Circle Of Fear

I have seen life described as a river or a line. Even describing it as a path or journey suggests it has a beginning and an end, yet this isn’t completely my experience.

In many ways life is a series of circles. My thoughts and steps coming around to where I started. Sometimes I find myself caught in one of these, going around and round again until something breaks the cycle and I move into a new circle. There are times when movement is quick and sure, moving from one moment to the next, while other times it seems I will never break free. Then there are the layers of circles which make up months, even years. Cycles of my life which, when I have thought them done and over, somehow are ahead of me again.

Over the past several years I have seen this happen time and again. Old thoughts and fears I thought behind me rear up to be faced again. There are times when I feel as if I have gone nowhere at all, even though the truth is, I have travel miles.

Miles…

This is the secret I am finally understanding, though I am a bit thick headed and sometimes I think I have to be beaten over the head with something to finally get it… 

You see, even when I have travelled in a circle to arrive someplace I recognize; it isn’t really the same any more than I am the same person who passed this way before. Things have changed. I have changed. It is only my perception which deceives me into thinking otherwise.

An example is this; in the not so distant past I said my fear was in not being seen as my true self. I feared being mocked, ridiculed, or worse. The thought of being myself outside of my own house or at work was beyond my comprehension.

Now I have found these fears to be unfounded. It’s to the point where I realize I am having trouble being seen, heard, and accepted as anything other than female. At least by those with whom I don’t have a long history.

Sunday A and I went shopping. While at the store, I went to get some things from the frozen dinner section. On either side of me, at two different doors was an older couple. When I turned to go to my cart, an item slipped out of my hand and hit the floor. The man who was in front of me jokingly called out to his wife, “Did you throw that at me?” to which she answer “No”. “Well,” He said, “This lady sure didn’t do it!” His wife replied with something I missed, but you get the idea.

Why is this important? Because I was suppose to be out in “boy mode.” I have forgotten to charge my shaver the night before and so I hadn’t shaved. I sure wasn’t going to do anything to present as anything but male with my face feeling like sandpaper. So I was wearing just t T-shirt and jeans, with a baseball cap to hold my hair down. To me I was as scruffy as scruffy gets and I was still tagged as female.

Once we were out of earshot, I asked A, “What do I have to do to be seen as male; grow a full beard?” Maybe so…

I have mentioned this before, something has changed in a way I cannot put my finger on. I think it is a good change yet it is mystifying. For so many years I was seen as male even when I didn’t want to be, now all people see is a woman. 

Please note I am NOT complaining, nor do I really wish to be seen as a guy… it’s just a strange place to find myself upon reaching the end of one of those circles I spoke about. 

Before I was afraid of not being accepted as female, now I can’t get accepted as male and I suppose this does irritate me for some reason.

Maybe it’s a matter of seeing all those years of trying to be something, of trying to mimic others, of suppressing my true self, and in the end it is proving to have been a total waste of time and energy when I could have followed just one simple question to its logical conclusion decades ago… “Can I walk out the door and be accepted as a woman?”

I think I have the answer now…

Of course, if I had, then I never would have met A abad we wouldn’t have three boys I love with all my heart… Still, it’s annoying to think of what might have been had I not been caught in yet another circle…

Fear.

I have lived my whole life in fear to one extent to another… fear of my parents, fear of the kids around me. Fear of failure… fear of success. Fear of relationships and fears of being alone.

Fear, fear, fear, and more fear… this has been a defining feature of my life for as long as I can remember and now I am standing here looking at it again. Not the same really; too much has changed for that, but fear none the less…

It is the fear of leaving the confines of the gilded cage. Of leaving the comfort of the known behind.

All of what I had built to try and pass as male has been left in ruins. Ripped down by my own hands and yet there is a part of me which wishes to hold on to the tatters even as they are torn away by the winds of change.

I can’t hide there anymore and so I feel exposed and naked before the world… and yes, it scares me to death. I can admit to such a thing now, there is no shame in feeling fear, only in allowing yourself to be controlled by it.

Finding Myself

As time passes I find myself feeling more at peace with myself. It is something beyond questions of gender or even identity; more of a calm which has come over the totality of who I am.

I have spent this past week trying to think less and feel more. To set aside the quest for ‘why’. No matter what the circumstances which brought me to this place and time, they were nothing but steps on the path and while I can appreciate the journey, now, this moment is what is important, not a past I cannot change… Would not change even if I could because it is what has made me who I am.

Still there are things which I am still learning about myself. Understandings of what I think and feel and why.

One of those things is the level of peace I feel with myself. Part of this is finally giving myself permission to be myself. Permission to be happy. To be satisfied with now. 

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. I still find myself thinking of the past and what I would have done differently. I also look to the future and see it cast in shadow. I have to take a step back and a deep breath, then force my mind to let such things go. They do me no service.

