As boys grow up, the process of becoming men encourages them to shed the sort of intimate connections and emotional intelligence that add meaning to life.
(I’m sorry to have to mention a warning with this post, I certainly hope my words are soft enough to not become a trigger for anyone, but the possibility exists. So I am adding a trigger warning for suicide.)
Sometimes life goes a step further than we expect.
From the beginning I was surprised and yes, a little worried, about the seeming lack of pressure on me to change things sooner than I was. (It is true I kept things going as slow as possible to give my partner and children a chance to adjust, yet there was more to it. Every step has been filled with a combination of fear and guilt. I sometimes think overcoming them has been the most difficult part and will be a part of my life in one form or another from here on out).
I have, sometimes to my surprise, found myself pushing beyond anything I believed possible even a few months ago. There always seems to come a point where trying to stay or stop is simply impossible. Whatever fears I have don’t disappear, yet they become less significant compared to my need to take another step. The same has happened now, only it is going further than I expected…
At first I thought to slam on the breaks, to refuse to take the final step through a door I knew was going to shut behind me forever. There was fear, I will not deny it, but more than that was guilt. An oceans worth of guilt and the belief I never deserved to be in a position to be truly happy. In many ways it has taken more strength than I realized to overcome them this time, but at the same time there was never really a question I would do so because there simply wasn’t any other choice I could make…
Well, I suppose that isn’t entirely true…
Not so long ago I told Jodi there were options I had long held onto which needed to be taken off the table; then last week I realized they were still very much in play… I hesitate to talk about this…
As I stood outside one night looking at the few stars which cut though the lights of the city and from them to the overlapping shadows which turn the world into shades of black; I remembered the times in my youth when I would send all night out walking. My mind in an endless cycle of chaotic thoughts and emotions and wanting more than anything to be swallowed by the night. To simply pass into shadow to never return.
With this came a realization, all options were still on the table. Stopping. Going back. De-transitioning…. Everything…. Including simply ending it here and now. After all, I have long felt as though I have been living on borrowed time.
It became bad enough I started to fantasize about how I would do it. Pills again or maybe an insulin overdose. I even considered eating a bullet… Not a very good time for me to say the least but it did lead me to finally speaking to A about things… just not the suicide part…
It was only through speaking to her and understanding there really wasn’t a choice to be made; that it was step through the door or die never knowing what was on the other side.
I knew I wanted to live. As much as it may hurt sometimes, I want to live.
So I took a step.
Here is where I come to the ‘Sometimes life goes a step further than we expect’ statement.
You see, today I thought we were going to take our youngest with us shopping. Knowing this has caused issues before, I decided to go out “Plain Jane”.
The longer I was out the more bothered I became. It was my voice first, then my chest and finally everything together. It was an itchy feeling of wrongness, almost like the feeling you get when you think someone is watching you even when they’re not.
It didn’t take very long to admit I’m not going to be able to have lazy days, where I just throw on whatever and head out the door. There isn’t really going to be any more acting as if I’m like everyone else.
So it is I find myself stepping further into a new phase of my life… just a little faster than I expected.
In this case, “The Church” means the Catholic Church in Europe, though I see no reason to think other arms of the Church don’t follow the same thoughts and teachings as the Pope himself has said the same thing on at least one occasion and can therefore be taken as the official stand of the entire Catholic Church.
Bishops attack dangerous “Gender” ideologyand redefinition of marriage.And from where else? Polonia Semper Catholica
(This is copied and pasted directly from http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/, where the entire English translation has been posted. And yes, I did so without their knowledge or consent.)
of the Bishops’ Conference of Poland
Dear Sisters, Dear Brothers!
As each year in the Octave of the Nativity of Our Lord, we are celebrating the Sunday of the Holy Family [according to the Calendar of Paul VI]. Our thoughts go to our families as we contemplate the situation of the modern-day family. Today’s Gospel tells us that in difficult and unclear situations, the Family of Nazareth tried to understand and fulfil God’s will and by so doing came out renewed of such situations. This behaviour tells us that today like in the past, obeying God and His sometimes impenetrable will guarantees family happiness.
