gender therapy

2017-My Year in Review

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If you follow me on Twitter or are a friend on Facebook then you know that the last week or so haven’t been the best for me mentally.  I can readily admit I started sinking when I found out that my hormone levels really haven’t moved much the past two and a half months.  I did rationalize with myself that my body and mind have seen changes, many of which I’ve discussed on this blog, and if I’ve seen such changes with my levels where they are at now then once they get to cis-female levels I should see some even bigger ones.  That, of course, is my rational mind speaking, and most of the time I let it run things, but every once in awhile when the dysphoria demon creeps in, and my emotions take over, I start to feel “mannish” and things head south for me mentally.

Nobody, I don’t care who you are, can be happy and positive 24/7.  Humans aren’t built that way.  I consider myself a strong and positive woman.  I like to think that most of the time I look forward to the future, excited at what it has to offer.  The past few days this has been difficult as I fixate on the questions of, “what if things don’t get better?  what if I will never get to where I want to, where I need to be?”  I realize that this is dysphoria fucking with me, but I still need to get past it, and so I thought I’d look back at the past year and see just how far I’ve come.

2017 began with me deep in taking care of name change stuff for my daughter.  I had already begun delving deep into information on trans women, but was still more focused on trans children and their needs.  My closet door was starting to buckle, but the skeletons where still locked away.   I can remember throwing  myself into work and the idea of starting to backpack with my daughter.  The prospect of hitting the trail with her had me excited, and the need to buy her gear and to update mine consumed most of my free time.  We even managed to get out for an overnight hike on the Appalachian Trail in January, and she was a trooper considering the terrain we had to hike.  I can remember how happy I was when she finished in tears, but ten minutes later started talking about “when we go the next time”.

The rest of the winter continued much the same.  My daughter’s name change became official at the end of February, and we got her passport about a month after that.  Late March saw my daughter suffering from some pretty bad dysphoria and so we went for another backpacking trip, as being out in nature always seems to help her.  It was on this trip that my closet exploded and I realized that I also suffered from dysphoria, although I wasn’t willing to admit I was transgender yet.  Instead, I still hedged with the idea that, just because I was sometimes jealous of women and wanted what they had, well, that didn’t make me trans.  However, the door had been opened, and my online searches now centered on trans women and not trans kids.  Subconsciously, my brain had shifted, even if my conscious awareness was still battling or misdirecting.

Late May saw my daughter and I go on a 7 day backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail, and we had a wonderful time.  It was great just being alone with her on the trail, and it made for some good bonding.  Looking back I can say that it was the peace before the storm, and in many ways I approached the hike as if I was saying goodbye to something.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but there was a moment near the end of our hike where I was walking along listening to Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” and tears just started to stream down my face.  I was thinking of my family and my kids, and how things might change.  I still had yet to make the connection, but the memories of my past had been hitting me harder, and I just had this feeling that things had to change.  I just had no idea how much they were about to.

The summer was my biggest summer of discontent ever.  My father-in-law came to live with us just as my closet completely imploded.  So many memories were coming back to me daily.  I began forming friendships with trans women online, and spending most nights researching anything and everything about transition.  I know now that I was trying to talk myself into the idea that transition was possible, but at the time my self-hate and loathing were at an all time high.  I was going through a nervous breakdown of sorts and taking it out on everyone in my house.  In many ways, I was mentally in the darkest place of my life as I realized that I could not continue as I had, and that something had to change.

Three girls, all of whom I met through Twitter, were instrumental in helping me to figure out that I was trans.  By this time I knew I was also intersex, but was playing around with the idea that I might be nonbinary.  However, after talking with one girl, and giving it greater consideration I realized that nonbinary did not fit me, because it didn’t mesh with who I knew I was on the inside.  I needed more, and nonbinary wouldn’t give me that.

Discussions with the other girls made me realize that I could transition, because it was about what I needed.  I began to realize that if I didn’t I would end up killing myself due to neglect or by my own hand.  Late July saw me telling people I was nonbinary, as I was hedging still and it was a baby step towards me admitting the full truth.  Local friends convinced me that I needed to tell my wife, and at the same time I finally accepted that I was a trans woman and needed to begin gender therapy.  With those admissions my life began to drastically shift for the better.

