Fifty years ago, I was coming to the end of a six month spell in Vancouver, working and staying with friends. It had been an eye opening time and I found the People’s University, came across the new West Coast psychology groups, attended my first ever encounter group. It was the start of a journey that in theory has continued ever since with “life” getting in the way, though of course life is not meant to get in the way in that sense. Everything is an experience.
Now fifty years later, I am moving to a house share and for once I am going to move without boxes left behind in storage. So I am going through boxes and boxes of my life, pictures, stuff (possessions) and this includes culling the vast majority of my books. Books have been difficult to do though I am now becoming ruthless about it. Roughly four weeks to go and what goes with me has to fit into a small hatchback car.
Fifty years ago my then wife gave me a book for my birthday. Man and his symbols, Conceived and edited by Carl Jung. It is inscribed by my wife “to remember Vancouver and all that happened here”. Certainly a lot happened there, including the beginning of the end of our marriage with hindsight. It is inscribed to my deadname. That has been a factor in deciding that books are not coming with me. Fifty years ago I was lost confused I had not yet put a name to my gender dysphoria. Ever since I had been shut down at a tender age when I had informed everyone I was a girl and why couldn’t people understand, only to be made to feel ashamed and guilty. I used my journey in Psychotherapy initially to get rid of any such notions, I must be deluded etc, etc with very little success. What’s in will out and the penny finally dropped I am transgender, I am a transwoman.
It feels as if life is taking me back full circle to that point 50 years ago. 50 years ago I was just embarking on my career as a lawyer. I bought into convention and chased the worldly things everyone else wanted, what you were supposed to have to be viewed a success. I developed an acceptable persona ignoring my inner self. It wasn’t until I transitioned that I started the journey of reconnecting with my authentic self, dropping the persona bit by bit and now here I am with very little other than life experience to my name, worldly possessions and achievements largely gone ready to reconnect with who I am.
It really feels as if I am coming to an end of a cycle, time to go back to connect fully with myself, sharing life with new friends together, a collective, time to let the past go. I will take the book with me as part of this journey, a reminder, to grow and re-connect with my inner, authentic self.