Though I had an idea my entire life the summer of 2008 I realized with certainty I liked men, well at the time boys when I fell infatuated with this guy I met at a scout camp in Virginia. I will call him C. He was Native American and white, a swimmer, built like a stick with tanned skin the color of golden oak wood and a mouth full of braces. C and I became friends and remained so even after he returned to his home in Virginia Beach and I returned to mine in Cincinnati. We emailed each other weekly using my AOL dial up internet and sent gifts to each other on birthdays and at Christmas. I remember the day I told him I was gay and liked him as more than a friend, it was weird as hell, but a truth I needed to expose. It would be an interesting conversation to tell him that me coming out as gay was a mistake and I am actually trans. I wonder whether he’d understand the difference. Recently I recovered a card from him that I’d received one Christmas several years ago. The front was covered with Santa in the shape of a star and an assemblage of “Ho! Ho! Ho!” scattered around. The inside read:
“Merry Christmas! I know you didn’t receive it on Christmas, sorry it was my fault not the mails. I left it on the desk to mail, but then my stuff got moved. but I hope you enjoy spending it, I am not good at picking out clothes.
When reread it for the first time in over 7 years I laughed. Christian really? When a cis straight white man asked me, his friend, what I wanted for Christmas did I tell him clothes? I can do nothing but smile at the silliness that used to be and still is me. At such a young I knew who I was and that still hasn’t changed I am that same person who asks for clothes and complains about how my life is nothing because I can’t afford Zac Posen gowns. What saddens me is the Christian of 2008 and the Christian of now is not unrecognizable. I wish I would’ve listen closer to the younger me instead of ignoring it and suppressing myself. I wish I had the education, knowledge and support then that I know have. I haven’t talked to C in years at this point and Its so weird to see these people you once knew seem so far away. Last year in 2015 C married his now wife 8 days before my 23rd birthday. And today on Valentine’s Day they are leaving for a three week honeymoon in Australia. It’s hard to form into words what I feel. How can we be so close yet so far. We entered and exited each others lives, but live on two opposite sides of the spectrum. The object of my teenage affection is far from reach. Married and in love and likely not to have once thought of me, his friend of the past, in years. And its not that I am even at all attracted to him the way I used to be, its more of the nostalgia of the moment and a longing of the (false) simplicity of being a youth. How could we have been a part of each others lives, but be in two completely different spaces. My life at the time already so vastly different from his but I had no idea of the difficult things that awaited me in the coming years and that I am still experiencing. His life symbolic of the typical American dream the typical American life and my life typical of everything America rejects and attempts to sweep under the rug. That’s what makes society and specifically America so enthralling; it has the ability to make on person feel like they’re living a dream while simultaneously oppressing another and making them feel less than human. It begs the question could I be this girl, could I be here if I was cis? The answer is yes and in the coming posts as this mini series wraps up you will understand why I’ve arrived at that conclusion.
What is just as difficult is trying to explain to the people in my life that these stories about at all about them. They are surrogates, merely examples for me to be able to tell my truth and my story; If it weren’t them it would be someone else. There are thousands of girls out their experiencing the same thing; same scenario different people there are hundreds of C’s hundreds of H’s who are those surrogates of emotion for girls like us. That’s how the cycle of socialization works for many trans women when it comes to love. And those like me are left on the sideline to smile at the wedding photos of someone we covet or use our life as a teaching moment for those who doesn’t understand gender identity and sexuality are different, or fight for survival because we don’t have loved ones or a spouse to care for us while at the same time the system ignores our basic needs. Girls like me navigate the world while people literally and figuratively spit in our faces, or pull our hair or tell us we are “doing the most”. When the world turns it’s back on you many can say “well thank God for…….” I don’ have that when the world turns its back on me I smile all the way home climb into bed and stare at a blank wall in the dark. There is no balance, no release for the pressure, no one to love and no one to love me.
I long for someone to love me the way C loves his wife, H loves his girlfriend, Beyoncé loves Jay-Z and Carrie loves mr. Big. And I wish I could say with certainty that day would come but that’s not necessarily the truth. I shame those who foolishly tell me “Oh but Christian you will love” because you don’t know that and the reality it is may not. I see girls like me every day who don’t have that kind of love and have no promise or hopes of such. Adele has the almost perfect lyrics for C:
“I heard that your settled down that you found a girl and your married now I heard that your dreams came true, old friend why are you so shy, I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited but I could stay away I couldn’t fight it but I hope you’ll be reminded that for me it isn’t over. Never mind I’ll find someone like you. I wish nothing but the best for you two. Don’t forget me I beg………..”