I came out to my wife in August, and again hedged that I thought I might be nonbinary, but I also admitted that I may want to transition.  I already knew the truth, and as I began therapy, in the very first session I admitted verbally that I wanted to transition fully.  With each admission, the weight that had been crushing me began to lift, but there would also be some low points as I began to set the path I planned to walk.

I learned how close I had been to losing my wife and kids, due to my self hate and loathing during the summer.  Coming out to my wife and beginning therapy kept my family together.  Although the nature of my marriage has changed, as a family we are better than we’ve been in a long time.  Accepting who I am and having some hard conversations with my wife has allowed me to put my anger and self-loathing behind me for the most part.  I won’t say things are perfect, but they are much improved.

I have made some good friends for the first time in a long time, and now count several trans and cis women as friends.  I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be friends with people who only know me as Allie.  It is truly a gift to feel comfortable enough to simply express as the woman I am.  I am even out to two girlfriends at work who are supportive, and one of them will be my new boss beginning with the new year.

October 9th, 2017 will forever be important to me because it was the day I started HRT.  My mind and life have simply become brighter since starting it.  I have seen changes, which I discuss every month in a post, and while not drastic, those changes are enough to keep me moving forward, along with having lost 40lbs in an effort to work towards a more girlish figure.  I don’t know how I navigated life for so long without estrogen, but I’d rather die than give it up at this point.

Overall, I’d have to say that 2017 is ending on a high note.  The blip I have experienced the past week was the realization that I have moved out of the mountain top phase and into one of realistic expectations.  I’m still excited about my future, but that excitement is tempered by the reality that physical changes take time and will happen when they happen.

When I think about where I was on January 1, 2017 compared to now, there is no comparison.  My mental state is stronger than it has been in years and I can’t remember ever being so in touch with my emotions.  I don’t want to dwell on the past too much as I believe you learn from your past, live in the moment, and look to your future.  2017 will forever be one of the most important years in my life, but it isn’t the best or the most important.  I believe those years have yet to come.  For the first time, I look forward to the future with hope and excitement.  In the mean time I will take each day as it comes with the knowledge that even if bad, tomorrow is always a new day that takes me one day closer to living full time as the real me.

 

HRT: Month 2 Update

2-monthsTwo months down already, and so I’m back to talk about where I’m at and everything new that happened during my second month of HRT.

This time around I’m going to start with my measurement changes, and from there I will talk about everything else….so without further ado, lets get into it.

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 3 measurements:

  • Weight:  239.2lbs
  • Chest:  40.5 inches (underbust:  38 inches)
  • Waist:  35 inches
  • Pant/male waist:  37.5 inches
  • Hips:  41.5 inches
  • Neck:  15 inches
  • Bicep:  14 inches
  • Wrist:  6.5 inches
  • Ankle:  9 inches

So, I did gain two pounds from the beginning of the month, but my measurements continued to shrink, regardless of the slight weight gain, and that makes me extremely happy.  I thought I’d break the change discussion into three categories:  physical, mental, and parental warning:  sexual.  In my mind changes this month were just as significant as the first, and in some ways maybe more.  At least, for me they were.

Physical Changes

Breast Development:  I woke up the second day of HRT month two with an ache in my breasts that hasn’t left since it started.  Month one saw the beginning of my breast development and month two saw it continue.  I also saw my chest muscle continue to soften while my bra size went from a 42A to a 40B.  I’m becoming more comfortable talking about it as I probably should wear something everyday, but I don’t.  This is partly due to work, as I will admit if I were full time I’d be going bra shopping instead of wearing shelf camisoles and bralettes.  For now, the latter is good enough due to the significant chest muscle I still have, but as it goes more and more  I have a feeling I”m going to need more support.  At this point, I get the pain of running up and down stairs, or even just running period…like, it really hurts.  Funny enough, the pain makes me smile, as it simply reminds me that I’m finally getting the body I’ve always wanted.

Fat Distribution:  This really started to show during the second month, as I’ve started  to notice a softening to the way my muscles show through the skin.  The first place I noticed this was on my torso, specifically my midsection.  For those that follow me on Facebook and Twitter I did post comparison pictures that highlighted these changes:

 

The first picture above was taken a month before HRT and the second picture was six weeks on HRT.  Along with the redistribution which you can see, my skin is much softer as well.  My legs which have always been chiseled, are still defined but slightly smaller, and they now have a slightly softer look to them, which I only noticed in the past week.

