13 August 2008

In Love

Last night I was with Dominick. Yes, he was there for me after I was having chin-hairs pulled out and zapped by two gorgeous blonde women. One of them was probably my age or older and looked a bit like Kim Novack. The other was much younger and Russian.

Hmm...Sounds like something advertised on the back pages of The Village Voice or The New York Press. Except that anyone who responds to those ads is probably paying a lot more for the privilege than I pay for my sessions.

It's one of those things Dominick likes to hear me talk about but would never want to experience himself. Not that he would have any use for it--unless, of course, he's absolutely sure he never wants to grow a beard or moustache. But even then....

Anyway, I went to his place after the electrolysis session. He showed me the kinds of reports that must be submitted for each of the kids in his class. Even in their rather soggy prose, those accounts are heartbreaking to read: kids who are old enough to be in school but still can't dress, feed or speak for themselves. I also couldn't help but to notice that the kids came from poorer neighborhoods and, I surmised, were members of "minority" groups.

Dominick mentioned that some of those kids also have asthma and other medical problems. He said that he's more and more convinced that most of the kids' problems are environmentally-induced. It was then that I realized why he has chosen to work with special ed kids: He grew up in an often-unstable home and some of the difficulties he's had may well be a result of what he comes from.

I admire him for having the courage to work through his difficulties yet retaining the gentleness those kids so need.

And it is that gentleness--which deepens as he's getting older--to which I respond. It may be the reason why, I realized last night, I really do love him, and he understands what that means.

I'll admit now that I had been proceeding with caution since I've known him. Some of that, I suppose, is just the natural reaction of someone of my age and experience. But I also realize now that over the past few years, I have learned a bit about loving someone in ways that transcend even forgiveness.

To tell you the truth, I was never in love with anyone with whom I "had a relationship." Those unions--or whatever I could or should call them--were nothing more than acts of desperation. I thought I was holding on for life; now I know that I was merely holding onto the life I knew at the time. It didn't matter, really, whether I was with a man or woman: Either way, I was acting as I though a man should. And I never was very good at it.

Then again, I wonder just how good I am now at being a friend, lover, daughter, or any of the other roles I've continued or taken on. Dominick tells me I'm a wonderful person. Mom and Dad say that we had a good visit. But when I talked to Mom this morning, she mentioned that she found a photo of me on a bike, back in the day, and I was "really skinny."

"Yes, I know I've gained weight."


"Did you notice it?"

"Welll...yeah. I'm not going to say you don't look good. But you could look better."

"I know."

I know...Being a good woman, friend, etc., isn't about my now not-inconsiderable weight. But still...Dominick always tells me I look great. He always does. At least, he always seems beautiful to me. I don't recall feeling that way about the others I've been with.

But the really wonderful thing about seeing Dominick last night is that, well, I realize that I do love him, without reservation or hesitation, and that--OK feminists, shoot me for this one--I can actually see myself as his wife. In other words, as his partner in life and as a nurturer--for him, as well as anyone we should bring into our circle. (We have talked about adopting a child.)

I guess that, all of the other tribulations aside, my relationships with Eva, Tammy and the others never could've worked because I knew I could never really be a boyfriend, much less a husband, no matter how much I tried. In other words, I couldn't love them completely as the person I am.

I still don't yet know what dimensions and limits, if any, there are to my love for Dominick. All I know is that I love him as I am, as a woman. Before I began my gender change, I could not do this, because I was not allowed to and because I couldn't and wouldn't allow myself.

Now I can, because I can love unabashedly, as a woman who is unabashedly herself. Last week, I came to realize that is how I love my mother and father now. And, maybe, just maybe, my relationship with Dominick will be that sort of love manifested in a partnership.

I hope. I allow myself to hope. I allow myself. And Mom. And Dad. And Dominick.