coming out

Month Five HRT Update

5 MonthsFive months already?  As much as I feel like things don’t move fast enough, even I have to admit that time has  really flown by.  Months three and and four were not easy months for me, as I grappled with numerous emotional issues.  While I still continue to grapple with some of those same issues at times, month five was overall a very positive month for me.  I saw not only an interesting physical change, but some key emotional and sexual ones as well, so there were a few firsts that have me excited for what month six and beyond will bring.

As usual I will share measurement changes, followed by discussing physical, emotional, and finally sexual changes.  As is my habit, I will clearly denote a warning before the section discussing anything sexual.

Day 1, Month 1 measurements:

  • Weight:  244lbs
  • Chest:  42.5 inches (underbust:  41 inches)
  • Waist:  38 inches
  • Pant/male waist:  40 inches
  • Hips:  43 inches
  • Neck:  16 inches
  • Bicep:  15 inches
  • Wrist:  7 inches
  • Ankle:  9.5 inches

Day 1, Month 6 measurements:

  • Weight:  229 lbs
  • Chest:  40 inches (underbust:  37.5 inches)
  • Waist:  34 inches
  • Pant/male waist:  36 inches
  • Hips:  40.5 inches
  • Neck:  14.5 inches
  • Bicep:  13.25 inches
  • Wrist:  6.30 inches
  • Ankle:  8.5 inches

Physical Changes

As last months update was posted late, and very abbreviated I wanted  to share the reminder that changes discussed here are those physical changes that do not necessarily pertain to the measurements above.  Those speak for themselves.  I will mention one measurement of note.  My hips have gone up a half an inch while my waist and pant waist have dropped another inch.  I think both are clearly from the impact of HRT, as I only lost three pounds in month five, and yet saw losses, while also gaining fat on my bottom, which has clearly changed.  In conjunction with this change, the most amazing physical change of month five is that my pelvis has tilted forward into a cis female position.  While my bones are set, the ligaments and tendons holding my hips have loosened, allowing my hips to roll forward.  This has also given me greater flexibility when it comes to bending at the waist.  As I also practice yoga, I  can verify I have greater range of motion than I had before, and this is largely due to greater extension when I bend over.

While I continue hair removal, I also believe that I am starting to see some hair loss/lightening on my extremities.  My hands and feet have less dark hair, and my back is almost completely clear except for a few stray hairs that will hopefully go away on their own.  As for my head hair, I am seeing some new hair (not a lot) sprouting up in the front center of my hairline, which gives me hope that I will see more come back in the future.

Facial and body changes continue to occur, but are subtle.  My face continues to thin, and my jawline is changing.  If it goes like I think it will, then in a few months it will just be… different.

Emotional Changes

On the emotional front I find much of my old “male” defensiveness and ego “needs” to have faded away.  I realized this during an online interaction with a friend.  I thought I had possibly hurt her feelings with a joke I had shared (I wasn’t sure, and I hadn’t), and my immediate concern was to make sure she was OK.  In the past my concern would have been to justify what I had said and if she had been upset then I would have probably have said she was over-reacting or blowing the issue out of proportion.  I find that I don’t care about that anymore.  I don’t feel the need to justify  my actions or to always win on an issue, the feelings of a friend and our friendship are more important to me.  The “Whys” of something can be talked about later.

I thought I understood what friendship was before, but the friendships I have now with other women are deeper and more complex than anything I ever had with a male friend.  I am often left in awe and humbled by the women who accept me without question and call me friend.  To date this might be the most rewarding benefit of transition that I have received.

During Month 5 I have also begun to find that it is becoming harder to play “boy.”  Not only do I find it tiring, but I often consciously have to pay attention to not being “me” too much in front of people I work with.  Luckily, most people see what they want to, and so this insulates me to a degree.  A direct result of this is that I find myself consciously pulling away or withdrawing from interactions with men in my office.  I don’t want to “guy” it up, or interact in a male manner, and so this is one way I limit my need to do so.

I also find myself hating men more and more.  Let me be clear, I don’t hate every man I come across.  On an individual level there are some wonderful men who know about me, accept me, and I have no issue with them.  I’m talking more about the culture of men, and in large part, once again, this has much to do with how I am seen by women as a result of my physical build.  I resent it, and it has really started to grate on me.  As a result when away from work, and without my kids, I often just let my expression go 100%, and the results have been that most women I now encounter identify me as a queer male, and while not the ideal, it is better than straight cis male, as women feel comfortable enough to relax around me, which allows me to have the kind of interactions I prefer without fear of creeping out or making another woman uncomfortable.

Overall, I continue to be happily amazed with my emotional progression on HRT, and in many ways the emotional changes alone make transition worth it.  I have heard other trans women make the same statements before, and it is only in my fifth month that I am really coming to understand how right they were in those statements.  I’ve always felt my brain was female, but now that feeling has been made more complex, with additional levels of feeling and comfort added to it.  I look forward to seeing how this continues to evolve over time.

(Trigger Warning) Sexuality

This probably won’t be that long, but will be meaningful as the changes here are profound for Month 5.

To begin with, my sex drive has plummeted to depths I did not think it could go.  Many days I don’t think about sex at all, and if I do it is more to realize I don’t think about it.  More and more I have no desire for an intimate relationship until such time as my parts have been made right.  Until that time I will do what I need to in order to prevent atrophy and to understand how my body is changing.

A big takeaway this month is that I believe my testicles have finally begun to shrink.  Not much yet, but they do seem a little smaller.  In addition, the way I experience pleasure and arousal have shifted as well.  I no longer am greatly aroused by visual stimuli.  Instead mental stimuli does far more for me, and I really have to let myself go and focus on the pleasure to get myself where I need to go.

I mentioned my testicles, but the nerves in the underside of my penis (which is usually used to create the clitoris of a neo-vagina) have begun to remap, changing the way I can receive pleasure.  At this point I would say I have one foot on each side of the male/female fence.  I can bring myself to climax by using only a vibrator against the underside.  I can also still do it the old way, but usually don’t wish to, and there are reasons for this.  Doing it the old way has changed, in that there is a slower build up before climax, but the build up is much faster making the orgasm quicker.  That said the feelings are more intense than before, and the orgasm actually begins before anything comes out.  Now, with a vibrator all of the above is true, but the buildup takes much longer, and so the pleasure lasts longer as the buildup occurs.  By the time I reach climax the intensity is like nothing I ever felt before, and this is supposed to continue to improve and get better.  I will also say that overall less is coming out, and here there is a difference in that doing things with a vibrator results in very little of anything coming out, while at the same time the feelings like I said are very intense.

Referring back to sex drive, before HRT I would take care of myself every day.  Once I started HRT this continued for a little while, and then went to every other day.  Now I often go 3-5 days between, and usually when I do, I have to talk myself into doing it, because there are other things I’d rather do, like watch TV, or eat Doritos…I’m just being honest, because it takes time now, and sometimes I don’t want to, or don’t have the 20-30 minutes to take care of business, and so I don’t.