Estrogen redistributes fat into female patterns, but won’t actually move fat, however it will make use of what you have where it needs it, and I’ve seen this start to happen on my hips, my chest, and my butt.  I haven’t seen much start to happen with my face, but it will come when it does.  While weight didn’t come off in the last month, my body fat percentage is right where it should be.  I’m currently sitting at about 24% body fat, and the ideal body fat for a 43 year old woman is 22.5%.  Knowing this, my goal is now to make sure it doesn’t go up while trying to continue to shed weight.  As the muscle starts to shed, the weight should go down…or I have to make sure it does.  I think I have a pretty good handle on this, and am excited to see when this starts to happen.

Muscle Mass:  It seems to be on the decline, but as I’ve learned from other girls it does seem the strength is starting to go faster than the actual muscle.  This started with muscle endurance first, but in the last week I’ve noticed that certain things have gotten just a little heavier, which I’m just fine with.  I’ve noticed my arms are thinning out, as is my chest, and my legs.  My shoulders and my back muscles are still hanging on, and I can’t wait for them to start going as well, but the other changes are enough to tide me over and give me confidence that they will soon start to go as well.  On another note, while I continue to work my legs by doing cardio, just having a snowball fight the other day with the kids has my back and obliques sore like I put them through a workout.  I think I need to start doing some plank exercises as part of a maintenance routine until my body gets to a size where I can introduce strength training again.

Overall, my physical changes have me excited and have had me buying new female clothes, while getting rid of older male clothes.  Nothing fancy or super expensive as my body still has quite a bit of changing to do, but I’ve noticed other than slim or skinny fit, most men’s pants seem to leave a bit too much room in the legs and butt.  Not sure how this happened as they still look big to me, but clothes fit the way they fit, and clearly they’re starting to fit me differently.  All that said, my women’s jeans seem to be fitting me better, and I can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store.

Miscellaneous:  My skin continues to get softer and at the end of month one, confirmed in month two I can say that I no longer smell like a boy.  My sweat doesn’t stink and neither do my armpits.   I can wear the same sports bra for multiple workouts without the stink factor arising immediately.  I’ve also started to get more sensitive to heat and cold, which is a nice change of pace as I’m not always on the verge of sweating like in days past!

 

Mental Changes

This continues to be a place that in many ways gives me the greatest satisfaction, but also causes some turmoil at times.  In the last month I continue to feel more myself, and when with people, especially other women that know “me,” it has become almost impossible for me not to express female.  It is something that I now do unconsciously, and only realize it once I am in conversation.  I have to remind myself when with people I don’t know to pull it back a little.

It becomes harder to put on guy clothes each work day, and go to work.  I still do it, but it does cause me anxiety that is worse at the beginning of the week.  It gets better as the week goes on and I get closer to the weekend.  I know this is totally normal, and I deal as best I can, because it is what I need to do for the time being, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I hope my changes start coming even faster so I can stop playing the “boy” charade.  As the brain changes faster, it is impossible for the body to keep up.  You get to a point where you just want to be you, and I understand why some gals go full-time so quickly.  The temptation is there for me too!  However, while I know I am a woman, when I go full time at work I want people to see that as well.  It is important to me that this happen, and remembering that will keep me on the path that I’ve laid out for me.

This past week, I forgot for the first time, while at the store that I was playing boy.  I had just finished paying and the cashier said, “Thank you, sir.  Have a great day!”  I paused for a second before responding because my brain went, he just called you sir!  You’re not a sir…oh wait, yeah, right…  Afterwards it made me laugh, and while it might cause others dysphoria…I was presenting male, and it also gave me a warm fuzzy to realize my brain, and how I see myself has intrinsically changed for the better.  It’s not something that’s going to make me sad.  However, I will admit that if I had been presenting female and been “sirred” then it certainly would have messed with me in a bad way, so I think it important to set the distinction down.

Finally, the way in which I interact with others continues to change, and the way other’s who know me, especially women, confirms this.  I now care more, think of others more, and continue to relate to other women better than before.  This is not to say women have the market cornered on caring or being empathetic, but it’s the way I go about it, and I know I’m doing a poor job of describing it, but it’s just something I know has changed about myself.  I see it in my interactions with my wife and kids as well.  Much of this could also have to do with just being happy with who I am now.  There is no discounting that not all mental changes are due to HRT directly…some are simply down to feeling good about my future.

