Transcribed for Spiritual Connections by N. Corres
Most people don’t suddenly reach the seventh decade of a life and ask, “Who am I”? These things get sorted out, starting at adolescence, and pretty well settled by late teens, early twenties. Unless – like me – you’re caught up in your job or role. My job was/is protector and kind of damage control top dog. I’m the oldest of our group, certainly no father figure, but rather the final voice when things go awry. Who has time to wonder about anything but maintaining some semblance of control over kids, pre-adolescents, teens, and unsure younger adults? Just keeping some kind of balance, coping with daily reactions that can be individual crises depending – is totally consuming. Time moves as it will – or won’t in some cases – and I admittedly am not a soft-spoken nor patient person. But I found someone outside through the kids, that seemed open to my plight and I felt able to share without being told what I should think, should do in my role as protector and voice of reason. She seemed to have no qualms or problem seeing ME, a guy (old guy), trapped in a female body with this gang, but at lunch one day, she asked, “who and what do you want to be?” I was caught completely off guard. That in itself was astounding as I am always prepared in any situation to answer and control what an answer should be. I was speechless and she knew it. She was pointedly aware I had no answer, no defense, and no usual sarcastic reply. So she edged me into it by asking, “what clothes do you prefer to wear? How do you like to wear your hair? Do you ever decide those things?” I knew the answer was no and I knew I’d never considered it. That didn’t mean I didn’t have preferences – I just never pushed or voiced them. Slowly, I started telling her what I preferred in the way of dress, etc. Then she asked, “So why don’t you dress and all like you want?” Again, I had no answer, so I brushed it off with “It’s no big deal”, and one of the kids broke into our conversation, interrupting. Now, normally I would have chided the kid for that – but this time, I was grateful and relieved. The subject hasn’t been brought up again, but it lingers in my thoughts. Time has passed. Many, many things have occurred since that lunch – and yet I think of it often. It plagues and bugs me. Why don’t I voice my preferences? As she had noted, the body is female but appears safely androgynous. It wouldn’t be a “big deal” to choose to dress a certain way. But more than that, who am I? Now, my sexual identity is in question. Am I really a male? A male trapped in a female body? Am I willing to outwardly show my “maleness”? My gut tells me I am NOT female, but my mind says it would be a threat to the survival of all if I showed myself outwardly. God knows we’ve been forced to retreat and hide for much less! As the main protector, CHIEF protector, I have to accept it to keep us all safe, alive and mostly invisible. Who am I? I am Daniel. I am a man. I am strong and I am smart. I have kept this body and the people in it alive and as safe as possible. So my personal identity, who I am, is insignificant in the grand scheme. Yes, it will bug, and always be there. I will wonder what it would be like to shoe ME to the outside. But I can’t. And so it is. Maybe in another life – another time.