“I care about you so much, you’re like a brother to me, I could never risk that. I’d be afraid of losing you as a friend.”
So many times those words fell on my teenage ears. We didn’t have such stupidity as “the friendzone” back then. If someone wasn’t interested in you, then they just weren’t interested and you either moved on or stayed friends. But it was lonely. Well, I thought it was. Coming out to everyone has given me some insight about certain things, and I expect I’ll stumble across more as time goes on. But this one came to me yesterday talking to my new transition care co-ordinator.
I had no idea I was a woman, as most of you who have read much of anything here already have seen. But I was, and even though I wasn’t consciously aware, it still informed my behaviors and personality. I have always had more close female friends than male. I’ve always gotten on better with women (or feminine people, to be more accurate). Lonely (and admittedly puberty-driven amorous) young me developed fast friendships with many women. Really, really good ones, too. So many of the women in my life (either ones I dated or not) have been part of it since high school. And friends make the best lovers, says conventional wisdom, so why shouldn’t I be dating these women who I was so close to? I’m sure the reasons varied, and I’m sure more than one of the “like a brother to me” speeches was simply an attempt to save my feelings. But, the reasons aren’t important here. What is important is that I’m recognizing now that the connection I felt with these women wasn’t always amorous; it was platonic, but no less meaningful.
One of the things I’ve heard a lot since coming out has been “I had no idea, but now I understand our friendship”. And while that makes me feel good (it’s certainly affirming to hear that I never seemed like “other guys”), it didn’t really hit me until I was laying out my narrative again for a new care provider. I had all these feelings as a young “boy” for all the amazing women in my life, and because I thought I was male and assumed a certain set of norms and gender roles, I always interpreted those feelings as romantic. Maybe some of them were, but again that’s not germane to this line of thought.
I guess having spent so much time living as a man but not really connecting as one has given me these 2 points of view with which to better evaluate my experiences. Now that I’m on the other side, I see things differently. So, I’m going to start teasing these ideas out more. I think they will help me better understand myself and I also think that it’s a sort of shared perspective, but with the benefit of both perspectives being purely internal.