And now begins… the rest of my life.
It was a very weird and almost indescribable feeling coming home last night and realizing… actually struggling to comprehend… that I would never again encounter the world as a man. I may or may not pass all the time yet (presumably that will improve with time), but it no longer really matters. From now on I will be who I am, and since I’m not a man so I don’t need to pretend I am… ever.
Waves of emotion rolled over me when I finally got a chance to sit and collect my thoughts. I found myself crying tears that were from neither joy nor sadness but something else. Relief? That was definitely in the mix. Regret? Yes, but probably not about the things people would assume. I’ll try to explain.
Regretting my decision to transition was the furthest thought from my mind. But I regretted some of the things this phase of transition signifies. It ‘s like a final acknowledgment that the era of “fixing” my old life has ended. I left a lot of failure, confusion, and unfinished business behind me there. I lost a lot of friends and never attained the relationship I wanted with my family. I left ambitions unmet. Even in the transition itself, I was hit with a lot of thoughts about how I should have handled things better. It’s too late to change all that now. The only person who could have done it was the person I used to be. And he’s gone now.
I’m really not a fan of talking about any part of my life in the third person. I don’t usually explain my trans experience as “him” versus “her.” It’s all just “me.” I own it all. But in this case I struggle for any other way to describe it. I know “the person I used to be” was me, and I’m still here. But really… in a major sense the old “person” is gone now. Gone forever.
To me that brings huge relief. It’s not happiness. It’s like I can finally breathe. It’s a survival thing. This immense pressure that was literally threatening my life is finally gone. It’s that kind of relief. I suppose there is a kind of joy mingled in there, but it feels too gut-level for such sophistication. It’s almost pre-sentient. It’s like I imagine a rabbit must feel when the hawk circling overhead finally gives up and flies away. And just like that rabbit, I feel like I’ve spent so much previous energy running for my life that it’s only now that I truly have a chance to figure out where I am and what to do next.
Last night I told E it felt surprisingly similar to the way it felt when I graduated college. My life before that point was all about meeting obligations and expectations set by other people. Read these books by these dates. Learn this stuff because I say so. Go to class. Study. And all of a sudden… you don’t have to do that any more. The rest of your life is your own decision. You’re more free than you’ve ever been, and you hardly know how to think about it.
So anyway, that’s where I am this morning. Not so much “I’m happy,” as “I can’t believe it’s finally over.” I survived. Now I need to figure out what to do with myself.