Once you move to the other side, it gets very lonely and scary. Eventually, you find new friends and make new connections. But the first months are very sad because you now lead a double life. You have to fake and pretend to be who you no longer are. And as much as you want to preserve the relationships you had before the change, they crack and break under the pressure of unfairness and resentment. If one person in a relationship can express her opinions freely and the other one can’t without putting her career at risk, the result is a dishonest, tortured quasi-friendship that will eventually fizzle out.
And yes, these were not true friends, blah blah. The true friends are all reading this blog and know everything, so of course I don’t mean true friends. The true friends are by now completely resigned to my very protean nature. The poor long-suffering true friends.
But there are also the people I see every day. It’s not easy to feel constantly like an impostor, a person with a huge, dark, scary secret. Every conversation these days starts and ends with COVID. It just does. And if you aren’t crazy enthusiastic about masks and vaccines, everybody knows how you vote. My strategy is to pretend I need to visit the bathroom whenever a dangerous subject crops up. It got so, a colleague offered the number of her gastroenterologist.
I remember being terrified that other kids would find out I have a Jewish father. This feels similar.