Yesterday was another turning point in my life, and perhaps one of the most significant yet. I didn’t get what I thought I wanted going into my first gender therapy appointment (a letter for HRT), but I walked away with further self awareness, feeling good with how the session went, and happy with my choice of therapist. I also walked away far more emotional than I thought I would, and so I spent a good portion of the afternoon working through those feelings and why they came on so strong.
I woke up excited about therapy, and excited at the prospect of finally beginning to officially move forward. Now, I know that I have been making inroads, and having revelations on my own, so please don’t think I’m not aware that I’ve been moving forward this entire time. Every day I wake up and accept that I am a trans woman is a step forward, especially on those days that dysphoria is minimal and thoughts creep into my head about how I am “o.k.” with being a man. That alone is a significant realization for me. The fact that I can admit on a “good” day I’m not good or great with being male, but just “o.k.” It will never get better than that, no matter what I do, staying in my man suit will at best give me moments of o.k. At worst? Well, I don’t want to think about that because dysphoria has become my constant companion, always there in the back ground waiting to jump out and startle me, or waiting to jump out and shock me to my core. It’s a shitty way to live my life, and one I am determined to change.
I found myself in the waiting room of the therapist for about fifteen minutes, and I was far more nervous than I thought I would be. It was like the feeling you get when you go on a first date with someone you really think you like. My therapist finally came out, introduced herself and we went back into her office to talk. One of the things that struck me about her was her immediate acceptance, warmth, and affirmation of who I am.
As someone who has lived a life based in fear, her office was a safe place where I, Allie, could be honest with myself and begin to admit out loud who I was, and where I need to go. I admit, I rambled about my past quite a bit, which I know is probably normal for most girls as we begin to peel back the layers of male masking that we’ve built up over the years. I’ve built my life around others’ expectations of who they thought I was, or who I thought they wanted me to be. I admitted that I simply learned to mimic my father’s mannerisms and male behaviors, but they were never really mine. My father is typically liked by most that meet him, a successful business man, now retired. He was my ideal of what I thought a man should be, and even as I write this I fight back tears as I think how the revelation of who I really am is going to hit him.
See, in my man suit, I’m the guy who takes care of his shit. I’m the oldest, smart, highly educated, and I’ve always forged my own way, adjusted to life’s roadblocks without asking for help or bailouts, and I’ve earned my father’s respect and admiration, which is something all kids want from a parent they admire. Now, I’m having to accept the fact that while I think he will accept and love me, because he’s my dad, and he loves his children like it’s a biological need. There is a chance he won’t accept that I’m really a woman. I’d like to think that he’ll listen, do his best to hide his shock, hug me, tell me he loves me, and that he wants me to be happy. As a kid, I never felt safer than when he’d wrap me up in his arms, and to this day, his hug still brings those feelings back. The strength of his embrace, and the smell of his cologne a comfort to a child scared, afraid, or just needing comfort from her father.
I don’t mean to leave my mother out, but knowing her, she’ll be afraid for me, how the world will treat me, but she’ll accept who I am faster. Don’t get me wrong, it will be a shock to her as well, but I know her well enough to know she’d never reject or stop loving me.
As to when I’ll tell them? My therapist actually agreed with me that just as I need to see changes in my body to physically begin presenting female, so too will my parents need to see changes to accept who I really am. If I were to tell them tomorrow, they wouldn’t be able to see it, wouldn’t be able to wrap their minds around it, and I can’t blame them. I’ve done an excellent job of playing my part, and while I’m working to remove the man suit. It’s still there, and it will take time to completely get it off.
As for my wife? She is my best friend, and while we’ve had some rough patches the last few years, I don’t want to lose her, but I have to accept to become Allie, that I have to be willing to do so. I have to be willing to accept that she may not want to be with another woman. I can’t be mad at her for that, or blame her. When we married 18 years ago she thought she was marrying a man. To her credit, she has made an effort to be supportive, regardless of what she might be feeling on the inside, and knowing her I know there has to be elements of shock and fear. She is trying to be there for me, and I love her all the more for that, knowing many wives would not be so kind, or willing to accept me for trying to be the real me. We’ll see what the future has in store for us, but for now I’m sharing information in spurts to allow her to adjust and accept.
My kids, I don’t worry about, we’ve been through this once with my daughter, and so I know they can adjust, and that while my daughter will actually have a hard time with losing her daddy, she will also gain another person in the house who understands how she feels, and knows what she is going through. She will always have me to talk to, to share with. In short, she will always have someone close by that “gets it” as only another trans person can. I’d like to think our bond will only grow stronger. And as for my son, it may be hard at first, but he will gain a more connected, understanding, and plugged in parent. Once again, the topic of sharing, and in this case it would have to be around the time that physical changes begin to emerge, after all, they live with me.
“HRT” It’s like my holy grail, a beacon on the hill. In it, I see an answer to the emptiness in my soul, and so I went after it in session with tenacity, but still I hedged my bets when being asked about it. I told my therapist that I knew I wanted it, that I needed it, but as far as transition went I would reevaluate what I wanted after a few months. She stopped me at that point, and looked me in the eye. “Let’s be honest. You already know what you want, don’t you?” I looked at her for a moment, and then sheepishly looked down at my hands in my lap before speaking. “Honestly? Yeah, I guess if I take it all the way, I see myself transitioning fully.” Wow! Did I just say that out loud to another person? She just called me on my shit, and I was honest with her. This might have been the emotional moment of the session, my breakthrough. I had admitted it online, or in my head, or when alone, but never to another without the hedging of “we’ll see in a few months.”
We ended with scheduling another appointment in two weeks time. I could have scheduled one next week, but she isn’t cheap ($150). I’m ok with that as she is regarded as one of the top gender therapists, and I don’t need someone who will rubber stamp my assertions. I came away impressed, and really liking her. She told me she usually won’t give out HRT letters until after 3-4 sessions, and I guess that makes sense if she really wants to be certain. I know who I am, but admit I will benefit from our sessions moving forward. She has also asked me to attend the group sessions she facilitates on Thursday nights, and I will make the effort to show up, as I could benefit from getting to know others in my area, and to talk about what I am going through in a face to face setting.
Everyday there is something new or different that goes through my mind. Emotions, realizations, and acceptance of certain facts come daily. An honest person can admit when she can’t deal with it all on her own. Yes, that’s the other realization, my brain often is now defaulting to thinking of myself as a female. Instead of thinking, “women do this,” I think, “other women do this.” It might seem a little thing, but the realization of it was huge, and just as my therapist brought a smile to my face by calling me Allie, the first time I thought “other women” brought just as big a smile to my face. Moving forward I know there will be ups and downs, but yesterday was a good day that I want to remember.
New video: Still on my Hole kick…this one I love for it’s opening verse which I have pinned on my twitter feed:
Oh, make me over
I’m all I want to be
A walking study
Feel like it resonates with me these days…Celebrity Skin…check it out.