Today I’ve had a down day and felt inspired to write a little. I put on the movie “In the Bedroom”, Todd Field’s beautiful and painful portrait of a couple dealing with the loss of their son. In one scene, a friend of the protagonist (played by the wonderful Tom Wilkinson) compassionately quotes a stanza from the poem “My Lost Youth” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to momentarily soften the anguish of the loss of his friend:
These words struck me as being both tender and painful. Surely these two feelings (among many others) are what Longfellow intended his poem to provoke. But perhaps for reasons he hadn’t imagined.
Time and circumstance prevented me from the realization of my true nature. Cultural hardening and social inactivity kept me on this path of non-enlightenment until very recently.
As a “late-bloomer” cross dresser and the gender-fluid trans person I’m discovering myself to be, I’ve discovered linked to this realization of whom I’ve become is a process of detailed and rigorous recollection and a type of revisionist history making. I’ve often imagined what my life would have been like had I known truly who and what I was earlier in life.
Time and again, reading what other girls here on this site have shared, I’ve been struck by the bravery and the sorrow so often experienced by these girls. I imagined how painful it would be to live in a world that rejects (in my case absolutely would have rejected) their core being. How alone and hurtful it must have felt. How daunting the prospect of finding happiness in one’s self must have been.
None of you know this but I am a stutterer. From my earliest recollections, I remember stuttering. As a child and indeed most of my life I’ve felt emotions ranging from sorrowful realism to seething anger at the fact of being a stutterer. Having moved a lot as a child didn’t help my situation either. I found children can be cruel. The first few days at a new school was like gladiator academy. Many times, my lips got split as my knuckles got bloody. I often had to fight for my dignity and for my place in this world as well. Most often I gained grudging respect as one who wouldn’t take anyone’s crap for long.
I understand being spurned and relegated to freak status for reasons unrelated to one’s true nature. In addition to my stuttering, I was also a victim of both physical and sexual abuse by family members. As a result, it becomes understandable why I may have been closed off to anything outside the norm that would further risk my already fragile social acceptance. And if I’m truly honest, a large part of me is glad I didn’t know exactly what I was earlier in life. I fear that the addition of the realization would have been simply too much to bear. And I know for a fact I would not be here today among you beautiful souls.
Things happen when they do for reasons we can’t always know, or see, or understand. Our role here on this earth is to be as kind as we can be to others, to feel as good as we can, and to love ourselves through it all. Sure, I would have loved to have dressed when I was tall, tan, young and lovely. But it certainly would have come at great cost and perhaps the ultimate price.
So I feel sorry for myself for a short time and then raise my head, toss my hair back, check my makeup, and get on with the rest of my life, making sure that whatever time I do have left is time best lived for myself, and for those I love.
Please be as good to yourselves as you can. You all are worth it.