If I am not my parents caretaker, who am I?
Is the only thing left for me living the cloistered life that sustained me while I cared for them?
The enmeshment with my parents for almost six decades was fierce. I never got out from under them, claiming my own separate and individuated life.
This leaves me with no life to return to, no time to go back to and claim that kind of ego. My desires got tamped down so far over so long that trying to rehydrate them feels well nigh impossible,
This is a very feminine thing, becoming enmeshed in care giving, but the associated feminine power were denied me by dint of my birth sex, no matter how much my heart craved them.
All I need now is a separate life full of dreams, hopes, connections and possibilities that I can claim. I just need desires to chase and skills to go after them, continuing on with my life and proving that it is never too late.
Those desires, though, have been fiercely attenuated, and the skills I have seem to lack some of the key components required to be a smart and vivacious mature gal.
Between not easily being able to be one of the gals, instead seeing the world across comforting gender stereotypes, and not easily being able to be with the guys as a gal, instead having their hackles raise, I don’t have the experience of much affirmation or history in the role.
The kind of mirroring that I needed just didn’t exist. And unless I pack in my own queer history, it will be hard for it ever to exist. It is, though, exactly that queer experience that I most need seen and mirrored for me to move beyond trauma, to own a sense of agency and possibility.
The limits of transgender expression are made visible to me every day. The limits of my body feel very real to me every time I step down on my hardened feet. The limits of my history live profoundly in my big memory, triggering connections every time someone speaks.
I claimed my own life apart from my parents. I just claimed it apart from the world, rather than in it. The world felt very unsafe and erasing, asking me to live inside the expectations of others, and I had enough of that.
I saw a show about dating apps and what struck me was the new speed of the feedback cycle. You can know almost instantly when you have struck an expression that stimulates others and when you haven’t. This encourages you to adapt to gain that feedback, to rapidly shift yourself to what others desire. In an information economy, attention is the ultimate currency and the way you grab attention is to be who others already find appealing, fitting conventional images of desire.
Novel is good, but not so unique that you cannot be understood within the sweep of a finger.
The only truths that seep into the media about trans people are the ones the general public wanted to see and hear in the first place, says this trans advocate.
I know how to enter the worlds of other people, how to mirror them in ways that help them grow. They find me useful. They also find me baffling and often challenging.
If, if, if, if only the world I inhabited had been a different place, well, then I could have been a different person. But the world was the way it was and I am the way I am, and the only question is if there is a workable route from here to better.
My hardest challenge over the years is obvious: I had to make do on my own. I didn’t have a support system that understood, mirrored, assisted with and affirmed the challenges of a big, smart, queer tranny with parents who lived in their own Aspergers world. I have helped others find insight and motivation, often over long periods and at high cost, but there was no one there to help me.
How does one invent a new social role without any useful social network to help shape it? How do I take the smart, vivacious bits of me and learn to show them well on the outside?