The solstice is past and we in the northern hemisphere, especially the northern part of that hemisphere, are looking forward to the lengthening of the daytime, and the corresponding feelings of hope that brings. This past year, the universe has for some reason decided it is time to illuminate me from within, and I am basking in that glow. Yet I can't help myself; I am a true Canadian after all, and this time of outer darkness reminds me of other times and feelings. Simon and Garfunkel's music became an almost constant companion when I started university. One song became my unofficial theme as I tried to cope with what I thought mattered to the world. My song was I Am a Rock by Paul Simon.
A winter’s day
In a deep and dark December
I am alone
Gazing from my window
To the streets below
On a freshly fallen, silent shroud of snow
I am a rock
I am an island
I’ve built walls
A fortress, steep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock
I am an island
Don’t talk of love
Well, I’ve heard the words before
It’s sleeping in my memory
And I won’t disturb the slumber
Of feelings that have died
If I never loved, I never would have cried
I am a rock
I am an island
I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island
And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries
There are so many people who have proven how wrong I was then, but I cannot blame them for not being able to find me or break through my rock hard surface back then.
The song below reflects better than most how I have been and am being treated. Most of all, it is how I want to relate to the world now.
May 2016 be everything your heart desires
When you run out of things to say,
And there’s clouds in your mind,
Everything falls away and you’re wasting all your time.
People can be so cruel girl (and pretend that they care).
We can always fix your world,
‘Cause you know I’ll be there.
You should know you’re always on my mind.
When the rain it keeps coming down
And it’s washing away your smile,
Runnin’ around your town, trying to hide out for a while,
Everywhere you look you’ll see only shadows and pain.
You can always lean on me; get you moving again.
You should know you’re always on my mind.
When you feel you can’t walk one more mile,
You just need a friend to walk you down the road a while.
When you run out of things to say,
And there’s clouds in your mind,
Everyone falls away, they were wasting all your time.
People can be so cruel.
… People can be so cruel.
Everything that happens now will fade away with time.
SCARLETT: Rhett.. if you go where shall I go... what shall I do?
What a terribly serious world it is right now and what a mess we seem to be in. How about some bathroom humour to lighten things up?
Earlier this week Alice and I met up for some lunch and a visit together for the first time in a few weeks. I do look forward to relaxing with her; some girl-time with a good friend. There was another reason for meeting where we did, at a home improvement store. Mrs Halle and I are doing some renovations around the house, and it was time to pick up lots of materials we had agreed on for the project. The appropriate dress for a home improvement store visit is jeans and so I wore jeans and jean jacket over a turtle-neck sweater, all from the gals' side of the clothing store, but very androgynous. Fortunately it was quite warm for this time of year; last year at this time we had lots of snow already. This year, some gloves with the jacket were enough to be comfortable walking outside. I figured at my destination there would be time to fix my hair, put on some concealer, do my eyebrows and put a little mascara on the top lashes. In spite of all efforts to make my lengthening locks look nice it just went everywhere it wanted to. I gave up, texted Alice that I had arrived but was having a bad hair day and seeing her drive in, forgot about the makeup, grabbed my shoulder bag and walked across the parking lot to meet her in guy mode. Or so I thought. After a long drive one of the first orders of business is a visit to the little girls' room, or in my case the men's since I was in male mode... right? As I walked toward a stall, a guy came out of the other one and looked at me kinda funny. I gave it no thought; did my business, washed up and was about to leave when the door opened and a second guy walked in and did a double take as he saw me coming toward him. I just went around him and out the door, quite oblivious to what had happened. But as I stood waiting for Alice to finish in the 'loo, it dawned on me: they both thought I was in the wrong washroom! What a good chuckle Alice had when I told her. Here I was thinking my hair fail and no makeup had caused me to look like a guy. OOPS ~ Wrong! It has only occurred to me since that for many in other places that sort of mistake can be deadly. I am lucky to be living here in a place where all that happens is a couple of shoppers give a puzzled look and my friend and I get a chuckle. It does leave me with a bit of a quandary for future excursions; which washroom to use? Where shall I go? RHETT: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn
