Old friends

Hi,

Not so long ago I bumped into an old school friend. For sake of ease, I’ll call him X, but he doesn’t have a wheelchair or any psychic powers. Shame really, because the latter would no doubt have helped my exam results and solved the issue of having to work for a living. Mind you, all that spandex; it’s not very forgiving is it? 🙂 Oh, we’ve gone all improv and surreal again. What *is* in this tea? 🙂

So X and I were having a stroll through the leafy suburbs of Nottingham. It’s been well over 30 years since we last spoke, so there was much to catch up over. What had happened to who, marriage, kids, potted life history, etc. For me, all very fascinating and X certainly hasn’t lost his wry wit and comic timing. Much laughter was shared at how things have played out for two boys from the sticks, who are now older, broader, balder, not necessarily wiser, blokes in the city. 🙂

A few personal details were shared on X’s part. I’m not 100% sure. Maybe it’s my interest in his life, a willingness to share on his part, the coaching course or the recent YouTube video I watched “These are not the droids you are looking for” has really paid off. I won’t impart what was said because some things are indeed private.

On that note, I – and I know now wrongly – assumed he knew about me being trans. X was in the wide social circle back when I was outed. Given the years gone by and that I’m now far more at ease with things, I thought I’d broach the subject. I opened my smartphone and showed him a snap (see right). “Do you know who this is?

He looked for a bit, stared into the distance, and then looked to me. “Sorry, not a clue. Should I?

I said, It’s me. 

X nodded, pulled a thoughtful face and said something along the lines that he had no idea. Not only of who was in the photo but that that was part of who I was. We had a chat about trans things, Chameleons, how things have changed for trans people, and he confessed he knew very little. We spoke a little about it and the conversation moved on to kids, how culture has changed, and had life played out as we had expected. X said he’d keep things under his hat, which is cool by me, but if he does say more, we move in very separate worlds these days.

In honesty: I had no idea how things would play out – as I said to Val the other day – but I’m very glad things have gone the way they have. I’ve a loving family, health is okay, I get out now & again, so these are all things to be grateful for.

So, is there – to use a modern term – a take away from all of this? If there is, perhaps we’re not quite so recognisable as we think we are. Sure, the voice can often be a dead giveaway, but photos and at a distance, why we might not ‘pass’, we do pass as someone else. Maybe, when you’re out and about, that’s something to keep in mind. Maybe you can worry less and enjoy the moment more. You might, fingers crossed, find happy memories.

Take care,
Lynn

9 Comments

  1. So, is there – to use a modern term – a take away from all of this? If there is, perhaps we're not quite so recognisable as we think we are. Sure, the voice can often be a dead giveaway, but photos and at a distance, why we might not 'pass', we do pass as someone else. Maybe, when you're out and about, that's something to keep in mind. Maybe you can worry less and enjoy the moment more.

    Excellent! Having just decided to pursue an exciting life as a war criminal (and an even more exciting life after that as a fugitive from justice), I find this great news! Hopefully it'll help cut down on the number of sleepless nights and paranoid moments I experience when starting a new life for myself in, oh I don't know, South America (is that still a good destination for someone with a shady past wanting to start a new life? I'm a bit behind the times there)! 😉

    1. So, keep your trap shut and your fake beard firmly attached as you wander Panama*. Just be sure to ditch the trademark silver clothing.

      * BTW, other destinations for those on the run are also available 😉

      PS: Don't forget to hide all your loot offshore! No one likes a skint war criminal. 🙂

    2. "Perhaps we're not quite so recognisable as we think we are." Indeed, and perhaps I'm being overly paranoid about not posting and deleting pictures in places where other people might inadvertently come across them.
      I left a picture of Susie open once in PortraitPlus* after a retouching session and L saw it and asked who it was.

      (*It's like a digital version of Revlon Total Effects for the skin.)

