Even though I am at an early stage of my transition (I live nearly every day in women's clothing and make up but my wife still sees me as a man and my family doesn't know yet though I am sure they suspect), I am finding it more and more difficult to align my past identity with my present one. In many aspects I am extremely lucky that I am able, as an artist, to speak through my work and though I have always hidden who I was until this last year (and of course I am still hiding) my work has consistently focused on gender identity for the past 5 or 6 years. Today I wanted to view some of my old work from the past decade and to put together a small collage of images that tracked the changes in it. What I ended up with was a collage of images of me with my works (most of which is very large hence my inclusion) and suddenly I was really effected by these older images of myself. I have spoken with my therapist about this issue in the past and explained that I do not wish to attempt to deny who I was before, but just seeing those images was really poignant, something felt really different.
I am lucky in many ways that I have a wonderful wife who is adjusting to who I am and that I work in higher education where for the most part diversity is accepted and encouraged (usually), but somehow I can not figure out how to really tackle this issue. As a instructor I do my best to try and get my students comfortable with having a transgender professor (though truly most are very open and accepting) and one of the ways that I do this is through sharing my work with them. Discussions are therefore going to take place and are encouraged by me but right now all I can really do is express the sadness and emptiness that I felt in the past. I am therefore not doing a very good job aligning my history with who I am now since not all of my past was unhappy. I want to be someone who is helping to grow understanding and compassion in the schools that I work in but I am sure my students can feel my confusion and uncertainty. No doubt for everyone it is entirely different but I am a bit stuck. I looked for blogs with this type of discussion and I couldn't see any, I am currently reading a lot of transgender studies collections and books like Transgender Warrior, so I am definitely getting some ideas. Additional voices would be helpful in this matter too. I thought "Prodigal Sons" was really powerful in regards to this issue of past history are their other similar films, books, or essays that could be suggested?