December 31, 2013

With Apologies to Mr. Dickens

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair – in short, it was a year of coming out trans.

As I type this on New Year’s Eve 2013, it’s hard to believe that one year ago, New Year’s Eve 2012, I was in such an incredibly different place. I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing that evening — probably sitting at home waiting for everyone else to fall asleep on the couch before the ball dropped — but wherever I was, there was no way I could have seen what was coming. It was just a day later, January 1 2013, that I had my moment of clarity. My moment of honesty, really, followed by a year that feels like three.

It makes my head spin just to think about it. Within a week of New Year’s I was calling myself a crossdresser; within a month, I was beginning to think of myself as trans. Two months later, I tried to kill myself. Seven months after that, I started making permanent changes to my body via HRT. A year ago I was married; now, I am divorced. My Self has been shattered, and only now is the glue beginning to set on the new Me.

I have never, ever had a year like this. I hope I never have a year like it again.

“Repression is the only lasting philosophy,” remarked the Marquis St. Evrémonde; and he was right, in that, like the situation in eighteenth century Paris, gender dysphoria grows more volatile the longer it remains repressed and, if not addressed, violently revolts against the status quo. For me, repression lasted the better part of thirty-seven years before I lost my head in the revolution. Or, rather, part of me lost his head in this tale of two Alis. I much prefer the one that remains. 

I’ll leave you with this passage from Mr. Dickens. I don’t know that it’s strctly appropriate, but looking back at who I was for so many years it seems strangely resonant.

At last, the top of the staircase was gained, and they stopped for the third time. There was yet an upper staircase, of a steeper inclination and of contracted dimensions, to be ascended, before the garret story was reached. The keeper of the wine-shop, always going a little in advance, and always going on the side which Mr. Lorry took, as though he dreaded to be asked any question by the young lady, turned himself about here, and, carefully feeling in the pockets of the coat he carried over his shoulder, took out a key.

“The door is locked then, my friend?” said Mr. Lorry, surprised.

“Ay. Yes,” was the grim reply of Monsieur Defarge.

“You think it necessary to keep the unfortunate gentleman so retired?”

“I think it necessary to turn the key.” Monsieur Defarge whispered it closer in his ear, and frowned heavily.


“Why? Because he has lived so long, locked up, that he would be frightened — rave — tear himself to pieces — die — come to I know not what harm — if his door was left open.”

“Is it possible!” exclaimed Mr. Lorry.

“Is it possible!” repeated Defarge, bitterly. “Yes. And a beautiful world we live in, when it IS possible, and when many other such things are possible, and not only possible, but done — done, see you! — under that sky there, every day. Long live the Devil. Let us go on.”


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