Sunday, October 17, 2010

Being seen to be seen

We went to church yesterday. It was nice to see everyone again. We had agreed to give Jen a ride home, but my new car had a flat tyre. Hmm. Kinda annoying to be honest. We had to wait for RACQ (road side assistance) to change the tyre. I soo wasn't going to change it, and neither was Giselle. Pffft. We didn't have to wait too long. It was all sorted soon enough.

The little incident, however, had me thinking. See, it's one thing to be "noticed" or "clocked" or whatever. It's very unnerving. And I don't know sometimes when someone looks at me, what's actually happening behind their eyes, so to speak. I mean, have they "figured it out", have they figured me out? Or are they just noticing a rather tall girl. So there is that whole "thing" to deal with. But on the flip side of that coin, and I know as soon as I say this, I admit that there is just no pleasing some people .... but .... when you're standing there, and a guy is changing your tyre, and he's not noticing you .... Well, that's annoying too. In a different way.

And, let me add, really NOT looking to go there at all. I'm not wanting male attention so that I can take it to the next level. Nope ... not at all. I am happily with my Darling. I truly couldn't imagine a more amazing relationship. It's just funny, that I find myself in a dilemna. I don't want to be noticed, but then I do. But then, if I am noticed, I'll never know if it's cos I look nice, or cos I look suspiciously like a guy in a dress. Hmm.

It probably really just underlines the whole concept of being comfortable in my own skin. And I think that's where I am at. For a long time, I wanted to almost "disappear" into a female persona. I wanted to cover myself up, so that none of my "maleness" could be seen. I wanted to look like "Jane average Girl". And I thought the pathway to achieving that was to "cover up" who I was.

I have come to discover at 41 years of age, that it's not about covering up, and hiding as it were. That's not what this journey is for me. It's about revealing who I am from the inside. I am a woman on the inside. I don't understand how that happened exactly. I really don't. It's definitely not something that I can change though. It is who I am. Fundamentally, and intrinsically, I am this person. I am female. I can cover that part of me up and be male, but underneath, I am female.

So, to become who I am, to travel on this journey to self acknowledgement and acceptance, I have discovered that it's a journey of revelation, not of covering up. It's not about hiding the "maleness" that is on the surface of my persona, but it truly is about letting my "female-ness" shine through. And I have to say, I never thought that was how this worked. Another one of those paradigm shift things I guess.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Need versus Desire

I have spent much time contemplating these two concepts as they relate to me being transgendered. It would seem a good thing that that which we desire is also that which we need. And imagine if that which we both need and desire could also be the greatest wish of those around us. I believe that if it were possible to have those three concepts line up, then we would truly find peace in our lives.

I have long desired to be female. I have long desired to be a girl. I have long desired to have the childhood of a girl, rather than the one that I experienced. I would have to say that I have been aware of my "desire" for the longest amount of time. It truly does form my earliest memories. I can't think back to a time in my life before I desired this. Which is a considerable amount of time.

It's only been in recent years, however, that I have discovered my need to be female. And that need has been something that I have underestimated. Dangerously, I thought that I could ignore it. It's possible to ignore desire, and I had done that many times. I had successfully ignored the desire to be female, and to function as a "male". A desire is something that would be nice to have, but not necessary. My need to be female, however has been dangerous. Ignoring that need, has caused me to descend into a dark place within myself. Perhaps it's as the proverb says, "a hope deferred, makes the heart grow sick". I have experienced the sickness in my heart. It's not a nice experience either. I can understand why so many don't survive this condition. It does have a high rate of related suicides which is incredibly sad and tragic.

I have often thought of this condition like a tooth ache. It's something that, if we're lucky, we can ignore for a while. Put off that "visit" to a place where we would rather not go. But in the end, we know it is inevitable. It's only possible to avoid the dentist temporarily. For someone with a toothache, it is never a permanent solution to avoid the dentist completely and entirely. At some point the visit needs to made. The longer we leave it too, the more damage that could and the risk of loss become greater. Still, even though we understand that damage can occur, and the risk of loss is greater, we still avoid the dentist.

Being trangendered is a condition that has it's own dentist. When you think about it, why do we visit medical practioners usually? It's either to check that everything is okay, or possibly more common, because we know that something isn't right. I don't know too many people that regularly visit a dentist, just because it's a good idea. I know lots of people who haven't been to a dentist for years.

