26 December 2012

Stealth Or Denial?

Every time I come here--a part of  Florida between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach-- to visit my parents, I think for a moment or two about moving down here.  I won't do it for a variety of reasons, the most important being that my parents know that I would move here to be near them and they don't want that.  They value their independence; plus, as they remind me, there are very few jobs that pay a living wage and even fewer social opportunities and cultural amenities in this part of the so-called Sunshine State.

But today I finally understood why thoughts of moving here flash through my mind, however briefly.  One reason is the beautiful dunes and ocean beaches:  Whenever I ride down Route A1A, I imagine how wonderful it would be to open my front door and see, across the road, wind skipping through wildflowers on dunes that reflect the sun before the great Atlantic expanse.  Of course, there are other places that offer similar vistas, as well as the other thing that tempts me to live here.

Apart from my parents and a few of my mother's friends, nobody knows me here.  The owner of one store remembered me from a previous visit and greeted me warmly, but he really doesn't know anything about me aside from the fact that I've been in his store.  I imagine that everyone else here knows even less than he knows about me.

To anyone who comes into contact with me, I am a middle-aged woman.  It is in fact what I am.  What that means is that, among other things, I am treated with the kinds of courtesy or chauvinism (depending on your point of view) men accord women in this part of the world.  A few have chatted me up; one even wanted to see me again.  

I experience the same kinds of treatment in New York, where I live.  However, as polite and helpful as many people are, at least a few know about my past. I am sure that even more have heard rumors or other kinds of stories about the life I led before they knew me--and about the life I live now. 

On the other hand, I am without a history--at least any that anybody knows--when I leave my parents' house.  I do not say that as a complaint:  Although I keep this blog and have discussed my history with a few people, most of the  time I prefer not to talk about who I was or, more precisely, wasn't.  That is an option I would have here, at least for some time. I have to wonder, though, how long "some time" would be.  It might be years, or even decades.  But, if I were to get involved romantically or sexually with somebody, I would have to divulge at least some of my history.  Or, perhaps, it might become known--or, worse, rumored--by other means.

In brief, what I realized today is that if I were to live in this place, I could have something like the sort of life that was considered "ideal"--or, at least, the goal--of someone who "changed" his or her gender. Transsexuals of the 1980's and earlier were counseled to completely erase their pasts and even to invent new ones.  As an example, a male-to-female might say that she was a Girl Scout rather than a Boy Scout.  I don't know whether I'd have to go so far if I were living here, but I also don't know just how much (if any) of my past I'd want to deny or annihilate.  Such would be the price of living in a place like this.

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