[MARRIAGE AND HUMAN NATURE]
Blessed John Paul II, whose canonisation we are now awaiting, recalls that the truth about the institution of marriage “is above the will of individuals, the whims of particular marriages, as well as decisions of social and government bodies” (23.02.1980). This truth comes from God, for “God himself is the author of marriage” (GS, #48). God created the human being as a man and a woman and made the existence – in flesh and in spirit – of a man “for” a woman and a woman “for” a man a great and irreplaceable gift and task of married life. God based the family on the foundation of marriage joined for life by the unbreakable and exclusive bond of love. He decided that such family will be a suitable environment for bringing up children that the family gives life to and ensures their material and spiritual development.
This Christian vision is not an arbitrarily imposed norm; it transpires from an interpretation of the human nature, the nature of marriage and the family. Non-acceptance of this vision inevitably leads to the break-up of families and the defeat of the human being. The history of humanity has demonstrated that disregarding the Creator is always perilous and threatens a man’s and the world’s happy future. Hence attempts to impose a different definition of marriage and the family on us by supporters of the gender ideology, among others, that we hear in some media must raise the highest concern. Confronted with increasing attacks against different aspects of family and social life coming from this ideology, we are compelled to speak out clearly in defence of the Christian family and the fundamental values that support it, on the one hand, and, on the other, to warn against threats stemming from propagating new forms of family life.
[“GENDER” IDEOLOGY AND CULTURAL MARXISM]
The gender ideology is the product of many decades of ideological and cultural changes that are deeply rooted in Marxism and neo-Marxism endorsed by some feminist movements and the sexual revolution. This ideology promotes principles that are totally contrary to reality and an integral understanding of human nature. It maintains that biological sex is not socially significant and that cultural sex which humans can freely develop and determine irrespective of biological conditions is most important. According to this ideology, humans can freely determine whether they want to be men or women and freely choose their sexual orientation. This voluntary self-determination, not necessarily life-long, is to make the society accept the right to set up new types of families, for instance, families built on homosexual relations.
The danger of gender ideology lies in its very destructive character both for men, people contacts and social life as a whole. Humans unsure of their sexual identity are not capable of discovering and fulfilling tasks that they face in their marital, family social and professional lives. Attempts to form different types of relations de facto seriously weaken marriage as a community created by a man and a woman and the family built on marriage.
We see different attitudes formed in reaction to actions demonstrated by advocates of the gender ideology. A decisive majority has no idea what this ideology is about and consequently does not feel threatened by it. A small group of people, particularly teachers and educators, as well as Catechists and pastoral ministers, tries to find their own constructive ways to counter this ideology. Finally there are those who, seeing the absurdity of this ideology, believe that Poles will reject the utopian visions they are presented with. Meanwhile, without public knowledge or Poles’ consent for many months now the gender ideology has been slowly introduced into different structures of social life: education, health service, cultural and education centres and non-governmental organisations. Some media portray this ideology in a positive way: as a means to counteract violence and to aim for equality.
[HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITIES DEEPLY DISORDERED – MARRIAGE CANNOT BE COMPARED TO HOMOSEXUAL RELATIONSHIP]
The community of the Church advocates an integral view of man and his sex, recognising his flesh/biological, mental/cultural and spiritual dimensions. There is nothing wrong with research on the impact of culture on sex. What is dangerous, however, is to argue on the basis of ideology that biological sex has no* significance in social life. The Church unequivocally opposes discrimination on the grounds of sex, but at the same time recognises the danger of eliminating the differences existing in the sexes. The fact that there exist two sexes is not the source of discrimination; it is the lack of a spiritual reference, human selfishness and pride that need to be continually overcome. The Church will never agree to debasing persons with a homosexual inclination, but at the same time it strongly underscores that homosexual activity is profoundly disorderly and that marriage as a community of a man and a woman as a social phenomenon cannot be put on par with a homosexual relationship.
