I am planning on continuing my “The Cost of Being” posts that go over the costs, small and large, that we incur as Transgender people. However, I wanted to express a few things, those feelings and thoughts that I have encountered when my mother passed away.
Don’t wait to be person that you are. I look back and cringe, thinking of the time I wasted wearing the mask. The longer you wear it, the more it becomes you and the harder to remove. Work, love, friends and family all become more and more, less inclined to forgive this. To them, you are messing with their memories of you. Those moments when you did that great thing together, or laughed until you cried. Who was there, you or the mask? They have to live with those thoughts. It is easy to say that they aren’t accepting or that they won’t get over it. I get that way as well, but that is because I am standing there in my ballet flats and not in their shoes. You owe it to yourself and to those you love and work with to be the person you are as soon as possible. The memories of you should be you and not the mask. I waited so long, now I will be remembered as the boy/man who did this thing or that thing, they have to find some way to reconcile that it was instead the girl/woman who pretended to be a boy/man. See how complicated that makes life?
I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying that by doing this anyone but you will understand. I’m just saying you will be wasting precious time first wearing the mask and then trying to get your loved ones to come around to recognizing who is under it. Nothing worth doing is ever easy.
Work is complicated for anyone. Being the mask in a career makes it very hard to become yourself. I’m still not sure how to do it; this is my actual sticking point. I don’t have all the answers, just a blog, and that makes me as unqualified as anyone to talk about the correct way to do things. I can tell you what I am doing now. I am scouting things out. I am asking our HR department (did this several weeks ago), if we have any policies on transgender and what would happen if someone were transgender. I already know that we have two bathrooms that are non-gender specific and those are not anywhere near the gender specific bathrooms. I know that our HR manager has no problem with transgender and doesn’t even think it should be a focus unless someone makes an issue of it. (Her exact words were, “I don’t think it’s anyone’s business in the first place.”) Though this scenario is of someone coming into the company, while I am a 15 year employee. I think they will notice if I come in with boobs and long hair and in a dress. And the upper management will immediately begin their either conscious or subconscious desire to remove me from my position. So, I have to be ready for that eventuality. It’s going to happen, but it’s going to be a process.
I don’t have to tell my Mother or my Father. I wish I had, back then, as a child. I had murmured it to my mother, but she took it as a young child’s wistful thinking. Like wishing your father had been Elvis Presley or that Brussel sprouts tasted like cotton candy. I was afraid of my father, but I think he would have eventually come around, later in life. I could have told my mother, I don’t think she would have fully understood. And she would probably keep using my deadname (I just learned that is what it is called btw) for a long time. But I would have had no problem with that, to have her here today. Eventually she would have been fully supportive, I know she would have. Damn you hindsight. My brothers, well they should know, but have buried it in the mess of memories of a childhood. If they had grown up with me, the real me, then they would have been fine. But now, I will probably lose them both, I know I will lose at least one of them forever. I hope I am wrong, but it won’t stop me from coming out to them this year.
This blog isn’t an instructional. You need to take this, at least in part, as a cautionary tale. While I am aware that my life is pretty easy considering what others have gone through, are going through. I have not done things the right way; I have been cowardly and afraid. The comforts of a fairly good life don’t alleviate the suffocation of the mask I must wear to keep it. I implore you to waste as little time as you can, because there just isn’t much time for any of us. Don’t spend it being a lie to yourself.