Starting Again



Well, I’ve reached the point where my page views are down to nothing. I have to give a lecture on ‘privacy and online culture’ this afternoon and it occurred to me that this is a place I can hide in plain sight, for a time.

I’ve also just come back from a holiday in Bali. While I was gone, I’d decided to write an email to my family every day. It was to try and connect with them using words, I suppose – which in itself was an attempt to make words matter to me a bit more than they have in the last two years.

A lot has happened in two years. (Of course it has – how could it not?). I had grown tired of using words to process my life: in fact, despite teaching literacy (or perhaps because of it), I’ve wondered making sense of the world through linguistic texts was getting a bit passé.  But despite how much words tire me, how inadequate they are, how much I would personally prefer to look at pretty moving pictures right now, I’ve worked harder at writing than at any other creative expression. Writing helps me. And I’ve finally come back to thinking that it’s perhaps OK to have a few things that are simply there to help me, and not necessarily to help anyone else.

O was the one who said, “Mum, you should blog again.” I’d known for a while that, despite deleting my last blog because of him, he liked my blog and had liked reading about himself. Anyway, he liked my Bali stories and I liked writing about my amazement at all the CRAZY CRAZY STATUES and the almost liquid air and the monkeys and flowers and bugs and incense and hypnotic bells and call to prayer along the coast of Padangbai.

I’m trying to wake up again, I guess. I’d not travelled anywhere in years, and certainly not without the kids. I’m trying to let everything in again.

I don’t know how much I’ll write about trans stuff.  Last time, it got to the point where navigating our own lives against the grain of dominant narratives about transgender lives felt too hard. I still think it’s essential that O creates his own story about who he is. Stories that get too much attention in the public sphere can get rigid quickly.

But, O is still O. He didn’t desist. I realise now I wanted him to, at least some of the time. My engagement with GenderTrender and 4thWaveNow was partly about reconciling my (then) allegiance to radical feminism but it was also because I hoped there would be another way of “doing” O’s gender identity. O says he has been telling me the same thing for over four years now. It’s true.

In the past, I’ve skirted over the fact that my father, in particular, thought I was mentally ill, and that I was forcing O’s identity onto him. I now know that he had contacted lawyers and was actively planning to remove O from me. I was right to be scared and to keep our identity online a secret.  I wasn’t paranoid (and, incidentally, I wasn’t mad either – at least not like that).

I’m glad I was careful, but I’m sick of being scared, and trying to make peace with people who refuse to listen and to try to understand.

So, here I go again.

4 thoughts on “Starting Again

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