This is probably one of the more difficult aspects of my life I think – to relate to my own history. From the very beginning I have been very open with everything with life hoping that it would make everything easier since there are a lot of misconceptions and lack of information regarding transgender issues in general. It seem to really have helped since I have had hardly any negative experiences in my process. Of course it took me a lot of courage to start being open and “come out of the closet” so to say. That was not an easy process – and a lonely one.
So today I am almost facing the opposite. My dream have come true and I am my true self in terms of gender and sex but as I am probably passing sometimes it brings up the opposite question. When do I tell someone about my background? Some would argue that there is no reason to tell since I am a woman today and it is nobody’s business. However, no matter how you put the whole process have been such an important part of my life, my experience and who I am today. I believe that all people change and evolve over time and this was my experience – maybe more than most people experience but still. So in order to get personal with someone it is very difficult to not feeling the need to relate to my own experiences. Also have experienced the anxiety of waiting for the “right moment” to tell someone and that is not something I want to experience again. So this leads to the obvious Catch 22 when I so like being “just a woman” and also feel that I can’t deny my past.
A couple of months ago I was cleaning out my old office in Uppsala and taking care of the paper piles turned into a travel in time. The closer I got to the bottom I got closer to stuff from the 1990-ies when my situation was different. Seeing my old name is still a bit annoying but not as complicated as it was just one or two years ago. The real shock came when old pictures of me turned up in the piles and in binders from military schools and stuff. There I saw another person that was still me. Things like that of course remind me of my past in a negative way. Brings back memories of how scared I was to talk to anyone about my situation but also a very visible proof of the fact that I was not a woman back then. In my head of course but nothing that people actually saw and knew. I know that it shouldn’t but that of course affects my self image today.
This week a friend of mine suddenly looked at me and said that she just could not imagine me as a man. That was of course very sweet and just that kind of compliment that my still rather week self-image needs to be fueled with. For some reason it means more when a woman says it to me. However, later in the evening she said that she wasn’t sure about what she would feel about seeing pictures of me from before my transition. Not that I ever show people that but it made me start thinking. It put yet another aspect of my past. She said she was scared that these old images would get stuck in her head and I think that was a scary thought for both of us. However, since I do have a fear which is a bit like Cinderella – for lack of better words that the image of me as woman would fall just like Cinderella turns back from princess to an ordinary maid. I realized that things from my past then can be somewhat of a threat to me and my life today. Again, just like me passing or not, something I actually don’t have any control of. That made me a bit scared. I mean how should I know when these images can pop up – hopefully there weren’t many digital cameras back then.