity to reconnect and that makes me very happy.

Stephanie Butterfield said...

Hi Justine,

Congratulations on your GRS blog. I too am hoping to have my Gender reassignment by summer 2009, I got my first opinion on February 5th this year, so its reasonable to assume I'll be given the red light by then.

Your blog is very interesting Justine, keep in touch if you wish.

Stephanie