Telling an old friend about new directions

Recently, out of the blue, I got an email from my childhood best friend.  We’ve been in touch off-and-on throughout our adult life, but I haven’t heard from her in probably about 3 years at this point.  She wrote to me about searching for who she is and what she finds important in life.  I wrote back and similarly talked about recent journeys, finding myself, gender-wise and otherwise.  I wrote about starting testosterone 6 months ago and what that means to me.  I then wrote that if she has questions, I’d be glad to answer them.  (Because I assumed she’d be accepting, but not fully understanding / not knowing how I identify / not knowing much about trans* identities.  She just now responded back, and re: my request for questions, she said,

“I don’t really have any questions about it that you didn’t already answer: that you feel more normal than ever. You feeling comfortable in your own skin is something I have wanted for you ever since we hit puberty. That change is difficult for everyone, but it seemed to wreak havoc on you, as I’m sure it does on everyone who doesn’t fit in the tiny little boxes our society has labeled “girl” and “boy.” It was surreal to watch you struggle with your identity when, to me, you were always YOU. And I did a truly shitty job of being your friend and supporting you at that time.  I’m really sorry.  Now, I just feel so happy to hear that you’re ridding your life of the things that no longer serve you and that you’re finding solutions to elements of your life that never seemed to fit quite right before.”

When I read this, tears started streaming down my face; it’s one of the most touching things someone’s ever written to me.  Largely because she’s saying that she KNEW, and at the time, I had no idea anyone could see how much pain I was in, and I guess I didn’t even see the pain, or, I just did my best to normalize it.  And also because even though I’m not sure how versed she is in trans* identities and gender politics, that actually has no bearing on her knowing what I’m saying.  She knows, because she knows who I am, and that feels so personally connecting, and intensely empowering.

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