Given that passing is allegedly the holy grail of all transition,it might come as a surprise when i admit that it has me thoroughly floored.
For twice, now, in the space of 48 hours, being accepted as who i am has had me in a tizz, wondering whether i ought not to out myself “just in case”.
The “problem” arose while travelling with the boy. Down to Bristol Pride on friday, back again sunday evening. Both times, on a crowded train: both times we struck up conversation with fellow passengers.
And both conversations took off in a decidedly nervous direction, prompted, perhaps, by the fact that the boy, in public, tends to address me as “Jane” – neither “mum” nor “dad” quite fitting his sense of youthful propriety.
On Friday, the man i was speaking to – an elderly slightly old-worldly gentleman – looked quizzically over at me and “you’re not his mum, then?”
“Its complicated”, was the best i could do, feeling rude and shifty and not at all sure what i should have said. But that seemed to keep him happy as i worked out that he had been trying to sort out for himself whether i was mum or grandmum.
Then same, or similar, on Sunday, as my observant fellow-passenger – a lovely retired lady en route to Lincoln – blurted “You’re not his mum, then? Nanny?”
Since we were chatting fairly closely by that point and had shared more than a few confidences, i opened up to her.
Still,its a weird place to be for always believed “passing” was something that happened to others and is therefore just a little unprepared for this sort of thing.
Its nice. Something i very much enjoy. But what i am not prepared for is the slight frisson that accompanies such encounters. On my own, day-to-day, i remain unsure of how genuine the “passing experience” is: because i never expected it, never believed it. So i rationalise: its just political correctness. They’re just being nice.
Until encounters like these, where it is obvious beyond excuse that this is real…not niceness, not pc-gone-mad.
And that leaves me with very different feelings. Glad, yes:but, not being used to it, fear of sudden outing. What if…what if the nice guy trying to work out whether i’m a mum or a grandmum suddenly works out i’m not technically either – and decides i’ve “deceived” him.
Its all, i guess,like one of those interminable computer games the boy plays at. No sooner have you laid waste to the demons on one level than you are booted up to the next, there to face an entirely different set of issues and challenges.
Early days are long past. And the transition is done, sort of. But it never finishes – and now, i find, i must cope with another level, another load of questions. Since i do pass, i shall. Now, all i need to do is to adjust my mindset…get used to that fact – and stop apologising for it.
Is there anywhere, ever, an endgame?