10 or so years ago, I was reading about this topic which intrigued me, about people who emerged from the womb as male, but underwent all sorts of painful/stressful/life-altering procedures to, as I put it at the time, "become" women.

"That's not me, I'm not like that..." I remember thinking. "I could never go through all that. I'm OK the way I am." Now, I've been on hormones for 6 months and I have a couple hours of electrolysis a week.

I met a group of transgender women for the first time, about a year ago. I remember being surprised that they (mostly people who had transitioned) didn't wear all that much makeup, and wore clothes that weren't all that feminine.

"Oh, that's not me. I'm not like that," I thought, as I sat there in my overly-feminine getup and foundation, blush, eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, and lipstick. I mean, what's the point of doing all this, if you can't girl it up, right? Now, here is my current Facebook profile picture.

Three or four months into therapy, my therapist asked me if I ran upstairs and changed out of my male clothes after getting home from work each day.

"No, that's not me, I'm not like that," I replied. "Male clothes don't bother me. I can wear whatever. It doesn't matter." Now, the second I leave work, I feel a weight lifted. I cannot wait to get home and change. And the shoes. Don't even get me stared on the heavy, ugly, clunky shoes I have to wear.

I've met many full-timers who haven't done much with their voice. Their voice sounds male. They look great, but their voice is a dead giveaway. How could they go through life sounding as they do? Don't they care about getting read as transgender?

"Hmmph. That's not me, I'm not like *that*," I scoffed. Now, I'm going full-time in three weeks and my voice isn't anywhere close to sounding feminine. When I speak to people, I have no idea if they realize I'm trans, or not, and I don't really care.

So many times I've read that in the days and weeks preceding going full-time, many transgender women feel a real sense of loss, mourning their old selves. They seemed incredibly stressed, referring to their old selves "dying," stuff like that.

"Well, that's certainly not me. I'm not like that," I thought. "I mean, going full-time is a *good* thing! And the old you isn't dying. That person is still around, it's just a little different. And besides, all you're doing is adding in work. No biggie."

Now, for the past week, I've been waking up around 3:30 in the morning, each morning, and I can't get back to sleep. This morning, I started thinking about what it's going to be like three weeks from now... my first day as myself at work, and I felt a palpable sense of loss. I sometimes wish I wasn't like this. I wish that I had been born with the sense of congruency for which I am striving. I feel overwhelmed and stressed about all that I have to get done over the next three weeks. Which includes quit smoking. Yeah, I smoke. Don't tell my endocrinologist... I don't want to hear it. For years, I've been around a pack a day. In the past 6 months, I am up to 2. 2 packs a day. I have no idea how or why this happened. It really concerns me; no, it rings alarm bells in my head, is what it does. I have to somehow manage to quit smoking, at what is perhaps the most stressful time of my life. Good luck with that.

Anyway, I'm sure that I seem like someone who really has her shit together. I'm confident, self-assured, I've accepted myself, so far I've kept my family and friends, life is good, blah blah blah. That's all true, but it doesn't mean that I don't have my moments where I feel very uncertain about what's going to become of me. I don't have a choice but to do this; there is no wavering on my part. The reality, however, is that I don't know what it will be like. I don't know that it'll be all that different. Which I don't think of as a good thing.

I read stories about some post-transition women, who are struggling mightily... they're congruent, but lonely. They've not been able to find a relationship, and/or once they've finished the "transitioning" part of this and over the initial euphoria of finding one's self, that life as a transgender woman is pretty damn difficult. They went into transition with unrealistic expectations and were completely knocked on their asses when it was less than what they expected.

That's not me... I'm not like that.

Really, I'm not. You'll see.

really.

6 comments:

What a post Faline! The scary thing for me is the 'I'm not like that'. I keep telling myself that I'm not like that when in reality, just like you, I am like that. Trying to hold on as male while letting the 'two-spirit' live is becoming increasingly difficult. Just please try quitting, it's the best thing that you can do for yourself.

Hugs, Elly

LOL I love the ending. Great post girl! Just goes to show we are all different but don't judge others because you might be in their position someday! hehe

We all struggle with our own decisions. Did I make the right choice, moving out here to Arizona, away from my kids and grandkids? Did I retire too early or should I have kept on working? Second guessing is a part of life. Some parts of that were better in my "old" life, while I continue to focus on the parts of my "new life" that bring me happiness. In the end, I think that life itself becomes another job that we strive to be good at!

We're all struggling...hang in there!

Suzie

Nice post, Faline. It's funny, but when I was much younger and first recognized that I was trans, I went to a couple of group meetings and said to myself, "Oh, no. That's not me. I cannot be that." Later, I worked on a play about a transsexual and as I watched the play every night, I'd constantly repeat the mantra, "That's not me. I'm not like that."

Ever since I started to transition, though, I've been finding more in common with other transfolk, but I do occasionally see someone doing something or read someone talking about a thing and do as you do only to discover myself repeating that veyr thing. Funny world, isn't it?

xoxo Gin

You rock.

Lara (sharkie) said... October 13, 2010 at 8:36 AM  

Way to go!! I am SO happy for you.

XOXOXO

Lara

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