Something I learnt early on in my transition was the loss of male privilege. Sadly, though this does not reflect well on me, I had not realised that I had enjoyed the benefit of male privilege until I no longer had it. Worse than that, although I did not come from a privileged background, in my previous life I had the benefit of a reasonable education, went to university gaining a law degree and entered the legal profession working in the City of London. After about 14 years I left the law and used what might loosely be called the skills I had acquired in legal practice as a consultant in various situations.
Mainly I spent my time sorting out other people’s problems for them, more often than not obtaining a positive way forward. Along with my male privilege and moderate success I welcomed the challenges. The life became part of the charade I used to project the image of a moderately successful man. What I did not realise is that in doing this, it also builds an unrealistic sense of self, of ego.
Since transitioning I have been slowly but surely deconstructing the non-authentic self, allowing myself to grow into my authentic being, taking away the props. Male privilege was a prop that went without any assistance on my part, though it took a while to register that I had not had a lobotomy and that I needed to get used to a level of mansplaining in everyday life and that I had simply become an inferior person.
What was much more difficult was recognising the real you, letting go of enhanced ideas of oneself, ego again. I have been very fortunate to have non-judgemental friends who do not hesitate to point out behaviours which has helped me to make some progress. I have reached a stage where I do not have to be anybody, somebody. This trans woman is me and all I can do is try and be the best I can be. I do not have to be “something” to feel legitimate. At first that seemed quite scary. Over time I have embraced letting go and hope it is something that will continue, I have no doubt there is still a way to go.
Why is this in my mind again? One of my projects appears to be in real difficulty and the consequences could be fairly dire. When discussing it with a few people I have been met with “You will sort it, you always do”. The reality is that actually I may not sort it this time, it is more likely that I will not! For the first time in a psychologically it doesn’t matter. My non-authentic self would have been shattered, it would have seriously damaged my identity. If it can be sorted all well and good. I am trying to find a resolution which is not dire. Yet whatever happens I realise I will still be me, there will be a freedom in not having to continue with this pre transition project which has become a millstone. Life could become difficult in relation to work yet for better or worse I have learnt something else. I am no more than a pebble on a beach and that is okay, the days of trying to be the beach are long gone. In the last two years, going through periods of lockdown, isolation I have taken growing pleasure in the natural world around me trees, flowers, scenery. Something I was too busy to notice. If I am lucky, as this pebble forms becomes moulded by life, it will be appreciated simply for what it is.