13 January 2009


The other night Dominick and I were talking--about the movie (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) we'd just seen, our families, our work, and about, well, ourselves. Seemingly out of nowhere, I became contemplative. Dominick sensed it immediately, and asked what was "the matter."

I said "oh, nothing," which was true enough for government work.

"What are you thinking about?"

Lately, I find myself thinking a lot about what changes I've experienced and witnessed during the past six years--since Tammy and I split up and I moved out and started on the road to my gender transition. I also find myself thinking about the passage of time and what is lost, and gained.

Before I embarked upon this journey (All right, I'll stop getting all quaint on you!) I had assumed that, with the surgery--when and if it happened--I would be leaving an old self, an old identity, behind. The person who lived before the surgery would cease to exist--would become a memory-- for me and at least a few other people. A new self would emerge, to be sure: That is the point of all of this work, after all. But what would happen to the old self, to the things I used to be?

As Dominick and I were tallking, something occured to me, which I tried to articulate for him: Different incarnations, if you will, of me had passed by at that very moment when he and I were together. Nick, or the very early Justine, wouln't have been led by the hand by, or walked arm-in-arm with, Dominick, as Iwas at that moment. Part of it had to do with the notion I had of my sexuality, such as it was.

That was passing, or was already gone. And so, I realized, is the person who was earning diplomas and working before Dominick was born. Almost by definition, I could not still be that person and be with him. And, some people--notably Elizabeth, Jay (a male former friend, not to be confused with current friend Jay, who's my favorite butch because she's the first person to whom I "came out") and my brother Tony--ended their communication with me precisely because I am no longer that person. On the other hand, there are people in my life whom I probably never would have met, much less befriended, had I remained the person I was.

The funny thing was that I could see everyone I used to be passing by at that moment I was talking to Dominick. No, I haven't started taking drugs or drinking again: If I can see what I saw the other night, why would I need to?

But it was strange to have, in some weird way, my life flash before my eyes. I can't stop thinking about it and wondering if it portends something. I mean, it's the sort of experience one normally associates with a life-and-death moment, and in that moment with Dominick, I was about as alive as I have been and could be. I didn't sense any danger. Maybe there was some turning point at that moment. I just can't say, yet, what might've turned or changed.

Maybe it will make sense later. Or maybe it was just passing, too.