A friend of mine has a transgender partner, and has just posted a link on Facebook to a well-written article as to how to help someone who’s struggling with gender dysphoria.
I relate to the article, but … in the past tense. I used to dislike my body, and as for my mind, I was working on the assumption that I was basically nuts, secretly feeling as if I were a girl all the time. That didn’t leave all that much at a personal level, to be cheerful about. So, I was fundamentally a very glum person though social feedback told me I was doing a good job of hiding that.
Then, one fine day, I changed from evading the issues to confronting them, and I learned that the most likely explanation is that I’m not crazy, I’m a trans girl, meaning I was born with a female brain structure even though I was born with male plumbing. It happens. I just happen to be one such person to whom this happened.
Really, there’s nothing wrong with being a trans girl. In fact, it’s actually pretty cool, as long as one is self-aware and self-accepting. That’s no small feat. Many trans people, guys and girls, initially try to deny who we are, and we beat ourselves up about being trans.
I used to have a romantic partner who was candid and insightful, and near the end of the relationship she voiced the observation that I was essentially living in a mode of self-loathing. Wow, was that a wake-up call. It wasn’t fun to hear, but it inspired me to not just live as who I am, but to do it to where I could feel good about myself, and who I am. And finally, I’m there.
Arguably, I’m more than there. In typical Tanya fashion, I overdid it, and now I’m so giddily happy that I’m probably downright annoying to be around. From life being fundamentally a cold, dark, gray fog, it’s now a picnic in a sunlit meadow with flowers and rainbows all around.
For example, when I’m not developing custom database software, I analyze cars. I take them apart, document the process and parts, take pictures and figure out ways to make money by fixing the Achilles’s heel in the various models on which I focus. Fun work, but until recently it was hard to be motivated for that, and much of everything else. Projects used to languish. But now … well, here’s an example from tonight.
My friend and I have been analyzing the ZF 5 HP-24A transmission out of a 2001 Audi A6 Quattro, the one with the 4.2 liter rocket-ship engine 40-valve engine. Fun task for a Saturday.
And yet by dinnertime, after we’d been at it for probably eight hours or so, the work was just way too interesting to want to stop. So we enjoyed a nice snack and kept on working. My assistant used to be in the US Army and although she’s sweet as pie, she’s also hard as nails, and if she’s impressed by anything, she normally doesn’t let on. And yet, finally, the quality of the engineering behind this transmission melted her heart. She kept exclaiming how cool this or that item was, as the brilliance of the design became ever more apparent. And, of course, I was in full agreement.
Quite some time after midnight, it occurred to us that maybe it’s time to finally stop working, and so we finally dust-proofed everything and we left.
However, as the events were winding down, one of us made the mistake of noticing that the clutch A drum of the transmission looks a lot like the torch of the Statue of Liberty. And, of course, there’s always time for silly pictures (with no lack of patriotism implied).