(Warning…) Sexual Changes

Changes here are minor this month, and so there isn’t much to say.  For one, I didn’t have much of a desire to experiment or test things, and so I simply didn’t.  I typically don’t think about sex unless I’m going to fantasize, and while I will admit the nature of my fantasies has changed, both when I’m awake or when dreaming (I’m never a man or  have male anatomy anymore).  As for physical, I might be seeing slight shrinkage of my testicles, but not entirely sure at this point.  I’m also continuing to see a decreased volume of what comes out, and the consistency is becoming more watery in nature.

Wrap-Up

Overall, I am happy with the changes I’m seeing as I continue moving forward.  I see my doctor on the 20th, and I hope to increase both my spiro and my estrodiol.  Still waiting to see a couple big ticket things start to change, but it give me something to look forward to, and so I will continue to eye my future with positivity.

Emotions on the Edge

68cee0299574cc2fa9a3e5e3f9ec08c4As I move forward with my transition, I begin to realize I am changing in ways that are, at the same time, both scary and positive.  These days my emotions seem to constantly bubble right beneath the surface, and I find that while I still can present a very male mask, much of what is beneath the surface is the real me, the female, pulling the strings.

I find the fact that the real me is beginning to emerge an exciting time, but with every step forward there is no going back, to go back would mean oblivion, and yet no matter how confident I seem, there is always a fear of the unknown, because you can never know for sure how people will eventually react to you.  Other women have told me that they are amazed at how I can pace myself and take my time when all they want to do is run.  I’ve thought about what they’ve said, and want to clue them in to the fact that a huge part of me wants to run as well.  I just know that isn’t the path meant for me and my transition.

I want to wear the fun stuff, dresses, shoes, fun tights, nail polish on my fingers, and make-up on my face.  However, I am also in my early forties, and have a family, a good job, etc., and so there is a way in which I must go about my transition in order to maintain as much of what I have and want as possible.  I accept I may lose things, but I won’t give them up without a fight, and I will try and move forward with as much positivity  as possible.  Good people gravitate towards positive, and unconsciously want to share in it.  If I want people to accept Allie, then I have to show them that Allie is a person they want around them, that Allie is someone they want working for them, and that Allie is a friend and family member who makes life better.

I keep sticking to my “Two years on HRT plan.”  What that means, is I want to be on HRT for two years before I decide what’s next, but I may hedge at the year mark and schedule gender confirmation surgery (GCS) if I feel the changes happening are good enough that I can wait on any other surgeries I might want.  I won’t know what other surgeries I’d want until the 2 year mark anyways.  The only surgery I know I want for sure is GCS.  OK, and a nose job, and some liposculpting…I have this fat on my inner thighs that I had even as an athlete, and it just won’t go away…but I digress…The point is I don’t have hang-ups about my face, and hope I never do…for me it is body and voice…those are my biggest triggers.  As for genitals…I don’t hate my penis, but I don’t love it either.  I do hate my testicles…they’re just…in the way…all the time…and I will be happy to see them shrink, and eventually removed.

Another benefit of my two year plan is that it gives those I love and care about a chance to begin to see changes, to share why those changes are occurring, and to let them get used to those changes before the biggest change of all…stepping out of the man suit and leaving it behind for good.  If HRT brings about a second puberty then all those things cis gals learn during puberty, I will have two years to learn.  I talked about it in therapy yesterday, and I do mean that.  I’m not a woman yet…because girls go through puberty to become women, and I have yet to go through mine.  Not all will agree with me, but that’s how I see my transition, and mine doesn’t have to be like anyone else’s.

Being a woman isn’t putting on make-up and a pretty dress.  I am female, but I need to learn how to present and navigate the world as a woman.  I need to get used to my body as it changes, and also get used to how people will begin to see and perceive me.  I need to learn how do do my hair, my make-up, and what clothes look best on my body.  More importantly, I need to find my female voice, adjust my mannerisms, the way I move, the way I talk, the way I hold myself.  I need to find my confidence in those things.  Taking my time gives me the opportunity to work on those things while my body does its own changing.

I’m the type of girl that can be happy with seeing positive change…as long as I feel I am moving towards my end goal then I am happy.  Right now it is weight loss, down 27lbs as of this morning, and I continue to average 2-3 lbs a week, which I am more than happy with.  My eating habits have changed, and I’m not starving myself.  I no longer eat like a man, but we also established yesterday that I used to eat that way to also cover for my depression, which I have moved beyond by accepting I am female.