Way too often when we look backward in our lives it is with that awful thing; regrets. I don't know about you, but I've done way more than my share of whining about how much better my life might have been. I've even written posts here where I've gone back and met younger versions of myself to give them a little push in another direction, or in a few cases, to meet an alternate and female version of myself in order to find out just how wonderful, or perhaps even mundane and 'normal' life might have been, "If Only..." But the fact is, even years ago, when the darkest of feelings plagued me secretly, and every day was a struggle to keep the façade intact, there were choices that made a huge difference in my life today. There was time spent in conversations with and books recommended by friends that shaped my thinking. There were impulses from out of the blue too, impulses that I followed, and impulses that others followed, and when recalling those now, it is clear that without seemingly random gifts this person I am, currently feeling wonderfully blessed, would not be here, because small but essential pieces of the puzzle would never have fallen into place. I have recently been reminded that even before the façade, before adulthood and the pressures it brought, there were times that were confusing and difficult, yet even then, there was beauty and wonder at work, that has only recently become so very obvious. Whatever we call inner guidance, Aadi, god, or goddess, or even if we never care to name or acknowledge that gifting agent, it is good to be thankful. I feel so very lucky! It does get better.
Grandma used to say "betwixt and between". Can there be anything as simple and boring and wonderful as this? I am a 'tweener at the moment; not a man anymore and not showing the world a woman yet. You don't hear people use that sort of language anymore. Perhaps I will start it up again because I am at about the right age to be given lots of leeway as a member of the older set; an eccentric member too. The good news is, I am generally well liked by the people who matter in my life, with good reasons for simply being me at the moment.
Two months ago the post The Drive to Be, Simply Beintroduced you, gentle reader, to K, my first girlfriend. You were also introduced to my inner debate whether to bring her into a small group; those who know that I am transsexual.
Among the comment stream Tom reflected the heart of my considerations with three essential questions he posed:
"Do I really need this?"
"Does this aid or hinder my journey?"
"Am I aligning myself with spiritual winners or losers?"
During the two months since those comments, K and I have continued our old fashioned correspondence, and it became clear that we should meet. It happened that a family commitment was to bring her relatively nearby; an opportunity that should not be wasted.
We exchanged phone numbers and I warned her before calling that there was something very important and serious coming in the content of that conversation.
As a few people have mentioned to me and I have confirmed, coming out is different for each person. I ended up blurting again, just as I did for my kids back in the spring. K didn't hang up, or tell me how sorry she was. What she did was ask really good questions and then tell me that little things I had included in our email exchange had made her wonder.
And so we did meet, experiencing that wonderful sort of communication that only happens when you are in the presence of the other. There are things that haven't changed in over forty years. She is a super interesting person, open and definitely a spiritual winner; what I call a balloon. It seems clear that resuming and developing our friendship will further two journeys; hers and mine; a wonderful feeling as though I am back on track somehow, having lost an essential part of myself and now having the chance to find it again.
Do I need this chance to be a different sort of friend; perhaps a better friend than I could be so many years ago? Could this growth I feel being with her again be anything other than an essential part of my journey to fullness?
While it might seem that this was a momentous choice given huge thought and consideration, in truth it was a simple thing. I have spread it all out for you to make a nice bit of reading. There is no other way this could have happened, given who she is and who I am now; no longer conflicted. Just the way it is when one is simply being. Thank you for the ear-worm dear K...
Maybe now we could be lovers
We'll share all the darkness in our souls
Don't you tell me lies
I could always see the truth in your eyes
Please don't lead me on
Better just to crush me now and be gone
Way down here under the red lights
We carved our futures on the wall
Somedays seemed too much
I would always bend right under your touch
Morning comes again
I've already move way past all the pain
Gotta rise up
Rise up and take the sky like a new morning sun
If we walk away
Then we walk away never knowing what we could have done
Wondering why is perhaps the longest running impulse we carry from childhood. I know I can hardly wait (think irony here please) until our granddaughter discovers the word.
