Out of the closet, everything.
This morning I’ve been pulling out the remnants of pre-Leigh from the apartment. Mostly, clothes. Pre-Leigh’s sartorial existence has been shoved into boxes and bags, little ceremony to be found except for the salute provided by my own interiority. And even she doesn’t know exactly what farewell message best suits the moment.
Saying farewell to the masculine uniform of a previous version of myself renders neither joy, nor sadness. Just a representation of the passage of time. And change.
After all this is just the uniform; a representation of a gender identity that I had and no longer have. I’m not taking Chris to the Goodwill never to be seen again. Or, the whole Chris, at least. Chris remains in ways I don’t quite understand; but he’s not dead. His name is still on my drivers license, and frequently (too frequently, honestly) in my ears. But his name remains, next to Leigh. Before Leigh, legally and regretfully. Chris, jealous in the deep hidden regions, sees Leigh only as the new addition. Leigh: the shiny new she that has made Chris a backward facing, stuck in time shell of masculinity no long relevant or desired as a part of this future. He’s not wrong.
But when Chris wasn’t a shell, I loved him, too. When Leigh wasn’t in the picture. When she was a subtle tremor in a beating heart, yet to rip through a body and replace the blood of a man with a new vitality. Before a femme transfusion occurred (full bloodwork yet to be run). Life force, I’m saying. Whatever that means. She communicated with Chris, that day that she could no longer tolerate straight legged jeans and a J.Crew cardigan. She was out, and Chris, henceforth, was just not me. I’m still working out how that was possible; the how seems so important. My therapists tells me it’s not.
Anyway. It’s been more than a year since Leigh arrived, and in that time I’ve realized things.
That Leigh is not a detour. That Leigh is alive in a way that Chris simply is not. That Chris is not dead, but Chris is not the girlish boyish girl that Leigh is and wants to be. That holding on to the uniform has become a crutch and a curse.
And so I’m getting rid of it, today.