The Way We Weren't
The Grace Letter
1998: Christmas Remembered
|Looking back from the viewpoint of today, the events of the past two years often seem a blur. Never would I want to experience again those final months of living in that other role, which seems so strange to me now.
Why then, after successful transition and surgery, after establishing a wonderful new life and career in a city unburdened by my past... why do I stare into the mirror some mornings and think, If I could go back, what would it be like?
If I could go back. What a curious idea. I couldn't go back, if I did want to do so. The pain of separation from friends and family remains in their memories also. Life has changed for all of us.
A few persons who make a complete gender transition are fortunate enough to retain the support of their loved ones. My experience tells me, however, that most are like myself. We spent years constructing elaborate past lives, often making more entanglements in a vain attempt to prevent our own future happiness!
Some entanglements, such as occupations which are stereotypical of our birth gender, can be dissolved with only economic consequences. Alas, we go much farther. In our efforts to be "normal", we reason that marriage and a family will resolve these conflicting feelings.
We do love these persons whom we involve in our lives. So, when finally the imperative to transition overwhelms our will to remain in our past lives, we may be burdened with guilt over the effects of our actions.
This was the situation I faced. Surely I could have denied my own needs and remained in my old relationship. At least no one else would have been hurt. I imagine a blissful family, parents and children together, joining with our extended family for special occasions. Now I have marred that perfect picture. What a dreadful, selfish person I must be!
What's wrong with this picture?
First, it depicts a situation that didn't exist. Each passing year - each passing month - put further strain on my relationships. The futility of trying to succeed in my birth gender was becoming obvious. Even before my disclosure, the effects of secrecy and denial were being felt. We trapped ourselves inside our private walls of isolation by the refusal by both parties to discuss vital, serious topics.
Second, it disregards the future and overestimates our will power. How foolish we are to continue in a toxic relationship. If we know without doubt that transsexualism is our life's reality, it is best to be open and honest with ourself, the Lord, and others. Even if this means the severing of a relationship, the pain is still less for everyone than the chronic misery of living in the wrong role.
We imagine a past much more pleasant than it truly was. The song, The Way We Were, from the movie of the same name, captures this sentiment:
How, then, should we deal with the past and its hurts?
First: Be honest, even if it hurts. As a young adult, I thought I was acting in good faith by entering into a marriage and beginning a family. Indeed, God took my actions and brought about some very positive results. But I was wrong to deny the conflict I already knew existed. It is not "wrong" to be transsexual; it is a birth condition over which I had no control. It is wrong to act without seeking God's guidance. This I did; and for this I have prayed for forgiveness.
Second: Commit your past mistakes to the Lord. Jesus paid the price for my sins, past, present, and future. I can go to Him with my guilt and leave it at the cross. If He forgives me, surely I can forgive myself. He will show me how to make amends to those hurt by my actions. How wonderful to be free from the guilt of the past, to know the cleansing of forgiveness!
Third: Learn your lessons well. If one relationship has ended, don't be quick to jump into another which will entangle you again. Learn to be secure without reinforcement from others; don't fear loneliness; and trust Christ to be your best friend, who knows your deepest secrets and loves you still. Take positive action in the future and don't be afraid of the criticism of others. Those who don't understand will try to tell you how sinful you are. The only voice you should hear convicting you of sin is the Holy Spirit. If God is for us, who can be against us?
Finally: Get on with your life, and don't torment yourself. The best way to let others see that you are free of past regrets is to live a life of fulfillment and joy. Truly, my life's dreams are coming true. I praise God for allowing me to have the life I always wanted. I will not spoil this life He has granted me by longing for the painful past.