Closing

Overall, Month 5 was a month of positive change, and one that made me excited and even impatient for the future.  I look forward to hitting six months as it was a milestone in my head, and am thinking I need to do something special for that update.  Everyone says that Months 6-12 are huge months, and so I’m looking forward to them with anticipation.  As for the first 5 months?  I have been very happy with what I have seen, and I have a renewed hope that I will get to where I want to go in due time.

Apathy…I Don’t Care, and Yet I Do…

Apathy WordleSo, I haven’t written much lately.  This is partly due to it being the busy season at work, and because I have just chosen to do other things with my time, mainly socialize on social media and via text with friends.  Sometimes you need a break from thinking about heavy things, and lately when I’ve had the urge to write, I simply haven’t had the time and then the mood passes.

I titled this post “Apathy” and I don’t want anyone to confuse this as an overall feeling I have for life, because I’m actually more hopeful than anything.  Rather, it is something I realized about my marriage, romantic life, and so much else I just don’t have the energy or desire to focus on.

My wife and I had “the talk” a couple of weeks ago, and it was totally unplanned, as those things often are.  I had enjoyed a good therapy session a couple days prior.  It was one of those sessions where you gain further clarity into who you are, and those are rare.  I decided to open up to my wife a little about why it’s so hard for me to just be 100% female at home.  I started to speak about roles I have always filled, and how hard it is to not slip into them.  She asked me what I meant, and I said, “You know, father, husband…”  She stopped me and said, “I don’t see you that way anymore.  You stopped being that awhile ago.”  The statement should have hurt me.  I should have wanted to fight for her love and affection, but instead, I just accepted what she had said.  She was right, and I was OK with it.

I know it still hurts her on some level and it hurts me as well.  We have been together 20 years, but I think she’s also growing to accept the man she married doesn’t exist, and maybe never did.  She stopped wearing her wedding rings a month before, and didn’t wear them for a week.  She admitted the night we talked that it didn’t feel right,, and she only started wearing them again so the kids don’t ask questions.

We have become roommates and co-parents, both free to make plans with friends that don’t include the both of us.  We still share a bed and bathroom, but that’s also to keep up appearances for the kids.  As a family, we are more solid than we have been in a long time, and the kids are happier than they’ve been in a long time.  We will stay together for the next few years, and then we will see.  I don’t want to stay in a relationship that lacks intimacy, and I don’t think that’s fair to her either.  I also don’t think she can or wants to be intimate with me, especially female me, and that’s OK.

I mention intimacy, and that’s another thing I don’t currently care about.  My sex drive has gone into deep hibernation, and I can detachedly wonder if it will ever come back.  Even if she were to come onto me, I wouldn’t be interested.  My reasons come in two parts.  The first is, as I have said, my sex drive is almost zero at the moment.  I have to seriously talk myself into masturbation, and it takes forever.  I now go several days before remembering I need to do the deed, because I’d rather do that then start getting morning erections…those bother me on a dysphoric level, and so I masturbate now to prevent those, rather than because I feel some urge to “get off.”

My second reason has to do with how much I hate my male body sexually, and that hate has only increased on HRT, as parts of my body feminize putting them at odds with those that are slow to do so.  I am a trans lesbian, and so the women I am attracted to, if I cared to seek a relationship would not be interested in me because my body still appears far more male than female..  Straight women would expect me to want sex like a man, and I just can’t do that anymore, plus when naked, I clearly have breasts.  Anything that I have to do that is “male” takes twice the energy it once did, and so I instead shun those “male” things whenever I can.  Fucking like a man…humping, rutting, pounding away…all those euphemisms for how males go about it turn my stomach.  I’m simply not capable now.  For one who was once so sexually capable as a “man” I have permanently retired from that type of sexual intimacy.  If ever sexually intimate again, it will not be until those defining male parts have been removed/turned into the genitals that fit my mind.

Why did I wait over two weeks to write the above?  I waited so long because so much of the above thoughts are also interlaced with the wonderful.  My female friendships continue to strengthen, while new ones are created.  The acceptance of my femaleness, by women, in many ways is more validating than anything else I’ve experienced so far in transition.  It’s something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember, and while still imperfect, in that only women who know me as a trans woman can accept me that way…it is still a gift given that I cherish.  To be confided in, and to be able to confide in others, as only women do with one another, gives me so much peace.  I finally get the bonds of female friendship not only on an intellectual level, but on an emotional level I thought I’d never enjoy.  Friendships now give me peace and fuel to persevere, and I, in turn can give that to my friends as well.

I was sharing with a girlfriend the other day that if I think I might have hurt a friend’s feelings I no longer worry about first justifying what I did or said.  Instead, my concern goes to her feelings first, and my desire to make sure she is ok, and to apologize if need be.  Talking about the “why” of what I did can come later.  As a “man” I always felt the need to downplay another’s emotional reaction, or to justify why I was right.  This has been a huge mental shift in how I interact with others, and one that I am thrilled to experience.  I’d rather us laugh about my having over-worried that I hurt a friend’s feelings, than ignore it for the sake of an ego that has no place in my friendships.

My body also continues to change in positive ways, and that makes me happy as well.  I don’t want to talk about it too much, as I have an HRT update that will post early next week, but some really good things happened during Month 5, and I will save those for that post.

Getting back to apathy, it gives me the patience to play the long game.  I still have my moments where I want to hurry, but more of me doesn’t care if I hurry.  I can continue to exist in the world of cis-male privilege a little longer if need be, and I lose nothing.  My body and mind will still continue to develop on HRT, regardless of how I am dressed, and it also gives me the time to get hair removal done, as well as any other little things that need attending to before going full-time.

Apathy isn’t always a bad thing if it helps to temper desires that cannot yet become reality.  Of course, there is the danger that it can come to permeate everything, but that isn’t a worry I currently have.  To be honest, as of late, I’m feeling pretty positive.  Friday I begin my Month 6 on HRT, and I can’t believe how fast the past five months have gone.  Months 6-12 seem to be where so many see big changes and so how can I not be excited to see what happens moving forward.  I feel like like the past few months were setting the foundation of the house, and now the framing and work above ground really can get underway.  I’m psyched to begin seeing what kind of house actually emerges.

What About My Marriage? Early Musings on Where I Think it Might Go.

getty_021017_weddingrings

My marriage has been on my mind quite a bit this past month.  How do I feel about my wife?  How does she feel about me?  Are we in love?  Will we ever be romantic again?  Do I want to stay in a marriage that lacks romantic intimacy?  Is platonic love or staying together for kids a reason to stay married?

I’ve shied away from writing about it on my blog, because I felt like such questions were private until the answers to them could be revealed or resolved, but reading about the Mormon couple, Josh and Lolly Weed, made me decide to write down my thoughts as writing has always proven cathartic for me, and a much better medium for working through tough issues than simply thinking quietly in a  corner.

