It began innocently enough with a question from my electrologist: “What happens to [boyName] after you transition?”
Good question indeed….
(And before we go further, let me say that I detest talking about one’s masculine and feminine sides as separate people, but for this particular discussion personifying them does seem to be the easiest way to talk about the issue.)
I’ve never liked the metaphor some trans women use of killing your male persona, or at least the notion that your male persona died when transitioned.
So my initial reply was that [boyName] will be taking a well-deserved retirement. My masculine aspect, my masculine history, will always be a part of me even if it’s no longer the active part of my personality. And yet, I’m feeling a sense of loss.
“Caterpillar to butterfly” is also popular transition metaphor, but does the butterfly realize that it had to sacrifice being a caterpillar to become who it is now?
Maybe it’s because I was never one of those trans woman who hid behind a hyper-masculine facade until they were able to come to terms with who they really were. Maybe it’s because I spent a long time on the middle path of identifying as bi-gendered, so that there’s not that sense of relief (of shedding one’s male persona) that I often see with rapid transitioners. To me, [boyName] *is* an aspect of me, just not the true *me.*
To borrow a friend’s analogy, he was the trusty work truck who got me through life up until now. Not flashy, a bit dented here and there, but reliable and always there when I needed him.
He protected me. Rory the Roman, standing guard all those years. Armoring himself against the world, so that I didn’t get hurt. Keeping the scared little girl inside of me safe, until she had time to grow up and begin venturing out into the world. Supporting her as she spread her wings. Building a life that’s now allowing for a remarkably smooth transition.
But the cost… the cost has been so dear. He had a exceeding tough job and did it until he just couldn’t do it anymore. And now, in a final act of self-sacrifice, he’s stepping aside to let me take my place out in the world. I’d like to think he’ll have his toes in the sand, with a drink in his hand. But it feels more like he’s climbing the steps to the high tower, where a girl grew into a woman with only fleeting glances of the world outside, and willingly closing the iron door behind him. Moses helping me across the deserts of living as a man, but unable to enter the promised land with me. To have sacrificed so much, and not reap the joys of what (I hope) will be a much fuller life after transition.
I’m sooooo not woo, but I’m feeling a need to somehow mark and acknowledge this parting of the ways. To honor his service to me. To mourn that it feels like a part of myself is fading into the woodwork.
To [boyName]: I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry. I wish you had a happier ending.