Tranny

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.

What if I was Truly Alone?

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“What if I was truly alone?”  This thought hit me on the way to work this morning, and it terrified me.  “What if my wife told me to leave?”  I haven’t told my parents or my brother that I’m transgender yet.  My wife and kids know, a cousin knows, friends at work, but not the people I grew up with in the same house.  Why haven’t I told them yet?

I keep telling myself that I’m waiting for more changes to happen first, but is that really going to make the shock easier to bear for them?  Is it going to make it somehow easier for them to wrap their minds around, or to dispel forty years of the person they thought/believed they knew?  I don’t think there is anything that makes it easier, but it is something they have to accept if they want to be in my life, and I really would like that.  I really would like them to know the real me.  I really want my parents to get to know their daughter, and my brother to get to know his sister.  I hope they can get to a place where they want that as well, and I hope that it will come sooner rather than later.

Yesterday, I spoke with my mother, and every time she asks me what is going on with me, I want to tell her.  Heck, I’ve been calling her less than I usually do, because it is so hard to not tell her, and then I feel like I’m lying because I don’t.  I have this huge thing going on and I’m not sharing it with the biggest cheerleader I’ve ever had.  It’s hard, and even now I fight back tears as I think about my relationship with her.  I grew up closer to my mom than my dad.  I was more bookish, like her, and more open with my feelings.  I also wanted to be like her, but never shared that with her.  My mom has become far more liberal and open as she has gotten older, and so I think she will be the first to get past it and accept me, but she may also have it even harder as I’m her first, her baby, and sometimes that makes it really hard for mothers to let go.  I can only hope that when I write her letter, it will express in such a way that when she calls me to talk, the first words out of her mouth will be that she loves me and she is there for me.

As for my father?  I grew up striving to be like him, seeing him as image of what I was supposed to be as a man, and I fashioned my adult male persona after him, at least as much as I could.  I always wanted his love, and even more his respect and admiration.  If he ever reads this, I don’t say the next part to hurt, it’s how I felt/feel.  I love him so much, so I don’t want him to ever think I thought he loved me any less, but I did feel often while growing up that my brother was his favorite.  I know as an adult that he related to my brother better, and duh, that should be obvious why, especially now.  However, growing up I often wondered what I could do to change that, but never could figure it out.  As an adult I figured it out to a point.  Work hard, be a good parent, make good decisions and I earned his respect.  By forty I finally felt like I had earned what I always sought.  At least that’s what I thought/how I felt.  I will say that I know he has always loved me to death, and would do anything for me.  He doesn’t always say it, more as he’s gotten older, but his biggest concern in life is that we are safe.  I want to believe this will be his biggest concern when he finds out.  One of the safest places I’ve ever been in life, at least in my mind, along with some of my warmest memories are when he’d wrap me up in a hug, the smell of his cologne, and the feeling of absolute security that would envelope me.  Dad would make sure everything was OK.  He’d always keep me safe.  Part of me still believes that, even while my adult self says that’s my job.  His love and support just might do what part of me still believes it can…make everything OK, and keep me safe.  I think he will come around.  It may 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…My daddy loves me, and would never do anything to ever hurt me.

And then there is my brother.  Three years younger, he has always been somewhat easy going and accepting.  I think it may be easiest for him, but I could also be wrong the opposite way as I was his “big brother” and all that went with it.  I’d look out for him, be protective of him, bail him out when he’d get in trouble, and we’ve had some great adventures together in our younger adult years.  I love him to death, and would drop anything if he needed me.  I love his kids to death as well.  I have to think his worries will about how his kids and wife take it.  He will think of his family and how they will explain it to the kids.  Both are still young, and so I think the handling of it won’t be bad, but one can never know for sure.  If I know my brother, I think I will get a call one day telling me that he may not get it, but that he loves me and if that is who I am then it may take a little time but he accepts me and will have to get used to it.

Now, if all this goes south, and they go in a direction I can’t imagine, I’m not sure what I will do.  I know my wife will be protective of me on this matter, and that she will be there for me, but to be rejected by those you love is never an easy thing.  In this case could be earth shattering on some level.  I have to be ready that this could happen, and so it is another reason I choose to send letters.  It gives them a chance to process and reach out when they are in good places, and if they’re not…well, I can always hang up the phone.  My father taught me to only put on paper that which you are willing for the world to see, and so I will put to paper my authentic self, and my love of my family.  I am happy to share those things with the world.

If the letters I will eventually post can help one other trans person navigate their own coming out in a positive way, then the sharing will be worth it.  This is no easy thing, and I anticipate the writing of the letters to be a major cry-fest.  This has, by far, been the most emotional post I have written to date, and I get why.  It’s the most emotional thing I have grappled with since freeing my emotions, and I’ve been in tears throughout the writing of it, having to stop several times as I wrestle with my feelings.  That’s how it should be, isn’t it?  We should feel emotional about those we love, and hope they feel the same about us.

In the end, I believe this is just a reboot to the relationship with my family.  They will get a better me, a more engaged me, and a me that no longer feels she needs to hide her real self.  The positive me can’t help but think, “How can they not want to know the real me?”  I’m so much a better person than “he” ever was.  I am actually happy with who I am for the first time ever, and what’s not to love about that?

