Posts tagged: regret

Avoidance

By , January 26, 2011 12:26 pm

OstrichI’ve been really bad about posting lately, which usually means I’m avoiding writing about something. I’ve been trying to figure out what, though.

I’m still not used to ‘the transition’ being something that’s more in the past than the future. I’m not sure I’m “done,” whatever that would mean, but I’m forced to admit that I’m more transitioned than not. Which is weird for me, in a really unexpected way, because I’m so used to having “The Transition” as something in the future, something to plan for, an over-arching goal in my life. And now that I’m slowly moving past it, I’m struck with the unsettling experience of not knowing what comes next.

I’m having trouble getting out of the mindset that my body isn’t good enough, and needs to be improved. (I mean, in a larger ‘transition’-type way, bigger than simply losing some weight or whatever.) How do other women deal with that? I don’t want to spend the rest of my life pining over not being curvy enough, booby enough, thin enough, instead of focusing on the curves and boobs and body I do have. When someone at a bar says, “Wow, do you work out?” I want to be able to take the compliment and smile instead of  feeling like my muscles make me ‘too male.’

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If only I’d transitioned earlier

By , September 10, 2010 2:07 pm

RegretEarlier today, I was interviewed by someone from the Chicago Gender Society about my upcoming remount of Trans Form. We were discussing my history, things I feel proud of, things I regret. I said that I wish I’d transitioned earlier, but I’ve been trying to remember a realization of mine: Everyone wishes they had transitioned earlier.

I’ve been told, by trans people in their forties or fifties, that I’m “so lucky” to be able to transition when I am, with the support I have. And that’s absolutely true. But it would have been nice to be able to transition ten years earlier. That’s true, too.

I imagine that, whenever you realize you want to transition, and begin that process – be it at six or sixty – you’re going to say, “If only I’d transitioned earlier!” Because being trans is about realizing something isn’t quite right, and going about fixing it. And even if that something is only wrong for a few months, it’s still wrong.

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Agency

By , February 26, 2010 2:04 pm

Why do I continue and continue to beat myself up for not transitioning earlier? For not speaking up louder? For not being more insistent, more forceful? In the past week, I’ve been told by both my doctor and my therapist that I really couldn’t have transitioned much earlier. That, starting hormones at 22, I was pretty close to starting them as young as I possible could have. That very few people start hormones at 18, and that very very few doctors will prescribe hormones younger than that.

That, realistically, there’s a very slim chance I possibly could have transitioned earlier than I did.

And yet, I keep beating myself up about it. Regretting that I don’t live in the fantasy life I constructed for myself, of going to school as a girl, experiencing adolescence as a girl, growing up into a woman. And I realized it has a lot to do with my own sense of agency, or lack thereof.

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Doctors, self defense

By , February 24, 2010 4:05 pm

I had another doctor’s appointment today, as a followup to the one I had a few weeks ago. He said I should stick with the Lexapro (now on week two) and he opened my chakras again.

We also talked for a while about regret and how to look forward.

I explained to him how I’ve been feeling like I’m wallowing in regret. That I’m consciously aware of how good I do have it, but still can’t get over this fantasy that things would be better had I transitioned earlier or not had to transition at all. (By which I meant ‘had been born female.’ Don’t worry.) I know it’s futile, and I know it’s harmful, but I can’t get out out of it. He responded that I need to find a way to look forward, not  backward; regret over what’s passed can consume you. (Tell me something I don’t know…)

On the train ride home, I was rereading some essays from Yes Means Yes and one in particular struck home. From Sex Worth Fighting For:

I remained preoccupied by fears that something “truly” bad would happen, and often imagined gang rape and murder that would finish me off for good. It would probably be committed by boys who didn’t plan to go that far but felt like trying out their power on somebody who seemed like an easy target. This scenario felt so possible to me as to be the likely next step in my life.

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Escaping an angry photograph

By , February 10, 2010 12:53 am

Something has been bouncing around in my head. From Picture Frames, a post from Cedar’s blog Taking Up Too Much Space, written in response to my show Trans Form :

What I realized, when I heard [in Trans Form] about the photo albums, and the pictures on the walls of her [Rebecca’s] parents’ house, was that these were the memorabilia of an occupation, held onto and commemorated by its collaborators (witting or unwitting). Yes they represent a historical “truth,” a “past” one does not want to “deny”–but so do guns and chains and whips and bombs, and you don’t see them in the family photographs. Well, not if you were on the receiving end, anyway.

That concept, viewing photos or keepsakes of my past as “the memorabilia of an occupation,” finally clicked with me today.

This past weekend, my dad and I were talking about my depression. I was saying that I regretted not transitioning earlier, and he was saying he was sorry for not doing something when I was younger. Seeing something, noticing my unhappiness and its cause. And he said that, with the more tangible problems my older siblings had, it was easy to see me – with good grades, friends, a voracious apatite for books, no small skill at playing piano – as the ‘normal’ child. The child who didn’t need ‘fixing.’

