In 2002, I transitioned male to female, and on 24 December 2002 I drove north to be with my father. He had remarried, and his wife would spend Christmas with her sister and their children in another city.
I felt a bit sick on Christmas Eve, and waking on Christmas day could hardly get up. My glands were swollen, and I spent the day in bed. I was still sick on the 27th, and Dad’s wife Margaret was due home on the 28th. Seeing that I was unfit to drive, Dad drove me the two hundred miles home in my car, and left me at home, still feeling unwell. He phoned his wife to explain, using my former male name. Margaret had refused to have me in the house when she was there. I felt betrayed by my father, and badly treated by his wife, who should have given way for one night given how ill I was. At the time, however much love, respect and acceptance my friends gave me, I still felt the casual insult in the street- “It’s a Tranny!”- penetrate far more deeply.
This is unforgettable, but I treasured it in my heart. I would tell people, bitterly, to show how I was rejected. I realised much later how I would collect such stories, about how cruel the world could be to me, as reasons to hide away from it. And, separately, I let it devalue myself. I was unworthy of love, and only had value insofar as I could do something useful. So the story reinforced habits and beliefs from childhood, entangling me further.
What to do with it now? Krishnamurti’s answer is to forget it. I find it less poisonous now I have self-respect: it no longer proves I am worthless. Beyond any doubt I am valuable and beautiful in myself. So what of the world? It is a cruel, dangerous world out there, as the politicians’ mouthings and the news of death reinforce, as well as my stories.
I could balance it. In the late 90s, I drove north to share Christmas with my father, just the two of us. We started the wine-box, and the eating, at three pm and finished at three am, having talked deeply and joyously, sorted the problems of the world, laughed together. I need to know what is true, and also I need a sufficiently rosy view of the world that I might go into it again.
Am I safe? Safe enough; safer out than in.
The odd thing is that when I started typing this at 11pm on Sunday it seemed that I had a new answer, and now, typing at 2pm on Monday, it feels I have not. And- Sunday was wonderful, more on this tomorrow, and today I have just felt tired.
I will treasure all the joy in my heart, rather than brooding on past pain. It can’t do any harm- and possibly Krishnamurti is right.