Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another reason I love my City By the Bay

  Last Sunday was interesting.  We went into the City to visit my little sister, her husband and their new baby girl (she's adorable and beautiful and perfect, btw).   I came out to my family of origin maybe three years ago (decades later, they finally listen!) and they are accepting.  But after writing my previous posts, I realized that a *lot* of my depression was stemming from having to hide as many visual cues as I could and trying to maintain behaviors that were broken.

  I've been living an odd double life these last couple of years, in that sort of Victor-Victoria kind of way.  Mostly, I thought, for the benefit of my employers and co-workers (and our bank accounts and mortgage payments and...).  Monday mornings are the worst.  There have been times when I'd be crying as I put on my binder to hide the changes I was supposed to be celebrating.  By Tuesday or Wednesday I would be numb inside, again.  That kind of messes with your head and emotional well being week after week, going on several years now.  Weekends and non-working hours weren't much better as I felt I had to do what I could to hide the developing changes any time I was out in public.  I don't want to be seen as transgender or as a feminine or gay guy.  Not just for my job safety but because it's not who I am.  Half-and-half or in-between or somewhere on some spectrum for me is as bad as being seen and treated as a guy.

  I don't get all cross-dressed and go out, nor do I play dress up or "allow (overly feminine name) to come out" on the weekends (or whenever CD's do their thing).   I tried once or twice but it felt like Halloween, or stage acting.   If that works for you, go for it.  Have fun.  I felt foolish.  My problem (though I couldn't see it at the time having blocked out everything) was with my body first and my social role second.  Not my clothes.  Like I said, if that's your thing, good for you.  I envy you.

  I stopped buying men's jeans altogether two years ago when they stopped fitting.  I've kept to wearing loose men's t-shirts or the untucked-collared-shirt style to hide my shape, particularly my waist and hips and rear.  At work I wear a long binder; men's office attire hides the rest of my "flaws" automatically.  My hair is now long enough to keep in a ponytail but for work I just keep it back behind my ears.  My coworkers think I'm a little odd but they always have, in that weird-but-nice kind of way.  Not many black whiskers left, just a few stragglers and the whites that electro will take care of.  So, I've been passing as male the way most FTM's pass.   I just had no idea what it was costing me inside.  I wasn't ready to move forward despite needing very painfully to move forward.  I just couldn't feel it (or anything else for that matter) until recently.

So...on Sunday I simply didn't hide.  I wore my usual jeans but with a clingy-thin knit shirt.  In bright red.  No binder, just a jogging bra.  I let my hair do what it wanted, with just a few little styling nudges from me.   When we were walking from the car I saw myself in a window.  I looked...cute!  Yes, I know.  Grown women don't like to look "cute".  Bite me,  I looked cute.  I discovered I have a figure.  And pretty good hair.  Best part was, I didn't care.  I was with people I loved, walking to go see more people I loved.  And I noticed something as we walked, entered the lobby and waited for the elevators.  Men took one look at us and ignored us.  Women gave the little eye contact and tiny smile and then...stared.  Every one of them locked eyes with me, staring.  Friendly eyes and smile but still...staring.  I smiled back because, well, I was happy and felt friendly.  At first I thought it was some alpha female thing, or maybe they were being outright hostile and I just couldn't read it.  Then my wife said, "they can't figure out if you are trans or a butch or both".

I'll take that reaction, at least for now.  It's not the first time someone thought I might be a FTM.  I knew when I (re)started this four years ago (after decades of dissociative amnesia and other wonderful adaptations to childhood trauma) that at some point I would unblock the need to socially be accepted as a woman.  And I knew that when I did, it would hit *hard*, and it would hurt a *lot*, and I would have to fix it.

I'm almost there.  And it doesn't scare me any more.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Correlation is not causation.

According to the website, [ http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003192/ ], the likelihood of a person getting struck by a piece of the UARS satelite when the biggest pieces of hit the Earth sometime in the next few days will be 1 in 3200. 

All things considered, not a very comforting number.  Some say the chance of being born with a TS condition is as high as 1 in 3000.

(That is actually the chance of ANY human getting hit.  The chance of any given individual being a casualty is 1 in 22,400,000,000,000.  About the same chance as being a 43 year old ambidextrous woman with TS, two dogs and a single, filled cavity in her mouth.  Who loves to listen to Elaine K. sing.  ....Oh, crap.)

