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I Heard Her Call My Name-a memoir of transition (Lucy Sante)


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My secret poisoned my entire experience of life. There was never a moment when I didn't feel the acute shame of being me, even as I denied to myself that my secret had anything to do with it.
For those who haven't experienced it, gender dysphoria is a hard thing to conceptualize. It may be dificult for them to understand that sex and gender are not identical propositions, and it is certainly hard for them to understand the urgency and totality of the need. Not understanding the why and the how will make people a bit frightened. Delicacy and the wish not to hurt may prevent them from articulating the sort of questions they actually want to ask: How did we not know that about you? Will you be dating men now? How do you feel about your dick? If not: Wasn't it taboo only yesterday? Doesn't it run contrary to nature? Isn't it something you'd see in sideshows? Isn't identity just a construct after all?

In any case, most of the people in my life preferred to act as if nothing had happened. If we normally talked about movies or music or local gossip or animals, we'd carry on talking about movies or music or local gossip or animals. That was fine as far as it went, but after a while it made me feel a bit sexless and unappreciated. I was, after all, on a metaphysical journey that beggared anything they were likely to have experienced.
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I wanted to so badly to be a woman that I could not really understand anyone wanting anything else.
There was not a second of my life when I wasn’t pinned under the klieg lights of self-consciousness
It appeared that transitioning did not involve piling on additional stuff; rather it was a process of removal, dismantling the carapace of maleness that had kept me in its grip for so long.
As a trans woman, I might now and then feel freakish, or horribly clockable, or out of place, or resented, but those were all projections from without. In and for myself, I did not have a speck of doubt. I had once described myself in print as a creature made entirely of doubt, most of it self-doubt, but I had now been given something like a euclidean proof of an essential truth about me.
I do believe that my newfound sociability came not from transitioning per se, but from the release of the ten-ton secret that been stapled to my chest for so many decades.
...and nearly every day at some point, I'd find myself overcome by sheer indredulity, that I’d actually gone and done this thing that had haunted me all my life and that I had been so invested in suppressing. It was if I’ve been struck by lightning, or rescued from a cave-in, or returned from a near death experience. I had been liberated – by mysterious forces it often seemed – and my immediate task was to relearn normal life under vastly changed conditions.
But anyway, I began to feel plausible, on some days.
I can honestly say that I'm happy, in a way I’ve never been before. I am finally inhabiting myself, the shadow me once hidden under the floorboards. I feel entirely comfortable, as if I had always been this way in waking life. I’m old, and that’s unfortunate, although I’m exceedingly lucky: on some days in certain kinds of light I don’t look my age.

I naturally wish I could have transitioned in my teens, or my twenties, or any age earlier than mine, but there are compensations, being left in peace, remaining immune to all affinity-group competition, being able to nestle my changes into a life that was already structured, having outlived all the censorious elders.
I experience a kind of serenity, a general rightness with the world, and acceptance of my being and my eventual fate now that I finally have achieved true selfhood. I don’t hate myself anymore, I’m no longer apologetic for my very existence. I walk with pride, I feel exceptionally fortunate, grateful to whatever force cracked my egg before it was too late, I was saved from drowning.
(Although it is extremely exciting to have breasts.)
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This is amazing stuff THANK YOU @RhondaS

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  • Forum Moderator

Good afternoon, and thank you for sharing this thread.





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On 2/18/2024 at 2:16 AM, RhondaS said:

I do believe that my newfound sociability came not from transitioning per se, but from the release of the ten-ton secret that been stapled to my chest for so many decades.

OMG!! I connect with so many of these quotes from her book.  Just recently I came to comprehend the same ^above^ about myself (and many more). Thank you for sharing @RhondaS!

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She's being doing a fair amount of media, as one does with a book out if you're famous enough. It worked, either the NYTimes or Washington Post mentions put it on the radar. 


This is a longer interview, the Barnes and Noble podcast...



I attended a live taping of this podcast when Jennifer Finney Boyland (and Jodi Picoult) were on and always forget to listen/watch newer episodes, but will have to listen to this one!



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@ 17:30 she is talking about Imposter Syndrome and the specific dysphoria related to this ... I think many of us have felt that.  And there have been a few threads about it here too.

Then she says something I totally relate to ... "but, at the same time there is the bedrock sense that ... what am I going to do at this point .... ?  Go back to being a man?  I mean ... that's not going to work ..."

That is the same mantra I always come back to whenever I am having doubts or struggles ...

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@RhondaS / All - OK, my last post on this thread.  Promise🙏😊


I was at therapy session today and I mentioned to my therapist about being introduced to this subject by this thread, and by how much I connected with this author (but I couldn't remember her name). 

Then literally as we were finishing up our session my sister sends me a text that basically says "Hey, I was just driving home and I heard this interview with a transwoman by the name of Lucy Sante, and she wrote a book called 'I Heard Her Call My Name', and she's the same age as you!".

I thought OMG!  That's amazing my sister connected at the same time I was talking about it with my therapist.  But more important, Lucy Sante was talking about the SAME things I had told my sister (but she was still struggling with accepting the new me).  My hope is Lucy Sante also connected with my sister and it will help her understand my Journey.

THEN!  my therapist says "Oh yeah, I was listening to her on another podcast ..."

Here is the podcast my therapist mentioned - GENDER REVEAL -- it looks pretty good.




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Yes, I have listened to some of that podcast. A support zoom I 'attend' had Tuck Woodstock as the guest one time. 

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I'm reading the book now. On shopping: "wanting to look like the model in the picture does not constitute a valid reason for buying the garment."


Ohhhh -- such good advice! LOL.

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And another plus for the book, it's not a long slog to read, short and sweet. 

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