Asking why is far from childish. After all, in order to fix a problem it is truly helpful to understand the causes. Fixing things is what we often think of first for some reason and in my own case, it seems to me to have been part of my male façade; a male preoccupation. This is not being judgemental at all; just talking about me right now please understand.
For so many years I twisted in that whirlwind. "Why am I a woman and how can such a thing possibly be? What can I do to stop myself from feeling feminine and wanting everything women want?".. and on it went. Of course, the other classic is "Why does this happen to us?" once we meet others who feel the same impulses. We want to validate our own feelings so we do not feel so other.
The thing about all of this is, because you can't go into your brain and alter it, there is no fix in that direction. The fix if you want to call it that, is to accept who you are, and acknowledge that is right and proper for you. You are not flawed; the world is flawed. Put another way, god doesn't make junk.
What we can understand, and then fix, is how we live and act in the world. We can even come close to fixing our body. If fighting our innate feelings has caused us to be deceitful, bitter or withdrawn for instance, as I was, we can stop all of those things. We can find our own way of relating to the world that does not fight against our deepest feelings.
For so very long, Halloween was a time of terrible conflict for me. Dressing as a woman at this time of year is a tradition for many transfolk, and I get that, but somehow it felt like doing drag, and now I understand my dislike was because that meant I was a man in a costume. Women do drag sometimes. One of my favourites is the Charlie Chaplin look, with moustache, long coat, oversized shoes, bowler hat and cane. A tiny woman can pull that one off just fine, and get some laughs.
This year, I joined some fabulous girlfriends for some of the weekend, and we dressed up and went clubbing on Saturday night. I will leave it to them to post photos and such, and I know they will do that and tell the story much better than I. Let me simply say our time together was fun for me, start to sad finish.
Plans are in the works already for next year, but before that, there will be lots of time to spend with good friends just being me, not just for fun, but because that is what friends do.
We love and laugh and cry and care about one another.
Sometimes I wonder where ideas come from; have often theorized that there is a separate part of our soul that connects with the idea fairy... it might be so. So very often these days, wonderful ideas come because of the luck of being connected with some amazing other souls travelling in parallel ... Thank you my dear Smoke Swallow ~ Rouchswalwe, for sending this today
There's a conclusion to my illusion
I assure you this
There's no end to this confusion
if you let it wish you well
soul to sell
highest bidders, can't you tell what you're getting?
There is a light to all this darkness
I will tell you this
there's redemption in you asking them just why it is
Some answers are better left unspoken when you know you ain't getting any younger,
Why we fight to get on loving I've been wondering
How your mind will leave you hanging your heart lingering
then found by whoever stays around, forgetting
There is a way to be yourself, I assure you this
There's a way to catch your dreams without falling asleep
It would have been so much easier if I had a hobby; dressing up and going out with the gurls now and then for fun and then putting it all away for the rest of the month. Harmless fun.
Instead, I had to be me, and what does that mean? Right now, (and remember, I am not full-time yet) it means sore boobs, an extra x minutes to get ready to do anything, and the need to think about how I speak or walk on this particular day and what I eat and oh, get lots of exercise so this changing body doesn't get way out of shape. Oh, and how can I forget, what I am going to wear (the fun part), and whether that is only androgynous, or maybe something to push the boundaries a little.
I seriously wonder if life will ever feel normal again. Feeling normal would mean acceptance (the final stage) by me and by others around me. Yes, you read that correctly; I need to accept me first, and at the moment am stuck swirling in a whirlpool made of those other four stages of grief.
It is all fun and games until you find your heart's desire, and then the serious business of finding your I begins.
Because I didn't do anything special, it is oh so sweet.
The day started with lots of chores to do, so I put on a tee shirt and light sweater and jeans... brushed my hair and went to work.
Sweetie told me that D____ was coming in a while to give her a ride to her luncheon.
I had just come in from shaking out the mat at the front door when I heard a knock on the front door. Looking through the window, I could see it was D____ so I called to the back of the house to alert J_____, and went over to open the door.
