dclarion: (Default)
Melody called me, yesterday, wondering if I wanted to tag along on a trip to the grocery store and the booze store. Yeahsure, could be fun, even useful. It turned out that it was quite useful, as I found some spices (cumin, mustard, and celery seed) and some booze (Black Velvet, Harvey's Bristol Cream, and Cherry Kijafa). Now I have more booze that I can forget to drink. The trip was quite significant, also, for an incident at the booze store.

I had brought my bottles to the counter, chatting with the nice lady as I set them out, and produced my credit card and driver's license. The nice lady looked at my driver's license, then at me, hesitated for a second, and said

"There's a problem. You're not Edward!"

I was floored. I knew what had happened, but could not believe it. I dropped my voice to its male register and explained that I am a transwoman in mid-transition, and that I had not yet secured the appropriate changes to my documentation. She immediately got the point, and everything was fine.

The incident, itself, was not a problem. What was significant, to me at least, was that for all of the times I have been "sir-ed" in the past, this was the first time that anyone had claimed that I was not the man that my documentation insists I am. First time. Ever. I know that there are friends of mine who will know exactly how I felt at that moment, but for the rest of you: I cried. I cried tears of joy. I even thanked the nice lady for her challenge of my documentation.  I am sincerely grateful to all of those who accept me without question, but this little incident was a Defining Moment™. I was, for the first time, questioned not about my status as a woman, but about my categorization as a man.

I have occasionally wondered whether I should observe a sort of "second birthday", and if so, what that day should be. Should it be the day I chose my name, sometime in in mid-1997? Should it be the day I first went public, 7 September 2007? Or should it be 16 December 2011, the day somebody claimed that I had the wrong driver's license, because it read "Edward"?
dclarion: (Default)
A thought occurred to me, about an hour ago. So, with that thought fresh in my mind, I typed "Why do people name their children after themselves" into my search bar.

You see, I was a namesake. In fact, on my birth certificate, I am identified as Edward Zavartkay, Jr., at least until I can find the means to do something about that. The story goes that, when my adoption was cleared, and it was time to finally decide upon a name, my Babka (my paternal grandmother) proclaimed "Oh, he has to be Edward!" So, something I found in my Google search, something I had rather suspected anyway, a statement made by clinical psychologist Dr. Michelle Golland, came as no surprise to me:

Family legacies have been passed down via namesakes; one way families establish a sense of permanence is by naming firstborn males after their fathers. So for some -- especially in Europe -- it's tradition.

This makes perfect sense to me, as Babka was born in Slovakia in 1892, living there until she came to the United States in 1912. What I found interesting, however, was what Dr. Golland said next:

That said, these are modern times, and this is America. There could be a degree of narcissism involved.

Could it be, then, that I was to have been an extension, or even a copy, of the senior Edward, differing only in my expected attainment of the honors he, himself, did not achieve?  If that is the case, then I failed him in every respect.

I was to have been a Good Hunkie Catholic.  Hunkie, I'll grant you, to a degree at least.  Even as I cherish the tradition within which I was raised, however, I am rather more cosmopolitan than my family.  "Catholic" is another story.  I like to tell people that my parents raised my sister and myself Roman Catholic; whereupon she found Jesus, and I found Carl Sagan.  I am well familiar with the Catholic creed and tradition, and can brook with none of it.  I shall not indict those who choose that path, it is simply that I cannot follow it.

I was to have been a professional, a doctor/lawyer/engineer, preferably engineer.  I have encountered many engineers in my time and in my studies, and "engineer", I am not.  Their narrow view, the philosophy of "Do it thus and so, and it works", as necessary as it is to the function of a society, is not mine.  I am a research scientist.  My favorite word is "why", something that caused my parents much consternation over the nearly fifty-four years that they knew me.  I theorize, I build models, and, most importantly, I challenge those models, looking for reasons they won't work in order to build a body of evidence that they might.  It is only because I was hospitalized on the account of my depression, shortly after receiving my BS in Neuroscience, that I have not been able to pursue the PhD I had planned to attain.

I was to have been father to lots of my parents' grandchildren, especially another Edward.  It takes something very special to be a parent, something that I know I do not have.  Rather than screw up a set of kids; yes, rather than repeat the folly of my own parents, I obtained a vasectomy in 1984.  It is a decision I have never regretted.

