Tears. That’s how it started, your earliest memory. Tears against a backdrop of black in the dead of night. Tears for no reason apart from the reason, the unspoken reason. It’s the reason why you were always considered shy when in fact you just couldn’t relate to anyone. That’s why you closed yourself off, created a fantasy world where things were good and where you were you and not this imitation of someone else.
Then you began to grow, began to mature into a ‘fine young man’. You began to play football and like cars because that’s what ‘fine young men’ liked. But behind the fake smile lay a sheen of green, an ever watching eye on your sister’s dolls, a fog of jealousy infecting your very soul.
Then came school, oh the best days of your life. The best days of everyone else’s life maybe but certainly not yours. For you it was a time of loneliness and jealousy, a time when your skin grew so thick because it had to become a shield to the constant name-calling. It was a time when that old adage regarding sticks, stones and broken bones was proved oh so wrong.
Puberty hit, a truly magical time. A time of development that you didn’t want to happen. The start of a deeper voice you hated, the growth of hair in all the wrong places. A time where you were taken further away from who you wanted to be by body modifications you never asked for.
Then it hit you, who you are. That golden moment wrapped in a soft pink bow. The World Wide Web taught you, bringing up all you wanted to know. Your life made sense, you were not alone. A whole community existed, taking you into its embrace. Accepting you for who you were, asking nothing in return.
That first time out, your skirt catching the wind. Freshly shaven legs feeling the air for what felt like the first time. That click of heel against pavement and that feeling of unbelievable dream-like freedom. The bright lights of Canal Street, the dresses and the colours, the sights and the sounds. This was your church and these were your people. What changed?
You moved on and moving on is good so long as you don’t forget where you once were. You forgot, you let time weave its spell. Life took over and Canal Street drifted into memory, just a flicker of someone you used to be. That world, that community, those people, they were just tools, there when required and required no more.
Transition is just that, swapping one life for another. It’s all about the journey though, the path from A to B. How can you learn from the past if you toss it aside so easily, if you forget the route you took, forget the community which gave you so much? The community which took you in and made you believe that dreams could come true, that you could be you. They never forgot so why did you?
by Emma Jewkes (@EmmaVicky82)