So there was a point to the last post. Over and above what I actually had to say in it (though its something I’d been wanting to write about for a while now).
A week back, I had a brief exchange with a certain Sophie, who said two things: that she thought me brave for being so “out” and so prepared to link back to my past; and that she herself had gone a long way to break links to her past.
On the first point, I’m not sure what to add. “You’re so brave” is one of those things I keep hearing and not understanding. I’m not. I’m just not. “Brave” would be feeling what I feel and pretending still to be a bloke: it would be (pointlessly) living out the rest of my life in silent suited anonymity. Or maybe that would just be stupid.
But this? Brave? Nah. Its what I am and the fact that people sometimes laugh at me for it and sometimes try and hit me for it – that’s just occupational hazard. Still, in line with my newfound politeness (not modesty) I’ll try and agree with folks who say this in future. Or at least not push them back.
Accepting the past
But what about the link to the past. Ah. Now there I know I am in two minds: know also that my view is shifting.
Back at the start of transition, I felt I’d always keep my past in full view. I’m not so sure about that now. Not that I’m planning or thinking I’ll ever go full stealth. But because I’ve shifted.
The old me – the me that I tend rarely now to name – is growing ever more distant and yes: ever so slightly alien. Was I EVER him, I find myself wondering.
Well, yes, of coure: and I’m not unproud of my achievements. The me who exists now the me who can build a scoring system, write an academic article, or pen a short story: that me is the direct linear descendant of the old me, the “he” who learnt those skills.
And yet.. . and yet.. . I feel increasingly estranged. I noticed it the very first time whilst filming a couple of months back. The crew wanted to see me reading something work related. I picked up a random piece of paper and – it was something relating to an old contract. A piece of paper with HIS name on it.
(see.. . there’s him and there’s me: I even think about us that way).
I covered the name. Whatever film we are making now is about me: not him. And I hadn’t quite realised, ‘til I did that, just how far I’d come, how strongly I felt about this stuff.
Out and proud
So maybe I’m not quite as out or as brave as I sound. I’m very publically trans: though maybe that is in part my own take on how passable (I think) I am.
I always had a media presence, and that has been exacerbated by “becoming” trans. I believe in standing up for people – and it makes sense to stand up for those I am now closest to in terms of interests and characteristics. So, of course, I’m out and trans and proud to be part of that community.
But yes: if I happened to be more confident of passing, would I be so loud?
Interesting question. I’m a pragmatist. I don’t worry overmuch about being linked to my past, because I know we all are – and I know that the past fades quickly enough.
Right now, I just have no belief in ever quite passing fully. So I don’t object to being openly trans. If that changes, though, will i?
Good question – and one to which I have no instant answer.