Is Home Really Where the Heart Is?

I was inspired to write this post by a sister transgender blogger who most probably already recognizes who she is.

With my late beloved wife passed away and our son living far away, I have the task of redefining what “home” means to me.  Our son can never really come home, nor do I believe he would ever want to call the place he has always known until he moved in with friends his “home.” I believe “home” to him is where he hangs his many hats and where his kitty remains even when he is away.  His “home” is neither permanent because he doesn’t have many useless possessions as I or his mother kept, other than what he uses to feel at home and make himself feel comfortable. He already has changed residences  thrice in as many years about his adopted hometown which is the Greater Los Angeles area.

During my years growing up, I never really had enough time in all the residences we had with my father’s career in the Federal Civil Service sector to ever feel as though I would ever be able to call anywhere I had lived “home.”  It wasn’t as  often as military “brats” but those kids would often meet up with friends at other military assignments world-wide. Every time we moved, I had to give up many things I wanted to keep.  Our moves did not seem to permit that and I simply resigned myself to it. Until I bought my present home with my late beloved, 25 years ago, after the first home I lived in for seven years after birth, I don’t think I ever remained in one residence for more than two consecutive years .  You can probably imagine how difficult is was for me when my late beloved took sick and asked me to move to a separate residence while, unbeknownst to either of us at the time, I needed double hip replacement surgery. I survived and recovered from that ordeal only to have to change residences three times in seven months only to return home after she passed away.

After his Mom died, I told our son that he might want to take with him anything he would ever want from “home” because I had no idea what my future might look like after my beloved, his mother was gone. He had told me some years before that he would like to inherit a portable bar with hand-carved doors and front panel which my parents had bought while we were in Japan and passed on to me after they were gone.  I told him that it was already his as my parents had often done with all their children. Since we are both Star Trek fans and the last movie we saw together was the first of the new Star Trek franchise by producer-director Jerry Bruckheimer, I also offered him my collection of Star Trek toys from the original series and two of the four spinoffs and the collection of Star Trek Christmas ornaments which his Mom had bought for me and him each Christmas. He also took along a collection of Hallmark Christmas Ornaments with an Eskimo theme that his paternal aunt started for a couple years and we continued the tradition every year when we celebrated Christmas at home as a family.  He also took  a few mementos along with all the pictures he once took that are on photo  CD’s which he transferred directly to his laptop and left the CD’s behind. Other than those things he took very little else and rented a small U-Haul truck to take everything with him which he deposited at his half-brother’s and family home in Flagstaff AZ, just this side of midway between Santa Fe and LA.

As for me, I have loads of old pictures of my late beloved as a girl growing up which really have little meaning for me other than make me miss her all the more as well as remind me of what I missed growing in a man’s skin.  I am relatively clear that there is nothing really that I expect her only full sibling brother that shared both the same mother and father would ever want from her possessions left behind.  He became a conservative fundamental  Christian adherent and told me when last we spoke just before his sister died that he ,would never be able to wrap his head around the idea of me being a transgender woman. He had enough trouble with calling me by anything other than my birth name. We never were close anyway and without his sister, I can not foresee us ever meeting one another again. It’s sad but I was pretty much resigned to the fact long before his sister took terminally ill and eventually died. His conservative Christian views, I believe, also make it impossible for him to find solace in his sister’s death because his beliefs have condemned her soul to eternal damnation. While I no longer share his beliefs as I once was taught but never really internalized, despite our estrangement,  I do have a measure of compassion for him and wish him well.

Our son now has his Mom’s older half-sister and extended family, including a daughter who never married and another daughter who did with her husband and children. who live in the LA Area and with whom he has not only spent of couple of Christmas holidays as one of the family, he also arranged a gathering of his Mom’s family to hold a memorial for his Mom.  While I am not sure if they would ever accept me as a woman now, the distance alone along with my current financial situation makes it difficult for me to approach them to find out.  I could write letters but I have not yet done so because I don’t know where to begin. Still, if I was willing to take on the risks and challenges of transition,  writing a letter or two to possibly re-establish a relationship we only shared by way of her younger half-sister, my beloved wife, should not be all that risky.  I have really little to loose if they choose not to acknowledge me as being a former in-law let alone my being the father of our son. I could be totally wrong about this, but I am not yet ready to make that kind of connection and I really don’t think that they would make the first move to re-establish a relationship with me apart from my late beloved.. They never did when I was married to my beloved, so I don’t really expect that they will now.  Frankly, neither did I and yet I would be willing for them to surprise me.

I have really digressed so I want to bring you back to my purpose for writing this post in the first place.  My home, my house is mine to do with as I please, except to sell it or rent the whole house to someone else. The contract for our reverse mortgage stipulates that foreclosure is assured if I vacate the premises for more than two months at one time or I die. That is precisely the reason I gave our son an ultimatum to take what he wants because he may never have an opportunity later on.

I do feel completely at home now that I have completed my transition and now embarking on the next phase of my life.  Having a partner who might want me to move in with him or he with me will definitely complicate things immensely.  Even with my housemate Baji, I still can feel at home and do as I please when she is not around but I so love her company and how she has helped me grow up that I would dearly miss her when she decides to move out.  At my age, I believe it it will be harder to find a guy or gal to have casual intimate relations but that is really  limited by my own beliefs, as my  former therapist had often reminded me. The same was true before my GRS and so far in post-transition, still remains true.

All I really can do now is choose to call where I presently reside, possibly for the rest of my life my home for at least the time being.  My heart is here in the present when I am not recalling my past or contemplating my future.  Feeling “at home” doesn’t really require more than that which my head, heart, body and spirit may choose to call home.  I don’t plan anytime soon to pass over to a “heavenly home.” I have doubts about that already as I had doubts about reincarnation where my only hope was possibly to reincarnate as a woman.  That was my final impetus to transition, and in the process I finally feel at home in my own skin.  Perhaps that is all I will require as long as I remain in my body. It has been said that the body is a temple for the spirit, which some may call soul.  Can my  body as a temple be also my home, at least for the time being?  Perhaps it can simply be so because I choose it to be so.  If that be true, then “home” really IS where my heart is!

I wish your hearts, minds, bodies and spirit to feel at home and to be at peace, my sisters and brothers all!

Deanna Joy


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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