I too find myself looking at my thoughts and emotions now and questioning myself. Am I sure I am doing the right thing? Can’t I be happy being what the reflection in the mirror wants me to be? The chain goes on and on… 

Then a moment comes when I don’t just see myself… I understand. 

Yesterday was such a time. I have gone this week without trying to present as anything at all. Neither male nor female, masculine or feminine; yet I have not suffered from any serious dysphoria as I have in the past and this was troubling to say the least. After all, shouldn’t the very thought of being seen as male send me into a depressive spiral as it has so often done? The why not now?

The answer came to me unbidden…

Because no matter what I may look like, how much effort I put into ‘presenting’, more often than not I am seen as female. It has nothing to do with hair, makeup, or even clothing. The reactions are the same regardless. 

It is me.

All other things are nothing more than props.

I am the same regardless and people sense it and respond appropriately. I haven’t really thought about if I am ‘trans enough’… Trans is just a label like any other, it has only ever given me a sense of the ground beneath my feet and has never been the totality of my personhood. On the other hand I have wondered if I am woman enough.  It is a core part of my identity, just as having blue eyes. 

Funny how I just realized I have never once asked myself if my eyes are ‘blue enough.’ 

The answer to the question can be seen in the reposes of others. In the Mams and Misses. In the Ladies and the Hers and She’s I have received time and again, indeed, more so as time passes, regardless of anything I have said or done.

So it is that I have become comfortable with this body no matter what I do or do not do to present in a particular way. 

This isn’t to say there aren’t things which I would change in a heartbeat if given the chance, because there are. There are those things which make me uncomfortable with myself, things which make me self conscience, which make me anxious or nervous.

There are situations and will go out of my way to avoid if possible, even to the point of discomfort. 

I’m not sure it is possible to be me and not have these thoughts and feelings. What is important is they are no longer crippling. 

It’s a strange sense of freedom I am still adjusting to. 

Yet I wouldn’t change things for the world.

An FIL Update and Some Additional Thoughts

First, an update on my FIL. He is now resting at home, I’m not sure what care he is currently receiving, but I do know his doctor is waiting on the lab results before advising any treatment plans, if any. At this point he has about a month or so… It’s just a waiting game now.

As I get more information, I will post updates.

 

On another front…

Have you ever had one of those moments when you realize you are already so far on your path, the only option is to see it through to the end? Well, I had such a moment this morning. I had to go for a scheduled physical for work. I did so as male because all of my information was last updated before I came out. This means everything had my birth name all over it and the health information was in the male section of the questionnaire. 

First of all, I received more than a few, this isn’t correct looks from the female staff, though no one said anything directly. Then the male doctor who was overseeing the physical part of the test, lifting, turning, climbing, ext. referred to me as ‘Mam’, ‘Lady’, and ‘woman’ even after reading all of my information.

I found this rather amusing and a sign I am on this path for good or ill. There really is no turning back.

Yesterdays post was something I needed to write. I had to get all of the doubts and fears out where I could see them and confront them. I had to be able to admit to myself I am not an island, not a rock which can stand alone against the storms life sends my way. I cannot hold all these things within myself… I am many things, an unfeeling machine is not one of them.

After saying all the things I did, sharing thoughts and emotions which have been churning in my heart, I felt a sense of relief. Not for no longer thinking or feeling what I did, but having been able to share the weight with those who can understand or at least are empathetic.

To then have the experience I did today, without any thought or prompting from me, it really brought things into focus in a way I didn’t realize I needed.

I have a long way to go and many challenges yet to face. There will be times when I stumble and fall, when my strength and determination fail me, yet I also know I can get back up and continue on… even when things seem impossible and I have all of you to thank for that.

A First Time For Everything

Another post? Yes… 🙂

 

As it happens, A wanted me to post about our latest adventure… coloring her hair. How did it turn out? Well, I’m not going to beauticians school anytime soon to begin a new career!

Having said as much, it actually turned out pretty well, especially for my first time. I certainly learned a lot and know some things not to do, but more to the point, I have some confidence I could do it again and not botch it.

As a note, her hair is naturally dark brown and she wanted to change it to black…

Here are two photos:

 

Hair Color 1

 

Hair Color 2

DOJ Trains Cops to Work With Transgender People – ABC News

The Justice Department launched a program Thursday to train local police departments to better respond to transgender individuals, a population authorities say is disproportionately harmed by violence.

DOJ Trains Cops to Work With Transgender People – ABC News: “”

(Via. ABC News)

Kira At Work

So…

Last night was, as I think I secretly expected, was a non event. If anyone notice the subtle change then they kept it to themselves. I seriously doubt anyone was even paying attention which is what I really want… to be just another face in the crowd along with all the other women I work with.

