I was at a speaking engagement a short while ago at which a member of the audience asked me a question that I had not received before. I was asked what did I do, or how have I managed, the record of past events. Wow! I needed just a bit more information, so I probed a bit. What she was really looking to learn was what did I do about photos, and publications, and even memories. Alrighty then!
That was a lot all in one question. So, easy stuff first. Memories. I do have wonderful memories of times with my family etc. There are no issues with any of that. I can recall them with no uncomfortable feelings at all. Because I recall them in the first person, looking out my eyes, I can’t see myself in my memories, what I looked like etc. So it was just me in the experience. And that is who I am now, so no issues there. I recall moments with my family, my children, etc, with the same joy as I did previously.
As for publications etc, that is a bit of a different story. What was published under my dead name will always be out there under “that” name. Nothing I can do about it. The good news is that I don’t see them at all. I don’t go looking them up etc, so I never see my old name in print. Again, not a big issue.
Then we come to photographs. That is a different story. That is a sticky point right now. It is very difficult for me to look at photos of me as my “old self”. Can’t do it, just can’t do it. Fortunately, I wasn’t in very many photographs as I hated having my picture taken back then (for obvious reasons), so that makes it easier. Second, my ex took all the wedding photos, so I don’t have to deal with them. As for other photos, anything with me in it alone? Gone. That was a “no brainer”. I have the memories, that’s enough. Given that seeing my “old self” is extremely painful, I wouldn’t look at the photos anyway, so what is the point? And it probably wouldn’t be helpful to have those around the house for my girls to see….they would just fall backwards and that’s not what any of us need.
I don’t need to see me at the Great Wall, or Sydney Opera House, etc, etc, etc. I have the memories, so I’m good. Any many places I was in the past I’m going to again, so new memories will be created. New photos will be taken that I will be able to keep and look at and cherish. And there will be lots of photos as I am more than happy to have my picture taken now. Go figure!! Ha ha!
It was a really great question that both caused me to think about it, and have a very good discussion at that time. I know that this is something that is very personal and varies from person to person in the trans community. For those that can keep photos/videos of their former selves, awesome. Good for them. But I can’t. And while they may not understand it, that is how I need to manage it. Yet another thing we have to deal with.
Say “Cheese” !!