20 January 2011
Yesterday I bumped into somebody I hadn't seen in about two years. Suzanne and I used to work together; now she's working for herself. She seems happier--or, at least more "centered", to steal from the lexicon of the so-called New Age movement.
Some of our colleagues thought she was ditzy. Truth is, she is, at least about tedious, repetitive tasks--which, I've learned, are the ones you have to do well if you want to win favor with superiors and, often, peers.
But she is far more perceptive in other ways than her detractors could ever dream of being. And, she does have a heart, even if it leads her to minor excesses.
So I wasn't surprised at her reaction when I mentioned that I've had my operation since I last saw her. Her face took on an expression I hadn't seen before: a combination of joy and concern. "That's great!," she exclaimed. Then, literally in the next breath, "Are you OK?", as if I'd been through a long, painful night. When I assured her that I've been fine, in some ways I've never been better, she gave me a long hug.
Afterward, her question--"Are you OK?"--seemed even stranger to me than it did when she asked it. Although the surgery, like any other, had risks, I felt that whatever I was enduring was less treacherous than just about anything I'd experienced before it. Some of that, of course, had to do with the trust I had in Dr. Bowers and the staff at the hospital. But the emotional distress I felt nearly every day before I started my transition was much worse, and in some ways more dangerous, because I had no idea of how or whether any of it would end. And I never saw the purpose of it: I'm not so sure that it built my "character." On the other hand, I at least knew why I was undergoing my transition and surgery, and had some idea of how to achieve what I wanted to achieve by becoming Justine.
Yes, Suzanne, I am OK. I'm still learning about this new landscape I'm navigating, but it makes sense. And, as you said, We have to keep on learning how to be ourselves. Yes! Thank you, Suzanne.