 

KIra At Work

 

I took this picture during my last break of the night… needless to say I was tired after a full shift and looking out the window to see more snow falling was enough to depress a demented clown…

A Weight Off My Mind

 

Kira

(How I am going to work tonight)

 

Last night I spoke with a coworker about the things on my mind. The uncertainty, the fears. She had some very good advice and needed thoughts on the possible reactions of our coworkers. 

What came out of this was, unless I were to go overboard, odds are most people will not even notice a small chance such as wearing my enhancers at work. Most people just don’t pay that close attention, which is what I found to be true in most public places…

Part of what is on my side is working third shift. We rarely interact with very many of the professors or students and they have more important things on their minds than the custodial staff. More often than not there is just two of us in the building. My concern has been focused on when we clock in and out. It is when the entire shift is framed into a small pace, though I usually make a point of staying out of the way.

Still, I do remember the last time I thought to gauge the reactions of people regarding Trans people and I cannot say I am not nervous… However, I think back to all of the fears and concerns I have had with each step I have taken and how it has yet to be as bed as I have worried myself sick over… Besides, I know this is what I must do. Living in fear, never trusting yourself or others, is no way to live. It really isn’t and allowing internal forces to hold me back is what caused me so many problems over the years. I’m not entirely past it, but I know my need to live an authentic life now outweighs any fears I have. Trying to take the easy path, to go with the flow, to not make waves, to not stand out isn’t an answer. It isn’t living and it is being dishonest with yourself.

You can only hang on to a falsehood for so long before comes apart and you along with it…

Now, as I said, beginning tonight I am taking the first steps to being my true self, but as someone mentioned, I need to maintain my common sense.

I am going to take small steps just as I have been doing. A shift in my physical appearance. I have already allowed my hair and nails to grow so another small change isn’t going to stand out. There is no need to change the way I have always dressed, jeans, a t-shirt or sweatshirt depending on the weather. A coat or jacket when needed. What I wear away from work is a different matter, but I have been out most weekends and I know what works for me. For now, turtlenecks or sweaters, blue or black jeans. Tennis shoes or low heeled boots.

I haven’t worn a wig for awhile simply because pulling my hair back and wearing a hat works for me.

I’m not big on makeup either. For work it is more trouble than it’s worth and so far I am being seen as female regardless. If there is something special, then I’ll get fancied up, but otherwise why should I? 

On a side note, A rarely wears makeup and neither do most of the women at work, so it I fit right in.

On the matter of names…

This is a little more difficult because I would really prefer being called Kira, but I have been at this job since 1997 and all this time I have only been known by my birth name. I can’t and don’t, expect everyone to suddenly shift gears and call me something else. Same with pronouns. Yes, it’s annoying, but I can live with it for the moment. The future my hold something different.

I eventually plan on legally changing my name and hopefully my gender markers, but that is for the future and I’m not going to stress out about it now… I have enough on my plate already.

What will I do if there is an issue? I really don’t know. I could think up a thousand plans but none of them would matter in the moment. I just have to keep my eyes and ears open.

Really, what else can I do?

Hopefully things will go smoothly and over the coming months and years I will come to be seen as who I am and not who I was.

Thoughts

I’m not sure where to begin…

So many thoughts, so many emotions…

 

Maybe I should be begin simply.

 

This past week has been difficult. I haven’t attempted even the slightest thing to present as female. In fact I have done just the opposite…

You see, I realize something; I cannot continue to live a double life. Trying to switch bcd and forth, even for the best of reasons is taking too much of a toll on me… trying to “pass” at work is draining emotionally and physically. Hearing my birth name is slap in the face, a gut wrenching reminder of what I am…

The thought of going back makes me almost physically ill and leaves me depressed and constantly questioning what I am doing. 

Being myself, being Kira, has become my new comfort zone… I know how I am and I am at peace in my heart… Trying to be seen as male is so stressful… I am so much more aware of everyone and everything around me and I feel as if I have a sign stuck to my back…

Every weekend I have gone out again, as myself, not him and I am at peace… then the work week begins and I am left to be someone I’m not… not in my thoughts, not in my heart, not in my soul…

The problem has been, and is, coming out at work… I simply cannot afford to lose this job, but I cannot keep living like this either. Someone at work told me to forget about everyone else and just do what makes me happy… Jodi has suggested no one is really going to notice a difference as I don’t often wear a wig…

Even my own thoughts have reached a point where I am constantly thinking about going in as myself and the world be damned…nothing about it… I have dreamed about it….

On top of everything else, I feel like a fake, a fraud, trying to keep up this charade.

Then there is the other side of all of this…

I am not a fake.

I am not a fraud.

I am not mentally ill.

