Am I still the person I was before transition? That’s such a hard question to answer. A co-worker commented a few months ago about just how remarkable the change in me has been over the last two years. When they compare who I am now to who I was then, the differences are so stark that I seem like a totally new person.
I wrote about how my personality has changed in my two year anniversary post back on the 4th, but am I actually a different person? I still have all the same interests, I still geekout about the same movies and tv shows, I still read the same books, and play the same games. I’m still passionate about programming, and I get excited about the projects I’m working on. I’m still deeply connected to my wife, and more connected than ever to my kids.
The one place I have changed a lot is that I am now much more vocal about injustices and prejudices that I see in the world. I was aware of sexism and misogyny long before I came out, but now I’m so much more intimate with its influences. Where previously I might ignore a sexist or racist joke, now I call it out. I now talk about the systemic forces that I see all around us every day, and mention them in conversation. These aren’t changes in who I am, tho, they are simply factors of having moved from a place of high privilege into a minority status.
I think the biggest difference isn’t in me, but rather in how others see me and have changed towards me. Most of my male friends have pulled away; I’m no longer one of the guys, I’m outside the circle. With some of my woman friends I’ve grown significantly closer; once they understood who I really am they felt much more connected to me and a lot of heterosexual pretexts that used to be in the way have been dropped.
To those who knew me before but haven’t come with me on this journey, I seem to be a completely different person, unrecognizable, but that is more about who they thought I was than who I have become. I am every bit still the person I have always been, but that person has been hidden away for 25 years. They never got to meet me.
Those that have followed me through my transition, my wife, my close friends, my coworkers… they’ve seen me shed the ashes of my old personae and blossom into someone vibrant and amazing. Now that they know how bright the real me is, they can see where I was shining through before.
Of course, it’s easy for me to say this, because I’m inside my own head. I remember wanting to be this person I am now during my teens and twenties; wanting to be able to express myself in the ways that felt natural, the ways I do today, and knowing that I couldn’t. I know who the real me is, and she’s been in here all along, but sometimes I still feel like I’m someone completely new. This girl never got to flourish, she never got to explore who she was or what she wanted from life. Every month brings me to a new me, a new understanding of myself, my desires, my passions, and my traumas. The me two years from now will be as different as the me from two years past. The more distant I grow from that man I tried to be, the less of him remains inside me.
I love who I am, and I love who I will yet become.