As I was opening it, D____ was already talking:
"Sorry to bother you but I'm looking for... "then a wide eyed pregnant pause that I interrupted with "Hi D____ come on in. J______ is expecting you."
Eyes still wide she closed her mouth then opened it again to say
"(insert guy name) !!!?????? I am SO SORRY!! I saw a woman shaking out that mat and thought this was the wrong house."
"No problem D_____" says I, with the start of a grin that didn't fade for a long time.
In reality, I wanted so much to give her a big hug and tell her she made my day.
Amazing how time goes by for me these days! As Meg used to say, Friday the 13th is on a Tuesday this month. I have been so busy and hardly thinking about being trans at all! There is no one thing that has made such a change, but I am sure my body and mind are really happy to be getting their estrogen bath each day.
Nobody should play around with their body chemistry without the help of a specialist with a medical degree. Somehow get to a psychotherapist, and then an endocrinologist before messing with any hormones or blockers. Follow their instructions carefully and be honest about your intentions to yourself and them.
I fully understand the terrific drive to use any means to achieve a goal of wholeness. I know that feeling of wanting to rid myself of the effects of "Mr. T".
On the flip-side, T made it possible for me to escape bullies at school with a single look. It took away the ambiguity in my heart. I was definitely a man, and had no choice but to live that way and do my best to act the part at a time when the term trans was unknown, and being what we now call trans would have been unthinkable. Decades later I can see it differently; notice all I lost because of it, but unlike some, at the time, I didn't hate becoming bigger than the 11 year old child had been. The thing is, nothing about being a man came instinctively to me and I do mean nothing. Everything was acquired by observation or instruction.
I am a twelve year old in hormonal terms again, enjoying all the early signs of what sort of woman I might be soon and finally. My instincts are keen for that body and all the emotions to happen NOW, but I have learned patience. As well, there is a shift in my priorities that I will try to talk about at some future time.
With that in mind, it was so much fun to watch this video. I do love Des and Lacey! So many things Lacey is experiencing resonate. If anything amazing happens here, I'll let you all know. Be safe and do your best to love yourself!
Sadly, the video series that Des and Lacey put up has become unavailable since this post was written ~~~
I have had a Facethingy account used only to find out what our offspring and friends are doing. It is of course in my birth name. I've always been certain that danger lurks in even this tenuous connection to Big Brother.
Recently, someone who knew me well before the great denial of my late teens has found me because in a weak moment, the name of the high school attended got filled in.
This person knew me well, certainly better than most, because she thought of herself as my girlfriend, that is, she thought I was her boyfriend. I of course, (and would never have admitted this) thought of her as my girlfriend too, but I was also her girlfriend. The actual mechanics of that thinking disturbed me so much then. It shamed me. I wanted so much to be a real man for that wonderful young woman. I wanted to find a way for us to be together always. The conflict in me made me drive her away with some very simple words that altered both our life-paths: "I don't think we should be a pair anymore K... "
I saw K after that, and when she moved with her family we exchanged letters as pen-pals, but we could never again have the same hopes for our relationship. Eventually she met her future husband and we lost track of one another.
K and I are both rather old-fashioned and are now exchanging emails in just the same way we once did letters via the postal system. We have made a fairly good start at catching up.
It is now time to decide just how much to share, and in my case whether to become a real person, not just a reflection of a somewhat phoney person from the past. Is it time to let her know exactly who she might have had a longer relationship with in a different world, and more importantly, who she might get to know even better now?
Can I live with the risks of being true to myself even though the remnants of a life projecting a façade are still all around? If I don't, what other risks will I be unable to face?
