The Musings of Ms. Tittle (A Scrap of Fiction)

Ms. Tittle was a small woman. So small she had once been mistaken for a Halloween decoration by little Billy Dodge until she moved, which startled him so badly he fell from the porch and crushed her forget-me-nots. The poor boy swore off trick or treating forever and spent the rest his years safely locked away behind a stout oak door on All Hallows Eve.

Sitting in her chair on the porch next to a metal Tv tray, (which she has used as a table ever since the television went on the blink), upon which rested a cheap plastic vase filled with green foam and dust covered plastic flowers, a pitcher of lemonade and her favorite cup. One of those big Tupperware cups, (her friend Mildred swore wasn’t available any more so she had best never lose this one), she did what she did every afternoon when the weather was favorable which was to think of as many things as she could which she was convinced no one else had ever thought of before the moment they popped into her head.

“Everyone lives in their own little universe”, she thought, “and they clump together like grapes on a vine because they are attracted to others who universes are similar. After all, no one wants to think they are alone in their beliefs and so they cling to one another out of desperation; oh, and the occasional brunch, of course.” 

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.

Insert Name Here

I have been unsettled for the past several weeks… I can’t seem to find a better term for what I have been feeling. 

There has been so much to deal with, so many emotions and thoughts. Not just regarding myself but A and her family, the oldest boy and his issues, and the million and one little things which are a part of being an adult and parent in todays world.

I have tried to push things to the background because I simply don’t know how to deal with them at the moment, but just as with anything else, ignoring the problem only seems to make things worse.

 

The difficult part has been letting my mind sift through everything without trying to push for answers. I know, all too often, doing so only leads to what I am searching for to slip through my fingers. Because of this my moods have been up and down, not quite happy nor depressed, yet on the edge of both leaving me feeling as though my nerves have been run over with sand paper. There have been times when I moved through the day confident and my head held high and others when I just wanted to give up and crawl under a rock and yet when asked, I couldn’t really explain what I was feeling or why… more than a little frustrating to be sure.

This past Saturday was spent with A’s family and it was a strangely uncomfortable experience. Not because of anything which was said or done, but because it was the first time I was openly in their presence… (even though I knew none of them were ready to use my name or female pronouns,) still, they all knew about me. I didn’t feel angry or defensive, just sad for some reason… as if something has been lost though I don’t know what it is.

Also, last week I had my work physical, which proved to be interesting because I had to present myself suing my birth name which is clearly male. Still, the doctor, more than once, referred to me with feminine pronouns. It is more and more the same whenever I am out, no matter how much or little I may be “presenting.”

You see, though this makes me happy in many ways, here too there is a sadness I could not fully explain.

At first I thought maybe it was a matter of getting what I wished for not being what I really needed, then I thought it was an issue of not being worthy of happiness… yet neither of these really explained what I was feeling…

The tonight I was speaking to a friend and it dawned on me…

I’m doing something I have never allowed myself to do before…

Just being myself.

I’m not trying to meet anyone’s expectations.

It’s a new experience for me, uncharted waters… unexplored territory.

Like a bird who has been caged all of her life suddenly being set free to fly, it is as terrifying as it is exhilarating and I shouldn’t be surprised it is going to take some getting use to.

 

One last thing, going back to being around people who have known me for so long… both family and coworkers. I can better understand why some people decide to move away. To gain a fresh start with those who do not know the past. It is a difficult thing to face people day in and day out who, not through meanness or intolerance, cannot bring themselves to think of you in any other way than what they have always done. To be bombarded with the old name and pronouns and titles. To be told you look the same, sound the same… that you haven’t really changed, at least not in their eyes… It’s difficult… heartbreaking… Yet you cannot be upset with them… not really. As much as you want them to see you, to acknowledge you, accept you… the past ties powerful bonds which are difficult, if not impossible to break and to them you will always be {insert name here}.

DOJ Trains Cops to Work With Transgender People – ABC News

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

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

(Via. ABC News)

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.

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