Because of the Shame (I associate with Vulnerability)

LJGI bought “Tranny” on Audible about a month ago, but did not rush to listen to it, and only put it on in my car as I made the drive north from south Florida back to the Atlanta area early this week.  I knew Laura Jane Grace (LJG) fronted Against Me, and that she had transitioned a few years ago.  I’ve never been one to pile on bandwagons, and so as my daughter transitioned…and then as I began to transition myself, I was damned if I was going to be the cliche trans person following a band just because the front woman was transgender.  However, as I began to dig into her book, I began to find that much of our thought processes were identical or ran parallel to one another, and that just drew me into wanting to check out her music.  So this past weekend that is just what I did, downloading all her albums on Spotify and…my love affair with LJG and Against Me began.

I’ve always been a fan of thrashing rock, punk, classic rock, and I could go on.  Nothing gets me going for competition or workouts than hard driving bass, drums, and electric guitars.  I was immediately taken with the songwriting abilities of LJG.  I’ve always been a sucker for good lyrics.  They matter to me, and as I listened to her lyrics I became even more hooked on her music.

Let me step back a second, and say the last two weeks have been eventful ones.  Last week was a goodbye of sorts.    One thing is certain from every transwoman I’ve ever talked to and that is this…HRT will fundamentally change the way I see and interact with the world.  Estrogen will change my brain, and so I spent last week quietly saying goodbye to certain things, happy to do so, but a little sad as well.  I admit, there were some tears shed on my part as I realized this version of me will never see my parents or brother again, but it is how it has to be, and I have faith that when the time comes they will accept, love, and support me.

Getting home, my wife and I had a good talk.  She shared her fears and concerns regarding intimacy, and while I assured her I still found her attractive, the unasked question is, “what will she think of me as my body and mind start to change.  Will she find me attractive?  We don’t have those answers, but we agreed to try and move forward.  We don’t know how things will turn out, but we love each other, and we will see if, in the end, that is enough.

Much bigger, I’ve realized that I’ve left my self-hatred and anger behind.  They no longer rules me, and I shared that in therapy this week.  The blowup between the wife and I last week was a major turning point for me and my transition…an important, positive one that has seen me begin to reconnect with my family…who I was so close to losing…and if that had happened I would have lost everything I hold dear.

So where did my self hate and anger come from?  I was angry and hated myself because I couldn’t be me.  I was angry I had to hide the female me, and hated myself for being a coward.   Finally, I realized that through various obsessions I had made myself numb to so much emotion.  With the self-hatred and anger gone, my emotions have begun to emerge, and while I’m more prone to tears these days, I am happy that this is the case. Up until today, it had been over 22 years since I had last sobbed about anything.

The trigger?  Well, my emotions were already raw, and it had been building, but it was an Against Me song which set me free.  I had been listening to “Tranny” earlier today, and there is a part where LJG talks about her friend and former lover CC being killed, and while attending the funeral CC’s mother tells her to make it right.  At the time LJG still wasn’t out.  The story was sad, but I didn’t think too much about it while listening to the story.  It wasn’t until I was deep into my workout listening to Against Me when “Because of the Shame” comes on (lyric version video is my Video of the Day).

I was doing my ab workout, and in the middle of it, I realize that the song was written about CC, but more importantly it was also written about LJG’s shame at the idea of showing vulnerability.  It was a shame I knew all too well, a shame that has kept me living a lie for so long, and a shame that I am through with.  Still, as I listened to the words, I sat up and began to cry.  I couldn’t help myself, but the tears were not my usual weak tears that I could push down and gain control over.  This time, they just kept coming, and I simply let go and sobbed.  The song hits me on such a visceral level, and even now as I think of it, I’m fighting back the urge to cry.  I’ve hated who I am for so long, hated how I held such rigid control over what I allowed the world to see, including those I love.  Even now, as I find my happy, because I have let go of that rigid control, there still exists a residual sadness for time and incidents that I can never make up, and that I can never get back.  Laura and her song will forever hold a significant place in my transition, and emotional development, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I am old enough to know, LJG will never read this, never know just how much that song, her words, mean to this 42 year old woman just beginning her transition, but I think it connects because I know, without a doubt, that the shame she felt mirrors my own regarding what we both pushed down and denied for so long, before moving past it to find our real selves.

Looking at this week so far, it has been a week of turning corners.  Monday I found out that I will get my HRT letter at my next therapy session, and I also confirmed yesterday that in all liklihood I will be able to start HRT that same week…meaning in less than two weeks I will finally be on the physical road to aligning my body with my mind.

My wife is talking more about my transition in, if not a positive light, then definitely not a negative one.  She has noticed I am engaged more, and more involved in the household…I am simply more there.  And, finally, after my workout today, I shaved off my beard for the first time in eight years, and for what I know will be the last time.

I am finally getting excited for my future, and feeling more at peace than I think I have ever been before in my life.  I have left behind my self-hate, anger, and my shame.  In their place I have found freedom, contentment, and a peace that I hope to keep a hold of as I move forward with my life.  I no longer have to be ashamed, because there is nothing shameful about living my real truth.