Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Keeping in touch with people is hard

It's not always easy to keep in touch with one's friends and family.  For most of us, it's the usual set of conditions. We are either too busy or too distant to maintain contact with people. As a result, these people become distant, but pleasant memories that we cherish. If they suddenly became closer, many of them will have grown in different ways, and the magic which fostered a relationship will no longer be there.

In my case, I have the added wrinkle of being transgender.  I prefer to develop and maintain relationships in Marian mode, and this can be a problem.  For example, I have family. I am out to only one member, my niece.  She is more than happy for me, but knows that I'd have a very hard time outing myself to my brother, his wife, and his son.  So she keeps this part of me secret from the rest of her family. None of my extended family know about me being transgender, and that's OK with me. I am not close to them, and they have never been close to me.

None of my professional contacts are aware that I am transgender. This means that whenever I see them, I must be in Mario mode. This is not a problem, but it forces me to present as male when I'd rather be presenting as female. The opposite goes for friends who know me only as female, even though they know I'm transgender. I also have to schedule my time in a way, so that they only see me in my female presentation. And then there are the friends who know me in both modes. I can schedule time to be with them in either mode, and am accepted either way.

Does this sound complicated?  Well, what happens when one has to answer the phone with one voice, when one is in the opposite gender presentation?  This is a problem, especially when one gets phone calls from friends and family that must be responded to relatively quickly.

Now, I have a hard time arranging get-togethers with people like Patty, Maria, Vicki, as they have full lives.  Patty is enjoying retirement from her long term job, but is looking for a part time position to help give her the lifestyle she had before being laid off. Maria is dealing with the problems of her irresponsible daughter and her grandson, trying to make sure that both are OK. And then there is Vicki, someone who has been able to maintain a relationship through thick and thin.  She has the self confidence that I wish I had, and knows how to avoid codependent relationships.

It seems like the people I know most worth knowing are the hardest to reach - simply because they are out living their lives, and not wallowing in romantic loneliness like Lili. Yet, knowing this makes me wonder - what do people think of me and how I live my life?

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