Rollercoaster

These last few days have been exhausting. Lady came back into town on Tuesday morning, I’m honestly not sure if it was ever discussed, I supposed I may have simply assumed I was picking her up. At any rate I got to the airport and picked up a coffee for her. When she saw me her face sank, I went in for a hug and she moved away. Was I making her uncomfortable? Did she think she was making me uncomfortable?

Things deteriorated from there, apparently we hadn’t discussed my picking her up. She had arranged another ride, I didn’t know how to react, and reacted poorly. Back at the apartment I couldn’t think of anything to say, neither could she. I had made plans to come out to my father that day, I’d talked to Lady about the possibility of her joining me but at the time I didn’t want to press my luck.

Things with my father went surprisingly well. He really is a good man, and I’ve come to understand some of the things he was going through as a father through my own interactions with Lady. He’s mellowed out a lot over the years and I’m proud to call him ‘me Pappy’ (in reference to a sight gag from the Robin Williams Popeye).

When I arrived home Lady was in a better mood and we had what I feel was an excellent talk and reconciliation. It didn’t last, within an hour of making up we were bickering once more. That evening Lady and I went to counselling in separate cars. We aired our various grievances while the sage therapist listened and did their best to maintain a balance.

Afterwards I asked Lady what she wanted to do, I suggested I might want to get some groceries then head home. Her response was cold, she said do whatever you like, and walked away without so much as a goodbye. I very much wanted a hug in that moment. She was scheduled to fly out the next day, I honestly didn’t know what she wanted from me.

Once in my car I checked my messages, I had received one from one of my best friends, who we will call Matron. It was an invite to beer and wings at a pub just down the street. Feeling pretty low at the moment I decided that wings were just what I needed. Shortly after I arrived it occurred to me I should at least let Lady know where I was, so I texted her.

She called me moments after I hit send. She was not happy, and I was not welcome back at the apartment. To me it was some down time with a bit of friends when I was feeling bad. Lady saw it as a betrayal. My feelings in hindsight are  mixed. On one hand I can appreciate why Lady was upset, on the other this is the second time she’s insisted I leave my own home, over relatively benign matters. Had she said she wanted to spend time with me and that she would like me to come home, I would have dropped my tab and headed for the door.

Instead I was out in the cold, so to speak. Matron offered me a couch for the night, it actually turned into a pretty great experience. It may well be my first occasion of girl talk. We bemoaned our respective love lives and shared opinions and life experiences on all matter of subjects. The whole thing was very cathartic and she said she likes the blog 😀

Lady’s most recent text to me reads ‘Forever goodnight’s to you <3’

Lady if you reading this, I cannot begin to understand the suffering you’ve experienced because of me. Sorry is not nearly enough. Thank you for the best year of my life.

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Ramblings

I keep wanting to turn back. Except I don’t want to go back. A life long self imposed prison is hard to walk away from. Especially considering all of the freedoms that this particular prison offered. I’m scared to go out in public without first putting on boy clothes. In fact I don’t really want to go anywhere or have anyone see me.

I don’t want to change either. I don’t want to wash of the makeup and nails, I don’t want to replace the dress with a t shirt and jeans. I like my jewelry, I don’t want to hide it away in some box. I want it where I can feel and see it. I just don’t want to have to deal with anyone else while I’m enjoying these things.

Lady is away visiting her parents. She’s coming back tomorrow morning, I’m looking forward to seeing her, with some trepidation of course. Things have been strained, most of it is my fault. I’ve spent much of my free time pacing the apartment. I’ve gone shopping, done some cooking,  lost a few hours lying on the couch.

Tomorrow I tell my father. My thoughts are scattered. I’m forcing myself to write mainly because I haven’t in two days. I don’t actually know where I’m going with this. My life is in a good place to transition, I’m secure and supported, I live in a society where most people don’t care how I dress or act. I am well aware of my privilege. Really I should just quit moping.

I went shopping en femme. I feel pretty much everyone could tell, no one cared at all. It was liberating and terrifying. Afterwards I had a bit of a freak out. Just a small one. Fashion and style are things I’ve consciously avoided until now. It turns out I have some instincts, though they are tragically underdeveloped. I can tell what looks terrible on me, which so far is most things.

