Challenge, Experience, Gender, Kira, Life, Mtf, Personal, Thoughts, Transgender, Transsexual, Understanding

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.

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Emotions, Gender, Kira, Love, Mtf, Personal, Thoughts, Transgender, Transition

Therapy and Thoughts

I have thought, more than once, to go back and read the early entires I posted here. Yet I have yet to do so. I think, now and then to look at how far I have come since then, then I realize I’m not ready. Not yet.

This was something which came up during therapy, part of a larger discussion at how far I have come since I started with Jodi. I mentioned I wasn’t ready yet to act on her suggestion I write an autobiography. It just isn’t time yet. As with so much of my writing, there has to be a need, a desire, a spark which drives me.

It’s one of the reasons I decided to unofficially join the “A Poem A Day” challenge for April. It is also why I tried my hand at the “50 Word Story” challenge. I want to be able to write more. I want to write better. 

Still, there are many things I have to work through before I will be ready to attempt to write so much about myself… Yes, I know, this whole blog has been an exercise about “Me”, yet it is somehow different… like a discussion during group therapy… More of speaking to interested people who have no other stake in knowing me than the time it takes to read a post, which is different than those who might have paid for a copy of a book which they expect to be worth their hard earned dollars.

There is also the “McFly Factor” in which I worry my stories will be no good, that people will say I am not good enough… Yet another layer of self confidence to be worked through…

We talked about this past week and how I am slowly coming to terms with the fact it really doesn’t seem to matter how I am presenting because I am regularly being correctly gendered, even when I’m sure there is no way I could be seen as female… like what happened at my work physical; something I am still amazed and amused by.

Yet there are times when I am nervous about being outed, especially when the kids are with me. It’s mostly in smaller store and fast food restaurants. Bigger stores or places with crowds don’t bother me nearly as much; I guess it’s a matter of being lost in a crowd… I mention this only because I found myself in both situations today and the smaller restaurant was definitely more stressful.

Every day it seems I am little more comfortable with myself and less fearful of being confronted, still, there are some situations I feel safer just avoiding, such a restrooms. I’ve been learning the stores which have gender neutral facilities. If I’m being honest with myself, the odds are it more of an issue to me than it ever would be to anyone else… after all, how many times have I spoken of this fear or that only to have them never materialize?

You know, there have been somethings I haven’t spoken about. They have been too personal and I haven’t felt comfortable discussing them, but I need to mention something here which some will understand…

To say the relationship between A an I is complicated is an understatement in the least and has been made more so by who and what I am… 

There is a level of mental and emotional intimacy I have found comforting which I fear might be lost as I transition further… that there is line out there beyond which our relationship will forever change, but I don’t know where it is and I won’t know I’ve crossed it until it’s too late to go back… If there was a chance to go back at all…

This is one of the big unknown which scares the daylights out of me, yet there is nothing I can really do to change the path I find myself on even knowing how much pain might be waiting in the future. Future pain… funny, as much as it hurts me now I should be terrified of what such a time would bring…

I know.. and Jodi agreed, I am gathering unneeded worries to myself, yet it is something which looms in the back of my mind… 

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Dysphoria, Experience, Gender, Kira, Life, Mtf, Opinion, Personal, Questioning, Thoughts, Transition, Work In Progress

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.

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Education, Gender, Gender Change, Gender Identity, Information, Kira, Legal, LGBT, Life, Medical, Mtf, Personal, Resource, Thoughts, Transgender, Transsexual, Wellness

Gender Reassignment

From the Illinois Department of Public Health:

Gender Reassignment

An individual born in Illinois, with an existing Illinois birth record, may submit an application to the Department requesting to have the gender changed on his or her own birth record after undergoing an operation(s) having the effect of reflecting, enhancing, changing, reassigning or otherwise affecting gender. Genital reconstructive surgery is not required to obtain a change in the sex designation on an existing Illinois birth certificate. (emphasis mine.)

Every individual must complete the “Affidavit for a New Birth Certificate After Completion of Gender Reassignment”. The applicant must be of legal age or the parent/co-parent or guardian if not of legal age. This form must be completed in its entirety and notarized.

For individuals who have had an operation(s) in the United States, the “Affidavit by Physician After Completion of Gender Reassignment” must be completed by the physician who performed the operation(s). This form must be completed in its entirety and notarized.

