08 October 2008

Nine Months

Last night I fell asleep in my chair while watching the Presidential debates. That's my excuse for not writing yesterday.

I also fell asleep during the Vice-Presidential debates. Might there be a pattern here?

So why am I upset to have missed yesterday's posting? Well, I realized today that yesterday marked exactly nine months until my surgery.

Nine months. We all know what happens during that time: a woman carries the one to whom she will give birth at the end of it. Of course, barring any really major advances in medical technology, that's something I'll never be able to do. And that's one thing about which I might feel sad (if I can, or want to, do such a thing) when I'm dying.

I don't regret not having fathered a child. Friends and family members probably thought I was afraid of responsibility: two women with whom I had relations said as much. But, if not how messed up I was, how I was messed up. At least, that's what I told myself it was then. In reality, I was dealing--actually, not dealing--with my gender-identity issues. All I did was to hate myself over them, and that self-hatred took over much of my being. If there was even the remotest chance that I could pass anything like that on to a child, I would be a criminal for taking it, I told myself. I still believe I made the right decision, if for the wrong reasons.

A few monts ago, Faria, who teaches at the college, said that I'm giving birth to myself. I thought: That's a great way of looking at my transition! For as long as I can remember, I was carrying, within me, the person whom I'm becoming. You might say that, even though my journey is not as physically arduous as that of the mother-to-be, I've been living my nine months, so to speak. Except that those nine months, if you will, have lasted for forty-five years. For a long time, the embryo I still am didn't grow; other times it evolved ever so slightly.

And now, here I am, at the beginning of the literal nine months. Somehow I expect those months will go by quickly but will be very intense. Actually, I think their intensity will make them go quickly. That alone may be a reason to be glad that I'm undergoing this transition now, rather than having experienced it earlier in my life. When we're younger, the time seems to go by more slowly and we have fewer ways of dealing with whatever comes our way.

I wonder if mothers-to-be imagine what they will be like--that is to say, how they might change--after their babies are born. Not that I would know, but I have a hard time imagining that someone is not changed--and I don't mean only physically--by bringing into the world a life she had been carrying within her.

One thing I know is that even though the surgery is a culmination of the changes we experience in our gender transitions, the transwomen I know changed in some way or another after their operations. They see people differently and have, in some cases, a confidence about themselves they never before had. I know that for some it is a disappointment, usually because they went into it for the wrong reasons. But the ones I know who've had the surgery have experienced happiness, or at least fulfillment they never had before. How could they not? That's what becoming whole does to you.

And I've heard any number of women say that they felt whole, or at least more so, after giving birth. Those nine months are really starting to sound good now. Here I've come!