Vanity is one of those traits I’ve tried my absolute hardest to suppress but always seems to slip through. Like this very paragraph it seems. I don’t feel that I have any valid reason to be vain, but then that’s not how vanity works. This combined with a perpetual sense of self loathing is proving very difficult to sort out. Why am I dishing my inane ramblings upon an unsuspecting internet?

Oh yeah because I’m forcing myself to write. Hmmm, almost to 500 hundred words. Might as well keep going. After my father knows the dam is more or less burst. I’ll touch base with a few more people, tell my boss, then at last the inevitable Facebook update. I still haven’t even been to a doctor about this, though given my recent experience I don’t need a doctor for affirmation.

What comes next? Will anything really change in my life, or will I go on as before, burning through the days. Right now I don’t want to do anything, just lay down and sleep. Hey look I’m at over 500 words. Alright good night everyone 😀

Conversation

I’ve spent a lifetime isolating myself, those instincts still run pretty deep. I shy away from meeting new people and typically remain silent in a crowd. But I find myself sincerely enjoying the personal conversations I’ve been having of late. I’ve always avoided such talks because I always had something to hide, I could never say what was really bothering me.

So far the family I’ve spoken with have all been incredibly supportive. Today I had lunch with my cousin and dinner with my mother. It was exhilarating to speak and be honest, to actually be heard. I realize I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by so much love. I’ve read a number of stories from people who haven’t been so lucky.

I’ve come out to a few of my friends, though the conversation didn’t go much farther than ‘ oh, ok,’ and in a few cases stopping to explain what it means to be transgender. I suppose more in depth exchanges are to come and honestly I look forward to them. The conversation I’m dreading the most is the one with my father.

Don’t misunderstand, I like my father. For the most part. Ever since I’ve been bigger than him. It’s complicated, though I suppose it always is. He never laid a hand on me, so he deserves more credit than some. On the other hand he’s the main reason I’ve learned to stop crying and numb my emotions. He’s had a lot to deal with in his life time. As an adult I can appreciate what he was going through, I also understand my own temper and realize I may well have acted near the same if I’d had a child.

I learned this evening that my grandfather never actually raised his voice, as my mother put it he was aware of his own temper and vowed to keep it in check. I recall making the same vow, but with considerably less success. My grandfather, it seems, knew better than most that while biology might shape our behaviour it does not excuse it. I wonder what he would have thought about my transitioning. Actually no, I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that one.

There’s a few others I’m not looking forward to talking to. One is my cousin, we’ll call him Han, who’s the closest thing I have in the world to a brother, and he thinks I’m the closest thing he has to one… Honestly I would be totally cool with him still calling me brother. The whole pronoun thing is something I’d rather not concern myself with. In fact I’m strongly considering keeping my male name.

Another conversation I’m not looking forward to is with my best male friend, who we will call Cal. He’s a good guy, one of the best, sincere and dedicated in a way few can match. I honestly have no idea how he’s going to react. I think he’ll be ok with it, but I don’t know if he’ll understand. We’ve been buds a long time, it’s a friendship I really don’t want to lose.

Coming Out

Some of my earliest memories are of wishing I was a girl. It wasn’t much later that I decided I was going to be a boy. And it was only a few weeks ago when it became very clear that was the wrong decision. I find myself thinking about how things might have been different had I persisted. There would have been challenges to be sure but in retrospect I think I would have overcome them. I certainly overcame different but no less substantial challenges.

Actually if I’m being honest with myself my life has been a string of spectacular failures. And so the rationalization begins. Do I focus on self pity or self aggrandizing. What will be most interesting? I’ve titled this post ‘Coming Out’ so I suppose I should talk about that. Although to do so I need to start with the self pity. After all the first person I had to come out to was myself.

Shortly before coming out I had a huge fight with my (now ex) girlfriend, who we will call Lady. I spent a day driving through the mountains, sifting through the detritus of my memories. From a young age I had devoted hours of thought to coming up with all (all) of the reasons why I was not a girl, and the reasons why those ever present feelings didn’t actually mean anything.

I had to talk myself out of all of that. I’m sitting at my desk in full femme, relaxed in a way I’d never known before. And still I second guess myself. I tried to imagine all of the things people will say, all the things they will think. Then I realized they think those things anyway, they just don’t know it’s me they’re thinking about. And why should I want to make them happy?