Josh Weed is a gay man who married a straight woman, and came out five years ago as being gay.  They have a few daughters and have been married 15 years, and the other day he and his wife announced that they would be getting divorced on his blog (Link to post HERE.).  I think most of it, especially Lolly discussing why they are getting a divorce is worth a read, and that there are some significant parallels between a gay man being married to a straight woman, and in my case a trans woman being married to a straight cisgender woman.

Even this early in my transition I can so relate to this situation. I am a trans woman married to a cisgender heterosexual woman. Now some spouses go bi, lesbian, or pan to stay with their transitioning spouse. Many stick around to try and make it work for children, which early on isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it allows for time to process what is happening, and if as a couple you are able to transition the intimate part of your relationship as well.

But what if you can’t? What if the best you can do is a platonic love between best friends? Should you stay together? This is the issue I wrestle with and I know my wife is wrestling with even though she doesn’t talk much about it. Our interactions center on our children, other safe topics, or hanging out like friends after the kids go to bed.  Staying in those places allows her to stay away from the third rail of our marriage…my transition…which is also the transition of our marriage.

She has made some efforts to be supportive, gives me space when I need it, and is letting me evolve.  However, she also doesn’t share my successes, or really want to talk about them.  Occasionally, she does ask questions, but if I try to go into any detail she often changes the subject or tries to extricate herself from the discussion.  There is no romance, no intimacy, or sharing on an intimate level.  I have noticed where I used to always kiss her on the lips before bed, that has changed to kissing on the forehead, and it’s because she seems to prefer it to the old. We have hugged and held hands a few times, but from my perspective, and I’m sure hers as well, that things have changed.

After coming out as trans to her, she struggled as I would expect anyone to.  She processed, grieved and went to a new place.  She is making an effort to keep the family intact.  She will also tell you that as a family we are stronger than we have been in a long time, and all of this is true, and yet I find all of this extremely sad.  She has admitted to me, that if we did not have kids, my coming out would have sent her running and that she would already be gone.  She has said at times that she feels like we are already divorced.  She has also been clear that she doesn’t like women that way, and that having a man is important to her.  Finally, she said to me and also said to a friend of mine that “we have to stay together for the kids”.

In an attempt to be honest with myself, I will attempt to write down my most significant thoughts of the past month, and process them at the same time.  Thankfully she doesn’t read my blog, because this would cause a fight that I never want to have, or it might speed up a timetable that neither us, nor the kids are ready for…So here we go!

To begin with, coming out saved my marriage.  However, I’ve come to believe in the six months since then that coming out is really just prolonging a marriage that will eventually come to an end.  Whether it’s two, three, or five years from now…it will come to an end.  Certainly coming out transgender is the big monkey wrench thrown into the works, but we also have had issues in our marriage that go back to around the time the kids came to live with us.  I always thought we would get our groove back, and that we’d figure out how to be both parents and romantic partners.  The issues that we were dealing with before my transition certainly play a part in how I feel, but as this blog is about my transition and things related to it, I am going to focus on the state of my marriage from that context.  In addition, it is not my intent to throw my wife under the bus, and I’m sure she also could come up with a litany of issues regarding me, and she certainly would be justified in doing so as I think many of my issues from before are related to my being trans and being in denial for so long.

I want to address three spheres of importance in a marriage, and how I see these spheres as the relate to us.  These spheres (Emotional Intimacy, Romantic Intimacy, and Family Life) are important to any marriage, and the state of them often reflects the state of a marriage.

Emotional Intimacy

We used to have this in spades.  We could talk about anything with each other and couldn’t wait to do so.  Hopes, dreams, the future…they were all on the table.  She was the first person I couldn’t wait to share something with, and I think I was the same to her.  This has changed significantly on both our parts.  We still vent to each other about our days, and are intimate when it comes to issues involving the kids, but as for the rest?  It simply isn’t there.  We don’t talk about our hopes, dreams, or the future anymore.  In fact, I sense she is afraid to discuss such things, and as a result I am afraid to talk about mine.

See, for me, my hopes and dreams for the future focus on me living my life authentically as the woman I am and these certainly are not her dreams or hopes, except to say I do believe she wants me to be happy.  My hopes and dreams might actually be the things that are crushing hers, and that’s a hard things for a person to live with.  She finds emotional support and intimacy from being with a man, which regardless of my current appearance is hard for her to do now.  It’s also something I don’t want, as it makes my presenting and expressing at home that much harder.

I want to be clear, I still find myself wanting to share things with her.  She is my best friend, and I want her to be happy for me, but I don’t think she is capable of it.  Being supportive does not necessarily mean being happy for someone.  It simply means you love them enough to want them to be happy, regardless of how it makes you feel, or what that might mean for you.

We are still connected, and I know her better than anyone, can read her better than anyone, and I know she isn’t happy, and hasn’t been happy for awhile.  Issues with herself, and issues with our marriage are part of it.  She would also stay with me in a marriage simply for the kids.  She would give up her right to be happy for them, and she is willing to lose herself in the process.  She has some expectations that I would do the same thing, but she also knows me well enough to know that there is a good chance I will not do that.

I don’t believe a person can make another person happy.  I know television and movies try to put forth the thought this is possible, but I believe that we determine our own happiness by the expectations we have for ourselves.  People can magnify our emotions.  Married to the right person your happiness can be magnified, and to the wrong person for you, unhappiness will be magnified as well.  The reality is we may not be the right people for each other anymore, and that is O.K.

Romantic Intimacy

There were issues here before I came out due to medical and health issues, small children, and I think partly due to the fact my internal conflict ramped up for a couple years before coming out.  We stopped being cute and playful, and instead became tired and less physically affectionate.  I had hopes we’d find ourselves again, but sex seemed of less interest to her, and the same became true of me.  I had stopped caring about myself due to my dysphoria and put on weight.  Becoming a mom, like it does for many women, changed her priorities of what is important.  With both of us working full time, and up very early, there was little time for physical intimacy, and rarely did she seem interested.  Being female on the inside I read this and didn’t push for it, but it also had the added impact of making her feel like I didn’t desire her, when in truth I wanted to feel as desired as she did, but there was no way she could know that, and it was something I didn’t feel I could tell her.  Stereo-typically, I was always taught it was the man who is supposed to show they want sex, but there were cracks in my mask, and I was tired of playing games I had never wanted to play in the first place.

Sex for me had become mechanical in many ways.  I hated having intercourse, hated feeling like a rutting beast.  Over the years it had gotten worse.  I loved foreplay, and the intimacy associated with it, but as for the rest?…it just intensified my loathing for a body so clearly male.  Even with all that said, when we did have sex, physically it was still as good as it ever was, but it was just a much rarer occurrence than the first twelve years of our marriage.

Sex has been sporadic and minimal the past six years.  Many couples see a decline in the frequency of sex as they get older, and it isn’t the be all and end all to romantic intimacy, but how can a couple hope to find it again when they are both women and one is heterosexual and says she only wants to be with men?

