This article is much shorter than my others and comes with a small amount of homework. You can choose to do the homework or not there will be no grade given by me.
First the homework. The assignment is to read Circle of Stones; Woman’s Journey To Herself by Judith Duerk. It being a short 70 pages makes it a quick read and it contains a great message. The book deals with the self discovery of one’s place in womanhood. It speaks many times of a circle or gathering of women who counsel, comfort, and console each other, with the younger women joining the circle as a rite of passage into womanhood. The title is intended to be a metaphor where the circle of stones are the women in the group. Strong and steadfast in their knowledge of self and their place in the world.
Throughout my life I have had “stones”. Strong women who have helped me when I was going through the worst feelings of sadness and depression. I found comfort in their company, in their guidance and in their examples. My mother is the first of these. She worked tirelessly to support our family and the people she cared for, rarely taking any time for herself. Over the years I have collected other “stones”. Sisters (both by blood and chosen), teachers, and friends. Some have come and had small influences in my life, while others are nearly as large a figure to me as my mother.
The book talks of younger women joining the circle when it is time. When they have found their knowledge and wisdom. I have been on a journey collecting knowledge and wisdom. Throughout much of my life this knowledge came through masculine means. i.e. “This is what it means to be a man.” This type of pattern always felt to me as if it weren’t enough. There should be more meaning, more connection to life. It has been through my journey of transition that I am finally finding what was missing. I have been living now for nearly a year as a woman. Do I now know a lot about womanhood? No, far from it. Each little bit of womanly knowledge I am finding is filling a void in me which I never could fill previously. I am becoming a more complete person.
Many of you know I have moved across the country from Highlands Ranch CO to Erie PA for employment reasons. The timing of this move in relation to my transition is amazing. I am starting life again in a new city where very few if any will ever know my old name or identity. My opportunity to grow as a woman with this change is immense. I may still be seen as a transgender person and this is more than acceptable to me. The idea of being me and only me from the start in a new place is so exciting. I will bring portions of the old me along. Those experiences made me who I am. I can not abandon them. While I leave behind some of my “stones” their impacts will always be in my heart.
I have been through my sadness and my depressions for long enough to finally emerge as the person I truly am. I have grown, as a woman, so much over the last year. I am ready to join my sisters in the circle of womanhood.