November 13, 2013

Do You Hear That, Mr. Anderson?

Goodbye, Mr. Anderson.

At the group therapy session last night, Cecelia asked my how I felt about my impending initial hormone appointment next Monday. The question caught me a little off guard. How IS one supposed to feel about something like this? I suppose the answer everyone expects is “I’m excited!” or “So happy!” And I offered those feelings, because they’re true. I AM excited, and I AM happy.

But honestly, excitement and happiness are not the emotions that dominate when I think about the appointment. There are deeper, more meaningful feelings there.

Though I have only been actively pursuing this moment for about 10 months, being trans is something I have been fighting my entire life. My life has in many ways been ruined by my fight against my identity. When I’m sitting in that office next Monday, when I receive that first dose, that will truly be the moment I stop the fight. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m winning or surrendering. Either way, I will be better coming out of it than I am going into it.

The truth is, I don’t think I could ever have gone on living if I hadn’t reached this point. My suicide attempt is proof enough of that. Maybe in a different reality I could have gone longer without facing it; maybe in another life I would have made it to forty or forty-five or fifty before I lost the will to fight it. But I don’t think there’s ever a reality where I make it to the end of a good long life without reaching this point, this moment, this path.

There is a moment in The Matrix where Agent Smith has Neo on the rails — literally. They’re standing in the path of an oncoming train, Neo beaten and grappled, Smith smug in his impending victory. And as the noise of the oncoming train rises, Smith says, “Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability. That is the sound of your death.”

That’s exactly how I feel about my appointment next week. The sound of inevitability. The sound of death. Because in the film, Smith is right. When Neo suddenly makes his declaration — “My name is Neo!” — and breaks free of Smith’s grip, that is the moment when Mr. Anderson dies. That’s the moment in the film when Neo is fully born, when he begins to believe in who he is and lets go of who he was. 

This appointment is, for me, inevitability. I have been headed for it my entire life, even when I didn’t know it. When I take that first dose next week, it’s going to be the moment I really let go of who I was and embrace who I am. It’s the moment I will begin to feel fully born.

Goodbye, Mr. Anderson. My name is Ali.

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