Thanks, past. Thast.

My transition so far has involved a lot of looking forward: When will I? When can I? When will I be? At the end of 2014 I represented how I felt by drawing myself hanging from monkey bars, not moving, just hanging on. I can see what is ahead and I want to move forward but for now I have to wait. The steps ahead are big, and they are both exciting and terrifying: how will I change? Who will I be? Will I be me? Who am I?

When I started changing my gender presentation I remember a friend telling me she thought I was brave. I didn’t agree; what I was doing might have been nerve-wracking sometimes, but it wasn’t brave. I needed to move forward because it was better than staying still. Staying still would have been harder.

Now I’m doing a different kind of staying still. I can see the path I want to take and I’m waiting for it to be possible. This gives me time to consider the steps I have taken so far. I might not want to think of myself as the person with the name I had before I was called Blake, but I have to be grateful to that person for getting me to where I am now. Looking back, realising who I was and what I needed to do and then beginning to make it happen seem like enormous steps. It does seem brave. Not a brave thing I did, but a brave thing someone else did, someone I used to call ‘me’.

Some common transition narratives seem to involve wiping out the past. I’m keeping on looking forward, but sometimes it helps to look back too, and be grateful to the past for making the present and the future possible. So thanks, past. Thast.

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