There is also something that I need to touch on and that is my evolving sexuality.  I can admit that I no longer view myself as being attracted only to women, but that in the past month I also realize that I do have the potential to be attracted to certain types of men and non-binary people.  I also am coming to realize that I need to be with someone who sees me as the woman I am and also desires me for it, whether they be hetero or queer.

Her constant sexuality and my evolving sexuality may be the real deal killers in our marriage.  I am 43, and hope to be full-time by some point in 2020 at the latest.  I will turn 46 in 2020, with plenty of good years left.  My wife will turn 44 in 2020, and she has just as many good years left.  Are we supposed to take vows of chastity and give ourselves to our children and vows taken that no longer hold relevancy as “man and wife?”

Don’t we deserve to find romantic love again if it is something we want?  Do I deserve to find someone who will want me the way I’ve always desired, but never had?  Does she deserve to have someone look at her the way she wants, and to treat her the way she deserves to be treated in a way I can’t.

Sex isn’t the most important part of a relationship, but depending on who you are, it is important.  Right now, there are so many things I want to experience once my mind and body reach concurrence, and I’m not sure physical intimacy is one of those things I’m willing to give up.  I also feel she should be able to have that again, if she wants it, and in the manner she wants it.

Family life

All marriages are families, some have children and some do not.  Most bring extended family from both sides together, and family is often central to married life in many ways.  My wife is a wonderful mother.  Our children adore her, and she goes all out on their behalf.  In short, our kids are her life.  Due to certain needs our children have this cannot be helped, and as they gravitate towards her (both being under 10) she has to deal.  I say the above to say I don’t resent her for this, but it does make me sad to see she has no interests she pursues outside of the home.  I often feel like she is losing herself, and one of our nastiest fights was about this as my guilt before coming out made me bring it up, and when she got defensive I simply got louder and it got ugly.  I am sorry for that and it is one of my biggest regrets, but it doesn’t change the fact that I still feel this way.

She is also a homebody and an introvert.  Playing boy I was happy to go along with that, but as a woman I am clearly an extrovert who wants friends, and wants to do things with those friends.  This is not to say we can’t integrate my friends into our life, but they will be my friends first, and they serve as a reminder to her of new parts of my life that I’ve created which are not dependent upon her or our family.  I’ve been good about this so far, and have minimized getting together with friends to once a month, but I’d like to at least double this as I gain needed energy for it by getting away and being myself 100% with friends who only know Allie.

I can only think, while things are harder for me right now in how I go about presenting and expressing at home, meaning that I have been toning it down and keeping it in check, there will be a point where due to HRT I will no longer be able to do so, and more importantly won’t care.  There will be a point where my wife and kids will have to see me as a woman, and the man they still think they see will be gone.  When that day comes, their reactions and adjustment will be very telling as to what kind of family we will have.  Surgeries and other transition landmarks will only further those adjustments to the point where a decision will have to be made, if it isn’t made before that point.

Since coming out, our family has gotten stronger.  I am more engaged, and participate far more in events with the kids, and this makes both the kids and my wife happier.  You could say our family life is strong.  We eat dinner as a family, do things as a family, and due to attachment issues from before they were adopted, having all of us under the same roof means everything to my kids at the moment.

I say “at the moment”, because my kids will get older and more independent.  They won’t want to do everything with us, and then I am left wondering what do we have that makes it necessary for us to be under the same roof, and more to the point, is it healthy for us to stay under the same roof?

Many couples who get divorced continue to be kick ass co-parents.  They meet for family dinners, holidays, and some even still take vacations together.  The point is, one does not need to stay in an unhappy marriage to have a good family life.

In addition, there is the lesson we as parents teach our children. Is it better to stay married and be miserable, or is it better to divorce and be happy?  Our children are always watching and learning from us, and I want them to feel that it is not necessary to lose their happiness for the sake of others.  It is O.K. for relationships to evolve and grow outside of traditional norms.  After all, there is nothing traditional about being trans and everything that goes with it, so why does our family have to maintain that stereotype to be happy?

In the end, I believe my children will come through this just fine, and will learn much about what it means to be a family whether under the same roof or not.  As for my wife and I?  She is my best friend, and I love her dearly.  We became adults together, and there is so much I am thankful to her for, but I also know she isn’t happy, and I want her to be happy.  She deserves to be happy, and if she can’t be with me as a woman, then I want her to find a man who will make her the center of his world.  She deserves nothing less.  Even if she finds new love and were to marry again, we will always love each other, respect each other, and value one another.  That will never change.  We will always be family.

How will that family look?  Well, that has yet to be decided, we may yet find our happiness again, but as she and I have discussed, what happens with our marriage is a decision we will make together.  Regardless of what happens we will do it in a way that positions us and the kids to be as happy as possible with our decision.

If there is one thing that transition is teaching me, it is that life is short and everyone deserves to be happy with the life they choose to live.  Life is also fluid, and sometimes we have to adjust to that fluidity.  Change doesn’t have to be bad, and often it can be better than anyone could possibly have ever imagined.  My life and family are changing, and I’m certainly hoping in the end it is for the better.

 

 

Gender Purgatory…Where I Currently Live

Purgatory

Purgatory…Limbo…whatever you want to call it, it’s that place between worlds, often associated with a person’s transition from the mundane (Earth) to the wonderful (Heaven), and for me it sums up perfectly where I am at in my transition, and where I may spend quite a bit of time before being allowed, by my body, to move on.

If living as a boy was my life on Earth, then this transition to purgatory is a step in the right direction because it means that I no longer fit the mold of a boy.  I may look like one most of the time, and I may even pretend to be one some of the time, but it certainly isn’t who I am, and being honest it was never who I was.  However, this would mean that my life in heaven would be me living my life 100% of the time as my authentic self, and most of the time being seen by people as I see myself.  In my case, as a trans woman, that means being seen as a woman, which I am nowhere near being seen as in public.  I believe the day will come, but it is not here yet.

And so the place I reside is purgatory.  There are circles, a select group of friends, trans twitter, Facebook, and within queer circles where people accept me as Allie, but that is about it.  Heck, most days I look in the mirror and I can’t see myself yet.  My body is still too muscular, too big, and too hairy.  My face, while thinning and softening, is also clearly more masculine than feminine.  Yet, I also can’t fully present in public as a male all of the time, or in all manner of clothing.  It is clear that I have breasts and that those breasts are not male, and so I am at the point that I have to wear something for support/compression every day.  Which means, presenting male, I have to wear tops that hide my sports bras, bralettes, etc.  In all likelihood summer will totally suck this year, as I love to wear tank tops and shorts all summer long, and as of right now, tank tops are probably a no go, unless I want to clearly share with the world that I am also wearing undergarments that I clearly need.  I won’t be visiting a pool this summer, that’s for sure, and as for shorts?  Weight loss and body changes will also influence what kind I end up wearing in public spaces. Sadly, changes to the body are essential for being gendered correctly in public.  Only time and HRT can bring them about, and the jury is still out on just how much change I will actually see.