I knew something wasn't right with me. In truth, I have known all my life, well for as long as I can remember. But, I have avoided doing something about it. I have wanted it to be something else. I have imagined that my "toothache" would go away. But it doesn't. And the pain becomes greater, and the burden becomes heavier. It is often said that pain is a great change agent. We don't change until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the fear of change.

My pain has been becoming greater all of my life. And I need to do something about it. To not do something about this, is to not survive this.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween and Oz

My first Halloween occurred when I was ten years old. I was going to school in Calgary, at Dalhousie Elementary. I hadn't been there that long. My family had moved, again, from Columbus, to Toronto, to Calgary. I guess it was time for my brother and I to get back into school.

So my first experience with Halloween was mixed. I remember bad plastic costumes. I remember doing the whole Trick or Treat thing around Silver Springs with Shawn. I also remember a boy named Greg. It was custom in school for everyone to come back to school in the afternoon dressed in their Halloween costumes. Dalhousie was the only school I attended that made the students to go home at lunch. And that was a challenge for me, because Silver Springs was probably about 30 minutes away by car. Way too far to walk obviously. And in all honesty too far to drive home and back. Lunch was an hour. That's all I had. I remember my mum used to drive to school every lunch time and pick me up and we used to drive somewhere nearby where we would have a sandwich and a drink. Mum was good to me. I have so many memories of my mum as someone who really knew how to, and did in fact take care of my needs.

On the afternoon of Halloween, Greg came back to school dressed as a girl. And for that matter so did David Miller. But it was obvious that David was having more fun making fun of it, making fun of being dressed as a girl. But Greg wasn't. He took it more seriously. As seriously as any boy could who was only 10 I suppose. I wondered how he felt that day at school. He was dressed as a girl. Some of the girls gave him a hard time. I think that was because he was wearing make up, and at that time, they probably weren't allowed. I studied Greg that afternoon. I resolved to have the courage to do exactly what he had done the next. I never did. I wanted to. I wanted to have the courage to do that, but I faced two significant hurdles. One I was scared to do it, even though I was becoming aware that it was a desire that wasn't going away. And I had a suspicion that my mum wouldn't want me to do it.

It was in Dalhousie Elementary that I read a book. I wasn't a great reader. I certainly didn't turn the world on fire by the number of books that I read. But I did read. I liked the feeling of getting lost in a story. I also used to be amused that as an young reader and young writer, I noticed that my writing style would emulate what I was reading at the time. I wish it still did that. How handy would that be? If I had to hazard a guess as to why that was the case, I would say that it was because I was still unformed in my personality and style.

When I was in school, a couple of times a year we used to have the opportunity to buy books through some catalog thing. I remember doing it in Australia, and I remember doing in Calgary. I still have a copy of "101 Elephant Jokes".

I read slowly. When I started "The Marvelous Land Of Oz" by Frank L. Baum I had no idea of what would happen. In the story, the main character's name was Tip. If you have read this story, then you will know what exactly I am referring to. The main character through the story discovers that he was transformed by a witch. The story ends with him undoing the effects of the transformation allowing him to return to his original identity. And of course, his original identity was Ozma, the Princess of Oz.

It's hard to read a story where you relate to the main character and follow them through their journey only to find out that the character changes so much they in effect cease to exist and are effectively replaced by another. That's what happened in this story. And it was disturbing for me to read as an 11 year old. I think it unnerved me most because it was so close to what was going on inside of me. At the time i remember talking to my mum about it. She said something, though it wasn't memorable, and I can't remember really what she said. I think she fumbled with her words something about "how unusual".

I have wondered if that is what is happening to me. It's like reading my own story and discovering what I was almost afraid to discover, that I am not who people perceive me to be. And I can't be that person. I have tried. And I have failed. Maybe that failure hasn't been on the surface where people can see, but I have felt it. It has definitely been a failure deep within me.