And I realized, as Cedar indicated, that where we find ourselves today is not simply a result of the “truth” of history. It’s a result of how that history is viewed.

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Composed of clockwork

By , January 31, 2010 3:27 am

I am a clockwork woman, wound up by pills each morning, rundown and empty by the end of each day. I feel nothing but rough textures of transitioning, nothing passes my lips but bitter tastes of transitioning, my sight is filled only with desolate views of transitioning, my ears echo with discordant sounds of transitioning. My movements only mimic those of laughter and life.

I am stuck in myself, trapped between a history I don’t want and a future I can’t see.

Life branches out in front of me, and every opportunity must be taken. None can be missed. Every missed opportunity is a mark against me, of weakness and laziness and lack of strength. Because I am still chasing down the opportunity I did miss: a chance at transitioning younger, quicker, more gracefully.

And so I chase and I chase and I chase. And so I try to catch something lost forever. And so I wind myself up, let myself loose, and fail. Again. I hold myself up to standards impossible to meet.

No opportunity satisfies, because I could have should have would have done it better. I should have committed more fully. I should have given it more of my time. I should have started earlier, procrastinated less, given more of myself. I should have. I should have. I should have. Whatever ‘it’ is, it’s always the same.

Every day is doomed to failure, from the start.

I. Can’t. Win.

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Tom Girls

By , January 19, 2010 2:23 am

Saturday afternoon, I was driving to pick up a friend on the way to work. We were heading to see the midway ‘in progress’ showing of the high school theatre class that I’m helping to direct and whose final show he, in a few weeks, will be stage managing.

As is my habit when driving to work on Saturday afternoon, I flipped to This American Life. (If you’re not familiar with the show, you really should be. It’s a weekly program that has various documentary-ish stories about everything ranging from haunted houses to the financial crisis. Start by listening to something from this list, and go from there.)

Anyway. I’d heard the promos for this week’s episode. It was about finding that one-in-a-million person, the one who you weren’t sure you’d be able to find. Act One of the episode was about a man going back to China to find a woman he’d met years earlier, and I caught the tail end of the act when I switched to NPR. Act Two started up after the station break, and was totally unexpected: it was about two eight-year-old transgender girls. (The episode is available online here, via This American Life.)

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Pregnancies and asymptotes

By , December 26, 2009 2:46 am

Something I didn’t touch on in my recent post, Pregnancy and PMS, was the idea of me ever having children. I haven’t talked about this much on the blog, other than the ton of fun I had while going off hormones to deposit sperm summer before last. And, to be honest, I haven’t thought about it a whole lot since.

At this party the other night, when I was talking with these other women about pregnancy and giving birth, it reminded me that I’ll never be pregnant. That I’ll never give birth.

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Reconciling regret

By , October 23, 2009 3:39 am

I just finished re-reading Boylan’s I’m Looking Through You, and it’s brought up something that’s really been on my mind lately. From page 256 of the hardcover:

Shell looked thoughtful. “I don’t know, Jenny. About ninety percent of the time, you seem like the happiest person I know. And then, every once in a while, I”ll catch you looking out a window like that. I don’t get it. How come you’re so sad, if you’re happy?”

[snip]

“I don’t know, Shell. I said. I mulled it over. “I get tired sometimes, of being different.”

[snip]

I wiped my eyes. “It’s like, I went through this whole amazing change, and at last I feel content, at last I feel whole. But what about that kid I used ot be? What about all those memories? That’s the one thing they can’t give you in surgery: a new history.”

I’ve been having a really hard time with that: how do I reconcile who I am now, who I want to be, with who I was?

The weight of that history, of the twenty-plus years I was living as male, feels like it’s overwhelming the ten months I’ve been living full-time as Rebecca.

Already ten months? Only ten months?

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I wish I could go back to college…

By , October 15, 2009 12:57 am

life was so simple back then.

Musical quotes aside, as I’ve been working on my show I’ve been thinking a lot about transitioning, the parts of my life where I feel like I’ve missed something important as a result of waiting to transition, and how to recapture whatever those “missed” things are.

Along those lines, I had a conversation with a friend about dating someone who is transitioning. She said, very diplomatically, that it must be hard dating someone who is constantly trying to discover themselves, reinvent themselves, experiment with their identity and with their presentation. I laughed, and said, “It’s OK. You can say it: It must be hard dating a teenager whose in their mid-twenties.”

Because, to some extent, that’s what transitioning is. Our teen years (and, to some extent, our college years – hence the title of this post) are supposed to be a time of self-discovery, where it’s OK to dress outlandishly, experiment with your interests and social groups, declare radical new identities only to shed them days or weeks or months later…

In this conversation, my friend said, “But now you get a second chance to do all that!”

“First chance,” I replied. “My teenage years weren’t about finding an identity, they were about avoiding one.”

How do I find my identity this time around?

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