Socrates once said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Well, harsh as it sounds, maybe a life without love is also not worth living. I’m no spring chick, and I’ve been around long enough to warrant a bit of self-examination. What I realized is that I have never really experienced the kind of deep love that makes your heart ache when you’re apart and can give your life meaning.
Apart from my gender dysphoria, I’ve lived a pretty good life so far. I’ve traveled the world; lounged on Maltese beaches under the bluest Mediterranean skies; explored every inch of Ireland by car; watched as the lights came up on Inca gold in a Pre-Colombian museum; made a living playing drums in a rock band; rode horses during high school years; hiked the Appalachian Trail; spelunked deep into caves in which I would now literally die of claustrophobia. I’ve done lots of cool stuff, but none of it can make up for living without the most essential of human needs, LOVE!
Being a transgender teen girl forced by circumstance to live as a boy (without a viable plan for MTF transition) and keeping this a secret produced a disconnect between my mind and body. For me this made navigating an authentic love-life impossible. I was a girl, so it didn’t feel right to be with a woman as a guy. And because I was a girl, I didn’t want to be with a man as a guy. The only thing that felt right for me was either to be with a woman as a woman or with a guy as a woman – but this was only possible once I transitioned a bit later in my life. So, when I dated a guy I liked I was unable to make love with him the way I wanted to as a girl. If you find this at all confusing, imagine how I felt. Body/mind disconnect was my natural response.
I have only felt real love once. She was the sweet and beautiful girl I fell in love with in high school. Simply watching television together spooning on the couch was joyous! So easy, but it was wonderful because we loved each other. I had not yet transitioned and she probably thought she loved a boy – albeit with long hair and a feminine face – but I believe she was actually responding to her sense of my femaleness. After she made up my face several times with her make-up I got scared and confused about what to do because this clearly addressed my gender issue and sadly it was years before I was ready to come out. When I was a teen, trans-kids were pretty much on our own as far as transition options. So, unable to deal, I broke it off with her; the only real love I’ve ever known.
Even though I felt my “real life” would not begin until I could live in my appropriate gender I still had to work and lead some sort of social life. So, I led a dual existence like so many pre-transition trans women and men. My relationships remained superficial and loveless even when I liked the girl (or guy) I was with. I was affectionate and loved kissing but wasn’t interested in going much further as I had put up a wall that I would not cross. When I finally transitioned and surgery gave me the body that matched my gender I was still so conditioned to putting my love-life on hold and not pursuing sex, I continued to go without. That is how I lived for the past fifteen years.
And that brings us up to the present. This “examined” life has revealed to me that I have not known a true and deep love since that girlfriend in high school. I still dream about her and so wish I could go back in time and make love to her as the woman I am today. But that’s not going to happen. So, with full awareness of what I have been missing I am determined now to find what I need in this life to be happy and fulfilled. Years ago I took care of my gender needs, now it’s time to take a leap of faith, break down the wall, and provide for my emotional needs. I will stop denying myself this essential element of happiness.
My next big adventure will not take the form of travel, or playing live music, or riding horses. It will be in the pursuit of what we humans need most of all; LOVE!
Gay Life April 2015