HRT affects everyone differently, and there are factors that will determine how it affects a person.  Experts say age can play a factor, and from my own research I would say this is most definitely true.  The younger you are the more likely you are to get good results, but not guaranteed.  Genetics are probably most important, but coupled with age this usually determines how quickly people see those changes.  Beginning dosages of blockers and hormones all can significantly impact when people will see changes and how those changes will come about.  The older you get the greater chance that physical changes may be minimal, but some older women do get fantastic results, and I’m kind of straddling the fence not young, but also not quite over the line to old.  I do feel like luck might be on my side, based upon the results I have seen so far, but nothing is a given or promised to someone in transition.

So, I am straddling the worlds between boy and girl, and while my body is slowly moving where it needs to be, my mind has jumped way out into the lead.  Clearly more female than male at this point, as if any vestige of male remains (I don’t think it does), my mind struggles at times to do boy.  Male actions seem to be more from memory than instinct or desire to to do them.  Since doubling my T blocker I find myself succumbing more often to stereotypical female behaviors which makes me both happy and frustrated at the same time.  Happy because internally I feel more myself every day, but frustrated because I’m painfully aware that my outside is nowhere near matching how I feel on the inside.  In some ways this makes my body dysphoria worse.  Luckily my increased body dysphoria is tempered by feeling “right” in my head, and so my overall gender dysphoria is less, but in some ways it causes me more problems.

I find myself wanting to present female so badly, and yet, more than ever, I am aware of my male physical attributes that I despise.  The muscle on my shoulders and chest drive me insane!  I have female tops that I used to wear, and I no longer wear them because they emphasize that which I hate.  Instead, I have moved back to unisex t-shirts and loose tops that de-emphasize my hated body parts.  Playing with make-up?  Yeah, that’s not happening until the facial hair is gone.  I know many girls move forward with heavy concealer and get quite good at hiding it, but until my face shape changes more along with facial hair being completely removed, I have decided to wait.

I recognize that my purgatory is partly self-imposed by the way my dysphoria works and how that directly affects my presentation.  Some girls just go full-time, full speed ahead, and I admire them for it.  For me, that simply isn’t the path I want to, or am willing to walk.  My path is far more calculated and planned out.  Aside from dysphoria, things like my family and job also affect how I transition and the timeline I choose to follow.

Even with all of the above said, there are mental changes that are already happening and they can’t be stopped.  My brain is changing as i switch my fuel from testosterone to estrogen.  Things I have noticed just since doubling my blocker over a month ago, many in the last two weeks, are:

  • Lowered singular focus…My brain jumps from random thought to random thought in a quicker pattern.  I find this happening as I’m talking to friends.  My wife does this and it used to drive me crazy…now I do it and can follow others when they do it.
  • Nervous energy…I never had this before, but my god, where did it come from?  When bad I can’t sit still, and I’ve even found myself cleaning stuff.  Often it will start with noticing something is expired in the fridge, and so I throw it out, and then I look for other stuff, and before I know it I am cleaning out the entire refrigerator.  This never used to be me.  I didn’t worry about such things, and was content to ignore them.  Now it’s like I can’t help myself, and the reasons I do it run in a similar vein to reasons my wife has given before when she has done similar things.  I always found the reasons funny…but they make total sense to me now.
  • Anxiety…Where did this come from?  I stayed home from work yesterday due to a migraine brought on by anxiety over having to go to work in full boy mode.  The anxiety didn’t build, it just hit me out of nowhere Monday night and stayed with me all night long.  Things didn’t finally start to get better till around noon on Tuesday, after girlfriends did their thing to either take my mind off of it or help me work past it.  In the past I was always able to push anxiety down and lock it away, or compartmentalize it.  Pushing it down is not so easy anymore, and when anxiety joins forces with dysphoria they both gain greater strength to knock me down.  I used to listen to women talk about anxiety and how it would affect them, and shrug my shoulders as I had no issue ignoring it.  Now I am forced to deal with it because my brain won’t ignore it, and instead fixates on it until I deal with it.
  • Attraction…I finally felt attraction to another person since I started to transition, and it wasn’t based upon the notion of whether or not I found this person worthy of sleeping with.  Sure physical attractiveness still matters to me, but it is personality and connection that matters to me more.  The thought of sex doesn’t even enter into the picture because I have no interest in it at all right now.  I also now know that my sexuality has shifted from having played the cis-het male to being a bi/pansexual trans woman.  I know it could shift again, but I now see the fluidity of my sexuality, and how I view others with it.  I also want to add that any crush I have is simply of a school girl nature, as I am married and the thought of cheating is not something that I even entertain as an option…nor am I interested in the physical with my body in its current state.
  • Friendship…Huge for me.  My girlfriends, and I have a select few that I know locally (many more online) mean so much to me.  Friendship has taken on a new level of importance that was never there before.  There is something about it that definitely affects my mental well-being.  Lunch with a couple of friends can be like positive fuel for me.  Online and texting is nice, but nothing beats getting together in-person and I need to try and make this happen more often.
  • Public presentation…I have been playing with androgynous female clothing choice since November, but up until Sunday I was regularly identified as a cis-het male.  I know this because of how women that I don’t know have reacted to me over that period of time.  Women, with good reason, are often more guarded in their interactions with men.  Often out of fear of being hit on or having to deal with creepy stalker-types where being nice might be misconstrued as a signal to flirt.  On Sunday, when out with a couple girlfriends, and even when alone, I started getting queer ID’d.  In any store or restaurant I went into on Sunday the women I interacted with were simply sweeter and more relaxed around me.  I’ve been the big scary guy getting on an elevator with a lone woman, and having always been female I’ve always been painfully aware of the reaction I elicit.  On Sunday, the reaction was openess that included compliments on clothing or accessories, like a woman would give to another woman or a femme man.  This change has taken me off guard a little, but also makes me smile as it means that while I’m not being seen as a woman yet, I am being seen as queer and this puts me closer to my end goal.  I will admit clothing, carrying a bag, and the company I keep can all be signals to people I interact with, but I also find myself talking a little different…more free with my enunciation and word choice…and it isn’t conscious.  If relaxed I just do it, and while my speech pattern isn’t necessarily female yet, it also isn’t quite the typical male.  All of this is a big positive and also highlights that not everything in purgatory is bad or negative.

I hate ending on negative thoughts, and so I waited until the end  to show that purgatory doesn’t all have to be bad.  There are good things that happen as I make my way through it.  There truly is a mix of the frustrating and the wonderful within it.  As to how long I will be there?  I can’t know for sure yet.  As of right now I don’t see myself going 100% full time until I’ve been on HRT a minimum of 18 months, but it could be longer depending upon my genetics.  I will have to go full-time at home sooner because I want to and because there are things I need to work on, such as voice, make up, etc. Transitioning at home will give me an opportunity to work on and perfect things that will affect my overall presentation.  In small ways I’ve already begun to work on some of them such as laser hair removal, voice, weight loss, beginning to grow out my hair, and shaping my eye brows.

