Oh my god… I’m in tears. That’s HORRIBLE.

Good morning TeriJo,

Your use of the word ‘horrible’ gave me great pause — struck me as odd. I had to think about it overnight, and this morning it came to me: Not in all this time had I ever thought of stealth as horrible; unavoidable, problematic, difficult, but not horrible.

An analogy might be the loss of sight, traumatic at the time, but decades afterward, just the way things are. One forgets what it was to see, cannot somehow remember what it meant to have sight, doesn’t really miss it, becomes unaware of the hundred ways one works around the absence on a daily basis. Any sense of loss is long faded and there is only acceptance of how things are.

Writing and being read, in this most personal of subjects (being trans), has been an astonishing experience, entirely unlike other more cerebral writing I’ve done. At the risk of being cliché, I am coming to see it as a collaboration, where I reveal a (very) personal opinion or experience, in my point of view, then the reader takes it in and reframes it in their experience and perspective. Sometimes the reader reports back and I get to review my own experience in an entirely new way. Sometimes this changes me. For me, I cannot conceive of any better remuneration for my efforts.

As I’ve said before, TeriJo, I find your reflections especially intriguing (and more often than not, heart-warming).

As I suggest in the story, after 27 years of acceptance I am again struggling with stealth. I am again bumping into things. Different to everyone I knew before my disappearance, I now know people who do not accept stealth — invisibility — as desirable or even necessary. I am strangely incapable of relating; I cannot imagine what it is to see, that this thing even exists. I do not desire sight — visibility — and I cannot appreciate what it is like to want that.

Or is that true? I suppose this writing is, in a very specific, limited way, exactly that. But I would never want this present in my ‘real life’, I think. To be so exposed, so vulnerable, that would be horrible. When that man clocked me I felt like control of my life had been ripped away. Like he stole the who-I-am of me. I am a woman. I have been a woman my entire life and I have lived as such for most of it. I will not have that taken from me again.

It fascinates me to see bits of my life through your eyes — it looks so different to what I see. Both are true. Please keep writing — I love our conversation.

❤ Allison

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