I was to have been my parents' son.  I failed even that.  I do not know how it happened, I do not know what caused it, but even though I looked like a boy, I was, in fact, a girl.  As I have pursued my transition, I have never had a moment of regret.  With each step, I have, in fact, become more convinced that my initial assessment of myself was indeed correct.  If there is any regret that I have, it is that I could not have begun my transition forty years ago.

So, then, I am rejected by my parents as the total failure that they perceive me to be.  I am a waste of energy, of time, of no small amount of money.  I am a waste of a name.  So be it.  For all the things I am not, there is one thing that I am; one thing without which I cannot live.

I am Diana Athena Clarion.


Oct. 31st, 2011 02:57 am
dclarion: (Default)
We met online, via one of those ubiquitous connection/dating sites.  Let me tell you, at the outset, that I was looking for a friend, someone with whom I could converse.  Given my perhaps "pathological" intelligence, it is not easy for me to converse with anyone, let alone the plethora of IC Light-swilling Steelers fans to be found within walking distance of me.  It had surely not been easy for me to converse with those few who would answer my personal advertisements, as they were were looking for things I did not intend to give.

But he was different.  One of the points in his "I am seeking" list was someone who could suggest a book to read, and his response to my suggestion of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid was wildly enthusiastic.  As we exchanged e-mail messages, I discovered that he was intelligent, articulate, and sensitive.  A round of exchange between us could take hours, with three or four threads open simultaneously.  I discovered that he was not the consummate scientist that I am; even better, he had a deep appreciation of the arts, of philosophy.  I discovered that he was a person unlike any I have known, save one.

In our e-mail exchanges, I had told him my story, the story of my transsexuality.  I had told him what I was, what I had been.  He assured me that he saw me as nothing less than a woman.  Of course, I was guarded.  Some people will say anything to sound good, and others will say "I accept" before they realize the full significance of what it is that they are saying.  Of course, I was trying to be careful.  I knew that we were progressing toward an in-person meeting.  I knew, also, that something was happening within me, something I had not believed was possible.

When we did meet in person, for lunch at a Chinese restaurant quite near to me, I found, to my amazement, that everything he had appeared to be, he was.  A person of reasonable ability can create a character on a page, I have done it, myself; but no actor, however skilled, can portray a character of the intelligence, the warmth, the sensitivity, as that of the person who sat across from me at that table.  We had considered viewing a film; we instead decided that the time that would have been spent in silence would be better spent in further conversation.  In what some might consider a rash decision, I invited him to my humble abode.  I found it worth whatever risk others might have seen; I was not to be proven wrong.  As the level of coffee in my 1½ gallon coffeemaker dwindled, we were engaged in rapt conversation; and we were quite astonished to find, upon a chance viewing of a clock, that five hours had elapsed and that it was time to part.

The next weeks found me riding an emotional high that was so stratospheric that I was likely officially manic.  My mind was like a scene from one of those cheap science-fiction films, with equipment on fire and throwing sparks everywhere.  I was shaken to the core.  I was changing, fundamentally.  All of us who transition as adults spend more than a little time second-guessing ourselves.  Socialized to our birth-genders, we do experience some difficulty seeing ourselves as the people we know we are.  That was changing.  His total acceptance of me, coupled with the raw power of the emotion he elicited within me, was burning away the self-doubt.  I was a woman.  In my mind, my self-concept, there was no longer any question of that.  There was also no question that I was a woman in love.  I was in love with him.  For all that I might have thought that I was a good little lesbian, I was in love with him.

But it is also the case that everything too good to be true probably is.  There was a question on my mind, a concern that I had, a subject that I had to address.  It turned out that I was not the only concerned party.  You see, he is a man of a not insignificant position; his associations are with those of no small influence.  We both knew where this was going, we both we were surprised at the direction this was taking, we both had been blindsided.  We both also knew that he had much to lose on the account of an intimate association with me, especially one that would be in the public view.  I was, I am, open about my status; with the slow pace that my transition must take, honesty is the only way I can explain myself.  He could not afford the public and professional criticism and censure that a relationship with me would surely garner him, and I knew that at least as well as he did.

But through all of this, through the loss and pain, he has given me something worth more than all of the riches I could ever acquire.  He has solidified my identity as a woman.  He has shown me that I can love without regard to the packaging.  He has become part of the framework of my world-view, of my very essence.  He has changed me forever.  He has taken his place as one of only two people who have had so fundamental an impact upon my life.  Of the two, I believe that he has had the greater impact, because while the other had her impact upon the man that I was, or at least had tried to be, he has had his impact upon the woman that I am.

Thank you, Ron.  I truly love you.  Always.

May 2013

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