There are always things I can work on that put me closer to full transition, and reminding myself to live in the now and to take it a day at a time are good things to keep in mind.  The rest will come when it does, and worrying about things I can’t control is a waste of my energy.  Sometimes I can’t help it, but I hope I’m getting better at stopping myself from obsessing.  I think I am, and instead using that energy for the positive things that I need.

 

 

On Being a Girl…

Real Girl“Being a girl is whatever you decide it is.”  I cannot tell you how many times we told our daughter this the first few months of her transition.  She dove in head first, and we watched her discard so much of what she had liked before, because at seven that’s what you think you have to do.  She wore dresses almost all the time, wouldn’t play video games, or watch her old favorite TV shows.  She dove into girly TV shows, and tried to exclusively play with girl toys.  She already had an idea of societal expectations of what it meant to be a girl, and even at seven thought she had to adhere to such things.  As her parents, it was our job to remind her that she was her own person, and that there was no one way she, or any girl had to be.  Slowly, she began to take up some of those things that she had liked before.  She got back into sports (is a kick-ass soccer player), and she started to play video games again.  She also started wearing what makes her comfortable.  She’s active and now eight.  She likes dresses, but doesn’t wear them often, because as she puts it, “I like to play hard, and dresses aren’t for doing that.”  She’s figured out what being a girl means to her, and as a result has become happier with who she is.

This same dilemma faces anyone going through transition.  Yes, I’m female on the inside and always have been, but I also spent over 40 years playing boy, and so figuring out my sense of style, and my projected identity is still something that I needed to do, and to be honest it has happened pretty quickly.  I also buck the trend of many trans women I know, and I couldn’t give two shits about what society or even the trans community thinks I should be.  It’s my life after all, and for me, being a woman is more than just a dress and makeup.  Those are trappings and decoration, and for some they give comfort and solace, but for me they really don’t matter much.  Will I wear a dress or use makeup when I do go full-time?  Yes, of course I will, but those things don’t define my womanhood.  My gender is female, what I wear doesn’t change that, or make it more so.

I get asked all the time, by my therapist, other trans people, family, and friends about my expression.  Playing boy most days at work means that most people I know see me in male clothes on a regular basis.  This isn’t by choice, but out of necessity, and because I can handle doing this for work.  Some feel the need to come out right away and live as their “authentic” selves, which to me feels like a loaded term.

Webster’s defines Authentic as “worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact.”  This would suggest that one must prove themselves worthy of being seen as a woman to be treated as such, but who decides what being seen as a woman is?  Cis women have argued and fought these definitions for centuries, and so it should not be a surprise that trans women also deal with the struggle to define what womanhood is for them.

Is it the clothes I wear?  Use of make-up?  Things I like?  Thing I don’t like?  My ability to pass?  All of these things may impact how others view me, but they don’t speak to how I see myself.  I accepted I was female before I began hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  I knew it without a doubt, and as a result I started to let some of the shackles I had placed on myself fall to the ground.  Still others remain.  It is no easy task to shed decades of masking, but acceptance is the first step, and HRT also has helped immensely.

I’ve shared that it was at the three week mark on HRT that something slid home in my brain, and it was like for the first time my brain started working the right way.  Something else also happened that week which would help to shift my brain, and it was the realization that my breasts had begun to develop.  For me, early on, breast growth fundamentally changed the way I saw myself and how I wanted to interact with the world.  It was a confirmation that transition was absolutely the right choice for me, and while it made me a little nervous at first considering how I might hide them, and concerns around work, etc.  I was also ecstatic about them, as an obvious sign that my body was definitely responding to HRT, and beginning to feminize in a way I had always wanted.

It wouldn’t be until around four weeks on HRT that I’d start to really think about clothing, and a desire to have clothes for “me.”  However, I had to consider what my style was.  I also would and still do spend minutes every day staring at my naked body in the mirror.  It doesn’t cause me crippling dysphoria, but it does cause me to wince or grimace on the inside.  How I present to the world matters to me.  Presenting male or female I want to look my best.  I still have a body (minus the boobs) that most men over 40 would kill for, and I hate it, but it is the body I have to work with.  As a result, dresses and makeup really don’t put it or me in the best light.  Putting womanhood aside, I had to ask myself again, who am I?

I am an athletic, outdoorsy, hippie chick.  I love to play soccer, specifically goalkeeper, and how many women can say they’ve backpacked over 3,000 miles or happily gone six days without a shower?  I love tattoos and want piercings.  Give me Chaco sandals in the summer and Dr. Marten boots in the colder months.  I love the way my muscular legs look in skinny jeans or shorts.  I love tank tops and over-sized sweaters.  I don’t wear makeup yet, and may never wear much except for work, as I also love to sweat and workout.

After a long day at work I want to come home, workout, take a hot shower, and put on comfy clothes that I can relax in.  I know some girls come home and need to immediately put on a dress and makeup, but that isn’t me.  Neither way is wrong, and neither way makes one of us more or less a woman.

I remember reading the book “Tranny” and the chapter where Laura Jane Grace talks about her struggle to get her therapist to write her letter for HRT.  She was already dressing full time as a woman, but a woman who was the lead singer of a punk rock band, which meant she favored black skinny jeans and black tank-tops.  She had been writing trans-centric lyrics for years, and yet she would return week after week trying to get this male therapist to write her letter, until it dawned on her that he had to see what “he” thought it meant to be a trans woman, and so she returned the next session in full make-up and a dress, and got her letter for HRT.  Thanks to the media, cis folk have preconceived notions of what a trans woman is, and even trans people fall into the trap of societal norms and conventions.

I’ve had quite a few girls gush about how exciting it will be for me when I start wearing dresses and make-up.  The fact that I can do those things, isn’t what excites me, not even in the least…ok, I admit there might be some fun there, but what excites me is that the wearing of such things will mean my body has feminized to the point that I feel it looks more female than male.  What I put on it is secondary to me.  What matters most to me is how I see myself.  I am my own worst critic, and that knowledge scares me at times.

Most people who know me as Allie, know me for my positive attitude, and my sense of humor over the whole transition experience.  However, like any girl, there is that side to me that I hide from most, because I think people don’t want to see that side of me.  I have moments every day where I hate myself, and I hate being trans all the time.  That hate never goes away, and I don’t know if it ever will.  I have fears that my body will never pass, and that even with facial feminization surgery (FFS) that I will never be seen as the gender I am.  That fear kept me from accepting myself for the past decade, and while I am happy I finally pushed past it, being me is anything but sunshine and rainbows.

All of the above said, I would never go back, HRT has brought color to my life, and I have hope for the future.  Most of the time I have hope that I will pass, and that I will get to do those things I’ve dreamed of doing out in the open as a woman.  Many of them are simple things, little things that will give me the validation I want, and they may not seem exclusively female, but much of what we like in the world rarely is gender specific.

