For 79 years, Patricia Hailes lived life as a man. She often kept a dress with her, to slip into when no-one was watching. But, nearing the end of her life, she decided it was time to stop hiding. Approaching her ninth decade, she tells HANNA McCALLUM how she finally found the courage to embrace her true self.
To transition, going from one side to another. We talk about gender transition as a grand narrative, a journey undertaken moving out of the discomfort of the assigned into the hopeful ease of the chosen. There is a lyrical quality to this, indeed the English vocabulary built up over decades has moved from the clinical into the personally abstract. What is transgender anyhow if not to set up apart as sojourners of our own personal truth? If the antonym of trans is cis, then why not play and embrace the language we use?
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I am so tired all I want is to close my eyes and let the darkness envelop me. No thoughts nor dreams, just silence. Yes, much of this is physical exhaustion from a long day trying to do too much, yet it isn’t only this. There is a mental exhaustion which has ben digging deeper and deeper into my heart and soul until I find myself fading out in the most dangerous times. At some point I expect it’s going to get me seriously injured if not killed, which to be honest might just be what something deep inside wants.
See, I have been trying to go back to how things were before all of this insanity began, to the time when I simply existed from one day to the next never having explored the parts of myself I have spent so much time writing about in this blog, To the days when all of the questions didn’t have answers as much because I didn’t know what to ask as not excepting what answers I had found. To the when I simply excepted what I had been told since I was old enough to remember. That I was born one way and it was something to accepted, unchanging and unchangeable.
God, things were so simple then.
For the better part of this year I have moved between wanting, no needing, to follow where my heart leads and slamming on the breaks for days and weeks at a time when I refuse to do anything. Of telling myself I have been wrong, misdirected, delusional, or just plain insane. Anything to convince myself I can continue without following a path which terrifies me to my very core. Which forces me to look deeper than my reflection in a mirror to ask not only what I am but who I am really when all pretense has been stripped away and I don’t know if I can survive what I might find.
Maybe I don’t even want to, just waking up seems to take every ounce of energy I possess to keep from breaking down and just giving up.
Gender transition is the process of socially, medically, or surgically affirming one’s gender identity. Transgender people, those whose gender identity does not match what is expected for their assigned sex at birth, may choose to engage in some or all of these processes at varying stages of their lives.
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