I opened the backdoor of the house and stepped out onto the decking. A spirit in hand carefully tamed by a single heart shaped block of ice that had long since melted causing translucent currents in my drink. The noise of traffic, a distant grey sound, echoed off a blanket of stars toned down by the low half moon softly lighting the roofs of the houses in a misty glow. Where was I, not physically but in my life and emotionally.
It was only a few days ago, a bright dry morning in the city, I had popped in to the shops to get a much needed pair of replacement jeans for the two pairs that had ever-so-slightly prematurely worn through but ended up coming back with an over-sized over-shirt. I walked past the bus stop where the tourists unload in their droves especially through the summer and the early Indian summer of September was no exception. A coach load of elderly people debarked in frailty blocking the pavement where I politely waited for those who needed time to sort themselves out.
A slightly more abled lady was about to step off the coach and saw me smiling and waiting. She called to her friend who had her back to me sorting herself out on the pavement, “Come on Edna, this lady is trying to get through – this gentleman is trying to get through.” she said in some kind of guess-work confusion, I think hoping if she betted both on odds and evens she would win either way. It kind of summed me up I thought as I carefully walked through the crowd.
Fifty percent. That was me. That’s what the clinician said in London, ‘our patient presented – in an androgynous fashion.’ The lady at the bus stop deciding on one gender and then the other. My indecision of who I am and how I’m the bottle half full, or empty, depending how you view the world; in fact my indecision on pretty much most things these days. Some things take me years to decide on because I’m so finicky about covering every angle, every possibly outcome and hedging any problems that I might come up against. Picking, on some occasions, the most comfortable or safe route. That said some people who know me might think I’m the opposite, doing things that most people don’t through fear of failure or unhappiness. Maybe I’m just complex.
The night time noise of the road traffic is usually at it’s most refined when the air is still. The roads might be grey and almost industrial in delivering this emotion but the sound is also comforting and enjoyable in an alienating and solitary kind of way in the same way the street lamps fragilely light the way on empty pavements. It wasn’t just the gender-thing that I had become this half-and-half. It was, like the haze around the moon tonight, that I can’t quite see where my future is, even though there is this vague plan, it feels a little materialistic in a minimal way and doesn’t at the moment involve much in the way of people, or a person. It may be September but the summer is still here in a slightly fresher surround. May be I need to change a little like the season and stop any stagnation.
Am I really exactly fifty percent in every way? When I think how far I’ve come since I decided to do something about my gender I come to realise that I can’t put a percentage number on who I am based on what a tourist in the street mistook me for – either way. I’ve been mistaken for female since I was a child at school. That mother on the door step one summer day with her young child as I walked home from primary school, I remember to this day what she said, “Look, theres a girl on her way home from sports day.” In fact I get reminded from time to time by one family member how I was teased as a toddler by a family friend that I was a girl. I have vague memories of it; dropped on my psychological head as a child? Perhaps not.
I haven’t really changed inside. Sure I’ve become a little more confident about who I am, self belief, but how I feel as someone who has a gender issue hasn’t really changed and so trying to mark it with a percentage score becomes meaningless. Besides expression of masculinity and femininity changes with mood like the weather like any human being. If there was a number to put to my progress it would be external. It was when the clinician had written in that letter about my shaped eyebrows that I had realised it. It was probably only about may be six or seven years ago that I would be terrified about tidying eyebrows beyond a few strays for fear of being self-outed, or wearing skinny jeans any day, or allowing myself to be me amongst friends beyond clothes or other visuals.
When I think about it like that then the scales are weighted to one side more than I ever thought. Enough that it scared me for a moment. Had I really come that far. Had I really shared all these things with other people so much and for so long that now I barely think about those things. What must they think and did it really matter given no one treats me any different, if anything – better. These things that have become so normal that I wouldn’t give them up for anything.
The weight of the whole gender-thing has shifted. Bit by bit weight has been moved in small barely noticeable blocks to the extent that the stresses that come now tend to be from silly administrative things that are part of moving forward, like blood tests (that still haven’t turned up and are having to be chased) and formalities that await me over months. So much so that I’ve even considered whether I need the whole gender clinic thing and may be there are ways to find my own way. After all, two years of exploratory psychology are probably more than enough for me to find my own way now.
As I stand here looking at the stars and the sound of that traffic still whirring away at midnight on a Saturday and an empty glass bar for a mist of remaining spirit fumes I realise that really what seem like very subtle changes are in fact huge. I’m in a place, that a few years ago, I never imagined I would be and if that’s how far I’ve come since I started this journey then how far might I move on in the future, if I find I need to move? There could be an evening much like tonight where the full moon is shining clear and I write a title ‘One Hundred Percentage’; whatever the title I know it will never be less than what it is now.
Until next time.