Maybe the previous post might not show the happy and productive gal at her best. Or maybe it might. Yes, I am a happy and productive gal at last. (ed. But isn't that all in your mind Halle?)*. Well, yes, the outer presentation hasn't gone all gal yet, although my collection of very androgynous clothing has come in handy making me feel at least a bit normal. That which is inside, the part that makes me say the gal is productive, is a calm never experienced in my memory. I feel ...right. Reading Tammy's post Everything Changes reminded me that HRT is likely responsible. What a wonderful post it is by the way. She writes: What I did not expect was what I experienced over the first few weeks and months of my hormone therapy. Physical changes did occur as expected, but the mental, emotional and possibly even spiritual effects of estrogen on my system were phenomenal. The changes are subtle physically in my case so far (two months today), but I find it hard to imagine that those mental and emotional effects haven't been noticed. My spiritual side has definitely been re-energized as well. And somehow love is finding me unbidden. A wonderful friend sent me a book in the mail yesterday. As is my habit with a book of its sort, this afternoon I opened it at random, and read:
Something mysteriously formed,
Born before heaven and earth,
In the silence and the void,
Standing alone and unchanging,
Ever present and in motion.
Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things.
I do not know its name.
Call it Tao.
For lack of a better word, I call it great.
*With no apologies to my good friend Abigale whose editor makes regular appearances on her blog Abigale's Airings
I feel the need to engage and be part of something more.
Today's post is not trans related, but it is about something rather important. It is about an invitation to those who, like me, have wondered if it is possible for my spirituality, which somehow survived religion rather than being fed by it, to find a relevant community.
We are living in very dangerous times. Extremist religions threaten to arm themselves with the most destructive weapons humans have invented. The power to end this seems to be under the control of those who are convinced that this life is nothing and the afterlife is all.
At the same time, through greed and neglect, our planet is convulsing with climate change effects. Too many leaders argue that this is not caused by humans, and we needn't concern ourselves. If there is a uniting spirit behind all life, I believe it is calling out to all of us to take heed of the violence of the storms.
I have begun to read a book, With or Without God by Gretta Vosper. The subtitle is "Why the way we live is more important than what we believe".
Gretta admits that as a woman, ordained in a mainstream church, something that has been possible only recently in the close to two millennia of Christianity, her perspective is different:
Once ordained, women gained access to a power structure they had recognized from the outside as displaying many of the features of archaic institutions; they saw where it was hierarchical, self-preserving, bigoted, chauvinist, and dulled by successive generations of leaders whose circumcised intellect prevented them from exploring beyond their own reiterated dogma and canonical laws.
Vosper asks the important questions right away:
Can the church slough off the encrustations of two millennia of ecclesial doctrine and theology in order to address the world's most urgent needs? Can it let itself dissolve into the pool of ideals, and hope-filled primordial elements out of which it once grew and find in a new mix, in new combinations of those elements, something of value to offer the world?
She seems to be intent on answering yes to these questions, convinced that church and religion can work and be relevant. It seems tantalizing to me. I will read this book and if there is something further to say, perhaps will post again.
I am willing to be convinced that it is possible to somehow use this opportunity to be part of a paradigm shift. If it is possible to save the planet and humanity with it by rediscovering a spirituality that is the root of all of our current religions, I am very interested. I will finish Gretta's book at the very least.
Many are asking me how HRT is affecting me, and of course, the answer is, it is way too early for any effects worth mentioning. Am I at all concerned about the possible effects? Yes, absolutely!
In two years, I will officially be able to compete in sporting competitions as a woman. Clearly, some statistician has determined that this is long enough for my body to be officially in the normal range for female strength and speed and the like. Now, at 65 years of age, it seems unlikely I will running the 100m dash, or be hefting those 20kg bags of stuff around at that point. I never was a runner, and can barely manage that big bag of stuff now. We will simply have to buy smaller containers of stuff or find a sturdy (male?) friend to help. We will manage somehow.
No, that doesn't concern me at all, because the only sport I am fond of is golf, and if my average distance that I can send a ball becomes less than now, that will be just fine. Golf is a game (Mark Twain's good walk spoiled comment notwithstanding) and I shall have fun no matter.
There are other much more serious matters on my mind.
It seems from looking around at how women are treated here, and in other parts of the world that I need to be concerned that I will gradually become less technically adept (here ma'am, let me show you how to do that). In some places women are not allowed to drive a car.