I don’t do the things I do for a thrill or a charge…

Or some sexual gratification.

I am not a cross dresser.

I am not a part time girl, only taking on a costume when it is convenient.

I am not a weekend only woman…

I am

And shall always be

A full time transsexual woman, regardless of any other factors.

Trying to be anything else is destroying me from the inside out. I have been having trouble sleeping, eating, even finding the connections to my emotions.

I am often let feeling like a walking shell… the lights are on, but I’m not home…                                                                                

Even given all of this I let it best to do the unthinkable…

To return to full male mode.

For my marriage,

For my family.

or my job…

I was the simplest answer and the one which would cause the fewest problems for everyone around me… 

Ah, to be the martyr…

Better I sacrifice myself, don’t you think?

As the saying goes… “The best laid plans of mice…”

I don’t think it going to be quite so simple… 

Today A and I had to go shopping for a new washer and dryer. The first store we were greeted with neutral pronouns. The second, it was with female pronouns with the sales person apologizing profusely when he realized I was suppose to be a guy… The third the sales lady made a point of addressing me with a “Sir” and it felt like an accusation.

More often than not, regardless of what I am doing or how I look, sound, or act, I am more often than not addressed as female…. Even A said it must be a sign.

Maybe she’s right and trying to be seen as anything else is a waste of time and energy… Maybe I’m just too far gone to ever go back…. if I was ever “over there” to begin with…

Have I just been wishing I could fit the mold? That I could be this thing so many have insisted I be? 

Or am I just terrified of finally being real without a mask to hide behind?

As I said, I don’t know…

I really just do not know what to do… what to think… what to feel anymore.

I want to cry but the tears will not fall…

Coming Into Her Own

There are times when it seems as though a lifetime has passed since I started blogging and others when it seems like yesterday I clicked “Publish” on my first post. Yet I cannot deny where I am today is indeed a lifetime away from where I began.

In those first crazy days, my mind was screaming at me non stop and I had to write just to get everything I could out of my head before I went insane. Now, it is a matter of quiet contemplation, questioning, and searching before I try to write something personal. This is in part to the medication I take, but also how much I become comfortable with myself through therapy and acceptance.

In the beginning I never could have thought there would come a day when I was afraid of not having something to post simply because there was little or nothing to share. After all, this would get pretty boring if all I talked about was doing laundry and what I was thinking of fixing for dinner. I can understand now how some people fade into the past as they post less and less, choosing instead to simple live their lives. 

When we speak of going “stealth”, isn’t this what we mean? When the life we live becomes so natural, so normal we don’t even think about it any more than we think of breathing.

I’ll admit I’m not ready to fade away anytime soon. I have found my voice and even if I sometime struggle to find something to say, I still want to be part of the conversation. It isn’t easy when I can close my eyes and find the silent place inside where I can catch my breath. Not every moment is a crisis, not every action an exercise in self destruction. 

Now it is more a matter of beginning to clean house. Of straightening up after the chaos, of discovering what I wish to salvage and what to throw away. Of finding the joy of finding new things to replace the old…

It is to the old I wish to speak today. 

I find myself asking why I hold on the negative things in my life, things which happened a lifetime ago. Which have little or no bearing on today. Why is it I can remember a slight from thirty years ago?

What purpose does this serve? Does it help me in some way or is it just a weight holding a part of me in a past which cannot be changed and needs to be let go?

None of these things teach me anything new about myself other than there is within me the ability to hold a grudge for far too long. They cannot bring me peace or happiness. 

So they really serve no good purpose at all, do they?

The question is, how do I learn to let go. 

The past is the past and has no place here. 

Well, I can use all the self motivational mumbo jumbo I want, it just doesn’t change things does it? I need to find a way to deal with this. A method for putting things to rest.

Of course, it is easier said than done.

This is something I am going to talk to Jodi about. 

It is something I want to do. Need to do.

It’s interesting to see how I am not who I was… really, I’m not sure I can say I was anyone at all… I look back and so much is misty and indistinct. One day blurring into another until it becomes a grey smear in my memory… Except for those bright, stinging points of memory which come back to me at the strangest of times.

I remember those lessons from English class, to write a paper describing yourself, or writing you eulogy. 

I understand now why I hated them so much. Looking back, I cannot describe who I was. What I had accomplished in my life which was worthy of note. 

I was less than a ghost. I was a void moving through the world, unable to truly touch those around me or to be touched.

So who was I?

I don’t know.

So now I have a second chance.

A chance to live.

A chance to be real.

To be a part of the world around me.

To make new memories.

So… there is only so much room inside this thick skull of mine and I need to clear out the old to make room for the new. To leave behind those things which serve no purpose. The memories, regrets, and grudges which belong to someone else… someone who wore my face but never held my heart.