I am reliably informed that my previous post on the reunion may have left an overly negative impression. That really wasn’t my intent. I’m afraid a bit of my lingering melancholy and poor self-esteem might have tainted what I was trying to say – especially near the end of the post. After re-reading the post this morning, it would probably do some good to expand upon some of the negative-sounding points I was making and add a little more context.
First, I should probably emphasize once again that the reunion was a really great experience. E and I talked about it quite a lot on the drive home, and during the following day, and almost all our conversation was glowingly positive. I suppose that’s part of the reason I felt the need to point out a couple of other things on my mind. I’d been over the good stuff many times by the time I wrote the post, and I was exploring different thoughts around the corners of my mind.
My point about missing a chance to explain my transition better is actually a step forward for me. Some people who transition feel the need to exhaustively explain every aspect to even marginal acquaintances (I sometimes cringe reading the level of personal detail involved in certain “coming-out at work” e-mail examples intended for mass audiences). I’ve always gone the opposite direction. I figure that, in most cases, people I come out to just want to get on with their lives. If I didn’t play a big part in their lives before transition, they’re unlikely to care about more than the essentials covering “how does this affect me?” now.
This weekend I was with a number of people I actually wanted more from. For a change it wasn’t just about being left alone to live my life as I wished. All of a sudden I was talking to people I hoped would understand on a deeper level so they could truly accept me despite any doubts my transition caused. It’s not a common experience for me, and I wasn’t really prepared for it. So to the extent that any people there were displaying polite tolerance because they didn’t understand well enough to come to a deeper acceptance, I feel like I might have missed an opportunity. But even in those cases it might not be my last opportunity.
On the other hand (and this was what I didn’t do a good job clarifying in the previous post) I didn’t feel like I was “tolerated but not accepted” in general. That was not my experience at all. I felt truly accepted by a number of people, and it was really wonderful. I’d hate to leave the impression that I was ungrateful for that.
Sure, I have doubts how close any of us are going to be able to remain. I hope that this weekend reminded a lot of us why we liked each other so many years ago, and the reconnections we made will last.
The trans aspect of my life causes me to distrust how easily I’ll ever fit into that kind of happy ending. That’s something I’m working on. As I told some people over the weekend, when I come out I always – always – assume total rejection. It’s emotionally safer that way. It took me a long time to accept myself. The same factors that made self-acceptance so difficult generate a lot of skepticism around the notion that other people can accept me. I’m learning to counter-balance that skepticism with a new found sense of hope. But that’s a work in progress.
In any case, I hope that makes things a little clearer and a lot less negative than I left things previously. I’m probably not going to say anything more on the blog about the reunion after this point. But anyone who wants to know more (particularly those who were there) should feel free to contact me if you want to discuss anything about it.