November 17, 2013

Inevitability vs. Regret


I had a funky night last night. Call it depressive, dysphoric, whatever, it wasn’t fun. I’m better today, but still …

It all got triggered by my daughter’s birthday party Saturday afternoon. She is six, and for her birthday she and seven of her school friends all went to a local salon to get their nails painted. This is right up her alley, as she is a girly social butterfly of a kid. As my ex was working late, I was the one in charge of getting the party started. This is not a big deal; I had to do it last year, too (my ex routinely works on Saturdays).

This year was difficult, though, because it meant I had to throw myself into Him mode again, 110% effort. I have been dressing more ambiguosly of late, but for the party I went all dude — a brown Carhartt shirt, jeans, hiking boots, and no jewelry or adornment of any kind (except earring studs, as the piercings are still too fresh and I didn’t want to go all day without anything in). I felt compelled to do this because there would be other parents there, including some dads who know me — know Him — and I would have to not just be there, but socialize as Him. Which is getting more and more exhausting every time I have to do it.

I don’t mind doing this for my daughter’s sake. Not that she would be uncomfortable, but because I wanted to make sure her birthday party went off without a hitch. My thinking was this: She’s going to suffer enough from having me as a parent in the future; I didn’t want to start it now.

It was that above thought that really triggered everything. Because all I could think about at the party was what it would be like if I were myself instead of Him. Would any of these parents be talking to me? Would they have even brought their daughters in the first place? They’re generally decent people, but there’s no way of telling how someone will respond to a transperson. Next year, would I ruin my daughter’s birthday just by being me?

These feelings were compounded by my impending HRT appointment. At the time of the party I was 48 hours away from taking that inevitable step, the one that could lead to hurting my daughter so much. I wrote before about the inevitability of that appointment, and that hasn’t changed. But I was swept up, suddenly, by an equally powerful emotion: regret.

The feelings got so strong that I had to step out of the salon for five minutes at one point to clear my head. This was my daughter. These were my kids. How much was I going to hurt them when I do this? How selfish was I being at the expense of their lives? I was a horrible parent. I was a horrible person.

Things didn’t improve after the party. I just couldn’t shake this inner conflict, this anxiety that had gripped my heart and started turning. Honestly, it’s only just started loosening up today, 24 hours from my first appointment. I won’t cancel the appointment; as I noted before, I can’t. But my emotions walking into the clinic door are going to be a lot more mixed than I thought they’d be.

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