07 January 2010

Six Months: The Paradoxes of Coming Home

Exactly six months ago today, I had my surgery.

I'm thinking now of that conversation I had with Marilynne's daughter just after Christmas. We agreed that on one hand, it seems that the time has passed very quickly, but on the other, it seems like a very long time has passed. Somehow that paradox seems to relate to another: That we lived the vast majority of our lives pre-op-- and even pre-transition-- and now so much of my previous life is fading, or has already faded, into the background.

And there is yet another paradox: Knowing that there are things I did because I lived as a guy named Nick, yet realizing that while I was doing them, I was Justine. As an example, I had relationships with women who were attracted to that guy. Yet I know now that even though I was repressing myself, I was--at least in some way--just as much a woman as I am now. And that is exactly the reason I felt the need to make my transition and have my surgery.

Some day relatively soon, Marilynne's daughter will have lived the majority of her life post-op. Given my age, that day is not likely to come for me. Still, there are times when it feels like this part of my life is the longer and greater part--that, in fact, I feel somehow as if I have always been post-op, or at least the woman who entered new stages in her life with her transition and operation.

Spending time with Dwayne after work accented the feelings I've described. For me, that makes sense, as he is the very first person to whom I "came out." He has never called me anything but Justine or used any pronouns but female ones in reference to me. In other words, he knows about my previous life but never saw it. So, even though that part of my life was much longer than my current life, he knows only a summary of it, if you will, and it is the point that came before the starting point of my current life. You can say that, I suspect, about anyone who meets and develops a relationship with you in the middle of your biological life.

When Dwayne and I embraced upon meeting, I felt in some way as if I'd "come home." I told him that, and he said he felt the same way. Oddly, that's what I felt the first time I met him, which is the reason I was able to "come out" to him.

Then, I knew I'd come home but had practically no idea of what that meant. Now, I am learning about my surroundings, if you will, but everything I learn--whether it's about my body, or about the ways I experience what's outside my body or within my mind and soul--feels inevitable and organic, if not predictable.

What I'm learning makes complete sense even if it's not what I expected. And that's the reason I'm learning it. That can make time go very quickly and make the past seem even further in the past.