Saturday, January 7, 2017
Sometimes, I wonder....
It's almost 20 years ago that I lost my wife. Since she was the shutterbug in the family, there are very few pictures of her that I have to remember her by. She knew that I cross dressed in private, and accepted it way back when - which is something more than GFJ does today. Would she have accepted me as a M2F Transgender woman? I have no way of knowing, and there is obviously no way I'll ever be able to find out.
One of the first things society asks about a newborn is the gender of the baby. Much of what is expected of that child is preordained from the the time the child comes out of its mother's womb. We expect that the child will go through the "terrible twos", go through potty training, learn how to read and write, and eventually prepare him or herself for adult life through skills gained in the first twenty one years of his or her life. If the baby is born a boy, we expect that he will eventually date women. If the baby is born a girl, we expect that she will eventually date men. And we expect the child to fit in as a cisgender male or female.
However, life has a nasty habit of throwing us curve balls. Most of us transgender folk identify as members of the opposite sex. For some of us, it is a very strong identification that is voiced in childhood and often repressed until adulthood. For others, it is a soft identification, and comes up as a gradual realization. He or she is able to function as a member of the birth gender, but identifies more with the gender whose 'plumbing' he or she doesn't have.
Would my wife have accepted me if I started socializing as a female? She didn't have much of a family, and by the year before she passed, she was in contact with only one of her aunts. She was never told that this aunt had passed away, and when I tried to contact her at the time of my wife's death, it was her cousin who came to the wake. Her half brother couldn't be bothered to make the drive from Massachusetts to pay his respects.
Before I go too far with my thoughts about my late wife, I should supply some information regarding her family. She was no longer in contact with her cousins, her aunts and uncles, as they drifted away a long time before we met. My wife's mother was her father's second wife. The problem was that wife number three was also wife number one. Yes, he remarried his first wife after my wife's mother died. (I'll never know the full circumstances of the divorce.) It wasn't until my wife was twelve that she found out that she even had a half brother. But they never were able to grow close. And I doubt the first wife would have let that happen. So one can easily see how my wife would always feel she was on her own.
My wife knew that I enjoyed silky clothes from early on in our relationship. She may have found our life together a disappointment, as I was always afraid to have children and repeat the dysfunction from my mom's side of the family. In many ways, I feel that this was the correct decision, as our relationship had major problems related to communication and intimacy. Even if I knew what 'Transgender' was at that time, I never would have been able to talk to her about the subject.
Years ago, I dated a woman from Rochester, NY. Every other week, one of us would be traveling on the Amtrak for a 300 mile round trip. Twice, while semi conscious, I had the strange feeling that someone was sitting in the empty seat next to me. When I turned, I saw my late wife - as real as our every day existence. And each time, I got into a conversation with her until I asked one question - "How can I be having a conversation with someone who has passed away?" Once this question was asked, everything ended. Although the sharp pain of loss is still gone, I still find myself having an occasional one way conversation with someone who can only be there in spirit. And I occasionally wonder whether she would have accepted me as transgender. Then, if she did, would it have been because she loved me for who I was inside? Or, would it have been because she had nowhere else to go?