I started this blog a year ago because I needed to think through whether I was butch or transgender and to get a better understanding of the interplay between my sexual identity and my gender identity. Like a truck trying to get out of the mud, I’ve spun my wheels and dug myself deeper in. That’s OK, it’s where I belong. I’m still both. I am not getting out of my rut, I am getting more comfortable in it.
If I could do it over, I would have started this process when I was twenty-five. I’d rather be twenty-five right now. If I was, I probably would be making different choices. At twenty-five, transitioning might have been the right choice. I’ll never know. In middle-age, it seems less appealing.
When I was twenty-five I had just fallen in love with Donna, and I was trying to figure out how to be in a relationship. I was a stone butch, but I didn’t want to be. I was ashamed of it. I thought I should be enjoying sex. Everybody else was. I knew something was wrong, I still wanted to be a boy, but I couldn’t admit it to anyone. Not even my therapist. I tried and I ended up quitting therapy (only to start up again with someone else I couldn’t talk to about it for a very long time).
On the surface, everything was fine. I had a partner I loved, an interesting job with health benefits and a pension, I was politically active, and I had a social life. I suppressed wanting to be a boy, and only let myself think about it in fantasy. My sexual identity was butch and my gender expression was butch. I created a pretty good life for myself. I was only partially present in it.
I regret waiting for so long to deal with being transgender. I regret being on butch auto-pilot for all those years. I regret the shame. The unspoken repression was hard on Donna; she could not know why I was often disconnected. I’m more present now, but the flip side of acceptance is that it opens up a lot of questions. Donna is apprehensive, first I wanted to change my name, then I started flirting with binding and top surgery, then what? I tell her I am not interested in socially transitioning to male or taking testosterone, but I can understand why she doesn’t trust me. When you are transgender anything is possible. Ideas that seem pathological one day seem normal the next.
I’d rather try to be a middle-aged queer bodied butch than try to be a middle-aged straight guy.
I have a lot more empathy for mid-life crises than I used to. I’ve seen a lot of the guys I work with go through them. They’ve bought red Cadillac sedans with embossed leather seats and Bose sound systems. They’ve divorced and remarried. They’ve bleached their hair and gone surfer-style (with a beer gut and sciatica). I used to think they’d lost their minds. But now I understand that they’ve been on auto-pilot too. I’ve got more in common with them than I thought.
I’d like to be one of those people who sail through life without regrets, but I have them. I can either learn from them and move on, or I can obsess about whom I might have been if I’d made different choices (“I coulda’ been a contender“). I can still wish I looked like the young Marlon Brando.
I’ve learned a lot during the year. I am grateful to WordPress.com for providing me with a platform for my writing, for giving me an opportunity to participate in the blogging community, and for supporting my work by selecting it for Freshly Pressed (thank you Cheri Lucas Rowlands). A special thank you to timethief and her “one cool site” for having the answers to all the questions I thought of asking, and for telling me what I didn’t know I needed to know about blogging.
And a happy new year to the bloggers and readers who subscribe, comment, like, lurk, follow, and heel alongside me and Gracie. You keep me writing. Thanks.