I have been unusually quiet on the blog front recently. The reason for this silence is best described as an audience crisis. For any writer, and I use the term about myself in they loosest possible sense, it is often said that you should know your audience. Well, since I started writing this blog back in February I have pretty much written it for one person – myself. Really it has been my diary, my journal that I have shared for public consumption. Why did I decide to share things in this way? I’m not completely sure. I suppose initially I was still caught up in the euphoria of starting to release my inner woman, becoming my true self and wanting to be part of the wider trans* community. As time went on my blog became a gateway to forming some real online friendships, at least one of whom (the wonderful Ruth Martina) has become a real life friend. So now it’s still my online diary but it’s also a way of communicating with friends, and letting them know what I’ve been up to and how I’m feeling. I also think back to where I was at a year ago, feeling this desperate unfulfilled yearning to express my femininity, and I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined that what I have done this year would even be remotely possible, never mind that would actually have done it. If the journey I have been on can give someone else hope for their own situation, then that is fantastic. But at all times I have to be honest in what I say, and I feel an obligation to paint a truthful picture of what I am doing or thinking, without holding back on how I feel.
I have come to the realisation recently that it is becoming increasingly difficult to write in such a way. The reason is that it is becoming increasingly obvious that writing for myself is ignoring the fact that some of the people who read this stuff are people with whom I have ongoing relationships. Most significantly, my wife knows about and reads the blog, which has caused some problems. And the fact that I’m writing this now will probably cause more problems. It came to a head in my last few posts. She never said anything, but it was clear that the post entitled “Extrapolation” caused her significant problems. Then the revelation in my next post that I had dropped some major hints to Arthur in the office that I was not exactly a straightforward straight cis male was even worse. For her, the big problem was with my assertion that if Arthur believed me at all, he probably thinks I have had one or more gay affairs. This was an affront to her personally, that he would think I would carry on behind her back, and that she would be stupid enough for me to get away with it. In other words, she thought I was making her look a fool. I have subsequently made it very clear to Arthur that I haven’t had any gay encounters or affairs and am in no way carrying on behind my wife’s back. He never thought I was.
So what do I do now with this blog? Tell Mrs K not to read it any more? No, then she’ll just imagine that I’m writing about either (a) how much I hate her and what a grade A bitch she is, or (b) how I have definitively decided to abandon my family and begin transition immediately. Neither of which is the case, obviously. So then do I pull my punches, temper my words so that they don’t cause undue concern and be less than truthful in what I write? Well I’d rather just stop writing altogether than do that. That would be a betrayal of what this is supposed to be, my unfiltered outpouring on the subject of my life as a trans woman.
Mrs Kirsty keeps a diary, has done every day for around 30 years. I have never read it. Nobody has ever read it. I am not permitted to read it. I wonder what is in it, what hidden thoughts she has put down in writing, never to be seen by anyone else. I think I can have a reasonable guess at some of the things she had written this year. But even though I know where her diaries are, and would have ample opportunity to read them if I wanted, I have never done that. I understand that what she writes in there is for her, and contains her feelings at any point in time. It doesn’t necessarily constitute a set-in-stone manifesto of exactly what she plans to do. If she has something to tell me, she can tell me. My blog is similar. I wish she could see that. Just because she can read it, doesn’t mean she should read it. So I’m not going to stop writing and I’m not going to change how I write. If the consequences of that are that she believes everything that I write is my immutable and irreversible position on any subject, set in stone for all eternity, than that’s her fault, not mine. If I have anything that she really needs to know, I will tell her. Until then, it’s all just mulling things over in my head, and this blog helps hugely with that process. So many times I have begun writing a blog (including this one) unsure of how it is going to finish, but by the end I seem to have reached some sort of resolution in my own head precisely because I have been trying to explain the problem to someone else, a reader. Writing a private, unpublished diary is not something that I think could have the same effect for me. Any maybe that is why I publish this stuff online. It forces me to be more disciplined and to corral my thoughts a bit more than could be achieved without the thought that at least one other person might read it. It is, as I have said many times before, my therapy.
So all things considered, I will carry on the same as before. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, you can decide. But I’m writing for me.