For individuals who have had an operation(s) outside of the United States, the “Affidavit by Physician Verifying Completion of Gender Reassignment Operation” must be completed by an examining physician duly licensed to practice medicine in Illinois or any other state in the United States. This form can also be used if the physician who performed the operation is no longer practicing, is unavailable or his/her license has been revoked or expired. This form must be completed in its entirety and notarized.

For individuals seeking to also have their name changed, a certified copy of the Court Order of Legal Name Change must also be submitted to this office.

The $15 fee to create a new birth record due to gender reassignment includes one certified copy of the new birth record. Additional copies of the same record requested at the same time are $2 each. Please make check or money order payable to the “Illinois Department of Public Health” and send everything to:

Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Vital Records 925 East Ridgely Ave. Springfield, IL 62702-2737  

Please include a copy of your non-expired, government issued photo identification card. If not provided, unreadable or expired, the request will be returned to the individual.


(I need to check, but it seems if I get breast implants, it should be enough to meet the requirements.)

 

A name change is another matter and I will post more information when I’ve researched it more. It does seem the process is the same for everyone, even if you choose a name opposite of your current gender markers.

 

Another issue is going to be insurance. We go through A’s workplace for our health insurance and I wasn’t even thinking what might happen if I change my birth certificate. She will need to see what if anything might change. Of course our marriage would remain valid even if IL hadn’t approved same sex marriage because we were opposite genders at the time of our marriage. Still, it’s good to know it is no longer an issue.

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Depression, Dysphoria, Emotions, Gender, Gender Expression, Gender Identity, Kira, Life, Mtf, Pain, Personal, Questioning, Suicide, Thoughts, Transgender, Transition, Transsexual, Understanding, Work In Progress

Unexpected

(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.

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Challenge, Discovery, Emotions, Family, Gender, Gender Identity, Kira, Life, Love, Mtf, Personal, Therapy, Thoughts, Transgender, Transsexual, Understanding, Work In Progress

A Work In Progress

Fair warning, I didn’t have therapy today so I’m going to use this post as a surrogate.

 

Alright, this past week has been trying, confusing, upsetting, and any other adjectives you can tack on, most of which is my own fault. As I so often do, I have been overthinking things and searching for the worst possible reasons behind everything. I have said before I think things into a total mush which I then shape into something I can use to punish myself… It really is something I have to come to terms with, I’m just not sure how to do so yet.

There is also another issue, which is trying to take responsibility for the feelings of those around me. Thinking somehow it is my fault for any negative feelings anyone around me might be feeling. It is even worse when the people in question are loved ones.

This is something I spoke to A about and she pointed out a lot of this stems from my mother constantly seeking to blame me for anything and everything and making me feel as if I can never be good enough for praise of any type. I know this sounds almost Freudian, but it is also true.

I guess having lived so much of my life under a cloud of disappointment, both silent and spoken is a legacy I am still dealing with.

Then there is another issue, which she told me is all part of our “work in progress,” which is our relationship… 

I mentioned before, she is not comfortable with certain things, especially referring to me as Kira because in doing so she cannot see me as her husband… Yet such is a title I have long felt didn’t describe me. Not in the sense she, or most people, think of it. I am and wish to remain, her partner. For us to continue having a meaningful relationship… I just don’t think it can be in a traditional sense of marriage… This then leaves me, in my mind at least, in a form of limbo. If I cannot claim the title of husband, nor of wife, then what am I? 

I simply don’t know yet and it makes things difficult to say the least.

For A, she thinks of it in the same way as my relationship with the kids. I have told them over and over, no matter what, I am still “Dad.” I guess for her, no matter what I will be her “husband.” Unless I were to physically transition as well… 

This past week I slammed on the breaks, such as it were… again. I made no effort to present as other than male. It wasn’t a matter of punishing myself, but rather, of thinking if as someone pointed out, someone was going to get hurt; I would rather it be me… After all, I’m use to living in such a manner; I’ve done so for more years than I want to remember. I honestly didn’t think of in the terms of martyrdom, just as being something which I was use to. Not surprisingly, A didn’t see it the same way. As she said, trying to be something I’m not turns me into someone she doesn’t like very much and if it happened again she was going to beat some sense into me because she wasn’t going to put up with it.

So, after our talk there was no question but I am going to continue forward. The path ahead my not be more than a fuzzy outline lost in the fog of uncertainty, yet it the path I need to take. As for how we, A and I, deal with our relationship… well, one day at a time.

It is after all, a work in progress

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Gender, Gender Expression, Gender Identity, Kira, Life, Mtf, Personal, Thoughts, Transition, Transsexual, Understanding, Work

More

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.

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