Is it an unforgivable sin for a writer to so drastically change the main character of a story? To a point where they are unrecognizable? Is it forgivable of a person to do the same thing to themselves?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

First Memories of being TG

I grew up in a pretty conservative family in Sydney Australia. We went to church, first to a presbyterian church, and then later to a baptist church. Apparently when the presbyterian church decided to become a part of the Uniting Churches of Australia, my parents made the decision to stop attending. I don't really know why to be honest. It wasn't like we were overly spiritual. My dad certainly wasn't spiritual in that sense. Or perhaps I should clarify that by saying that my dad wasn't religious. And that would prove to be a bain in my family in later years resulting in the breakdown of my mum and dad's relationship.

My Nanna was religious apparently. She went to an angligan church. The church of England. It's probably the first church I really have memory of to be honest. Though apparently, according to my mum, Nanna wasn't always a church goer. My mum was taken to church by her grandmother when she was a child. Her attention to the Anglican church was recent, though at the time it felt like it was well established.

So, I guess you could say there was somewhat of a christian / religious upbringing. That is what I experienced. Just before I turned 10, my family moved to the United States of America. My father, ever the entrepeneur, decided that there was money to made in selling australian style cakes and pastries. It was a failed exercise for sure. What did I get out of that experience? I learned what it meant to be homesick. I missed Australia in those first months that we were away. We moved in October or around that time. My birthday fell in December.

I remember going out to Farrell's Icecream place on my birthday. In typical american style, they served a free ice sundae to anyone who had a birthday. They also banged on a drum, made lots of noise and fanfare, and sung happy birthday. My problem with that was that I didn't like fanfare, wasn't sold on the idea of icecream, and really didn't want to be the centre of attention. My dad said to me in the car ride home that night something to the effect of "I'm disappointed in you. You won't be getting any more birthday parties".

I did get more birthday parties though. Not true to his word. I have had many birthday parties since. Funny what parents will say to their children. I remember at the time though, swearing to myself that I would never want a birthday party that he threw me anyway.

Some of my memories wouldn't necessarily fall into the category of being "transgendered aware". As a matter of fact, I didn't, and couldn't accept this part of who I was for the longest time. But, I do have memories that "stick out" for want of a better way of saying it. One such memory, one of my earlier ones was remembering that there was a girl in my class in preschool whose name was Holly. I don't remember actually considering her a girl to be honest, because she wore boys clothes. She didn't wear dresses. She wore pants and tshirts. I remember the teacher, on the request of the mother, asking her to put on the dress that she had sent with her daughter that day to school. I don't know if I have that right exactly. We're talking over 30 years ago to be honest. But what I do remember, what does actually stick out was seeing this person having to wear a dress that never did. And seeing her discomfort in that.

Another of my earlier memories was praying to God that when I woke up the next morning that I would be a girl. Pretty standard apparently from what I've heard and read. I remember trying on "prayer" when I was about 5. It didn't particularly work all that well. I remember being on a beach with my father and brother. In the course of events I happened to lose a sock that I thought that I was certainly going to be punished for. I remember falling asleep that night praying that God would bring the "sock" back. He didn't. I remember also praying that I would wake up and He would have turned me into a girl. He didn't. I remained a boy for a long time to come. And I had to learn how to cope in that.

My mum's clothes fascinated me when I was young. I am not sure exactly what it was about those clothes, but I just liked women's clothes. My aunt put some old clothes aside for her children and when I was at their house I used to play dress ups. I loved that. I remember asking my mum if she could do the same. She said she would, but never did. I remember asking her a few times after my initial request, only to be told that she was "getting to it". I learned later that it was her way of "non confrontationally" dealing with something that she didn't want to deal with. I am not sure that she actually remembers that occurance. Perhaps the memory is mine and mine alone.

I remember also, at one time, playing a role playing game with my male cousin who was about 10 months younger than me. We played mum and dad, and I was the mum. It didn't mean much, other than the label now that I recall. I think, for me, it was not really knowing "what to do next". I just knew that I wanted to be a girl. I had little idea of what that meant, or how I should behave.

Another time, I remember watching an episode of Here's Humphry. Humphry got to dress up as a ballerina. I loved the idea of that. I think I was at school when that episode aired because all I could remember for weeks after that was trying to stay home again to hopefully see it happen again.

