Sunday, July 26, 2015

I got carded. Buying sandwiches.

  Today we were on our way back from spending a three day weekend at the in-laws and decided to stop for lunch.  The kids wanted Subway - it's an old road trip tradition, mostly because there is nothing but fast food for much of the route.  So, our oldest and I went in and ordered.  We got to the register and I handed over my ATM card.  The cashier swiped it, looked at the screen, frowned, looked at me and said, "Can I see some I.D., please?".  I gave her my driver's license.  She looked at it, looked at me and said, "That doesn't look like you".  To which I replied, "yes, and that's a good thing".  She half-smiled back, a little confused & then it dawned on her and her smile widened. 

  It was an interesting weekend.  I'd been trying to gradually sorta maybe add a few women's items of clothing to my wardrobe through attrition.  L.L. Bean, Land's End, that sort of thing.  I've not worn men's jeans or shoes for a few years because they no longer fit.  But I'd heard the narrative that I should spend a weekend just as me.  It sounded way too CD for me, but I figured nothing else is working & depression has been like a shadow following me everywhere by the end of the work week.

  I'd made it into some therapeutic fantasy weekend in my head.  Not some autogynephillic thing, but rather just too...unrealistic, I guess.  Me, just being myself, not having to wear any guy clothes at all if I didn't want to.  But then on the eve of the trip my wife asked what grubby clothes I was bringing.  "Um, what do you mean," I think I asked?  "You know, for going down by the river and getting dirty or wet when the kids want to play on the shore," she replied.  I told her I didn't have anything & she pointed to some t-shirts in my closet.  Just basic *men's* color crew necks & v-necks.  I said no, it would mess up my head too much and explained what the weekend meant to me in my head and that maybe I'm prissy but I don't *want* to get dirty at the river.  She gave me a couple of her old v-neck T's to wear instead, "just in case".

  The first day up, the rest of my plan for the weekend fell apart.  I'd wanted to go into town and visit all these neat little trinket & clothing & jewelery shops.  It's what the old school trans narrative seems to proscribe, but more so, it's exactly what my sisters & mum would've done.  And I thought it sounded like fun.  Well, one had closed down & the others were closed for the weekend.  I returned to the house & put on my grubby clothes to head down to the river.  And that's when it hit me.  Being trans isn't about a narrative.  It's not about what I think I should do "as a woman".  It's not about what I wear.  It's about me living my day to day life, with my kids & wife and I just happen to look like a woman so that other people will identify me correctly.

  We had a blast playing on the river bank, crossing to the island and getting dirt & sand everywhere, by the way.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Time Lapse Life

I'm finding that life is...strange right now.  Or rather, time passes strangely.  If I'm lucky, maybe once a week perhaps once a month I've been able to go out and about as myself.  It's those times and those times only when I feel alive, like I'm living in time as it moves forward.  The rest of the time,  Monday through Friday, or at home on the weekends it's as if I get put on hold.  Strange description, I know.  Obviously, time still moves ahead.  And I engage my family.  But it doesn't feel real, somehow.  It's like I almost but not quite dissociate or something.  But then, for those few hours when we're all out somewhere, I feel again.  I see again.  I live again.  Just, for a short while.

I no longer get double takes when I'm out and not hiding who I am.  I've worked on my voice enough that it's no longer the tell it was a year ago (I truly hated it).  I typically get "ma'amed now".  People might glance at us as a family, but their eyes don't linger and then frown when they get to me like they used to do.  I'd assume if they thought I was trans, some portion of them would still have a problem with it and scowl or glare as they did before.   

So, it should all be good, right?

Except I still feel I have so far to go.  My ID & B.C. still read my birth info.  I don't know a thing about "being" a woman (ie performing it as a gender, within the norm for our culture).  When I can be, I'm just...me.  And when I am, that seems good enough.  But then Monday comes around again.  I put on my binder and my male office wear and spend eight hours being assumed male.  I get calls from my folks who somehow simultaneously accept me as trans...and call me "son", "man" and use my birth name.  Not that the interim name my siblings and spouse use is any better.  My wife sorta pushed it on everyone back before she was able to work through everything.  It's the feminine form of my birth name, differing only by one vowel...and is pronounced the same.   

Transitioning at work is not an option.  It's a small company & most everyone was hired through the owners' church.  They let two other churches use the building on off hours for their services.   So, I'd have to find a new job, right when I feel least sure of myself.  And then wait some undetermined period (3 months?  6?) and hit them with the news that hey, all that paperwork is going to need to be redone and I'm not who you thought I was at all.  I feel disloyal already & I don't even know them.

So, now that we had a wonderful day at the Farmer's Market and visiting a massive reptile store (my wife and daughter love them), I can feel the disconnect starting to fade back in.  I'll try to write again next weekend...