(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.
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
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.
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.
(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…
(Via. CBS Chicago)
(Violence, Bullying, Discrimination)
What is depicted in the film is fairly benign, yet I know even small things can be a trigger.