When I was about 8 or 9, I'm not exactly sure when it was, I remember going into the third bedroom in our house. This bedroom was specifically for when my Nanna and Da came to visit from Nowra. It wasn't really used at any other time. My brother Mal, and I, shared a bedroom for the first ten years of my life. There was a big wardrobe in the bedroom that was stacked with all sorts of things. I have been told that I was a nosy kind of child. I must have been bored that day, because I went looking in this room, where I can't honestly say I ever really ventured in much when my Nanna and Da weren't staying with us. The robe had two sections, and in the section furthest from the door, I saw them. Two girl's dresses. Thinking back on this, it must have been significant because I didn't see girl's dresses in my house. I had only a brother, and no sisters. I remember looking at the dresses, tentatively touching them. They felt amazing.

For days to come when I was alone in the house, or when I was sure that I could get away with it, I remember sneaking into the room and just looking at the dresses. They were amazing. They were breathtaking. My recollection was that one was a darker colour, and one was lighter. I think the lighter one may have been a pale violet. I was to find out later that these dresses had been my mum when she was a flower girl in her own childhood. As much as I loved the look and feel of them, I never put them on. I knew that I just shouldn't do that. I think a part of that was knowing that it was wrong, and a part of it was almost wanting to preserve my "discovery" and leave them perfect.

When I was in Kindergarten, I remember looking at the uniforms that the girls wore, and wishing that I could wear them as well. I wanted the teacher to say that all the boys and girls were to swap uniforms. I wished that. I wanted it to happen. And interesting enough, may I say, that those uniforms were rather boring little tunics. There was really nothing pretty about them per se, it was just the idea of being able to wear something that was girl-associated, and not boy-associated.

In Grade 1, I remember one of my teachers, I think she was a student teacher. She was young and very pretty. She used to wear pretty clothes; dresses and stockings. I remember her attempting to teach us exercises one day in the playground. She made a comment to the class that she couldn't show us everything because she was wearing a dress. I just recalled thinking that I wanted to be her.

When I was young, and before I went to preschool, I remember going out for the day with my mum, and she was putting lipstick on. She looked at me and put a little on me. It was nice to be able to do that. When I think back now, I wonder if it was just chapstick. I couldn't really tell. Perhaps it was. It certainly does seem very much out of character for my mum to do something like that.

It's easy to question those memories; to wonder if they ever did in fact happen. Even reading back over them now, I wonder. In moments of weakness and doubt, and impossible not to wonder. But then that's probably the foundation of being transgendered; it's studded with moment's of weakness, self doubt. This is a confusion of identity.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Little Engine That Could

I was worried that I hadn't written in here for a while, and after checking, it's been just under a month. I guess that's okay. It's been busy, and so much has happened. Nothing gender-specific mind you, just life in general.

So what has happened? Well, last month we travelled to sydney for a weekend. We saw George Michael in concert, and went to the Mardi Gras (though that was dissapointing cos all we saw were straight people!!??), and we went to Manly, and hung around in the city, and had lunch in the Rocks. It was soo nice.

Oh, and I have been to church a bit more this year, as Cindy. We go to the Metropolitan Community Church here in Brissie, and it's nice. The people are soo lovely. It's nice to be out a bit more.

So, what's been going on in my mind and heart? Hmm. Good question. I wonder sometimes if I avoid this journey. It's almost subconcious, but sometimes life gets so busy that I find myself doing everything but "tending to this issue". And you know what, I am actually somehow happy in that, distracted in that. Which is weird, cos this whole condition is very much like a toothache. I have thought that a lot. It just keeps getting worse, and at some point you can't avoid it any longer. You have to go to the dentist. And I guess that is what I am doing. I mean, I have been in therapy for over 4 years. I started in December of 2005. I think it was December 20th. And while there was a little while, maybe about 3 months or so, when I didn't go back in 2006, I have been to every appointment other than that.

But in saying all that, I haven't transitioned. The timing just isn't right. But then the timing of a tooth ache is never right. And in that scenario, you just have to put everything else down and have it seen to. And yet, at this point, somehow I have managed to "deal with this pain" enough that I can slow down.

My psych thinks that the slower journey is the better journey. I hope so, cos that seems to be the journey that I am on for sure. I'm not setting any land speed records on this one. I am the little engine that could I think. Who knows, maybe I might even use that as a title to a book about this journey one day. After all, we can never have enough biographies about this kind of thing.

