Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Heart Will Go On

“My Heart Will Go On” is the title song to the blockbuster movie “Titanic,” sung by Celine Dion. Today, the title is more profound than ever. Today, I have to tell myself, “My heart will go on.” It is what I have to hold onto.

If a person is to live a long enough life and never really find their one true love, then they will, no doubt, find many loves in their lives that give them a glimmer of hope. Others will find their true love at an early age and grow old and be happy the entire time, like our community’s heroes of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon who, after more than 50 years, finally were allowed to get legally married in California.

These days, a glimmer of hope is what I seem to be given, only to see it die out in an instant. But, my heart will go on. It has to. I call it the “Shark Syndrome.” Sharks have to constantly move through the water to stay alive, otherwise fresh water will not pass over their gills. They don’t have the mechanism to pull in water over their gills like fish do. Seems to work, since sharks are one of the oldest species to have lived in the sea. I have to keep my heart out there, constantly moving through the sea of women, or it too will die.

It can be hard for my gay brothers and sisters to find that right person to spend their lives with. The chances for trans people, straight or otherwise, are reduced even more. As a lesbian, just finding a woman who is okay with me being trans can be a challenge worthy of becoming a sequel to “National Treasure,” or “Indiana Jones.” Let’s see. How about, “Monica Helms and the Lost Amazon Tribe of Brazil?" Works for me. At least I got the fedora.

On the 23rd of June, it will be my 11th anniversary of living full-time as a woman, and 3 days later, it will be the 11th anniversary of getting my name changed. In that time, I have had six very strong relationships with women, one lasting for nearly 4 years. The others were from a few weeks to five months. The recent one didn’t fair much better. Each has taught me more about myself and more about being in love as a woman. It’s the training I missed by not being born a woman. All but the one in early 2001 still makes me smile when I think of them. Even the recent one. But, they each have left a hole in my heart. Some bigger than others.

As I keep saying over and over and over again, trans people have to continue to put their hearts out and take a chance. We took the biggest chance ever in changing our sex. Society is usually against us on that. Taking a chance with love is a piece of cake compared to that. Over the years, I have seen so many beautiful hearts, imprisoned behind a wall of pain and fear. I have loved and lost, and I will love and loose again. But, these wonderful trans people will never get that chance to love just once. They won’t give themselves that chance. It saddens me more than the pain I go through loving and losing over and over again.

My pastor told me that I move at a pace faster than most. It frightens people away. It happened once again. He even pointed out the obvious, that I’m Italian and they are an emotional people. I’m only half Italian, but I’m beginning to realize that it’s the emotional half. I do everything in high speed, so I let my emotions out in high speed. I guess I’ll have to wait until I’m eighty before I slow down to the speed of someone in their forties.

In the eleven years I’ve lived as a woman, activism has taken me to the top of Mt. Everest and thrown me to the depths of the Mariana Trench in a heart beat, then back again. The constant successes and failures I have witnessed in the LGBT community across the country have done that to me. The marriages in California surely qualifies as a Mt Everest moment. But, love has also sent me on a similar journey, not always in sync with the highs and lows of the LGBT community.

So, as wonderful same-sex couples take our community to see the world from the top, I write this piece, sitting seven miles below the ocean’s surface, in the darkest reaches of the Mariana Trench. Yes, there is life here, but also coldness. It is the coldness that has gripped my heart. Of course, this is not unfamiliar territory. I guess it’s time to swim back to the surface. I’ll throw a kiss to the Titanic on my way up.


shakay said...

I am genuinely truly sorry, Monica.

Delightfully Imperfect said...

Hi Monica,

I am pleased to see that you did not go down with the sinking relationships; and, I encourage you to continue to find a new one and sail on.

We are all awesome, beautiful and unique people. Weare all so very capable of loving and being loved. Even if it seems as if we at times swim upstream in a downstream would (which can be exhuasting) the end result is if we do not drown we become better swimmers.