It seems I will be less intelligent and emotionally unstable to the point where in some places I wouldn't be able to get an education or hold office, or even vote in some cases. Even getting a job will be harder, and if I do, it is likely my pay will be less than it would have as a man.
I will have the advantage of being quite senior, so shouldn't have to worry about being forced into sex with someone I don't care for or even know, and yet, in May of this year in the UK, and last month in Brooklyn senior women learned otherwise.
I am guessing that these are only a few of the things that living female will cause me to rethink. Lots of good things too... hopefully.
In 2010, three posts called conversations appeared here, in which the male and female sides of my person at that time were given a chance to have their say.
Over five years worth of change have happened (I almost put the word growth there, but it seems unfair somehow to suggest loss of maleness is so positive), chronicled in these letters to a younger self.
Looking back, it seems the personalities writing those conversations could not be mine, and yet, I do remember the feeling of having two people, quite separate vying for attention and a life.
One commentator suggested in the third instalment
"I think when these two parts become one you will be one happy bunny"
and she was so right, for to say I am a "happy bunny" is an understatement. Estrogen has not yet had a chance to have much effect, yet I just love knowing my body is finally getting a chance to catch up to my mind and heart. Waking in the morning feeling no inner conflict is an amazing feeling, one that most people take for granted.
My friend Liz suggested it was probably time for this blog to become a venue for updating how changes are coming along, and I agree. You all know me well enough though to figure out the sort of thing I am not likely to do. So, for instance, no counter telling you how long since I started anti-androgens, and now HRT. I don't even remember when the doctor first prescribed spironolactone for instance. At this point, I can pinpoint the first time I smeared on the estrogen gel...and by the way, the smell (probably alcohol-based to promote evaporation) will very likely always have positive associations for me. The commitment to my sweetie to present as a male for her benefit might seem like a terrible setback to some, and yet once I got my head around it, this goes very nicely with my determination to never shout at the world "I AM A WOMAN!". I am not doing this for the sake of getting a label. Rather, labels will be the function of what people see and get from my presence in their life. I will try to keep clothing as neutral as possible, figuring that those who know me already will continue to believe I am presenting as male, and others will see whatever they want to see. I have quite a few woman's slacks and jeans and tops that nobody has seemed to notice so far. Otherwise, activities which have never been gender biased will continue. Like a person who has been in a hospital gown for a long time (you know the ones open at the back so the world can see your tush) and has got beyond caring, being self-conscious has become a thing of the past. I know that when people look at me, the first thing they are noticing and now and then commenting upon, is my lengthening and wavy hair. At about the same time, their eyes are wandering south a bit.. let us say the shirts are revealing some new features (you know the ones I mean). I haven't had any visible body hair now for many months, and when I am in shorts, eyes definitely head way south... and that puzzled look furrows a few brows. No comments on hairless chest and legs however. There is a very good possibility that at some future point, I will no longer be able to "pass" as male. Won't that be a terrible shame for some who care about the binary so very much. Only one person in my life matters in this regard, and yes it worries me that this slow-motion change will not bring her along fast enough, but she knows me and nothing that has actually happened has scared her.
If you have the idea that passing as anyone other than myself is unimportant to me, you have read this perfectly. The adventure is now to find that authentic me.
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.
The previous post left you thinking that my sweetie is amazing and she is. And yet, if it were up to her, I would never have made that trip that day. If it were up to her, I would never have realized I am trans, and all of this would go away. As patient and loving as she is, she wants desperately to live with a man.
There are women in my life who are like sisters to me. Steadfast and true. Bear with me as I tell you about two who have helped me change my life.
Coline and I have been corresponding for years now. She lives across the pond, but that hasn't stopped us from getting to know one another, and finding out how much like twins we are. Heavens, we finish each others sentences or type the very same thing back at one another simultaneously in most of our chats.
Alice and I only met this past February, and in that short time have come to be so close. She and I live in close enough proximity that we can visit regularly, just for lunch sometimes, which we do.
