It is always difficult to undo a life to start a completely new one. The longer we have been in the previous, the more difficulties found to change direction and start from scratch. It happens in every kind of big change. If you have been, worked and lived as, let’s say, an engineer for several decades, it becomes very difficult to completely change lives to become an athlete, especially if the change occurs by the age of 60. Not only is a problem in all the things related to the technical knowledge that has to be learn in order to perform in all the ares of the new activity, but also all the changes in the physical aspects. That’s what happens when a transsexual woman wants to stop living as a man and start living openly as a woman after discovering her true sexuality in the latest part of her life.
It is not just all the physical changes to an old body that doesn’t respond to those changes as it would do a younger one, but also all the mind recordings acquired after a life as a man, that suddenly have to be changed for mind recordings that have never before being attempted. Elements like changing the way we walk, the way we move, how we gesticulate, our facial expressions, how we use our eyes, together with changing the voice, the words used, the expressions, the tone when speaking; even how we sneeze and cough. These are all elements we learn little by little since a very early age and take us many years to reach a point where we have our personal characteristics as a man or a woman. It can be practiced to acquire, but it takes a lot of time and several years to reach a point where we can “perform” at an acceptable level as a second nature. Like learning a new language at an advance age; we can learn, but we will always have an accent that will show we are not native speakers of that language. In the same way, we will always have the “accent” of being originally a man and not a woman. It is very difficult to become a professional, medal winning athlete at the age of 60, when you have spent all your previous life as a sedentary one. It’s not impossible…never impossible…but extremely difficult!
Those are some of the problems I face now, after discovering my true sexuality by the age of 50. I did try to change my body and my mind recordings in the past seven years, but never could complete it because there are other circumstances to deal with.
You see, the other problem that occurs most of the times when you discover the true self in you at an advanced age is the already formed life in the previous years. Marriage and parenthood are very important elements to consider when changing so radically our personal life. It would require a very open minded wife and children to understand and accept you as you are now, especially considering that they always thought you were a man. That’s how they met you; that’s how they know you and consider you, and now you will have to tell them it was all untrue…not a lie, but not true either. I say not a lie because you didn’t know yourself, so you didn’t lie to them; you were honest in what you thought were your true inner feelings, but now it happens that it all wasn’t true, and even though you are still the same person inside with the same feelings for them, it is all in a completely different form, no longer as a man but now as a woman.
This for a wife can be devastating. She fell in love with a man; she shared her life with a man, and now it happens that he is no longer, and in her husband’s place there is a stranger, a woman she never knew existed. Naturally she would feel cheated. She might understand you didn’t know and so you never lied to her, but for her the feeling of all these years living with who she thought being a man was really a woman in hiding, and that now comes out to destroy her marriage, her love, her bubble. She might understand, but acceptance is a completely different thing.
And for children, who have memories of growing up with a father. They too might understand, especially since they have lived in the latest society where there is more acceptance than before, but it doesn’t take away the fact that their father doesn’t exist anymore, and maybe he never was.
Perhaps the most difficult part is to explain to them that the person they knew hasn’t changed and the feelings for them showed before were always honest and true, and those feelings are still there. People tend to judge and classify by the physical and not the inner feelings, so for them you changed completely and you are no longer the one they knew…they see you now as a complete stranger. No wonder why many families would prefer to consider you dead rather than accept you and embrace you as you are in your inner feelings. It is not that they hate you, but rather a psychological defense mechanism to better cope with the devastating news; they prefer to think the man they knew died, so they can remember him as he was, rather than having to change their own concepts and perceptions to a new, shocking reality. That’s why many transsexuals, men or women, have to walk away from their families to never see them again, so their families can keep the images and feelings created by a physical body, while at the same time the transsexual person can have a new start from scratch.
Yes, for the family their loved one can be considered dead and mourned with love, while the transsexual person can have a new life, better aligned with his/her inner feelings, but the pain they all have to drag for many years, sometimes even for the rest of their lives, will be a wound very difficult to heal.
It is said everybody is entitled to their happiness, and I agree with that. But can the personal happiness of someone go over the happiness of others? Do we have the right to destroy our family’s happiness in the pursue of our own? Personally I believe we cannot.
When you think of all the pain and misery created in our lives simply because we tend to classify people by their appearance, their physical aspect, the genitals they have, their shell, forgetting we are what we are inside and not the external shell, it becomes really difficult to understand why we keep doing the same thing over and over again.
Fortunately there are people who do understand and keep an open mind in situations like these. There are cases where a family didn’t loose a loved one, but rather accepted a change in the outer shell that requires certain adaptations in their lives. But unfortunately these are very few and rare cases, and this is certainly not my personal case.
So will I still pursue transition when I am already 57 and married for more than 30 years? I don’t know. Maybe circumstances will change in the future; maybe something unknown will happen that will give me the opportunity to be in the outside who I am inside…maybe. But for now it seems very unlikely. Not only is about these societal concepts of classifying people by their genitals and the consequences they bring, but also to be considered is the amount of years training the mind with new mind recordings, and all the physical changes in an old body. Even more, it is not just about moving and looking like a woman, but the interactions a woman has in society, which is different from how a man interacts. The way we perceive ourselves in society and how society perceive us. It is a lot more complex than moving and looking like a woman! Many transsexual women went all the way with surgeries to look and move as women, only to discover later that there is a lot more than that to be a woman and be accepted as a woman, feeling later, again, that they are still in the wrong body, and wishing they could have their original sexuality back.
Do I blame society, my parents, or someone else for not discovering at a younger age my true feelings? No. If there is someone to blame it is me. I had these inner feelings since childhood, but never had the open mind to challenge society teachings and concepts and explore by myself with an open mind; I simply discarded these inner feelings as “inappropriate” without further questioning. I can only blame myself for not discovering this when I was young and single.
But at the other hand, was it bad? Would have been better if I discovered my true self four decades ago? Or would have been worst to be a transsexual girl at the end of the 70’s and beginning of the 80’s? I remember in school hearing stories of other male students who bragged about how they beat the crap our of a faggot in a solitary street. I remember a friend in the neighborhood who at the age of 17 run away to Sweden to save his life because he was Gay. Maybe by not knowing I was spared? Who knows. Certainly I cannot swear it would have been better.
Circumstances. It is not just about making a decision and pursuing a goal. Not so simple as to come out of the closet and tell everybody around, so to be free to start a new life as the true inner self. When we realize at a late age our true inner feelings and more people is involved in the situation, sometimes we have to consider the path of least damage, and that path sometimes is all about to remain silent and continue the previous life. If we talk about the importance of our inner feelings, we have to consider as important their inner feelings too, don’t you think?