Why is it so easy to accept negative thoughts and emotions without question then turn around and deny anything positive without any reflection whatsoever?
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.
(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.
I’ve been thinking about what I should write about today and I realized part of me looks forward to the day when I am just another blogger who write about food or fashion, home decor or daily news stories and no one remembers me as a woman who is Transgender…
I’m not sure if it is a word which describes me accurately or not. Should I just refer to myself in terms of being Transsexual? After all, Transgender is a umbrella term which covers such a broad spectrum of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, most of which have little or nothing to do with me at all.
It’s interesting to realize this journey began with a quest for a term which described who and what I am and here I am again asking the same question from a different perspective.
I have found this to be true of many of the things I sought to understand about myself. Time and again I find the same questions returning, each at a different level than before. Seeking a deeper meaning, a more complete picture of myself. Nothing can be taken for granted. Nothing is a given. There is so much abut myself which I never questioned to this degree before and ever twist and turn opens new avenues of thought.
If we live as long as we ask questions and seek answers, then I am more alive today than I have ever been.
Full Time (or Finally Being Myself)
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…
Exempted – A short film
A Project Worth Backing – Pink Moon
“Pink Moon” by Sal Bardo
‘Two teens are forced to hide an unintended pregnancy in a society where heterosexuals are persecuted and abortion is forbidden.’
You can learn more about the film, hear the creator, and learn how to contribute on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/355574023/pink-moon
You can also find it on Facebook, on Twitter
Sal Bardo’s Website: http://www.salbardo.com/bio.php
You can also read more on the Huffington Post.
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.
Question and Answer
“Suppose you discovered that God hadn’t turned his back on you and you could still go to heaven. What would that mean for you/the rest of your life? Do you see that fixing problems or creating them, or both?”
“I’ve had to think about your question and how I should answer. This is something which has and continues to weigh upon me with each passing day.
There isn’t one simple answer to this, as much as I wish there were. You see, I think it depends on this… Am I accepted by Him as I am? A flawed, broken woman who resides in this flesh or in spite of this? I understand saved by grace and I’m not speaking of that, but of knowing if everything I have thought, said, and done over the past several years was part of the path He set me on or my own misguided wanderings in the dark? Have I followed His will or my own?The thought of having wasted what time He has allowed me following my own misguided pride is crushing…
I can accept how He might have given me these burdens so His will could be shown, but to think I squandered everything? I don’t know.
If an angel suddenly appeared and told me the Father loved me as I am, broken, dirty, and not worth His notice… That He loved the woman I am… then it would be the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. And if he told me God loved me despite being a silly, misguided, deceived man who had lost his way….
Better to cast me into the fires of hell…
You see, this is my one true fear and has been from the beginning…
Funny, I just thought about something. I can remember standing in front of the mirror, just a tan towel draped over my head and wishing it was hair instead. Of standing there dressed in my mothers clothes and knowing… knowing, beyond all doubt this is who I am… Not just what, but who. from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.
Can you imagine what it would mean if I could cast my thoughts back to that confused little girl and tell her everything is going to be ok? To tell her God is with her and will never let her walk alone? That she is right, no matter what the world tells her. To be able to go forward held in His embrace…
But what if I stand there on judgment day to be told, “Fool, if not for grace…”
I have made many, many mistakes in this life, I cannot deny it. I know in the end my salvation lies not with myself but with Him, yet to be told I had wasted the gifts I had been given following a Will-O-Wisp of deception and pride. To know I could have done better than I did… could have been more than I was… could have been a greater witness for Him… and squandered it all on a lie…
You see, I look at this flesh and it tells me one thing. I look to my heart and it tells me another. I have wondered, hoped, cried, prayed, and screamed for understanding. I have asked for wisdom, patience, and forgiveness. Yet at every turn, who I truly am, heart and soul, has reared it’s head telling me I have lived a lie my whole life. Instead of putting my faith in Him and following the Holy Spirit where He wanted me to be… I caved in to worldly pressures, struggling in vain to be what those around me insisted I had to be even though I knew… I knew, I knew, I knew, it was wrong.
Now here I am today, unsure of where I stand. Not because of anything He has done, but because of what I did not do. He never failed me, I failed Him and because of it, I cannot say I would be in the least surprised to find myself on the “Down” elevator instead of the “UP.”
Not every seed planted grows and thrives… some land on rocky, infertile soil and live only a short time before withering away…
So I wonder, which am I?
To know He was still with me. To know I hadn’t walked away from Him… To know the path I am on is the one He has chosen? Could simple words ever express what such a thing would mean to me?”