So where am I an emotional mess?  I’m getting to that, this is my blog and I am free to go where I will.  Some know that I am quite active on Twitter, and as such I talk to many girls, all at different stages and with different experiences.  I have been lucky to find a couple who have really taken me under their wing, and their positivity truly can boost my spirits and stop dysphoria in its tracks.  Friday was such a day, where a conversation with another gal threatened to take me to a dark place, but when I reached out to my fairy godmother, as I call her, she came back with just the right things I needed to hear, and the day ended on a positive note.  I can’t stress enough to girls starting out how important community is to us.  This is rough enough as is, but to do it alone…as confident as I can seem, I’d be a complete mess, and so I am thankful I have found friends and support at home and on the internet.

Saturday night my wife got upset with me when she found I had been shaving certain parts of my body, and I hadn’t told her.  I didn’t think it was a big deal, but I had agreed to share everything with her.  It left me feeling horrible, but a friend chatted with me for almost two hours late into the night, and the next day I awoke to apologize to my wife.  I did not apologize for shaving, but for the not sharing.  If we are going to find a new place in our marriage, then she has to feel a part of my transition, and that I am a better person for it.

Sunday, my wife and I were driving home from an event, and feeling emotional I told her that I constantly fear that the next step I take, the next thing I do might be the thing that weirds her out, or drives her away.  She said she understood, but not much else.  She knew I was starting to express in little ways, my feminine side, and that I wanted to switch out my underwear as a next step, but I needed to tell her it was happening.  She had seemed ok with it, but I had to tell her it would be this week, and so I dove in and told her.  I even hedged around saying I’d keep my guy underwear for the kids sake, and sleep in that.  She just looked at me, shook her head, and said, “That’s stupid, just put on a pair of shorts when you come to bed.”  Her matter-of-factness sent a message that maybe she’s accepting this faster than I thought.  My wife isn’t a talker when it comes to her feelings, that’s my department, but I know she has them, and I know she loves me.  It’s amazing how such a simple acceptance of my expression can give me greater confidence for the next thing I’ll want to do.

Monday’s therapy session brought more emotion out, as my therapist when talking about coming out to my parents asked a question that got me to begin to lose it regarding my father, and I’m not going there, don’t want to start blubbering again.  Yes, I started to lose it…and if I had let myself it would have been bad, but I was able to reign it in so I could keep talking.  I’ve also touched upon this thought in another blog post, but what I haven’t touched upon is how much of girl I’ve always been in my desire to please, especially my parents.  I haven’t always shown it, but I know in some ways my transition is going to hurt them, and it is the last thing I want to do, to hurt my parents, but I also can no longer hurt myself for the sake of others.  This is the truth of all of us who are transgender, and the emotions that go with it are no joke.

Therapy did end on a high note for me, as my therapist did agree that she didn’t see why I couldn’t be on HRT by my birthday less than two months away.  That, made my day.  I also almost forgot, but I have lined up a hormone doctor and a new primary care doctor, both who specialize in trans patients.  I already have my appointment to get my levels checked for HRT, so that when I go to my hormone doctor I could get my prescriptions on day one, which has me so excited!

The affirmation of others around me only serves to give confidence that I am female, as for so long I worried I was a fraud or a fake.  I know I am not, but emotions can be fucked up, and dysphoria meddling with them can make them even worse.  As I was writing this, I got a tweet that might be the sweetest thing anyone has said to me, and definitely the sweetest since I started my transition.  Talking about my timetable I had told my friend how bad I wanted to just jump in with both feet, and she came back with this:

Oh Allie I do know how much you want it, never questioned that.  Just wow:  your kindness towards others and “skill” at helping them forward.”

Chrissy,  if you read this…I love you right back!  And, yes, her words made me cry, but just a little, and I’ll never turn down happy tears.  To think that others might see me this way as I’m just starting out…I don’t know if I have the words to express what it means, other than my heart just feels full right now.  It’s a feeling I want to hold onto, and this is a post I can definitely come back to when times get tough, because I know they will.

As I close on this, I’m left wondering if my emotions are really on the edge, or if they simply are finally beginning to emerge as they’re supposed to be.  My biggest hope, early on, is gaining the ability to emote freely, once more.  The past few days have given me some ups and downs, but I’ve come through it feeling even more positive about the future.

