I have a lot of guilt. Did I rob a bank? Commit murder? Break the Ten Commandments or something? No, but from time to time, I get this overwhelming feeling that I have removed a key person from my family’s life, especially when I see traditional families. I worry that Mary Jo and Lane and Ezra will feel a deep sorrow about their missing husband or father. There is no escaping these feelings — they bubble up from my unconsciousness. And even though my transgression is largely symbolic (because I’m still physically here), it does mean something, and rather than repressing my feelings of guilt, I would rather try to work through them.
Or should I? I was discussing one of my blog posts with a reader who asked why I had to “fess up to everything, all the darknesses of my soul like Eugene O’Neill?” This reader wanted to know why, after my declarations of identity and my apparently successful integration into my family and larger society as Joyce, why would I want to keep coming back to write about hard things again? Everyone represses parts of themselves in childhood, everyone has hard relationships, and everyone’s guilty about something. But the lamentations and the self-wallowing, wrote my reader, are too much, even though they’re genuine. “It’s not interesting that you are filled with remorse,” she wrote, “So give it a break. It’s not interesting that post-transition, a transsexual has trouble becoming herself.”
Am I putting too much on the page? I have my private demons, but am I unique in this? This blog has been very therapeutic for me, but is it time to call it quits? Or maybe morph into topics less personally intense?
When I consider lightening up, I realize that I do not want to write about trivial things, even though I’ve started all sorts of notes about trivial things: “I bought a gorgeous blouse at Ann Taylor today,” or “I find this sort of manicure preferable to that kind.” Even though I’m in the midst of mundane and trivial activities, there are many moments of pain, remorse, regret, and doubt, which I assume to be part of the transition process.
I am not hiding anything any more. This much is true. But coming out of hiding to stand in the bright light of society also un-hides all my other flaws, thoughts, and feelings, and while they may not be related to transgender identity per se, they mean something, and I would like to continue exploring what they mean, even if these scribblings seem self-indulgent to you.