On the feast of the Holy Family we fervently appeal to Christian families, representatives of religious movements and Church associations and to all people of good-will to courageously engage in actions that will disseminate the truth about marriage and the family. The need for education in the formative environment is now greater than ever before.
We also appeal to institutions responsible for Polish education not to yield under pressure from the few but very loud groups with not inconsiderable financial resources, which in the name of modern education carry out experiments on children and young people. We call on educational institutions to engage in the promotion of an integral vision of man.
We ask all faithful for their impassioned prayer in the intention of marriages, families and the children they are bringing up. We ask the Holy Spirit for continuous light to let us understand and see the truth in what amounts to a danger and a threat not only to the family, but also to our Homeland and humankind. Let us also pray for the courage of being people of faith and courageous defenders of the Truth. May the Holy Family of Nazareth that brought up God’s Son Jesus Christ be our model to follow and our spiritual assistance in undertaking this effort.
In this spirit we give our pastoral blessing to all.
*minor correction to mirror Polish text.
(Note: All Bold text is from the original.)
I think the text speaks for its self. Yes, this is addressed to the Polish Church, but I believe it represents the over all doctrine of the Catholic Church as seen throughout the world today. If I would point out any one thing, it is in the last paragraph, where not only the LGB community but Transgenderism/Transsexualism is considered a danger and a threat not only to the family, but also to our Homeland and humankind.” I cannot see this boding well for anyone who disagrees with this Church doctrine as seen in Russia, Uganda, and Nigeria.
I had therapy today, the first since I finally admitted I had to take yet another step forward. Passing through another door which has now closed behind me.
The first time I have done so and not felt grief for what was left behind.
The future, as always, is uncertain and I still have concerns and fears. Yet I have reached a point where my need to go forward became greater than my fear.
I am continuing to take very small steps, I have too much history behind me to suddenly do a one eighty and throw everyone for a loop. I have been at my current job for nearly twenty years. I cannot and do not expect everyone to suddenly switch their thinking and begin using the proper name or pronouns. I don’t expect to make many changes to the way I present at work and none overly noticeable or dramatic. For one thing I am not a teenager. I am an adult and I am expected to act as such. So, no garish makeup, no strange hairdos. No crazy clothing or accessories. I have long had a taste for the understated when it comes to such things.
There is however, something which has changed and changed dramatically. I no long wish to hide. To feel as if I am being dishonest with others or myself. I want to live my life free of such things. This is part of the reason I have begun the slow transition to full time. Trying to maintain two identities is just too difficult and painful for me to continue.
This is also the reason I took our foreman aside last week and while not spelling out everything, informed him at some point in the near future I will need to speak to our supervisor as well as HR. I also let him know I am looking into the requirements for a legal name change and to have my gender markers changed as well. This is the one thing which locked the door behind me. I understood what I was doing and why.
I’m glad I did so.
You see, to me having the option of stopping, going back, de-transitioning, (whatever you want to call it), is no longer acceptable. I’m just causing myself more pain by not removing it from my thoughts all together.
It’s the same, to my way of thinking, as suicide. Maybe not in the physical sense, but it would be killing myself just the same. For so long I kept the option of removing myself from this world as a very real possibility and all I did was torture myself with the knowledge. Once I was honest with myself and admitted it never really was an option, I was freed from the never-ending weight which threatened to pull me down into oblivion.
Now I know I have to live and I have to do so as the person I am inside. No more running, no more hiding. No more masks or costumes. No more assumptions or expectations.
I did not ask him to keep this confidential. From his reaction, or lack there of, I suspect I have been discussed at some length by my coworkers, several of whom I have already come out to. I also expect I have been a topic of conversation in the main office as well, and if not… then I will be soon.
So be it.
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.
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…
(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.