I wanted to share some words from my “fairy godmother” that make me smile with happy tears as I’m about to write them.  It got me through the other day, and I’m sharing them because I think they can apply to others.

She wrote to me:

“We make what we make of this experience.  Work hard, give grace, forgive…you know all that…I feel that positivity in you.”

“And the other thing is to temper the pace of the transition and build the patience necessary.  We all know what haste does.”

“All the *small* victories are actually massive.  Celebrate all of them.  ALL OF THEM”

“When the big milestones happen you will have enough rocket fuel to last a year!”

The rest of what she wrote is more personal and for me…but I am so thankful for her, and she knows it.  She is the one who first said what I needed to hear that allowed me to believe I could transition…and she didn’t even know it at the time.

Anyways, I think I’m gonna end here, because I’ve got a lump in my throat, and my eyes have started to slightly leak, but I’m owning that feeling because it also has a smile on my face which I intend to savor.

Oh, and I changed my music video…an old 80’s song that always makes me happy…because that’s where I’m at right now.  Much love to you all!

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad

Facts-1Ok, being a little cheeky with the title this time around.  I’m actually feeling pretty good as I write this, but was feeling pretty shitty this morning…Dysphoria…it’s a BITCH!!!

Since my last post some good things have happened.  First, my wife and I had a nice date on Saturday, and we had a good conversation.  She was good with me beginning to express a little more…just baby steps…but I don’t want to hide things like painting my toes or wearing pretty undies…that said I did say I’d be discreet as my kids don’t know I’m trans yet, but do my kids really need to know what underwear I’m wearing?

I also coached my daughter’s soccer team to a 10-1 victory on Saturday.  She is probably the best player on her team (one boy is close) which always makes a parent glow.  She scored 4 goals and had 4 killer saves in goal.  Don’t know where her aggression and competitive spirit came from, but it is definitely there this year.

The rest of the weekend was just about relaxing and not doing much of anything, which is never a bad thing.  Yesterday, my daughter wanted to paint my toes (Yes, please!) and so now I’m rocking a bright pink, and it just felt right.  That coupled with some body hair removal and new underwear left me feeling pretty content as the holiday weekend came to a close.

Today, did not start out so well, because my dysphoria demon decided to pay me a visit when I looked in the mirror this morning.  It piled on more when I stepped on the scale by saying I’ll never get my weight down to where I want it to be, so why even bother, and so I spent the morning doing battle with myself, but the afternoon sent the demon packing.

I made contact with a gender specialist I intend to see for HRT, once I have my therapist letter.  Dr. Lowell will be the first doctor in Atlanta to open a practice specializing in serving transgender patients and their needs.  While she is not an endocrinologist, she has already worked with Emory University to establish a gender clinic, and her practice will also service transgender people throughout the southeast.  Her dedication to the transgender population and herself being a member of the LGBT community goes a long way with me.  Her practice won’t be up and running fully until October (not taking insurance yet), but she took the time to email back and forth with me today, and we’ve come up with a plan that could see me start HRT by my birthday, and that has me very happy right now.  She seemed very down to earth, and I just got warm vibes from our email conversation.  I’m looking forward to meeting her, but that also means I need to step up my weight loss…I’m about halfway to where I minimally want to be when I start HRT, and it is realistic to think I can get there with a little dedication.

All of this makes me wonder where I will be at this time next year.  I mean, I can’t even begin to picture what will happen.  Will the changes be big, minimal, somewhere in between?  How will the kids take it?  How will the wife react to said changes?  I mean I could go on and on with the questions.  I know there will be ups and downs throughout that year, but I’m trying to approach the future with hope and optimism.  I’m excited to see where 2018 takes me.  It’s a very real possibility that I could be living full time as Allie before I turn 45, and that thought almost takes my breath away…to finally be myself all the time?  I don’t know if I have the words yet to describe the enormity of that in my mind.  I’m sure as time goes by I will be able to do so a little bit at time, and I think that is also a good reason to keep this journal going.

Anyways, right now I’m going to ride the high I’m feeling, because I know tomorrow could take me down again, but for now I’m not going to think about it.  Instead, I will choose to live in the now and enjoy the feelings I’m currently experiencing.  Right now, at this very moment, it feels pretty good to be me.

 

My Red Pill

RedPill_hand-300x225Yesterday 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
In demonology

Feel like it resonates with me these days…Celebrity Skin…check it out.