Memories as a Dad

Father’s Day is fast approaching and I had completely forgotten about it, as could be understandable in my present state of head and heart but it all came rushing to the forefront of my awareness not as a thought but as a sudden burst of sobbing while taking a shower late this afternoon to get ready to go out and dance, after a day spent in blogging and making a few important phone calls that I had put off, including one to a therapist I spoke about in the last post and to a few contacts I made last month regarding rooms for rent in houses owned by other women. Last year, I didn’t spend it either with my wife or my son, who had moved out of town and pretty much out of our lives just seven months earlier, just as I had not spent any of the important holidays with either my son or my wife, including Christmas and Valentine’s Day, which had also been our wedding anniversary as well.

Its interesting that the sudden rush of emotion swept over me from memories of music playing in my head that I have been hearing weekly since last spring when I started to attend a Qi Gong practice led by a friend from the Celebration community when I was losing the capacity to walk and freely use my legs a month or so before I would learn the cause of my affliction, that being that my hips were gone.  The music was part of her routine of music to play in the background of her instructions that she gave us “girls” throughout the hour practice.  I was actually still very much a boy then and missing no longer living in our home, where we raised our son and where we shared the better part of a 30 year marriage.

Almost every time I heard this particular piece of music I would think about the fact that the relationship I once had with both my wife and son was gone.  The memories were those of a young dad, his beautiful wife and their toddler little boy playing in a park with lush grass, a small lake, playing with the ducks and geese and just enjoying a Sunday together as a family. I also would lament the fact that back then, I could never live in the moment but would think ahead to work the next day or a job that needed to be attended to like the man I was supposed to be.

A lot of those hopes and memories began to fade last fall and as it became more apparent that my partner and I would never live together again as man and wife and as the spirit of Deanna began to press out and manifest herself in a feeling that is hard to describe to people like myself who had once been a scientific skeptic and would have easily scoffed had I heard my account of things going on inside me coming from lips not my own.

So as I stood naked and vulnerable in my shower, heaving without tears and unable to produce an audible sound, I recalled that this Sunday is Father’s Day.  I will spend it full of much activity from early morning until late evening, yet I won’t spend it alone and feeling sorry for myself.  Instead I will spend much of it in both the service and company of others, and those feelings of sadness and loss will be but more faded memories of a life that once was mine but is my life no longer.

To all you father’s out there, even if you don’t see yourself as a man these days, I wish you Happy Father’s Day.  Just don’t let your children give you an ugly tie or one of those doormats that says “Man cave – No women Allowed”.  Flower’s would be so much better this year and I do like chocolates, especially if they are filled with a nice sweet liquer which go so well with chilled shots of Maker’s Mark Kentucky Whiskey.



About Deanna Joy Hallmark

I am a post-op transgender woman who has now completed transition and living my life as the woman I was born to be. I have been writing my blog, now titled "A Spy in the Enemy Camp - A transgender woman’s perspective from having lived as a man among men" since December 2011. Originally a record of my process and feelings in transition, last summer in 2013 it took on observations from both sides of the gender binary and now will also be looking at my past life pretending to be the man I never was and how it finally brought me to where I am today, the beautiful intelligent woman I had always believed I should have been since I was little.
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6 Responses to Memories as a Dad

  1. pasupatidasi says:

    sage advice and an apt and awesome way to celebrate, who you are..and aren’t – all at the same time!

  2. Kira says:

    I have never really been one for the “card & gift” holidays, but I feel even less deserving this year…

    • Kira, I am not going to tell you to not think you are less deserving as a father to be honored in that way. However I will say that some father’s never try and although you fell short of the mark you set for yourself, can you not give yourself some credit for doing the best that you could for your children under difficult circumstances?

      • Kira says:

        I know that am a thousand times harder on myself than I should be. In my mind I have set an unattainable standard. I think looking at the example I had of fatherhood, I told myself I would never, ever be anything like him. That I would be everything I longed for. I know it isn’t reasonable, but my heart doesn’t always listen to reason.
        I’m not perfect, never have been, never will be, but that seems to be the standard some part of my insists on grading me by.
        Now take that and add in the feeling that I have never really been “a man” and that only a “real man” could ever be a “real father” and you see where these feelings come from.
        I do want to give myself a little credit for my children growing up in a better home than I did. I want to be able to stand back and watch them grow and to be proud of the example that I set for them, but I wonder how that is possible when I cringe at the title of “dad”, when it feels like it belongs to someone else?
        Yes, I know I am their father, that for them I am “dad”, but it feels like it is attached to that fake persona I so want to shed like a dead skin…
        Does that make any sense?

  3. It makes perfect, logical sense Kira and I am sorry that you are so hard on yourself. Right up until I came out with the revelation that I no longer wished to live or be seen as a man, I was involved in an International organization known as The Mankind Project. What I learned in that work was that everything I thought I knew about “real men” was as much a ‘fake” persona that had been thrust on me my entire life just as much as the notion of what a “real” woman is to me now. The point I am trying to make is that the nature of a persona is fake by definition and you are trying to shed something that can’t be real in the first place. Men are just as sensitive, nurturing, introspective, feeling and all the other things that are said of women, just as women as strong, bold, and capable of protecting their children from harm as any man and that society will strive to take away our birthright by any means, guilt being the worst of the lot. Give up the notion of fake versus real, Kira, and you will see that you are a whole human being who is also a parent with all of the qualities that make us worthy of not trying to extinguish ourselves by our own ignorance of who we truly are. Deanna

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