The song came to mind as I put the last few of my things in my bag for Charing Cross. It's a Peter Paul and Mary song that I played frequently at gigs back in High School. That (male) part of my life is beginning to feel a rather long way away now. Why were most of the songs I sang back in then Folk songs about goodbyes? Peter Paul and Mary's 'Leaving on a jet plane', Gordon Lightfoot's 'Early Morning Rain', James Taylor's 'Fire and Rain', Leonard Cohen's 'So Long Marianne'. Singing the songs, I always imagined myself as the broken hearted girl saying goodbye to her guy or being left behind...Well here I am, a girl, finally about to say goodbye to the guy who's space I've been forced to reluctantly inhabit until my mid 40's. There will be no 'kiss me and smile for me'; we're one and the same person, just separated by a mental outlook and anatomy. Maybe as Cohen wrote; 'it's time, we began, to cry and laugh and laugh and cry about it all again'. As I remember, the guitar tag to the end of that line is to transition an A chord into an A sus 4. It's kind of fitting; C# to D; an onward transition from a 3rd to a perfect 4th. It creates such a different sound, so much more open and resonant; that's pretty much how I'm feeling about myself and surgery right now. I'm smiling.
As I write my operation is exactly 14 days away. During the process of counting down the days I've gone through a whole bunch of thoughts and moods, reliving and evaluating the past and all the events that lead up to this point. My last blog post was inevitably taken up with all that. There has been nervousness and anxiety, a little fear of the unknown and some worry and physical distress. Now I've packed it all seems kind of irrelevant. Life is full of rituals; birth, coming of age, marriage, coming out and yes, transition. I realized with surprise that packing was an all important part of that; like choosing a baby name; a ring or a place and time, packing was my final acceptance of what I truly want and am happy with. Whatever happens now, I've reviewed and examined all my motives feelings and thoughts, cross questioned myself innumerable times and dealt with the 'what if's?'. Curiously, I couldn't come to any balanced judgement that didn't distil into; 'it's just how I've always felt'. So much for all the nervous anxiety and wasted mental energy!
I really don't know whether I'll write another blogpost before I set off for London. We'll see. I will keep a diary, but don't expect a messy stitch by stitch account, I'm a girl of feelings not of practicalities. For those of you who like to email, keep in touch, firstname.lastname@example.org it will be nice to know that you're there in thought at least. My youngest is encouraging me to take one of her soft toys to cuddle, I think I will take it. It will remind me of her even though she can't be there.
Where do you fit into all of this? Well if you too are contemplating transition or are going through the agonies of waiting or even just thinking about coming out, my thoughts are with you. Earlier on this week, the press announced the tragic death of Lucy Meadows, a Trans Woman and primary teacher who took her own life on Tuesday last. It is a role in which I could so easily have found myself. I trained as an Early Years teacher and for many years was the only such 'male' teacher in my County. I was deeply unhappy and longed to come out but feared misunderstanding and censure. Lucy took that step and and suffered. She received severe criticism from some about what was seen as a 'selfish' decision to come out. She was vilified in the British tabloid press for the effect all this might have on the children in her class. If you are Trans, you will probably realize what an utterly cruel point of view that was. Lucy deserved so much better. Whatever the reasons for Lucy's suicide it was unkind and unfair to treat her that way.
I realize that I seem to have been blessed with an easy ride compared to Lucy. I have had so much support at work, from my friends and from you, my blog followers. Thank you so much for being there.
Hugs and kisses,