According to a woman astronomer I know, if you want to watch for it, don't go to the site that the media is pushing, you'll never get through.  Go here instead: [ http://www.infosatellites.com/uars-satellite-tracking-norad-21701.html ].  Watch the altitude in km; when it gets to about 120 km (not miles!) it'll start it's "final descent" as the airline pilots say.

Also burning into nothingness this week is my stubbornness to remain bitter and depressed and grudgingly fight off transition with each dragging step.  I found someone's blog and her early transition posts really, really helped.   She reached a point several months in  where she just said, "Phooey, this is supposed to be a *good* thing, a happy thing I'm doing!", and something just clicked in my head; it's the drama that will kill you.

Fasten your seatbelts and make sure your tray tables are in an upright and locked position...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dark Side Cookies

Teagan noticed that I'd mentioned suicide in a couple of posts.  It took getting to where I am now to realize it, but suicide is something I can be fairly sure won't happen, at least not in the next four or five decades.  I don't fear it anymore, either.  Suicidal thoughts are a sign of pain but not ones that can control me ever again.

There was a time a year ago when the thought of not being around in July of 2011 gave me an odd sense of peace.  Something to look forward to.  That scared me.

There have been a few times - okay, a lot of times - in the last four years when things converged, like wonky hormone cycles, missed hrt shots, revelations about my past and a hopelessness for the future that pushed me into deep, dark depressions.  But after a while the state of mind became familiar, and I learned a few things.

I learned that if you sit on the edge of a cliff long enough you lose that impulse to hurl yourself into space. 


I learned that making slow incremental progress does not alleviate the pain of being TS; they are just practical steps that are in the way and need to get done.

I learned that for me there's only getting better by moving forward in transition or sliding back into repression and amnesic fog.  It's a constant fight every moment I'm awake.  But those defenses are falling apart and someday they'll find they are not needed any longer.

I learned this thing labeled transition, this great fixing of myself, is not about 'becoming a woman'.  It's about shedding away things that aren't me.  It's an unraveling and untangling and discovering and reweaving.  It's about recognizing that I was right all along about my body being wrong, and fixing it as best I can.  And to do so I would have to face a few scary things buried deep inside.

I learned that I have a drive to love and protect and nurture my family that is stronger than anything else I have inside me.

I learned that I have the potential to be an awesome parent and partner.  In the words of a former Second Wave Feminist, anti-trans lesbian therapist, I have, "an incredible maternal instinct".

I have a fair way to go.  There's damage I haven't yet uncovered.  But I'm learning, grudgingly, that I do have something solid and level and good to build on.  It just took burning down the previous structure to see it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sometimes, life rewards you.

Our daughter is what is known as, "2E", or "twice exceptional".   She's highly gifted *and* has sensory issues.  She also has what are known as "shadow syndrome" attributes.  Almost this diagnoses and almost that one, but a crucial piece is missing for each.  She's actually 3E, but that's another topic.  What that all adds up to is that she is way ahead intellectually and way behind emotionally.  And the sensory issues mean much of the world of people feels threatening and chaotic to her.  So, we home school through a local charter school designed just for home schoolers.  One day a week our daughter has on-campus classes; she gets extremely, physically nervous about it until she leaves.  Then she has to decompress for a few hours.

Right now, her primary interest (in that Asperger-like single mindedness) is bugs and insects.   Invertebrates; non-mammal critters.  Not only does she know an incredible amount about them but she is very emotionally attached to them.  Especially flies, like Crane flies, Green Bottle flies and their relatives, the Dragonfly and Damsel fly.

Today was the first day of the Second Grade.  She had her usual bathroom issues before leaving the house due to nerves, but bravely went off to meet the chaos and social confusion.  About an hour later my wife called and told me that just as our daughter was walking from the car to the building, a dragonfly zipped around her and  *landed* on her hand.  Let me repeat that; it landed on her hand as she was walking to the building.  Dragonflies do NOT do that!  They're normally cautious and timid and avoid contact.  This one sat there on her hand, cleaned it's eyes and took a few steps around before taking off again.  Then my daughter happily floated about a foot off the ground into her classes.

Sometimes life rewards you with one of those little moments that reassures you that maybe, just maybe, you're making the right choice.