Last week, I probably wouldn't have made it to that appointment without the support of these two. As mentioned in the previous post, I was in a terrible turmoil about going. Neither of them talked me into doing anything, but they boosted my self-confidence and reminded me of things I have said and told them.
I know Coline would have come with me on that long drive if she could, but it was Alice who told me she would love to be part of this big day. She did the driving. When we stopped for the inevitable first trip to the ladies' room, she was by my side (in the next stall!) to make sure I didn't get into any trouble. Lunch together was so relaxed. Well, just like two girlfriends out together, because that is what we are!
As the day went by, it became so clear to me that I was in my element finally, but I cannot leave the topic of that day, without singing the praises of friends who stick closer than a sister, mine or anyone else's for that matter.
There is a lot to do here chéz Halle. So much to do that I almost feel embarrassed taking time to sit here and tap away, but it has been five weeks since the last time the need presented itself. Much has happened, and I believe that post left you hanging. An update is only fair, for I learned some important things from that experience that I'd like to record here.
First of all, my perspective on being trans has shifted. Up until eight days ago, I had never ventured out presenting as myself (female that is) and on that day, after a kiss goodbye to Mrs H, out that door I went, hopped into the car and off I went to the big city for an appointment with an endocrinologist. This is not something I did without serious soul-searching. I do tend to overthink everything. But I had help finding myself in all that thinking. It turns out, the biggest help was this blog thanks to Cassidy via Alice. "Tell her to read her own blog!" There in so many forms were messages that supported my best nature. I haven't looked back since and the doctors agreed that this body needs estrogen to support that nature.
What else have I learned?
Clothing isn't what I am all about. Yes, I loved choosing and wearing clothing to suit my mood and the purpose of that day. I look forward to other times and places that will allow me to show off this body in transition. In the end however, who I am is not what I wear.
It isn't necessary or even desirable to tell people that you are trans. I have decided to let them find out as time and HRT makes it more than obvious who they are seeing. I even intend to wear a somewhat androgynous wardrobe that will evolve as I do. Giving people a heads up only made them anxious about things that didn't affect them. I have no idea why taking sides and laying blame is so popular an activity, but it became so divisive for my sweetie and I as those "helpful friends and relatives" heaped all of their own fears on top of the ones we had already.
There are all kinds of other things learned, but here is the really big one.
My sweetie is an amazing person and she deserves better than she has got, but her strength and love have kept her from running away in spite of all the pressures to do so. Her needs and those pressures from outside have sometimes forced me to temper the pace of change, but she has our happiness as her goal, and because of that, we are still together. If that changes, I do not believe our parting will be hateful, but one that acknowledges and respects.
among a myriad that are running about in my mind right now: Friendship and Female Role and Image Not possible to run through the whole thing for either in a post, but I am not your ordinary dame, so here I go. For most of my life presenting and convincing the world I'm male very successfully, I've seen one side of the Platonic relationship between men and women issue. It has been frustrating for the women I've known. We would get to know one another and share our expertise in some area or many, and then would get to that point where they want more... and I get all puzzled and then remember that they think that a man should want more from them.. he should want a sexual relationship of some sort; possibly superficial, possibly serious, but he should want something more because after all, isn't that all a man really wants anyway?? This past week I have ventured into that same issue from a different tack. As I told a male pal about his friend D, it didn't occur to me, but then it came back around from another friend in the know he had talked to; he wonders if as a woman I will still be his good friend. Can I still be his buddy? Can I? Of course I can.. after all I am still ME! right??? This new dame may be somewhat clueless or she may be on the right side of a more serious issue. This morning in BroadBlogs, they have touched on the Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair cover and what it says about how an older transsexual views womanhood. I have looked at that photo a few times and each time have taken close note of the feelings it has evoked in me. Some envy; after all Caitlyn has the money and lots of expertise at her disposal to appear to be young and sexy. Nothing at all wrong with wanting those things. Something else too though, and that something gets a good going over in an article by Rhonda Gerelick in the New York Times, where she notes "some disturbing truths about what we value and admire in women." I feel better having read this. It says I am on the right track wondering about what sort of woman I am, and not feeling that it is necessary for me to follow some stereotype in order to fit in. Perhaps along the way to being me I will find more to being a woman than I ever imagined.
