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Somebody That I Used to Know

“Seriously Michelle, you are going to reference ‘Glee’ yet again? God, I think I’m going to try and find some handmade steampunk themed stirrup pants on Etsy rather than read more of this crap.” I hope not. In spite of my comedicly flat opening here it was my hope that we have something to talk about, plus you simply don’t have the ass for those pants. OK, so I was watching ‘Glee’ and heard the Gotye song, “Somebody That I Used to Know” and thought it was something I thought I would like to hear again. My spouse/sister looked it up on YouTube and we watched a delightful video by the original artist a couple dozen times.

I’d explain the song in detail, but honestly, you are already in front of a computer so go look it up and come back to reading this. Really, it’s worth it. If you are rolling your eyes because everyone already knows about this, all I can say is look, no one who has even read one of my posts before would fling the words “hip” or “with it” or “not pathetically dorky” in my general direction.

The reason this is so popular, other than the gratuitous use of a xylophone and naked people covered in paint, is that it speaks to a very universal phenomenon. To stay on topic and not just write a teenagery gushy tribute to the song, I’m going to take a big leap and say that so many of us in the transgender community have a collection of such somebody’s as a direct result of our existence. I think the goat man [Editors note: Gotye did not choose his name on account of his resemblance to a goat] said it best, “and that feels so rough”. It does feel rough.

Now, I’m not bringing this up as an excuse to air some grievances at individuals who turned away or instituted a policy of radio silence once I came out as trans. OK, maybe a little bit, but I’ll leave out names. Been down that road before in a blog from years past where I under estimated the tendency people have to dive 38 pages deep into a Google search of themselves. I got quite the verbal spanking and promised not to do that again.

Most of the people I came out to reacted way more favorably than I could have hoped for. I will say this, no one told me off or anything, well, except for that one time, but I don’t think that happens much anyway. I wrote to one of my oldest friends and let him know. We were best friends in the first grade and virtually inseparable through all of grammar school and high school, lost touch sometime in college and reconnected on Facebook a few years ago. Just last March he came to my dad’s wake and we pledged to get together for dinner and catch up. Anyway, I wrote him in December. Nothing. I pinged him on my old male Facebook account and asked if he got my letter. Nothing. Now that it’s late spring, I’m beginning to think he’s now just somebody that I used to know.

I had a very close friend in the Air Force whom I loved with an intensity that has only been surpassed by my love for my spouse/sister. We worked together, spent every day together, talked almost every night after I came back to Buffalo, and she even came to my wedding. I wrote her a long letter as well and received only deafening silence in return. Honestly, I would have well preferred a nice venomous “fuck you, freak” because at least then I could have mustered some righteous indignation over the severance of the relationship.

“But you didn’t have to cut me off; Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing… But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough… I guess I don’t need that though, and now you’re just somebody that I used to know.”  It’s true really; all of it. So you all don’t take this the wrong way, yeah, it hurts a little, but just part of life in general. On getting my letter they may very well feel exactly the same way. “Michael” was somebody who they used to know and just got the news that he’s no longer there, and maybe never really was to begin with. Hurt feelings in transition often go both ways, and as much as tell ourselves it’s really only about us, we know that isn’t true, even if we want it to be.

So, as with anything in life, I say goodbye to some old friends, embrace even tighter those who stayed, and welcome new one’s who are happy to know the real me. All said and done, it’s a pretty fair trade if you ask me.  Maybe not so rough after all.

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