Yesterday marked the first anniversary of my Real-Life Test. As of yesterday morning, I will have spent one full year living as myself, as Kristina Davis, and not as the person whose name still (dis)graces my birth certificate.
Birth certificates and other government proofs of identification are still something of a sticking point for me; I'm still fighting the passport agency, though one thing has changed on that front that should clear the way for the rest to resolve. My surgeon is finally sending me my Letter, in which he says that I'm scheduled for thus-and-so date and should be given egress from the United States of America to be allowed to meet this obligation. Hopefully it will work. If not, I'm going to have a deuce of a time applying under my old name. I've already submitted the paperwork to the California Bureau of Vital Statistics to amend my birth records. If this letter doesn't do it,
maybe that will. I hope.
Looking back, it's hard to imagine my life before a year ago. I mean, consciously, I can call up the memories, but they feel alien. I mention on my homepage that I have no intention of claiming I sprung fully grown into the world at age twenty-five, and yet it feels like that in a way. I know what I did, and I can recall specific events, but when I do so they don't seem like they belong to me. I feel like I'm reliving someone else's life when I try to think about it.
I don't suppose that's too surprising, really. I know several people who're going through the same transition who have all expressed at one time or another the desire to have their pasts buried and forgotten. We live in a society that still doesn't totally understand and accept, even if individuals do, and references to our past can get awkward. For the most part, I simply refer to myself as female as far back as possible, and yet there are times of my life where this simply won't work. I lived in a university dorm for a year, and I had a male roommate. No dorm would ever intentionally allow two strangers of differing sexes to occupy the same room, at least not in Texas. Thus, how do I talk about my pathologically normal roommate André without giving away the past?
Should I even care? My friends are an even mix of those who don't know and those who don't care, with most of the former eventually winding up as the latter, but I know someone right now fighting for employment because she
has a military discharge for GID. She's working at a grocery store because she can't get hired for anything better. It's heavily frustrating, seeing this kind of treatment and not being able to stop it, knowing that I could be subject to the same.
At any rate, I look back now at my first year and all I can say is that I wish I had known so much sooner. I envy some of my friends who're going through the change so much younger than I, but I hope that never interferes with our friendship. I can't help but wonder sometimes how much different my life would be now if I'd realized and accepted all of this when I was in college, or even high school, but I'm not enough of a Nostradamus to really know.
All in all, I'm happy with the decision, and I'd do it again in an instant.
Anthrocon was last week, and I still have mixed emotions about it. I'd been looking forward to attending for some time, but once I was there, it wasn't what I had expected. Rather, I wasn't able to do what I had hoped.
I simply do not handle large undirected groups of people well. I freeze up. I get silent, curl up in my corner, hope to go unnoticed and panic if I'm put into the spotlight. I can deal with small groups. I can deal with larger groups of people I know well. I can deal with large groups if we're all participating in some specific activity. I can even handle public speaking, since I'm the event on which people are focused. Past a certain point, though, I simply don't react positively.
When I went to Further Confusion with Jessie last year, I didn't really attend the con. I visited with Ryan, while Jessie went to the convention. When I go to the Bash every year, I spend my time socializing with smaller groups, and I grow distinctly uncomfortable when everyone is together. I wish I felt more comfortable, safer interacting with larger groups, but I never have, and it's only grown more acute since my transition. I don't even socialize at work events. I feel out of place and isolated.
I wanted to attend, to have a good time, but I spent most of it either fighting off panic attacks or hiding in the women's room at the hotel while Jessie at least enjoyed zirself. I don't begrudge the roo for that, and in fact I'm very glad that zie had a good time, but I'm disappointed in my own inability to overcome something so seemingly simple.
With understanding comes growth, and with growth comes new possibilities. Either I'll learn to live with this part of my life, or I'll find a way to overcome it. Either way, I'm better off now than I was before, and I know how to avoid the worst of these sorts of situations.