I look forward to playing soccer on a women’s team, and building camaraderie with female teammates for the first time in my life.  I look forward to returning to the yoga studio as myself.  I look forward to weight training again and rebuilding my body the way I want it.  I look forward to going shopping with girlfriends, or just out for dinner and getting ma’amed instead of sirred.  I look forward to not having to shave every day, and especially a stubble free face.  I look forward to more piercings, painting my fingernails, and yes I do look forward to being able to wear skirts and dresses, along with pretty underthings that look right on my body.

I look forward to FFS and gender confirmation surgery (GCS).  Not all girls get these things or feel that they need them, and you certainly do not need a vagina to be female. However, my physical appearance (what I see when I stand in front of the mirror naked) is vital to my feeling complete, and the confidence that will come with feeling complete will mean so much to how I interact with the world.  For me, the end result cannot come fast enough.

However, even without all of the above, I am still female, a girl, a woman.  Most of the above are simply modes of expression, and so often we all get caught up in blending gender with expression, when the two are not the same.  We need to start asking ourselves why is it so important to us that men and women fit certain societal conventions of how they are supposed to express.  Why does it matter and who does it hurt if someone acts outside of those conventional expectations?  We all have one life to live, mine is already almost half over, and I have yet to really start living as myself.  I have no energy left to really care what people think anymore, and within the next few months I’m going to begin pushing the boundaries of people’s expectations.  I may keep presenting male at work, but get both ears pierced and cover/feminize old tattoos.  After all, these are little things that will make me happy and feel more myself.  In the end, like I still tell my daughter…being a girl is whatever I decide it is, and maybe it’s time I start “being” just a little bit more.

My Brain Hurts…

Brain Hurts

Last Friday I heard from my family regarding the letters I sent them.  They all sent texts to me, because texts are safe.  You don’t have to show emotion or get emotion in a text.  They said all the right things, that they love and support me unconditionally, and it did mean a lot to me, but it wasn’t all that I needed, and I don’t know when I will get all that I need from them.

Coming out to people is mentally exhausting.  I’ve already decided that now that I am out to my immediate family I will only come out to people, if and when I need to, because of how exhausting it actually is.  The act of telling someone I am intersex and transgender isn’t the hard part of the coming out.  Instead, the hard part of coming  is the time spent explaining to the other person that I will be OK, and the time spent making sure that they are OK with me being…me.

I talked to my mother three days after she got the letter I sent her, and I walked away from the phone call feeling off about it all.  I spent the next day and a half in a darkening mood as I tried to figure out why the call bothered me so much.  It wasn’t a bad call, but it wasn’t a good call either.  Instead it was a safe call, as if my mom was afraid to show any emotion, and so the topics stuck to transition related stuff, which in turn also included the issue of passing.  As a result, I spent the call basically justifying who I was and making sure she was OK with this.  It will also be the last time I do this…I hope.

It isn’t my job to make sure you are OK with who I am, that’s your issue to deal with.  I have a shit shack full of my own issues with out adding yours to the mix.  Are you sad, scared, worried, or concerned with what others will think?  If so, then you need to work that out and keep it to yourself, because guess what…I’ve thought about it ten times, no, one hundred times more than you will ever think about it.

I’ve thought about the effects on my marriage, my kids, my job, my body, my health, and I could go on with the list.  I’ve thought about passing, living full-time, safety, how people will see me, and how people will treat me in such minute detail, and I will continue to do so, long after you stop.  This is “my” life, so of course I think about these things…I live these things, or will as I move forward.  Transition, and everything about it dominates my thoughts and life.

If you are trans and reading this, then I am guessing you are nodding along, as I know you have dealt with this, and like me will probably continue to deal with this.  In some ways it is the shittiest part of being transgender, and I fear that if I never “pass” that it is something I will always deal with…and probably on some level I will anyways, because dysphoria never goes away entirely.

It is such an easy thing for people to take their worries back from a trans person they care about.  How?  Don’t dump your concerns and fears on the person coming out to you.  Instead, you could hug them, tell them you love them, you support them, and that no matter what you’ll be there to help and see them go where they want to.

In the case of my mom, I just wanted her to be my mom.  I wanted to hear her say she loves me, and that she will be there no matter what.  And this is where I get selfish…because I know she has already expressed this to me, but I wanted to…needed to…hear it.  I wanted to feel the emotion of her love, and I didn’t get that with the first phone call.  I’m sure I will get it in the future, and I don’t want to paint her as being wrong, or that I’m mad at her.  I’m not mad at her, after all she has talked to me.  I also found out from my sister-in-law (through my wife) that my mom is hurting bad right now.  My biggest fear in coming out was that she would hurt when she realized how long I had been hiding and that she never knew.  As a parent you would do anything to keep your child from pain, and when you find you didn’t or couldn’t do it…it breaks your heart a little.  Knowing this, I’m giving her the benefit of time to let her process.  It isn’t my problem that she feels this way.  She’s a mom, and so it can’t be avoided, but I can give her time to deal.  I’ve thought about sending her a text to tell her that it isn’t her fault and that I don’t blame her or my dad for anything, but there will still be a part of her that feels like she should have known.  I tear up thinking about it, because this could easily have been my daughter and I thirty-some years from now.  Being trans and having a trans child puts me in a unique position to get both perspectives on this.  I want what I want, and yet I also can empathize with what she is feeling.

Let me be clear…I am not in a bad mood as I write this, and actually feel like I’m in a pretty good place.  My mood always gets better as the week goes on, and this is another source of mental exhaustion.  These days my weekends are almost always good.  I get to be me all weekend, even if most people see boy…I’m good with it, because I get to wear what I want and express as I will.  I don’t have to be him or think like him, and I love every minute of it.  As the week goes on and I get closer to the weekend, my mood improves because I know I won’t have to play the part for a couple days.  Conversely, as the weekend comes to a close I become anxious and depressed because I have to put the man suit back on for another work week.  Luckily, I work from home on Mondays and so it’s only four days, but my brain is already at the point where it doesn’t give a krap…it simply wants to be, and I wish I could let it.

This means exhaustion also comes from my need to hold off presenting full-time.  I know many gals jump right in, and this is why they do so.  It’s too hard for them not do so, and perhaps they don’t have the constraints that I have in my life.  There can be a myriad of reasons for why we go full-time when we do.  For me, it isn’t time yet.  It’s not because I don’t want to, but rather because I want to go full-time when I feel the time is right.  However, knowing the time isn’t right doesn’t give me comfort, after all logic and emotion are often at odds with one another.  Logically, I should wait and plan it out, so that I can maximize the greatest benefit for me and my family.  Emotionally, I want to say “Fuck It!”  This is who I am, deal with it.  These two sides being at odds with one another in my head can be draining, and I don’t see it ending anytime soon, but I know it will end.  I just have to keep my eye on the glimmer at the end of the tunnel and hold to the idea that one foot in front of the other gets me where I want to go.

