Archive for January, 2015

Fractions

Tomorrow is my 34th birthday. Other than it being my birthday, it is not particularly notable nor should it be. It’s just another day to most, and just another year to me. That isn’t to say I won’t enjoy myself or it will be a bad birthday it’s just to say there’s nothing too exciting about many of them after a certain point. I can already drink, and I already have lower car insurance. Other than the reflection that we’ve taken the world for another spin and hopefully things have worked out along the way and a good excuse to pull some friends together, it’s just another day.

If anything, I reflect and realize that it’s gonna be my seventh birthday where I’ve truly felt like and been myself. I never really foresaw this point in my mid-twenties when I was still struggling to find what I needed to come out, when we drank too many snifters at The Red Dragon and stumbled home most birthdays. They weren’t grand affairs. As if you can get people out during January in Minnesota. I always thought this would be the year I’d get my shit together, and finally find the strength I needed to come out as transgender and move forward with a more-realized life than the one I was living as we meandered back to that place on Franklin or Humboldt or Aldrich depending in the year. Back then, it seemed the only thing that was changing in my life was my address. So to think about those days years ago sometimes is a little strange. It feels like another lifetime ago. In a way it was. Though I don’t think that’s a province exclusive to trans people; I would say most of us were different people 10 years ago because that’s a long time and we are all always changing, even if we can’t rightly see it happening to ourselves sometimes. But the risks of transition are something I cannot rightly explain to you if you haven’t experienced them. So it is perhaps hard to understand the fears I had and what held me back so long. Obviously, I figured that out. But that really isn’t the point I am trying to make. The point is, it is easy to look back and say we were different people because we all were, but when you are trans, that difference can definitely end up looking and feeling quite tangible. That’s reinforced both internally and externally. Me? I don’t mind the reminders; it’s just sometimes odd to to reconcile who I was then with who I am now, because we’re the same person, and yet so obviously we are not.

I have spent a fifth of my life being who I always wanted to be, who I always have been, though I didn’t have the tools or skills or support to express to act on that for so long. And every year that fraction is going to get a little bigger. But it will only ever be a fraction. It can only ever be a fraction. It while never be whole. And while some days it frustrates me, most days it’s just a truth to acknowledge. Moreover it’s just part of what makes me fundamentally who I am. It’s a tautology of course, but there’s no sense in dwelling on what life would have been like had I managed to come out at a different age. I cannot change that fraction in any way other than going forward. What I can change is to hopefully make that fraction bigger for others by helping to create that more supportive world in whatever ways I can. Or to help other trans individuals get that fraction started at all because it just takes some of us longer to get there. It’s so obvious we need it. Whatever my remainder of days may be, that is always there, always a driving force. We will always be fractions in a world that hard-codes ideas of sex and gender before we are even out of the womb. But no fraction is insignificant.

Conquistadors

Sometimes I write poetry. I used to do it a lot. Here’s to being that person again, if only for a little while.

Conquistadors

“I want to explore,”
like I am America,
newly discovered, foreign, exotic,
waiting to be mapped, something other
than what you have always known,
a new world, a new experience.
Like a conquistador, you seek to plunder,
to lay claim that which existed
long before you knew it was there.
I fear you
or someone like you
will come someday in force
to take what you believe you’re owed,
to demand obeisance or
to put me to the sword.
How many others have there been before me?
More than I will ever know.
I shudder and press delete.

 
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