As a musician, my influences are listed on my my Bio as being Joni Mitchell amongst others. I loved Joni Mitchell as a teenager and I probably performed her song 'Both Sides Now' far more often than I should (considering how badly I sang it). The Judy Collins version of the song was the first 45 rpm single I ever bought! I can't possibly aspire to ever write songs like Joni Mitchell, or indeed, engage an audience like she does onstage (oh I would so love to). What I do want to share however is the flip side of my own experiences.
Joni Mitchell talks about her experience on a plane trip flying above the clouds as the one that back in '67, gave the idea for her song. It was the concept of seeing things from new and unexpected points of view that she wanted to explore. I've spent a long time trying to do just that. Throughout my life I've had a desperate need to try and see things from both sides, from my transgendered point of view and that of the people around me. I've always been aware that although I was unhappy with my gender identity I also desperately wanted children. Like many trans people I ended up in a relationship and I got a wonderful family. In a weird way, I suppose that I thought that becoming a parent might 'solve' my problems. I'd had the same idea with starting a relationship and also training as a kindergarten teacher. I thought that pledging my life to someone romantically or caring for young children would finally make me feel at peace with the gender I had been born with. It didn't work.
It seemed cruel then that I spent the next 15 years of my life agonizing about how I could be true to myself and come out without hurting the family I had so longed for by transitioning. I tried desperately to see things from both sides, trying to imagine the effect that my transitioning might have on people close to me. I became very afraid that I would hurt a lot of people very deeply. It seems now looking back that examining things from both sides paralysed me and prevented me from doing anything. It was only when depression and suicidal feelings took over that I pulled up short and realized that me suddenly not being there might hurt my family even more.
Having had those experiences, I was fascinated to be invited to read my own daughter's own blog posts on how she sees her relationship and her experiences being raised by a trans Mom. I found that having me as her Mom has indeed affected her deeply but not how I imagined it would. Whilst some of it has been as I feared , other things have been surprisingly different. She writes about her experiences of having to cover up things about her family whilst in High School. I realise that she has been so brave and put up with so much. After reading what she had to say I felt humbled. and I respect her much more.
I have asked my daughter's permission to signpost others towards her blog and the link is here:
if you are interested to read it.
|my youngest daughter|