I started taking hormones in October, 2006. The first few weeks (after the first two weeks) were so full of feelings. Feelings I had suppressed forever, exploding like water bursting through a broken dam. Feelings I never experienced before, emerging like tender buds, exposing themselves to the sunlight, and offering a curious suggestion of the flowers preparing to blossom.
As time passed, I began to understand a little about what they meant to me, and about me. Each a tiny clue about who I’ve been, who I am, and who I might become. Each a veiled hint as to my dreams, my values, and my fears. Each revealing another secret, multi-dimensional puzzle piece of my soul.
The struggle of having brand new “fifteen-year-old” feelings as a “fifty-something” woman, yields itself to the amazing awakening to that which has always been. The sadness of not being the little girl, is lessened by the discovery of the woman. The truth cries. At its own inherent beauty. For the lost lifetime of illusion. And from the instant certainty that it can never again be taken away.
Still, new feelings reveal themselves from time to time. The most common, the most powerful, and the most amazing feelings are about love. I had no idea. For each of the parts of me, is a corresponding need. There are far more love feelings than I could have ever imagined. Here are just a few.
Maternal love. As I arrive home from grocery shopping, and the young man from next door is mowing my grass, and I am overwhelmed by the quite unexpected need to make him a sandwich and give him a glass of milk. As a young woman enters my life, looking for someone to help her find herself again, and looking to me.
A daughter’s love for her mother. Impossible. She died in 1989. But God gave me a new mom. And I am her daughter. Don’t tell me there isn’t a miracle happening here.
Sisterly love. The nuances of sorority are nothing like the “facts” of fraternity. I finally belong to the place where I am - no longer a “misfit in the land of lost toys”, as Toni, one of my many amazing new sisters, would say.
Physical love. Sometimes I am near some guy and I get feelings in places I don’t even have yet! OMG.
Romantic love. I place my comparatively small hand in his, and a different feeling of correctness travels throughout me. He becomes a part of every thought, as though I have become more, without losing me in the process. He compliments my womanhood, my personhood. To steal (and amend) a line from the movie, As Good As It Gets, he “makes me want to be a better woman.”
As years have now gone by, I find that truly understanding my feelings is just another of the multitude of unsolved riddles of life, generally summed up in the one-word question, “Why?” And in its place, comes the understanding that time spent asking is time spent not living. And living is the gift. The spoils of war, as it were. The battle done.
Now comes the feeling most pervasive to my existence, wholly unwilling to allow the battlefield to prepare for yet another victim. The struggles are senseless, in that they should never have happened. You will not swallow one more child as I stand silent. As you purposefully destroy soul after soul in some misguided quest to bring light to the darkness, you bring darkness to the light. Your path, from this moment forward, will be required to go through me – and millions like me – all of us feeling the same feelings. It is not anger. It is far more powerful than anger. It is truth. It is justice. It is equality. It is freedom. It is time.
It has been said, “to feel is to be alive”. For some, when the feelings are ones of hopelessness, to feel is to die. The most memorable feelings of my life today are these. The feeling of realizing I was not alone - it was possible for me to transition. The feeling of seeing myself in the mirror. And the feeling of knowing I can make a difference.
However, in the final analysis, nothing compares to the feeling of feeling without fear – the feeling of the freedom to be me.
© 07/14/2011, Stephanie Mott
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