On Wishing I’d Been a ‘Normal’ Person

I just had the luck and pleasure of spending a weekend with one of my best friends from university, a deep thinker, a truly wise individual, and as it happens, a homosexual guy.

He met me in my Freshman year when I still looked like a man. So he knows that I’m transsexual. But this weekend was really our first chance to talk about it.

During our talk, I couldn’t stop coming back to my baseline point: I wish I’d been born cis. But my friend had a different take on this than I did.

He told me: “I spent a long time wishing I’d been born different. I wished I’d been born into a wealthy family. I wished I were white, not Korean-American. I wished I weren’t gay. But all that stuff made me who I am today. Without that, I wouldn’t be me.”

Meaning what? Was he GLAD to be poor, gay, and marginalized? Obviously not! But he understood something that I didn’t. He understood that ALL of our experiences make us who we are. You can’t change your past without changing who you are as a person.

Which got me to thinking, how would my life have been different if I’d been born cis, and actually had a girlhood?

Well, for starters, I wouldn’t have had this particular friend. I wouldn’t have been his room-mate in a male-only dormitory room.

In many ways, my life probably would’ve been easier. While I realize that girls face restrictions and often abusive behaviors that I didn’t have to contend with growing up as a “boy”, I like to believe I would’ve been happy-go-lucky, without a care in the world and feeling at home in my body.  So possibly not much of a deep thinker and probably not much prone to reflection on what’s wrong with this world, or filled with much desire to make it otherwise.

I would have been different. Obviously. But better? Maybe not. Are carefree people fundamentally better people than those weighed down with concern? Tell me that doesn’t sound absurd!

Ultimately, I am who I am. My life is what it is. For better or worse. And if I’d lived a different life, I wouldn’t be me.

I just need to remind myself of this. Often.

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