It is with an empty heart that I type this final post. I used to dream of being a writer. I used to dream of a lot of things. I think, though, I have reached a point in life when I must finally realize that those dreams will never be anything more. I regret that I never made the effort, never took the risks. I never lived. I suppose it was fear that kept me from putting myself out there. Whatever the case, my dreams have done nothing but create emptiness in my life, and pain in the lives of those around me.
So, yes, I am giving up. I am putting away the "pen and paper," and I am giving up. What I have written may have helped some people, and for that I am grateful; but the truth is I cannot continue to maintain this front. I cannot continue to pretend that I am in a position to share wisdom, humor, insights, or anything else, when my life and my head/heart are such a complete and utter mess. I do not have it together. I am not okay. Writing was supposed to help me work through that. The truth is, I don't even know what I'm trying to work through.
I hope those of you who have followed me so faithfully can find your inspiration, wisdom, humor, data, or whatever it was you found here somewhere else. I wish you all the best. Ciao for now.
I am sorry.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
[Author’s note: Sorry… it’s going up without revision, which means you get to read all the bile that came out on paper. I did remove some names that I originally included, because I at first wanted those who hurt me to know that I remember them. I later decided it would be better not to give them that satisfaction. But I do remember every one of you who were involved in the incidents detailed below. Be warned.]
I am so angry. I have been angry for most of my life. I have felt hurt, and rejection, and anger, and betrayal… betrayal by my family, by my friends, by my own body. Think about it. How would you feel if as a Kindergartner, you felt something that you instinctively knew would make people hate you? What would it be like to know from your earliest memory that if you didn’t stifle the feelings that were inside you and instead color inside the lines that others defined for you, that you would never belong anywhere? How would it feel to know that you had fiercely protected a secret, making yourself miserable and sick inside, only to be reviled, ridiculed, and hated anyway? What would it be like to know that the lie you had to tell was just as much the reason you spent your childhood running, hiding, and being afraid, as was the truth that would have bred the same?
Imagine that life. Imagine feeling so starved for that one sympathetic heart, that you would call your tormentors friends, that you would laugh with them as they mocked you, that you would walk the halls of a school feigning collusion with your classmates – the perpetrators of your misery – all the while dying inside; because the people who tormented you didn’t even have the right story. But oh, they told stories. They wrote them down. They read them to me over the phone. When that didn’t cause enough pain, they read them to whoever would answer the phone at my house. They spread them. They shared them in classes in front of everyone. They laughed. They writhed with pleasure in my pain. I remember them. I remember the worst of them… the stories about a girl named Tiffany.
I don’t know which was worse – that they wrote filthy rancid sexually charged stories about my fixation with a girl named Tiffany, or that they didn’t even write them about the correct girl named Tiffany. But I remember the stories, and I remember the readings. And I remember the revulsion on the face of the wrong Tiffany, the unfortunate pawn in a terrible game, and on the faces of her friends. I remember the laughter as the football playing double bassist read the stories aloud for Tiffany and an entire room full of musicians – the one group of people among whom I thought I might be safe. I remember the pain as if the quill still protruded from my back.
I hope it felt good. I hope you all [names removed] enjoyed the laugh. I hope the phone calls, and the locker inserts, and the handouts were all worth it. You succeeded in making an already broken and miserable person hate her existence even more. You made me want to die. Oh, and my “loving” family… thank you for all the support. Thank you for putting the blame for it all where it really belonged… on me. After all, wasn’t it my idea to be born in the wrong damn body? And wasn’t it my responsibility to keep such an embarrassing truth from being known? And wasn’t it my idea to take all the cobbled and disjointed justifications for the lie I was living, and turn them into weapons for my own humiliation?
You know the worst part? None of you even got the story right. You took I lie I told to cover a lie (a lie that was supposed to protect me from the shame of being a freak), and turned it into a work of pornographic art. Here’s the truth. I was Tiffany. The girl on whom I fixated was the person who was trapped inside me. I called her Tiffany – I called myself Tiffany, because I remembered once being told that it was the name my dad wanted for me. I guess I thought… I hoped that if I took the name my dad wanted for me, maybe he wouldn’t hate who I was quite so much. I called myself Tiffany. I wrote my name in my notebooks, so that I could see it, so that it would be more real. I used the hope that seeing my name inspired to convince myself not to use the bullet that I carried with me.
You wonder why I am angry? I hurt. I was broken. I needed help. I needed someone to recognize me for who I really was (who I am) and love me for it. Instead, you wrote stories about a perverted little violinist who loved a girl named Tiffany – a girl whose primary misfortune was sharing my first name. That is, until you included the perversion of her in your twisted stories about me.
You know what though? I survived. Every day I live is a statement. Every word I breathe is the product of all I had to overcome – all that you put upon me. Your torture was the fertilizer in which I grew into a beautiful, strong, talented, and intelligent woman. I am proud of who I am. I am proud of the life I live. No one else has to love me. I love me. And yes, I forgive the rest. I forgive it, but I will NEVER forget it, and I hope that you won’t either. I hope you remember whom you almost killed. I hope you remember that the problem does not lie with those of us who fall outside the boundaries. The problem lies with those of you who are building those boundaries in the first place.
I am a woman. I am gay. And I am proud of whom I am and of everyone else who finds the strength to stand up for who they are.
I love you all, and that doesn’t make me gay… just happy.
Monday, November 14, 2011
One of my big challenges in this transition so far has been weighing the very elusive balance between giving support to those who are working through this change with me, and fulfilling my own need for support. It is a very complicated situation. I know that my loved ones have struggles too. I am not the only one changing, and I am not the only one for whom my changes carry hardships. I recognize that, and I know that I need to allow space for those around me to adjust and figure things out. It is a process, and it takes time. But what do we do about those around us who seem not to be progressing? What do we do when someone’s resistance to change begins to look more like rejection?
I know that different people will set a different pace in the course of processing new information and adjusting to change, but absolute lack of movement is not a pace, and it is not progress. In fact, when that lack of movement happens amid waves of progress on the very same issue, that lack of movement begins to look very much like – and may truly be – opposition. Okay, I know what you are thinking, “enough with this jibber jabber… what the hell is she talking about?” So here is the situation.
I have two wonderful daughters. They along with my partner’s other son converge on our home every other weekend. Three of our four children have made great strides in embracing and accepting our evolving situation. My daughters, in fact, are nearly pronoun perfect in their references to me… even when I am not around. One of the four, however, has steadfastly clung to male pronouns and my old name. This is most notable, because these references continue in an environment where everyone else is using correct language. So the question then, is can I continue to buy the notion that this is just a part of his process, or is it, as I am coming to believe, really opposition to the change and/or to me?
I have faced a lot of rejection in the last few months. It has come in many forms – professional, personal, societal, maternal. Some has come kindly, some hatefully, and still more has come in some intermediate form – not quite hate, but not quite a quiet dismissal. This is a type I have not encountered elsewhere (though I am sure there is more of it out there); this clinging to notions of the world that are no longer true does not make sense to me, especially in this situation. One thing is for certain; I cannot continue to try to ignore the situation.
The fact is that I am on already fragile ground. I struggle every day to keep my head above water - fighting to just keep fighting – walking a tightrope between tears and psychotic screams. In this world, I have only one sanctuary – my home. How do I keep it? How do I maintain my one safe place, the one place where I do not have to be confronted with negative views of me... of reminders of my former self? I would appreciate hearing how others of you have dealt with similar situations.
Thanks in advance, and peace!