21 November 2010

Moving Forward, Again

I feel better after taking a ride today.  Still, I am thinking about Janine and  something both my mother and Millie said yesterday:  "A lot of people have been dying lately."  They have never met each other, but they said, verbatim, the same thing.  That in itself is a little strange.

Then again, they're both, shall we say, a few years older than I am.  And my mother lives in Florida.  So I think that they're both going to see more people dying around them than I could expect to see.

And, yes, it is the very end of fall.  So some living things are supposed to die, or be in the process of dying, now.  

I guess that I could see those deaths as part of a cycle of change.  It's been going on since, well, there have been living beings and seasons.  I'd rather that no one else in my circle dies any time soon.  And that may well come to pass.  But change is unavoidable.  And I've known, ever since I started my transition, and have understood more fully since my surgery, that more is to come.  

Someone with whom I had to break off relations lamented, "Why can't things go back to the way they were before?"  Of course the person who said that is male:  Everyone who's ever said that to me, or whom I've known to say that, was of that gender.

That question, paradoxically, makes two seemingly contradictory traits make sense, and seem entirely congruent with each other.  On one hand, men are said, or expected, to be more decisive and to move headlong in important actions.  On the other, they have a harder time making and keeping emotional commitments.  When you believe that you can return your (or the) past, whether the way it actually was or the way you wish it had been--and perhaps even feel entitled to do so--it's easy easier to take risks about things, but harder to do the same for people.

Women have never been able to "own" the past in the same way as men.  Until recently, they had to relinquish their own names--and most still do--upon uniting with a man.  And while men have typically experienced changes that affected their circumstances (a job lost or gained, for example), women have undergone more changes that fundamentally affect the way they see the world.  For example, most women give, or are at least capable of giving, birth.  And our bodies are more easily traumatized through sexual and other forms of violence.

It seems that for women, the only choices have been to move forward, or to live in the present or the Eternal Present.  Many who settle into lives as Mrs. Man end up doing the latter.  That's not likely to happen to me.  But the present, whatever that means, is also not an option, for it is gone as soon as it happens.  That leaves only the future, and I am just starting to see it now.

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