Today my transition seems like a sea I crossed. It used to feel like a burning house I was running out of in the slow motion of a dream. Trapped, behind doors, debris, and waves of fire, it took me twenty to years to find my way across the threshold.
At first, I was delirious, crazy with the joy of freedom. Then it was quiet. The time came to take up the business of living.
This is the silent second part of the story of survival. Sometimes, it’s the hardest part. I think of my grandmother, ricocheting from her broken childhood for the rest of her life. I don’t to be an embodied ghost. I want to live.
Without the heat of the blaze, the story seems absurd to me. On the rare occasions I mention it, I would laugh if I weren’t so nervous. I feel like I won the ultimate trivia game. Headstrong competitors, captivated audience, absolute truth, my vindication: The correct answer is male!
The heat and the panic had been normal to me, my baseline. With that gone, all my perspective began to shift. I started to think less of my transition as an incredible effort of self-preservation, and more of my being transgender as a bizarre accident that happened to me.
I don’t like thinking about it that way. It’s shitty and it hurts. Worst, it forfeits its meaning to a cultural narrative I completely reject.
So I am scouting out metaphors. I am trying to see the value in the experience.
I swam the ocean. I fled the fire. I scaled the wall. I climbed the fence. I crossed the desert. I healed my wounds. I grew and bloomed. I went down to Mitzrayim; I came back up again.