How many times during this journey have I wanted to give up? To stop in one place and never move again?
How many doors have I passed through? Some with too much thought and some with not enough… Knowing each would close behind me, never allowing me to retreat, always pushing me forward?
Over the past several weeks I have found myself drawing closer to another of these doors. Again I am faced with a decision; this one more difficult then the last, or the one before. It is the culmination of every step which has brought me to this place. Steps I never could have imagined taking, never imagine not taking.
As with all the others, I stand on this side knowing where I am, what I face, the day to day battles large and small. It is the devil I know. On the other is the unknown, an entire life I could only live in day dreams and fantasy. One, not so long ago, which seemed forever beyond my grasp. It was more than my heart could stand, stronger than my courage. Of course I could say the same of so many things; walking out the door the first time on Halloween. The first time I went to therapy as my true self. So many firsts, indeed, which I never thought to experience in my life time. Yet I have. Walking in public. Feeling the sun on my face. The wind in my hair, the sidewalk under my feet.
To be seen.
Yet not… all of my fears melting away as I realized no one was going to stop me. There was no laughter, no pointing or staring. No name calling… no punches, or kicks, guns or knives… nothing. It was as anticlimactic as I had feared it would be climatic.
Another lesson in human nature.
I went from once a year to once a month. To once a week, then every weekend, my days at home spent building my confidence. I was growing… becoming… faster and faster with passing day.
Still, I fought to maintain a double life.
There were, and are, good reasons to try and live such a life. There are so many stories of ruined lives, unemployment, homelessness…
The truth is, my discomfort wasn’t stronger than my fear.
It’s difficult to live you life in fear. To let it define you. To build walls around you.
There comes a point where something has to give. The unstoppable force or the immovable object.
The fear of taking a step or the pressure to move forward.
In my mind, I see it has standing on a ledge. A wall on one side, an unknown expanse of darkness at your feet. You can step out and hope something you cannot yet see will support you or you can wait until the wall slowly pushes you forward until there is no where left to go.
Either way I face an uncertain future. A great unknown as large as any I have moved through so far and I know once I take this next step, the door will slam shut behind me. No going back, no do overs.
Yet I cannot stand still, as much as I want to. I cannot hide anymore, safe in the known…
Safe? An interesting choice of word. Is where I have been truly safe? Or was safety as much of an illusion as who I tried to convince myself I was? Another lie along with so many?
Yes and no.
It was a toxic wasteland which was slowly destroying me from the inside out. Fear. Self loathing. Hate… Depression. Dysphoria. Suicide.
The poison ran through my veins with every beat of my heart.
Sometimes salvation is only found when you have no where left to run…
No. I could no more stay on this side of the door than I could any of the ones before. Oh, I tried. Yes I did, just as I have every time. Just like all those others, I have found myself pushed forward by my heart, my desire for life.
The unwavering quest to becoming myself.
So here I am, faced with a decision which really isn’t a decision at all… To remain behind the door, knowing the world which I face or I walk through to the other side and a world full of the unknown. Do I live with the devil I know or the one I don’t?
Either way I cannot continue as I have. I cannot live two lives. It is slowly tearing me apart. Every look in the mirror, every whisper of his name. Every male pronoun, every assumption or expectation about who I am or should be, is a death by a thousand cuts.
It is either step through the door and go full time living as myself or sinking back into his world, once again becoming an non entity. A ghost. A reflection.
More than anything this is what I cannot stand to do any longer. To live a life of lies. To accept deceit. I am not who they think I am. I never have been. I never will be. To allow them to think otherwise is beyond my ability. It is beyond my ability to continue with the charade, to live, breath, eat, and drink a life which is not mine.
It is theirs.
I want to be me.
I want to be free.
Free of lies and deceit, expectations and reflections of a society which has never fully claimed me as its own, nor I, it.
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…
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…
(Violence, Bullying, Discrimination)
What is depicted in the film is fairly benign, yet I know even small things can be a trigger.