I had always been social, until recently, when this transition became reality. It was transition or suicide for me. Social life took a back seat, and I decided to put Humpty Dumptress back together again.
Lately the need to socialize has returned with a vengeance.
I started this process by spending a night in the psych ward after events built up to my attempted suicide. This caused the neighbors to call the cops… and other fun details I am not quite ready to share. My wife rocks, BTW, and she took me to the hospital after I asked her to, rather than making me leave or leaving me to my own fate.
My point here is, my social patterns were getting in my way and for a while at least, the best way I could fix that was to cut all ties. I just dropped off the map. Stopped calling my friends, quit posting on Facebook… ended the job search and so on.
That gave me a couple months to recover mentally, as my suicide attempt took a minimal physical toll (not the most effective way to go about it by a long shot). And yet, mental recovery just brought me back to old, dysphoric Tommy. A great improvement when compared to old, suicidal Tommy. Not good enough though.
I do love living. And, I loathe knowing a part of me ever wanted to end my own life. As I often say, living is my favorite thing I have ever done in my entire life.
I had little choice, in my mind. I know I am trans. I had to take the nuclear option. If I ended my life without trying life sans testosterone, and instead, full of estrogen, I would have reason to kill myself a second time. This WAS my perfect chance to know if my feelings were real, if my instincts were right.
They were and they were. I am left with no doubt.
With that in tow, I became happy, for the first time in decades. Happy for an extended amount of time.
I became bored with happiness. Happiness can and will lose its charm after a while. You need to have something once in a while that reminds you what it is like to be unhappy, otherwise happy just becomes blasé.
Finally, I decided to start coming out to people, slowly.
I had come out to a select few before this point, but never did they know I was GOING to transition. Also, I historically, do not deal with rejection well.
I came out to my parents, and they have been supportive and well, they both do their best to understand. Coming out to the people closest to you, who have known you the longest, and had something to do with creating your male side, often need the most time to adjust.
My parents gave me my male names after all. My Dad coached me in baseball. Coming out as a woman 37 years later is something big to them as it changes what they identified with about their son. They need time to process this transition and to mourn the loss of their male child.
I know mourning sounds overly dramatic but it is an accurate term. My Mom can’t contain herself when I mention my desire to get rid of my male facial hair or to dress as the woman I am. “No Mom, I do not want to dress like a slut.” My favorite interaction by far with her was when I mentioned I was losing muscle strength rapidly due to the lack of testosterone in my body and she told me that women work out too. I had to kindly inform her that while I understood women do in fact, work out, I was looking forward to losing my man muscles entirely to help my body take on a more feminine shape, exercise would come later.
Each time I tell her something like this about the changes I am going through and my desired results, she let’s out a sad, disappointed, “Oh…” It is kinda’ heartbreaking when I hear it, as I am the type of child who doesn’t like disappointing my folks.
My Dad, had a different reaction, I told him, he listened, the conversation moved elsewhere. Every time we talked for the next two weeks, he would not mention I am trans. It was quite the elephant in the room, but I figured I would give him his time and space. Finally though, I had to bring it up again. He explained, “I wanted to see an old friend, a LGBT therapist, but I found out he had just retired. I wanted to talk to someone to find out how to be completely supportive of you.” I melted, and explained that the best support he could give me was to just be my Dad. He concluded with, “It does not matter who you are or what you do, you will always be my son.”
Now, I know I passed up a teachable moment. I could have explained how trans pronouns are supposed to work to my father. His use of the word, “Son” did stand out to me, but really, what he was saying was good enough. He was saying he would always be my Dad. Sometimes you get to choose whether you win or lose. I chose for that sentiment to count as a victory.
More recently, my Dad said, “I don’t think you have to change your sex.” This time, I gently corrected him. I explained it doesn’t quite work that way, and when the time comes to make the decision, it will be my decision to make and mine alone. There are perfectly valid reasons to change my sex, especially on identification. Do I want job prospects to learn about me being trans by checking my educational background only to discover nobody by my name went where I said I went? Do I want to show my ID at a bar, only to try and use the OTHER bathroom when I need to go? Do I want to have to travel as a male, every time I fly on an airplane? You do have to match your ID in airports for arguably valid security reasons. All of these things come into play without even having to consider whether or not I get/got bottom surgery.
