25 March 2009

Which Way Next?

OK, so let's see...In the last two days, I submitted a paper that will contribute absolutely nothing to my professor's (or anyone else's) understanding of literature or anything else. I stumbled through a presentation in that same class. I observed a class taught by a prof who did things I couldn't even dream of doing. And, during the hip-hop class, I stumbled, spaced out and had an equipment failure--while I was being observed by the college's most senior faculty member.

It all sounds like an academic version of one of those "bloopers" highlight reels, doesn't it?

And, really, none of it upsets me. Right now, I don't expect to be teaching at the college (or possibly anywhere else) in the fall. And I certainly don't expect to take more PhD-level courses, or any more academic courses, for that matter.

Any time I talk to anybody on campus (except for my students), I feel a distance growing between me and that person--and the college. When I'm not in the classroom, I'm kind of a zombie. It's almost as if they're talking to a shell and I am talking to people who are in one way or another absent.

Sometimes I feel as if the person they and other people came to know, or thought they knew, is already gone. I never had any idea that the surgery would change my personality, though I do know one trans woman who was nasty and bitter before her surgery and is very nice (at least to me) now. Actually, I have to wonder the surgery affected her brain, or maybe her vision. After all, she tells me that she wishes she could be as beautiful as I am!

She also tells me I'm a great woman now and will become an even better one. I hope she's right. But a woman I am, for better or worse.

Still, I can't help to feel that something else is ending besides my life as a man and as someone in transition.

I feel like a ship making its last voyages, a train making its last runs. Will there be a new vessel, a new vehicle in its place? Or will the trips they made be abandoned, possibly replaced by another one? If so, where will that one go, and what will I see along the way?

Ever since I've began my life as Justine, I've lived by the belief that my life as Nick offered me a lot of resources and sustenance for my transition and my current life. But now I wonder how useful it will be to me in my life ahead of me--or even how useful it is now. And the part of my life I find most suspect right now is my involvement with education, both as a student and teacher.

I take that back. I've found my interactions with students to be instructional and even interesting. But I wonder just how much I'm actually helping them to learn anything at all. I feel like I'm in that scene of Kramer vs. Kramer in which the father and son--their wife and mother having left just days before--try to make French toast. In case you haven't seen the movie, I won't spoil that scene by describing it.

I'll tell you only that they survived the experience. I expect that, barring some accident or another, I'll survive this, too. But sometimes I wish I knew what exactly is ending and what will follow.

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