13 November 2009

On Nurturing

At least the November Overcast turned into rain, though not very heavy. But some strong wind came with it. That took out one thing I was going to do today: a bike ride. Under normal circumstances, I might've gone out for a bit. But I got back on the bike less than a week ago, and I don't want to put too much strain on parts of my body that are still pretty tender.

The weather, however, was not responsible for cancelling another thing I'd planned for today: lunch with Bruce. We missed our lunch date because he wasn't feeling well. Something--the way I know Bruce, to be precise--told me that he was making his malady seem less serious than it was. My hunch was right. Now I wish I'd called him during the week.

He has pneumonia. He told me he's been sleeping through much of this week and when he's awake, he coughs a lot. In a way, it may be just as well that I didn't call, for he certainly needs whatever rest he can get. At least that's what he said when I called him today. But I wish I'd gone with my hunch. I'd've caught the next train and showed up at his door with a large vat of chicken soup (home-made, of course) in my hands.

Carolyn has been coming by, he said, and she'll be there this weekend. That's good, and not surprising--they've been together for at least fifteen years. Still, I want to go and help him. He says he just might take me up on my offer to come by his place during the week. I hope he does.

Bruce has said that my transition brought out a "maternal instinct" that, he said, I always had, even thought I didn't want to acknowledge it. And he's said that the surgery seems to have further accentuated it. Marci never told me that would happen!

Speaking of maternal...Yesterday, on my way to class, I saw Anne for the first time since May. She is a biology professor from France who's conducted genetic research and has worked with a leading researcher in her field on trying to find out whether and to what degree transgenderism and homosexuality are congenital.

This semester, she's on maternity leave. She gave birth around the same time I was having my surgery. During her pregnancy and just after I had my surgery, she expressed her belief that we had a common bond: We were both bringing a new life into this world. "I am giving birth to someone who will always be part of me," she said. "And you are giving birth to your self."

Although I believe I have been giving birth to myself, I wouldn't have made that comparison myself. I don't disagree with it; I just wasn't sure that I would've placed what I was doing on the same plane as bringing a brand-new life into this world. "But that is exactly what you are doing!." she averred.

OK, she said it. So did Regina. So did a few other women I know--all of whom have given birth. I guess I have to go along with them. But I'll fight it real, real hard. ;-)

I don't mind thinking of myself as someone who brought a life in this world or has the capacity to nurture herself or someone else. Still, I am somewhat reluctant to compare myself to any woman who's given birth, whether or not she gives me "permission" to do so and includes me in her world. After all, I still can't even fathom what it must have taken of my mother for her to give birth to, and raise, me. I can't imagine that whatever struggles I'm having in learning about this new life, my new home, can compare to what my mother did for me.

All I can do, I suppose, is to give myself, and anyone else who loves and trusts me, the best of whatever kind of care we need. Yes, we have a "sacred duty," as Helmer says in A Doll's House to our families. But, as Nora says when she's leaving him, we also have "another duty just as sacred" to ourselves. If we don't tend to that, we can't help anyone else.

I know. I haven't said anything new. Sometimes I just have to remind myself.