So that's where I am at. I am in a holding pattern. I am waiting for work and other circumstances to open up so that if I do indeed do this, it will be a measured response to this condition. And maybe that's a part of it to. I am managing myself in this condition. I get that the management is temporary, but that is what I am doing.

And for now, that is enough.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Searching for Peace

I have realized something over the last few days. The thing is, I don't know where this journey of mine is going to end up. I really can't say for sure. I could end up transitioning, I mean I am heading in that direction. I have been on hormones for quite some time, and I have been under psych supervision for, wow, just over 4 years. So that is significant. And yet, I still don't know.

In case anyone reading this is wondering, yes, I am taking the more passive approach to this. And that is honestly me. I mean, I look at some girls who have done "this" in such a decided fashion. But when I am honest with myself, that's not me. And because that's not me, if I am to do this, I want to come out the other side as ME. That's important. I desire to be authentic. I readily point out my own flaws, and try to own them as an effort to embrace my own authenticity.

So, yes, I am on the "passive approach" to this journey. I'm not taking the world by storm, but I am trying to change my world. And like I said, I don't really know how this is going to turn out. So, for me, it has been somewhat agonizing. Probably why it's called an Identity Crisis or Conflict. I feel that Conflict. It's palpable. I am truly neither one nor the other. Somehow I am both. And that's the hardest part to comes to terms with and to reconcile. And in my own desire to be authentic, I feel that I need to "own" both sides of who I am.

Very confusing to say the least. Some days I feel a great peace at the future that I see. Some days I desire to embrace that future, and hasten that arrival. Other days, I am scared. Scared of what I might lose, of how I might be "deluding" myself.

I know this much: I can't live entirely male. I have tried it, and something is incredibly and painfully lacking. I ache for a more substantial and complete way of expressing who I am. And while I have never lived entirely as a female, I wonder if there are things that I will miss about being male. I wonder if in seeking that mode of expression I may not inadvertantly lose ways of expression that I require to be authentic.

So, where does that leave me? Right where I am, I guess. I am on a path. And I am moving forward. And the steps that I have taken today feel right. The direction feels right. And I still feel "myself". Perhaps that is why, for me, the slower mode of travel on this journey is essential.

And I get a sense in all of this, my greatest need at the moment is to discover the peace that I need to accept those things in my life which I cannot change. And, I think I am getting there.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Coming Home

I started to write an entry earlier today, but I "binned" it, cos it felt like it wasn't going anywhere.

Soooo .... we went to Sydney this weekend. It was an amazing trip. We saw George Michael, which has been a life long dream for Giselle!! And I loved being there with her in that. Always fun to see someone realise something so significant. And we spent time travelling around Sydney, seeing old haunts, places that conjure up memories. We went to the Rocks, and to Circular Quay, and to Darling Harbour, and Bondi Beach. We took a ferry ride to Manly too. And we tried to see the Mardi Gras Parade, but weren't really successful. I mean we saw it, and we were "a part of the crowd", but disappointingly, the "crowd" was very "straight", and while there's nothing wrong with that in particular, it kinda kills the whole "festival spirit", especially when that is what you are looking for. And that IS what we were looking for, and didn't find it. But we did manage to get some pics, and experience Sydney city by night (something that was both exciting and scary).

We would love to go back. I was in "drab mode", or Dave mode, or "boring mode", but in saying that, I think I got mistaken quite a few times as a girl. Which was very NICE!! :o)

Going "home" or going "back" can have it's mixed experiences and emotions. I lived in Sydney 21 years ago, and when we went this weekend, we happened to stay in the same house that I had lived in those 21 years ago. Twenty one years ago, I was returning from Canada, I was starting university again, I was lonely, I kinda had a girlfriend back in Canada but I think that was actually just a desperate attempt to not want to let go of Canada, I thought that maybe God was calling me into the ministry, and I was struggling with being TG, something that I had no label for, nor did I understand exactly what that meant for me. The only thing I was sure of, was that I should be able to overcome it.