Now all of the above, plus add in hormones, mood swings, and all the normal day to day stuff everyone deals with.  You can start to see why one might have mental exhaustion issues.  Usually sleep rejuvenates me, but this week with the added stress of coming out I haven’t been getting that emotional rejuvenation, and so I just feel tired every day.  If I didn’t have my emotional support network…if I was alone…then I don’t know where I’d be, but it wouldn’t be a good place.

I have my wife and my friends to thank for helping me get through this week, and for bringing me out of my funk.  My wife was there over the weekend giving me support while I started to stress about talking/not talking to my mom.  My friends were there to get me out of my funk after I talked to my mom.  Some friends just listened and offered words of understanding and comfort.  One friend, in particular, who is becoming a really good friend, just made me laugh and smile, because she seems to get me on a level that I never had a male friend ever get me on.  She, in large part, was responsible for getting me out of my dark place this week, and I’m thankful to have her in my life.

The takeaway from this post and the one I want cis people to walk away with is that your mental exhaustion and mine are not the same thing.  You don’t have to pretend to be someone else half your week, every week. You don’t have to regularly justify your existence or make others feel better about the fact that you exist as yourself.  If you have a trans person in your life, please remember this.  Remember, they don’t need to hear most of what you think.  What they need to hear is your positivity and support.  What they need from you is to simply be a loved one and/or a friend.  If they bring up worries or concerns then by all means talk about them.  If you have questions ask them, but do it in a way that comes from a desire to learn, and not from a place of worry or fear.  We do enough of that on our own, even if you don’t see it.  Yes, I try to be positive and outgoing to the world, but that doesn’t mean I don’t fear and worry.  It just means I don’t want to constantly shoulder others with my problems, and yes, most of the time, I’m in a good mood.  I would venture to say this is the case for many trans people out there.

Tomorrow is a new day, and next week, a new week…and before that a weekend with blessed sleep!  I look forward to the future, because every day there is something that moves me forward.  Even though I get exhausted sometimes…I like where my life is heading…I just wish I could get there a little faster.

Also finally changed my video…I thought “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam was appropriate for this week.

 

Personal Notes to Dad and Brother

Family-Silhouette-3

So, I posted the main body of my family coming out letter yesterday and I said I would post the personal notes to my father and brother.  Parts of these are identical to my mother’s but I didn’t want to cut it out…so without further stalling…here they are:

Personal Note to Dad

Dad, growing up you set the image of what I thought I was supposed to be as a man.  I always wanted your love, respect, and admiration.  I know you have always loved me to death, and would do anything for me.  I know one of your biggest concerns in life is that I am safe.  I hope this is your biggest concern as I share this with you.  As a child, one of the safest places I’ve ever been in life, at least in my mind, along with some of my warmest memories I have, are when you’d wrap me up in a hug, and the feeling of absolute security that would envelope me.  I always felt like you’d always keep me safe.  Part of me still believes that, even while my adult self says that’s my job.  Your love and support just might do what part of me still believes it can…make everything OK, and keep me safe.  I know this will be weird at first, but my hope is that my slow transition will make it easier.  I can’t know for sure, but I want to believe like that little kid so many years ago…that you love me, and would never do anything to ever hurt me.

I think you know how hard this is for me to tell you, and I hope you can still love me, and that you will still want to be a part of my life, but I also must accept as I write this that there is the chance that I could be completely wrong, and so I partly write and send a letter to protect myself.  Next to Wife, there are three people in the world that have the power to lift me up and the power to destroy me.  You, Mom, and Brother are those three people.  As for the rest, I couldn’t give two shits what they think.  I’m past worrying about pleasing others, or trying to be what I think they want me to be.

When you decide to text me, or email me I want you to remember the following things as they are important to me.  Please do not call me in disbelief, anger, or the notion that you can get me to change my mind, or that this is a joke, or that it’s a phase, or that I’ve lost my mind.  Those things are non-starters for me.  Also, please don’t tell me that I’m going to fast…I’m 43 now, and have known I was different since 5…there is no such thing as too fast from where I stand.

So what can we talk about?  You can ask me questions, about the past, about me currently, or about the future.  You can ask me how I’m doing.  You can give me your love and support.  You can simply talk to me like you always have.  I’m still the same person on the inside, except I no longer feel burdened by having to hide things in my private life.

If I don’t hear from you, then I will know you can’t accept it yet, or you have anger and other issues to work through, and that is ok.  I will have to accept that, learn to deal with it, and live my life, because I can’t go backwards.

I know you and Mom will be worried and scared for me, and as my parents I would expect nothing else.  I am scared and worried for myself at times, but I also know that I don’t have a choice in this…for the first time I understand why someone might want to kill themselves over this, because I know the circumstances where I would do so, and it is a sobering realization.

Finally, I want you to know that I will be ok, and that I know what I am doing, as much as anyone can.  I’m actually looking forward to what the future brings…for the first time in my life.  I hope that you will be part of that future, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Love,

 

Personal Note to Brother

I want you to know that I love you, and that if you are the brother and man that I think you are that this may take time to wrap your mind around, but that ultimately you can accept me for who I am, and get to know me that way.  No matter what, in my eyes, you will always be my little brother and I will always be there for you if you need me.

I hope you can still love me, and that you will still want to be a part of my life, but I also must accept as I write this that there is the chance that I could be completely wrong, and so I partly write and send a letter to protect myself.  Next to Wife, there are three people in the world that have the power to lift me up and the power to destroy me.  You, mom, and dad are those three people.  As for the rest, I couldn’t give two shits what they think.  I’m past worrying about pleasing others, or trying to be what I think they want me to be.

When you decide to pick up the phone and call me I want you to remember the following things as they will be important in having a real conversation.  Please do not call me in disbelief, anger, or the notion that you can get me to change my mind, or that this is a joke, or that it’s a phase, or that I’ve lost my mind.  Those things are non-starters for me.  Also, don’t tell me that I’m going to fast…I’m 43 now, and have known I was different since 5…there is no such thing as too fast from where I stand.

So what can we talk about?  You can ask me questions, about the past, about me currently, or about the future.  You can ask me how I’m doing.  You can give me your love and support.  You can simply talk to me like you always have.  I’m still the same person on the inside, except I no longer feel burdened by having to hide shit in my private life.

If I don’t hear from you, then I will know you can’t accept it yet, or you have anger and other issues to work through, and that is ok.  I will have to accept that, learn to deal with it, and live my life, because I can’t go backwards.

Please talk to mom and dad.  My letters to them will be more detailed about my past, and incidents that might help them connect the dots.  Also, please be there for them.  I can’t be there right now, and they may need you, so I am sorry to put this on you.  There’s no way to know for sure how they will take it.  I think mom will accept it faster than dad, but I could be wrong about that.  I know they will worry, be scared, and a multitude of other things.

I want you all to know that I will be ok, and that I know what I am doing, as much as anyone can.  I’m actually looking forward to what the future brings…for the first time in my life.  I hope that you will be part of that future, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Love,