My sweetie has been such a trooper. Under tremendous pressure of changes nobody else she has ever known has experience with, she has made a choice. She and I will transition together. But what does that mean in reality?
This morning she told me one more time that I can't understand what she is going through.
She is right of course, and yet, it is not her who is bringing stress upon her. It is someone who thinks she is being a loyal friend.
Perhaps the most amazingly stupid question ever asked a transsexual, or her partner: "Have you given any thought to how what you are doing will affect those around you?"
This loyal friend isn't actually asking that, but she and her husband are evoking it. Over and Over...
Every day or so, they are making her aware of their fears that she and I will have no friends once transition becomes obvious to everyone.
They might be right.
We both hope they are wrong.
Yet I cannot help but think that a real friend will try to offer support for the path their friend has chosen.
I wonder when that part will begin, because if it doesn't start soon, this death by a thousand cuts will have to come to an end.
A friend and I were talking about something that has begun and is very important for me; finding ways of letting friends and loved ones know what is happening in your life as you are beginning the process of transition. She went through this some years ago and admitting no two people found out in the same way. This is particularly important if you are hoping as I am, to be able to show those you care about that you trust them to be constant as your friend. To do this, they need to be let in on the secret before it becomes obvious to anyone that you are transitioning. Then it comes as a shock, and they are thinking "why didn't she (wishful thinking this is the pronoun) tell us long ago?" At some point in the chat, we came to a question very likely to be asked: "Why now? Why not put transition off longer? You have been able to put it off until now." If you cannot answer this one, well, then you should put it off. Perhaps a harder and related question is "Why did you wait so long before declaring this is something that must happen?" The really short answers go like this. I waited because I could. I am not putting it off any longer, because I can't. Another question that is going to get asked: How do your spouse and kids feel about what is happening? Our kids told me they know that no matter what, I will be the same person for them; always their dad. My sweetie has told me she will support me, and wants us to transition together.
Every now and then I check which of my posts here are trending that day, and go back and read it again. Overnight a few nights ago, there had been seven “hits” on one post from 2011: Feeling Disjointed
On a day with only nineteen visits so far, that seemed to indicate a puzzling coincidence; a coincidence even more striking when I look that post over and realize that today’s message is not so very different in one way, and so amazingly different in another.
One morning this past week, I said some “cannot be unsaid” things to my sweetie. Though it is still my greatest hope that she and I can stay together, there was no way I could live with dishonesty any more, pretending to be coping well. A change has happened in my search for wholeness. She has put up with a lot over the years and now is definitely the time when she needs to know as much as I do, so she can decide if she wants to stay around for another and perhaps even more difficult time with me.
Thanks to a lot of help from a few friends (you know who you are) the past two years have been very productive personally, finding myself and slowly developing a certainty of who really inhabits this body. It is time to stop pretending and take the dive into womanhood. I don’t know when ‘full-time’ will happen, but happen it will in order to fulfill a promise I have made to me; live as fully as possible, be true to myself with no regrets. It may sound dramatic, but life as a man was going to end soon one way or another, and I'm not ready to send myself into the great mystery of death. I am heading into another adventure convinced that my best case scenario would be to go into that life with my sweetie as best friend and lover. Yet I know losing her is not the worst case scenario.
If there is such a thing as a promise made to oneself, I have a strong suspicion it is made to us before we are born. Perhaps the potential for an interesting life and all that goes with it was promised to me. It seems that I am a version of me who is going to enjoy the full benefit of that promise.
I feel fresh and new. I don’t know what my dear sweetie is going to decide for herself. Whatever it is, I hope with all my heart that it makes her happy too eventually.
So, to borrow from that post three and a half years ago:
But be ready for that personal journey to reveal some surprises.