Games and Frontiers

| Jul 15, 2013
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Ever play a Video Game?

Dumb question it seems. After all, most people capable of reading this on a computer have at one time or another played a game.

Video game screen

Circus Atari. Cutting Edge

When I was growing up, we had these things called “Arcades” where you could play pinball and video games for a quarter a play. And in the late 1970s, something called the Atari 2600 was released. My brother and I got one to share Christmas 1982.

Like everyone else we were hooked.

Video games have improved tremendously in the ensuing time. What we thought was state of the art even ten years ago now looks crude and dated. Never mind what the 2600 graphics look like today!

My favorite video game of all time was released in 1996. Twisted Metal 2 (TM2) My brother in law brought a Playstation to the annual beach vacation and hooked me on the game. I eventually bought a Playstation and the game and played it endlessly. Cars with weapons. Couldn’t beat that (especially in Baltimore where people can NOT drive!)

Video Game Screen

Twisted Metal 2 Screen

There have been many sequels to TM2. TM3 was disappointing. TMBlack was amazing. But nothing would ever beat TM2 for me. I still play it. As you can imagine, I’ve become quite good at it.

Like many games, TM2 has levels and settings that become progressively harder. And here is where I start my little metaphor.

Like a game, the Transgender Tapestry has many levels and settings. So many shades of colors.

None of them are easy.

For the purpose of this piece, I will use the three levels of TM2: “Easy,” “Medium,” and “Hard.”

At its simplest setting is the person who feels the mildest dysphoria. Who never dresses. Perhaps they are an admirer. The next setting could be the person who wears lingerie under their guy clothes.

The “first Boss” is definitely the Door. That door to wherever you dressed… the door to the Outside world. So tough… so difficult… until you open it and walk through it. Then you do it again and again… and that level is conquered. Some people are happy never to fight that first boss, and keep to that level. And that’s fine. That’s where they are comfortable. That’s their Zone. And the door isn’t available when the game is in “Easy” mode.

Sophie in early days

“Medium” mode Sophie

Okay, those who kept going are out and about presenting a whole New set of challenges. People staring. Pointing. Perhaps laughing. You find allies to help in the fight. Sisters to add their unique special powers to your own. Group Play. Sometimes One on One.

You learn new skills and earn new rewards. And Most people stop here. Because they never unlock the next level. This is also the last level where the “Reset” button is an option. Purging. It’s unavailable on the “Easy” and “Medium” modes. So many also Quit the game here. Unplug.

The next level: therapy. Learning the depths of their soul. Probing the darkness. So much harder. Many people get lost in that darkness. New skills are learned. No one can finish this level alone.

Many more Unplug.

The path to the next level is there in the darkness. It’s only available in the “Hard” setting.

The next level is HRT. It’s usually found after lots of tears and hardships.

Now, some people use “cheat codes” and skip previous levels to get to this one. Many who do meet bad endings. The game breaks down.

Sophie June 2013

Sophie on HRT, Six Months

HRT: a new frontier. New skills to learn. New experiences. New Obstacles. And after playing on this level for a while, there is no going back to the earlier levels. The game is set to “Hard” for good. For the few left in the game, there is a Brutal Boss that needs to be fought.

Real Life.

And the quest to salvage relationships. To prepare for the final level. The one that few reach. The one few WANT to reach.

GCS. THE Surgery. Womanhood in body as well as soul.

And there the Game ends. But the new game begins. The Sequel: Life as a Woman. The rest of your life. Acquiring new skills and applying the ones you learned in the first game. So hard.

But so rewarding to those who Needed it.

Life. The way they needed it. And was it worth the Pain? The Sacrifices? The Time — the Endless Hours, Days, Years spent playing?

I can’t answer that. Only those who have done it can do that. And some of them DO tell us. They share the skills they learned. People like my “Big Sis” Mel. Like Donna Rose. Like Mara Keisling, Jennifer Finney Boylan and so many many others. Still others keep the secrets and go stealth. They take their pieces and go home. Disappear. And that’s okay too. It’s their Life. Their needs.

We all play games in one way or another. Some as simple as Hide and Seek. Some incredibly complex. Some for nothing; others for extremely High Stakes.

Sometimes, like this one, the Highest Stakes of All. Our lives, and the lives of those we love.

It’s hard. And to Quote Jimmy Dugan: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

But after all this, you may shake your head and say “But Sophie, this ISN’T a game we’re playing! This is our life!”

To which I say “Yes, you are correct. But that doesn’t mean that, like a Game, we can’t have a little Fun!”

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion

Sophie Lynne

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