Lady was the first person I told. She told my mother over lunch one day. I’m glad she did so, it certainly made my job easier. The next person I spoke with was my sister in law, who is LGTB friendly and an incredible source of knowledge. Then I had an absolutely wonderful talk with my sister.

It’s strange, there’s always been a sort of distance between the two of us. Oh right that’s because my whole life up to that point was a lie. I spoke with complete honesty and freedom, I said exactly what was on my mind and she accepted it warmly. We drank coffee, and spoke with a degree of openness that would have terrified me only a month before. And she reminded me how incredibly blessed I am to call her sister.

I eventually had lunch with my mother, I was dressed in full femme and she took it in stride. She’s an amazing woman. Her feelings at this time are decidedly mixed (or for you word of the day types ‘ambivalent’). The important thing is that she loves me and is doing everything she can to help me through this. I love you mom.

I’ve only been out in public once, I had Lady on my arm (I can never thank you enough for that) and I was scared out of my mind the entire time. I drew some stares, a cashier gave me a strange look, but no one said anything. There’s no doubt that many people knew or at least suspected, and it didn’t matter at all. It’s 2015, the literal future in Back to the Future (yes I know, everyone is going to make that joke this year). Very few people care and those that do generally have the good sense to keep it to themselves.

Well ok there was one comment, though I wasn’t in full femme at the time. I’m slowly coming out to different people, I’ve told most of my immediate family and some of my closest friends. I still haven’t told my dad, nor any of my extended social groups. I have recently done my nails and didn’t feel like taking them off (they look lovely). Tonight a guy I know saw them and reacted with a bit of exasperation, he asked why I would destroy my fingers like that. I replied that it was a long story, and walked away. No one else around seemed affected in the slightest, each going about there business like nothing had happened, I’ll call that a win.

Dysphoria

Now who am I? I don’t honestly know the answer to this question. It’s something I’ve pushed away for so long now that it’s gong to take some time to unpack. I’ve been reading a fair bit about all things transgender, dysphoria is a topic that comes up a fair bit and a lot of what I read struck a chord with me.

So the word is basically the opposite of euphoria, it means a profound state of unease or dissatisfaction, for those of you too impatient to check the first line of the wikipedia entry. Reading about it has put a lot of my life experience into focus. The fact that the face in the mirror was just a face, not a stranger per se, but not a face I ever identified with.

The disconnect goes a bit deeper than mere facial features, or clothes, or even behaviour, though all these things are tied into it. It goes right down superego and id, the conscious mind and the subconscious. Which is also something I just looked up on wikipedia.

As a child I had a tendency to cry a lot. My father has a temper (one which I inherited) and would, on frequent occasion reduce me to tears over trifling matters. A lost toy, homework, fights with my sisters, really it was more about the day he’d had than anything I did. I would cry and he would tell me not to, and I would do my absolute best to stop. Boys don’t cry after all.

The disturbing thing is I’ve learned how. I can shut it off like a faucet. Most of the time. As my relationship crumbles around me I realize this habit is a big part of the reason why. In a recent argument with the woman I love I went from bawling my eyes out to stone calm in a matter of heartbeats. I did this because I didn’t like the way she was looking at me. I did this because this is what I always do when I’m hurt.

I don’t like pain, I’m afraid of it, but when it comes we’re like old friends. I pulled a deep fryer on top of myself when I was four. It was probably unpleasant though in all honesty I only remember a few flashing images. From there I’ve had my share of trips to the hospital, each time doing my best to remain stoic and calm. Boys are supposed to be tough.

It was all a part of disconnecting from myself. In junior high I began regular self harm, toenails were my drug of choice. Intense and long lasting, no scars or questions. I read an article which proposed people engage in self harm because of the endorphin rush. That may have been part of it, but one of the big reasons I did it is that it made me feel strong.

As stated I’m terrified of getting hurt. Moving away from self harm I began to focus on exercise, in particular I quite enjoy martial arts. It’s the idea that if the world is going to hurt me, I want to be ready. I prepare myself for the pain by learning to ignore it, and learning to fight back. The problem is that both of those things are terrible solutions to relationship problems.