If you’re just tuning in, here’s what you’ve missed: About a week and a half ago, I discovered that my best friend from high school is undergoing a gender transition from being male to female. Really, I’ve set the stage, but today, I want to focus on my thoughts and reflections. When I told my parents about Ben transitioning into Lucy, they reacted perfectly. Dad might’ve chuckled and remarked on how that was a bit out of the blue, and after a long pause my mom mentioned that Ben always has lovely hair. It was perfect because they didn’t really have an answer, and they didn’t need to. At that point, I still didn’t know what I really felt about the whole thing apart from shock. So – to not have to listen to them tell me how to feel or how to react was perfect. I think if they had reacted differently, it would’ve just overwhelmed me.
A week later though, and they admitted that they were worried they they didn’t handle it well. Dad said, “You know, it’s not like there were any chapters in the parenting books on how to respond when your adult-child discovers that their best friend from high school is changing genders.” Then, they asked if I’d write about it. So – here I am.
So my thoughts and reflections…. they’re complicated. How could they not be?
I guess the best place to start is with the most powerful feelings.
The best way I can verbalize it is that part of me in is mourning. for Ben. I loved Ben. I loved that she was my geeky “guy” friend that was more like a girl friend. Ben is who I connected with in high school. Ben is who I missed and who I was expecting to see at the reunion.
But – Ben’s not dead. Ben is now Lucy. I don’t really know Lucy as well. I mean, I know her as much as I know anyone else from high school I haven’t spoken to in ten years. But – somehow, it’s different. I guess because things I took for granted, like gender, have changed drastically.
I’m really excited to cultivate this new friendship with Lucy, but a small part of me is very sad that it’s not with Ben.
And why should gender matter? Why does it matter to me as long as the essence of our friendship is still there? I mean, Lucy has all the same memories that Ben has. Same person, but just a different kind of wrapping paper. Like I said before, Ben could be a purple and green penguin for all I care.
And maybe it’s wrong. But in some ways, it does matter and I DO care. I’m so happy that Lucy is taking steps to become more comfortable in her own skin, don’t get me wrong. Until recently, I don’t think I could really understand/ relate to that. I lost 15 pounds in the last few months, and while I wasn’t UNHAPPY before, I am much happier now. I like looking cuter. It makes me feel like my outside matches my insides. I posted a while ago about Power Armor and how some days, you just need to wear that one outfit that gives you the ultimate confidence. Well, now I feel like I’ve got permanent Power Armor on. And everyone should have that. I don’t want to ever contribute to someone not trying to feel good about who they are, inside and out.
Still, I miss the Ben-wrapping paper. And that’s okay. I think it would be weird if I didn’t. Obviously, Ben was someone who was really important to me, and NOT missing Ben would belittle that.
I’m going to try and condense this all into one sentence: I mourn for Ben, but I am happy for the opportunity to continue that friendship with Lucy. There. One sentence.
For me – people are these bright shiny objects. Souls. Spirits. Whatever you want to call it, and the body is just the thing we inhabit.
I strive to be a person that judges people on their actions and words. Not on their wrapping paper. It’s difficult though…
Eh. That’s all I got. No pretty conclusion or anything because, it’s still something I’m trying to figure out. I mean, I’m trying to figure out what it means to me to be a woman. Taking that a step further into what it means for Ben to be Lucy….
All I know is that I’m enjoying talking to Lucy. I can always use more friends. Purple and green penguins and all.