    3. Well, I think I get that being visible and outside/on-line can feel quite high stakes. It's not like you can go back in the closet very easily. Once seen and all that. 🙂

      Sounds like you had a lucky escape with the software!

  2. Glad you got out and about earlier in the week. Fresh air and a smart pair of shoes are good for the trans soul!
    As for "show and tell", I dunno any more. Those you think will support often don't, those you think will condemn you become your champions. I give up trying to predict people's reactions to my revealing myself as trans. Sue x

    1. Hi Sue. Yes, it felt good to be out in company and in the fresh air – even if the air was provided in a wind tunnel 🙂

      I think I'm with you on the show n tell thing. It is a risk, but hopefully a calculated one, and that as I'm doubtful our paths will cross I'm not too worried. But, perhaps more accurately, that the path won't cross with my family.

  3. Hi Lynn bin sometime and long over due in responses to your posts (I’m working my way backwards though them!). I find it interesting in your ‘spontaneous’ come out to X and what lead up to it. I can fully understand that you had a good feeling, that it was the right thing to tell him. It’s quite rational to think that if ‘he’ knows you so well even after years of no contact, that ‘he’ must in someway ‘know’ about you, as being trans is a integral part of you. Externally you may have two wardrobes, internally you are but one.
    When you mentioned how long you know each other and it was 30 years since your last contact and reconnected so well, it reminded me of my own coming out, also spontaneously, to two friends.
    One was to an ex-colleague via the phone, We haven’t seen each other that often after she moved to south Germany. We now only have long calls and in one I just let it out, still not sure why I did it, a sort of relief I suppose. She had no problem with it. Well that’s what she said, although now come to think about it I haven’t heard from her since then..
    The other is a musician friend who moved to the states and is rarely here for concerts, this time I told him while we were killing a curry. We were talking about a friend of his in the industry who is trans and I parried by giving him the link to my blog. He had no problem with it either. We dwelled on it a while and moved on to other things.
    What is interesting is in both cases we have known each other a long time, since the 70s in fact and that they both live a long way away, similar in part to your X. Maybe this long distance and rarely seen gives us the feeling that the risk of repercussions after telling someone will be minimised and so we just do it.
    I must say having them know about Abigale gives me a good feeling, in that it opens for Abi windows into a world were she is totally unknown and makes her more ‘real’ in some way. Ok i know Abigale is real but i think you know what i mean.
    Oh yes almost forgot, I also came out to my cousin on the phone, she is also cool about it and wants to go out girl shopping with me at the next opportunity! Unfortunately this time she is too far away (in Wales) and we haven’t seen each other in over five years.
    Is there a pattern here?
    Abi

    1. Hi Abi. Thanks for the comment. BTW, I found this line "Externally you may have two wardrobes, internally you are but one." very zen (and in a good way).

      As to realness, I think there's an element of 'tree falling in the woods'. If I only present as Lynn by myself, and therefore no one knows, does that aspect of myself exist or have any validity? Perhaps by being open – and sharing who we are – with others, we are making all of ourselves visible.

    2. Ah Zen! This comes from, lets call it, ‘my belief system’ which is a mixture of Zen Buddhism and Taoism. I’m known to go Zen-ish now and then. I was roped into doing a talk once on my clinical data management software in front of about 150 DM experts. At the weekend before the talk I still didn’t know how to package it. So I Zen-ed it with pictures of piled stones, zen gardens and had a temple gong sounding at the begin and at the end! I used no bullet points, I just talked. Absolutely no reaction after I sat down with the gong slowly echoing in the background silence. Later I had plenty of reaction over lunch!
      Your correct in when one is open, visibility is enhanced. As social animals, interaction with others generates a wide spectrum of feedback. All this adds to our validity including when the feedback is from oneself.
      I think the tree would say, as it falls, that its existence was valid. Now being visible through falling, some of the other trees would try and stop it falling over, others would if they could move out of the way. I wonder if a bowl of petunias crosses its mind as it sees the ground approaching..

      ‘When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.’ Lao Tzu

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