Calvin and Hobbes has always been one of my favorite comic strips. Calvin has a view on life that states without doubt that life is to be lived, and rules are for people who are satisfied by experiencing only those things which are possible if you follow the rules.
I am not in the habit of identifying with the male of the species, but Calvin’s ability to see everything through a different lens speaks volumes to me. One of my favorite strips has Calvin hammering nails into the living room coffee table. When his mom screams, “What are you doing?”, he pauses, looks at her and asks, “Is this a trick question?”
This said, my most favorite of the C&H comics are about the “Transmogrifier”. Wikipedia defines a transmogrifier as “a device that transforms its user into any desired shape”. Calvin transforms himself into a tiger and a whole new world of adventure magically opens up before him. This new world is full of sarcasm and naiveté, discovery and contemplation, and the kind of basic simple truth that we somehow seem to forget to experience when we are no longer a child.
In as much as that I have not yet had gender reassignment surgery, you probably don’t have to guess what I would do with a transmogrifier if I had one. After I had achieved my desired “shape”, I would likely proceed directly to the nearest pond in search of an appropriate frog.
This also said, I wonder if the transmogrification that takes place during transition isn’t more on the inside, than on the outside. I remember the quiet little “boy” who sat at the back of the class and didn’t raise a hand even though there was no doubt about the answer. The child who did not wish to draw attention.
I remember the weight of putting on my “Steven suit” day after day, year after year. I remember searching for anyone or anything that would change my reality. I remember believing that the possibilities of life were few, and even those that were possible were still just too hard.
I walked out of the Shawnee County courthouse today and couldn’t help but notice the way my skirt flowed in the wind. I am still amazed many times each day as I realize once again that I am allowed to live in the world as who I am. I didn’t need to get anyone’s permission. I only needed to allow myself to be free.
The possibilities of life are now boundless, and I don’t believe for a minute that this is an experience limited to transgender people. I believe that this is something that is waiting for anyone who can shed whatever expectations cause them to buy into the lie.
What happens in a world where we preconceive our experiences of the day based wholy on the experiences of yesterday? What happens in a world where we don’t? What happens when we spread out our souls like the wings of butterflies and do nothing more than let the wind take us where it will?
Albert Einstein said , “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle” As I ponder the meaning of these statements, I remember what Joni Mitchell wrote, and what Judy Collins sang, “I’ve looked at life from both sides now. From win and lose. And still somehow. It’s life’s illusions I recall. I really don’t know life. At all.”
Something happened along the journey. It is no longer important for me to know life in the sense that I understand it. The illusions are not so much what I saw, as what I didn’t see. And I am suddenly thrust into a brand new world. It is full of sarcasm and naiveté, discovery and contemplation, and the kind of basic simple truth that I had forgotten quite some time before.
A speaker in a motivational seminar once asked the audience if we saw the glass as half full, or as half empty. Everyone, including myself, dutifully chose A or B. Asked the same question today, I will tell you the answer is C: My cup runneth over.
I pause for a moment as I write these words and tears begin to fill my eyes. Not because I am sad. Not because I am happy. Because I have been transmogrified.
© 07/07/2011, Stephanie Mott
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