Be Careful What You Wish For

Because wishes can come true…

I remember this line from the movie, “The Incredible Mr. Limpet.” Looking back on my life, all the time I spent wishing to be female did eventually come true. It wasn’t magic, but I do wonder sometimes what part all those wishes sent out into the universe played.

When I was a child my last thought before falling asleep was always, “I wish I was a girl.” In fact, this wishing went on well into my adulthood. I don’t think there were many nights the thought of being the opposite gender wasn’t on my mind until after I transitioned. That’s a lot of thought energy sent in a particular direction. If thought has any power in moving each of us toward a goal I would imagine that should have moved the needle. When I examine the thought, “I want to be a girl” a little more closely I also have to admit it means, “I don’t want to be myself.” Taken further, it could be interpreted to mean, “I don’t want to be.” Now, this starts to be a little frightening. Especially given the percentage of Trans women who eventually commit suicide. If those of us who wish or have wished to be female are also saying, “I don’t want to be” every night, we should perhaps give this thought a little more consideration.

I remember an event in my own young life where I nearly died. I was thirteen and was on a swim team with my 3 brothers. We swam 5 days a week, sometimes two times a day. We were often working out upwards of 4 or 5 hours a day. We were unbelievably fit, and of the 4 of us, I was the fastest. I used to regularly win events a large county-wide swim meets and held numerous swim records in different events. When I look at old photos of us then, it’s no wonder. I was also bigger than my brothers. At every growth milestone, I was taller and heavier than any of them. But all this glory stopped one night after swim practice while we waited for our ride. All of the swimmers used to wait in front of a local hotel for our parents to pick us up after practice. One of our friends who had just turned 16 was there driving his parents’ car for the first time. He was older than the rest of us, and about a dozen of us stood by his car and admired his new position behind the wheel. Unbeknownst to me, my friend had his car in gear as he sat in the driver’s seat chatting. This became a very significant detail because I had just decided to lie down in front of his car as a joke. Unfortunately, he didn’t see me there and began to pull away from the curb. Within a few seconds, the trajectory of my life changed forever as I passed under the front bumper of the car and was rolled and crushed underneath it as it moved forward. The only reason I wasn’t killed was that a few of my fellow teammates jumped on the hood of the car and got the driver to stop.

I didn’t die but came very close. My heart had been bruised and one of my lungs collapsed. The doctors at the hospital I was taken to performed an experimental procedure on me that night to drain my heart sac. If they hadn’t I would have died of congestive heart failure. My religious mother even had a priest read me my last rights. Fortunately, I managed to get past this darkest moment, but my swimming career ended. It took me months to recover and I spent two weeks in the ICU alone. My system was so devastated that I didn’t grow at all that year and my younger brother hit puberty before me. After that, he was always bigger and my athleticism was never again as impressive. Although the event was definitely catastrophic, I realized later it had been a critical detour that led to my successful passing as a woman post-transition. That year of lost growth was probably the difference. I went from someone with a height trajectory of 6'4 or 6'5 to a more modest 6'1. Looking back I can’t help but wonder about all those nights wishing to be a girl. Did that immense desire and directed thought have something to do with that night when I was run over by a car?

Who can know? However, I am more careful when I wish for something these days. I don’t know if the universe is listening, but if it is, it seems to have a very literal way of interpreting our thoughts. If the event that changed my life trajectory is an example of how it operates, I’m not sure I would recommend it as the best method by which to arrive at your dreams. If the Universe is listening to them, it seems it may have a toll to extract in return.



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Genivieve is a Transgender Artist living in Santa Barbara California.