21 June 2009

Time, Again

Am I looking forward? Biding my time?

Rain again this morning, and late this afternoon. Officially, it's the first day of summer. But the weather is as it's been for so much of the past three months: gray, damp and cool.

That's how it was during the spring of 2003, my last in boy-drag. At least, it was my last working in male costumes and using official documents with my old name. Cool and damp, right up to the summer--and well into it.

Sometimes I feel as if it was the way it should have been. It's as if I wanted to operate undercover while I was "coming out." When I had to perform as Nick, I didn't want to be too visible, much less noticeable. So the clouds and gray air gave me the cover I needed, or wanted, so that I could layer enough clothing over myself to protect Justine, who was so close to the surface that at times I couldn't contain her at all.

By the time I started "coming out"--first to friends, then to family members and work colleagues--I had been taking hormones a few months. The effects of them were becoming visible, although no one seemed to have an inkling as to what was causing those effects until I revealed what I'd been doing.

I think the fact that I had been living a "double life" in which I was attending everything from support groups to political rallies as Justine surprised people even more than the fact that I had been taking hormones, much less having the feelings I had for so many preceding years. To borrow a cliche, I had been hiding in plain sight. I even ended up (unintentionally) on a couple of the networks' evening news programs and was doing a community-access cable TV show as Justine, something I never would have anticipated.

All of that, under the cover of clouds and behind a curtains of fog and rain: the way I have spent this weekend. If time moves through such mists, it's hard to imagine how it can be forward. Time stands still on sunny days, at least ones that are remembered, as in dreams and childhood; only moments are frozen in clouds. But I see the days marching forward now, at the end of this penultimate weekend of my current life. Two weeks and two days until my surgery: time can only move forward, the rain and clouds and fog notwithstanding.

And I've realized something else: For all that I've criticised my body, I don't hate it. At least now there's hope for it. But more important, I am not even thinking about whether or not I'm "passing." That I can see myself as a woman who's put on some weight and otherwise could look better is an advance from simply hating who I was. I wore my rattiest clothes and no make-up, and I felt like the person I truly am--even if I'm under the cover of clouds and rain.

What I find interesting is that neither Millie nor my mother is surprised that I'm not afraid of the surgery. Mom says she could never imagine doing anything like it, mainly because she never wanted to undergo surgery of any sort. But she sees why I'm doing it, and understands why I haven't thought of turning back. Today Millie says she can't see how I could consider anything but what I'm doing, and that she would be surprised if I ever had any thoughts of returning to my old life.

Forward--in curtains of mist and rain. Whether there's more rain or the sun ahead, there's no other way, and I'd want it no other way, now. If you're looking forward and moving ahead, you're not biding your time, are you?


Eva-Genevieve! said...

Hi Justine,
I see many similarities with what you said. I loathed who I was when I was a pseudo-man trying to be what I was not. Now even though my plans for SRS have had to be postponed for lack of finances I love who I am and am becoming.

Thanks for following my blog too.

Justine Nicholas Valinotti said...

Hello Eva-Genevieve!,

I read a few of your most recent entries. I could feel every word you wrote and every image of yourself you posted or described. So, I intend to continue reading your blog. Thank you for helping to tell our stories.

As for SRS...I am happy that I'm getting it. But it's not what makes you a woman. It's your mind; it's your spirit. But even more important than being a woman (or a man or a hermaphrodite or anything else) is loving yourself. If you do that, you can fashion a satisfying and rewarding life. It took me more than 40 years to understand that.

I have been living full-time as a woman for almost six years now. Two years before that, I began to see therapists and doctors, attending support groups and doing the other things that would allow me to create my current life.

So don't give up hope. I think you'll have the surgery one day. Until then, you are who you are, and nobody else can change that.

From this girl: You go girl!

Hugs and kisses.