02 May 2010

Mournings and Beginnings

"Velouria" has an interesting idea:  I could start a cycling blog.  That intrigues me.  No, better yet:  It seems completely logical, perhaps even inevitable.  

I wonder whether I'll continue this blog after starting that one.  I'm not saying I must make an "either-or" choice.  I'm just starting to realize that, well, this blog has become a sort of friend to me.  And, if you read what I wrote yesterday, or some earlier posts, you know what I've been learning about friendships:  Most cannot last forever, and holding on to one that's outlived its life span--or trying to revive one when whatever made it possible is gone-- can turn what could have been a sweet memory into a sour or bitter lament.

If and when I end this blog, it will be a sad day.  And I might mourn it.  But the reason you mourn something is because it's not coming back--or, at least, it seems not to be coming back.  I must say, in some way I'm mourning my days as a "trans" person.  Why?  In a lot of ways, it was a very exciting time in my life.  During the year before I started to live full-time as Justine, I spent a lot of time in therapy and support groups, started taking hormones and met lots of people who were very different from anyone I'd ever known, and came to love people I never knew I'd love.  The last time I learned as much in a year as I did during that year was probably some year early in my childhood.

Plus, that year, and the ones that followed, were the first time in my life I didn't feel like a victim.  Perhaps that seems paradoxical, as I undertook the journey I've made because, really, I am what I am --at least in one way--through no choice of mine, and I decided to embrace it because I couldn't run from it anymore.  

Mourning something is not the same as missing it.  Whatever you miss is not dead or finished:  You still have access to her, him or it in some way.  That's how I feel, oddly enough, about my surgery and the days immediately afterward.  I was describing this to a woman I know.  She, who has grown children, said, "Well, you were giving birth to yourself.  Why wouldn't you miss that?"  She explained that she still sometimes misses giving birth to her children; she would do it again because "nothing else has given me so much joy."  This woman has many other personal as well as professional accomplishments. But none, she said, gave her quite the same sense of fulfillment and joy as giving birth to, or raising, her kids.

I'm not saying that this is true for all women.  Indeed, I've talked with other women who say that their decision not to have children is the best they ever made.  And there are still other women--and men--who simply should not have children, for any number of reasons.  For that matter, it's probably a good thing I didn't have children.  That was a conscious choice:  Twice I've been with women who wanted children and were perfectly capable of having them.  My wish not to have children is one of the reasons I didn't stay with either of those women.  

If we follow the "birth" analogy, at what stage of "motherhood" am I now?  Friday will mark ten months since my surgery.  What do mothers do for their ten-month-old children?

One thing this "mother" (or "daughter," depending on how you think of it) did late today was to go for a bike ride.  My little trip took me down to the Red Hook piers.  I called my mother from there.  Not having been anywhere near that waterfront in at least thirty years, she wondered what I was doing there.  "Even when I was a kid, people thought it was a rough area," she explained.  I described how it's slowly being turned into Soho-by-the-bay:  Abandoned factories and warehouses have been turned into artist's lofts and studios as well as office spaces for small not-for-profit organizations.  

"Things change," my mother declared. "Time moves on."