Then there is my wife. She has had to deal with my transition more than anyone. She has to hear me talk about it, watch me transition, and process it, all in real time. For the most part, I could not ask for a more supportive wife. I am incredibly lucky. Of course, it can be a bumpy road.
When I got my first hormone shot, she picked me up from the doctor. Neither she nor I expected me to be injected full of estrogen during that visit. Really, it happened faster than I ever imagined. I was enjoying the catharsis of finally crossing the line from trans to transitioning. She had a different reaction, an emotional outburst. So, at the very moment of my first female birthday, she was not in a celebratory mood. It was a wonderful lesson. What is good for me, can be a true mind fuck for those close to me. I dunno… I guess I expected a flourish of trumpets and a red carpet or something.
My point here is, even though my parents and wife are truly progressive, the reality of transition is a big bite for them to chew. It is very important, at times like these, that I take the lead, keep moving in my direction, and offer them as much compassion and patience as humanly possible.
I hear of so many people who go through an immediate divorce, or are disowned by their family, when they come out. In the grand scheme of things, I am remarkably fortunate.
Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific, many of my friends and family are thousands of miles away. This means I have had to come out via email, Facebook, Skype, the telephone (how antique) rather than face to face (how primitive). That is not how I ever imagined doing this. It has its pluses and minuses. Because my Facebook account is under a new name, I have to send a PM to every potential friend explaining who I am, when everybody else gets to just send a request and be done with it.
I am slowly rolling my fancier new self out to people one at a time instead of in one grand swoop. I do not handle rejection well. Everybody struggles with rejection but it truly is my Kryptonite. I have been rejected by people before and I will be again, but when I am rejected for being trans, it is all kinds of bad. People can use that information as a sword, outing me to others for their own personal gain and at my expense. There are many, dehumanizing or objectifying words to describe trans folk, “It” “He/she” “Shemale” even “Tranny”. I have been the victim of such treatment and there is no real retaliation against stupid bigotry. Once someone sees me as a thing and not a person, the conversation has ended.
Sticks and stones, I know… I don’t want them as a friend anyway… and all that. I need some thick armor.
Baby steps for now though. Why? Well, let me remind y’all of my newly discovered happiness and the suicidal depression that came so recently before. It is self-preservation. I do not fear THEM, I need to rebuild my trust in my SELF, and my self has betrayed a great number of friendships and relationships over the last year.
This is why I struggle to go out or speak as my female self. I fear my own reaction, to others. And yet, I am chomping at the bit.
I need a job. Aaaaaarrrrrrrrggg!!! “Hey potential employer, guess what I’m gonna’ be doing over the next few months/years?”
I have sequestered myself for the time being. I am sequestered to the Internet for the most part. It brings me joy and a much needed social outlet. It is where I can practice being myself in front of others. And yes, it is where I can pretend I am stronger than I feel, while I continue to hide my face, body and voice from others.
Transition is not easy. Compound that with the reverberations and PTSD that have been spawned by past mistakes. And listen folks, I have it EASY compared to some, Hell, most other trans people. Still, if these hormones were not the magical path to happiness that they have proven themselves to be, I may not be here today. Happy is strength. When I do make mistakes now, I bounce back quickly. Much quicker than before. This is a great thing because I am prone to making mistakes. Bone headed mistakes. What on Earth was I thinking? Mistakes.
I am finding it rather easy to forgive myself and others… thankfully. I am improving my ability to be patient. I really do plan on ending this sequestration. I should do it soon, before sequestration becomes the new normal.
Ultimately, this has been a time for me to get to know myself, and to share that person with others, often through text. I realize people will say and do some dumb things around me and ask a few stupid questions. Contrary to what you may have been told, there are stupid questions AND stupid answers. I just need to keep rolling with it, like water off a duck’s back.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment below or link people to this page if you feel it may be of some kind of help.