I went back this weekend, and things were different. Obviously, I am older. I never finished that university degree, and often wonder about that. I am in touch with that girl on Facebook, that I was "kinda" in a relationship with when I left Canada. And to be honest, I still wonder what I was doing trying to be in a relationship with her. We didn't have a lot in common. Actually we had very little in common. But alas, if love is blind, then desperation is not only blind, but stupid as well! I don't believe that being in any kind of "ministry" is for me, and often wonder how I have disqualified myself from that. And to be honest, it's not a even all that significant from my perspective. I don't think about it every day. I guess there was a time when I did, but not any more. I think I was just being incredibly naive. And as for being TG? Well, I am no longer sure that I can "overcome" this. I will always have a sense of dysphoria, I just wonder what the most responsible way is to "manage" that.

When I came back to Australia, I wasn't even 21 years old, now 21 years have passed. And one incredible difference was that I was in Sydney this weekend with someone who actually sees me. And while I do struggle with things still, and have my own regrets, when I look at this person, I feel like I am home.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Travelling Partners

I want to record my journey. Maybe that's why journey and journal are similar words. I am on this journey and it feels incredibly right (scary at times, but very right).

I think that a discovery of ourselves is strongly linked not only to who we are when no one is looking, but also who we are when we are in the company of the ones that we love.

I believe that those closest to us "reflect us back to ourselves", both the good and the bad. But sometimes that reflection doesn't "feel" right, or isn't congruent to who we believe we are on the inside. And that is especially true for one who is TG. BUT, having said that, there can also exist an incredibly rare situation, when we meet someone who not only sees us for who we are, but also truly "sees us" and "gets us", and "accepts us". And the reflection that they reflect back to us is breathtaking.

This is a journey ... my journey. And I am so blessed beyond all of my comprehension to be on this journey with such a beautiful person. Giselle sees me. And she accepts me. And the person that I see in her reflection of me, inspires me. Thankyou for being on this journey with me, my Darling.

Some things we can quit

For a considerable amount of time, and certainly more years than I care to admit, I considered my being TG a form of addiction, of a sexual nature. I remember countless times of trying to "quit" and trying to "ween" myself off this, but I was never successful ... obviously.

I read, and re-read, books about addictions, and looked at websites, and tried the "methodologies" of the Twelve Steps. And when I came to the conclusion after years of thinking about it in this way, I felt a failure. I surrendered.

I had heard of people quitting different things, and wondered at their "will power" or their "support network". They were my heroes. Even now, I have a friend from my childhood, who lives a long way away from me who is quitting smoking. And he has successfully not had a cigarette for over 50 days now. And I marvel at that.

Being a Christian (of sorts ... still trying to figure that one out in the light of all of this) I believe that no matter how "good" we are, how "strong" we are, God always has a deep end that is beyond us. And furthermore, that is usually where He will take us. And that is why the words of the serentiy prayer hold such value. Give us the serenity to accept the things that we cannot change, give us courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.

And that's where I am right now. I am looking for that wisdom. I have unsucessfully tried to change the fact that I am TG. Now, I am looking for the courage to change my gender, because I believe that to be the truth. I cannot change my dysphoria, and for that I require serenity to accept it. I can change my gender, and for that I require courage. That is the wisdom I have come to.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Roads of Avoidance

"A person often meets their destiny, on the road they took to avoid it.” - Jean de La Fontaine

As much as I have tried to avoid "this", "this girl's life", I think it might actually be my destiny. I have tried many roads of avoidance, but none have worked. And I have exhausted my avenues. I mean, how many roads must we try before we admit that the destination that we keep coming to is the one, is not just the destination, but the destiny?

And to be honest, that's only the half of it I guess. There is obviously a part of me that is "over the moon". I mean, if the "girl inside" finally has a chance to be free, and to express herself freely, then obviously "SHE" would be over the moon.

And yes, by saying that, I AM saying that I am transgendered. It's a fact of life. It's a fact of MY life. Ironically I guess I have suspected it for soooo long, and I have flirted with it, and run from it. But now it's possibly time to "embrace it". And that is what I am doing.

So, this "Girl" inside, or in other words, ME, is finally beginning to see who I really am.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Journey starts with ...

I have been on this journey for so long. In fact, I can't remember a time when I wasn't on this journey. I am this journey, or this journey is me. And that's a lot to say, let me tell you.

It's taken me soo long to admit that to myself. I have both wanted it, and despised it.

But here I am ...