I had an appointment for my second surgery letter a few weeks' back. This appointment was with a well-known provider who has been working with trans people for over 20 years. She was going through her standard list of questions, and she asks me, "So, you've had FFS." "No, no I haven't." Her eyes popped out of her head. She wrote something down on her bad and shook her head incredulously. I had an electrolysis appointment about a month ago and one of the women who works there, but hadn't seen me in months, saw me and the same thing happened. Her jaw dropped to the floor and she somewhat stammered out how beautiful I was, as if she couldn't believe that a transsexual woman could look as I do. There's a guy at Starbucks who I consistently get looks from, and we're starting to get chatty.

I look great. In fact, I don't blend. I stand out. In the way that a woman wants to stand out. Which makes it easy for me to attract men. What this does not make any easier is the inevitable conversation that I will have no choice but to have with a man, once things start getting to that point. Not revealing to a man with whom I was serious means involving my children in that and asking them to lie, and I am not willing to do that. But how the heck does one go about telling someone *that*? Let me know when you find that one on your "TS Roadmap."

On teh interwebz, you can find resources to assist you with just about all parts of your transition. Except one. If you happen to be straight, you'll find that you're a needle in a haystack. Which makes one wonder, but I've written on that subject before. I go through a mental list of my friends who have and/or are transitioning, and you know how many would describe themselves as straight? None. Not one. Wait, I thought of one. One. You mention that you're straight around a group of trans women and you get this response...


Which isn't all that helpful. So, like just about everything else related to my transition, I'll take the same approach... the "eh, I'll figure it out." approach. I've pretty much done my own thing through transition. Taken steps, handled things in the way that felt right to me. Sometimes going against prevailing wisdom, sometimes not. It has all worked so far. The whole relationship thing, though, seems like a horse of a different color. The only thing that I've decided so far is that I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot from the get-go, IOW, tell people before they've had a chance to get to know me. Everything else, I'll figure as I go.

There's a new term which I've seen in the past couple days, designed to criticize and/or belittle transsexual women like me.  If you go over to Jenny's blog, she's coined a new one... "Serious Transsexual."  A somewhat tongue-in-cheek phrase to describe women like me, I suppose women who go through the Standards of Care, women who take their transitions seriously.   I'm forced to guess at what she meant since she didn't define the term. Jenny is one of the contributors to T-Central.  A little surprising that one of those women shows such obvious bias.  She's also the one who came up with the idea of the "sin bin" a month or so ago.  A concept which went over with a resounding "thud" with the T-Central community.  They never did say how the poll turned out.  Nor did her post on the sin bin concept allow comments. I would have commented on her blog about the "Serious Transsexuals," but she moderates comments, yet another red flag, so I'm writing here instead.

Anyhoo, back to the "Serious Transsexual" thing.  I suppose that I am a so-called "Serious Transsexual."  In fact, it's so serious, that my ex-wife has filed a motion against me in court to have all of my parental rights revoked.  It's hell.  I can't sleep at night and I constantly feel like I am going to vomit.  All of my remaining savings, thousands of dollars, went to my attorney in the form of a retainer check. One of the things that could be used against a "Serious Transsexual" like me are things from online.  For example, avatars.  Here's a line from Jenny's post:

So have I just shot myself in the foot, destroyed my credibility to Serious Transsexual eyes as surely as if I had changed my avatar to a picture featuring myself in a rubber French Maid outfit?

Hmmm, I wonder how a picture of me in a rubber French Maid outfit would go over with the judge? Probably not all that well. I wonder how that might impact a judge here in Virginia, a Republican state with mostly conservative judges. Yeah, if anything, it would make my chances of staying in my children's lives smaller. One wants to plaster pictures of herself all over the Internet in costume, knock yourself out. Criticizing those who do not because they're trying to get through this portion of life with minimum collateral damage is another thing altogether.

I had a post featured on T-Central yesterday. I had two thoughts when Halle asked me if I was OK with that. Thought one was "how nice, I'm glad she saw something in the post." Thought two, and I am not making this up, was "I wonder how long Jenny will allow it to be featured, before she features something else?" Turns out the answer was just a shade over 24 hours. The shortest amount of time for which I've seen a post featured. I'm a little bemused by it, frankly.

So anyway, Jenny. Yes. My transition is deadly serious. And before you go on writing posts grouping people without any consideration for their lives or their transitions, and coining little phrases to describe them, stop and think. No, your credibility in the eyes of this "Serious Transsexual" hasn't been destroyed because you advocate fun costumes. It's destroyed because you're biased and prejudiced. I get enough prejudice from my ex-wife, you know, the one on the other side of the courtroom.

Women who are pregnant sometimes experience what's known as the nesting instinct, the urge to prepare a home for the incoming newborn.  They clean, they organize, they decorate.  They have their husbands paint the nursery (paint fumes and pregnancy is a no-no).  They buy new sheets despite the fact that they have perfectly good ones due to the insatiable urge to have new, clean sheets.  They replace the dishes and organize and re-organize the washcloths for Baby two, three, four times.  They have their husbands repaint the nursery.  All to prepare for the new arrival.

I won't go so far as to claim that I, too, am experiencing this as surgery approaches, but I have been doing my own little version of nesting.  For the first year or so of my transition, my home wasn't reflective of me.  It was reflective of what I was going through in my head... it was disorganized, random, and devoid of character.  Certainly not somewhere that I'd be proud to, say, entertain.  That started changing about 5 months ago.  One day I realized that my home was not mine.  It was someone else's.  I am rectifying that.

I've gone through every closet in the house and thrown out tons of stuff, and organized.  I've gone through the kids' toys and donated what they don't play with, and thrown away all the extra crayons, watercolor sets, markers, and coloring books that will never be used.  I had no idea we had so many crayons.  I rented a carpet cleaner for the first time in God-knows-how-long and cleaned every carpet in my townhouse, which is 3 floors of wall-to-wall carpet.  I went to Michaels and bought a bunch of Fall stems to arrange in this little pot my sister got me a while back, along with other stems for other pots, and frames.  I've gone through all the old pictures I had up and replaced them with pics of the kids from some photos we had taken a couple months' back.  I've completely redone my bedroom, from the accent furniture to the curtains and bed decor.  I've redone lots of the kids' room, bought a new bookshelf for them, did some decorating, put up some wall decals. I spent three hours today taking apart this monstrosity of a gas grill which has been sitting on my patio for a year, gathering rust. The last reminder of my marriage I had to look at on a daily basis. The grill is now in pieces at the county landfill.

I had this couch sitting in the basement, holding about 20 "lovies," our word for stuffed animals.  I brought it upstairs and reorganized the main room so guests would have somewhere to sit that wasn't a chair borrowed from the kitchen.  As you can see from the pictures, it was quite an interesting time getting the couch upstairs.  Attempt one is on the left.  Attempt three is on the right. We won't discuss attempt two.

So every non-kids' weekend, I tackle a list of "stuff to get done."  Today was devoted to organizing, tomorrow to (ugh) cleaning.  I have 5 more such weekends before I visit Dr. Brassard.  Hopefully it will be enough time to get things the way I want them.  The garage needs to be organized, lots of cleaning needs to be done, food needs to be cooked ahead of time and frozen, recovery supplies need to be purchased, and I need new curtains for the living room.  Oh, and there's one wall I need to paint.  See that couch on the stairs?  There are now huge brown scuffs on the wall from said couch.

Is all this the famed "nesting instinct?"  Something like that, perhaps.  What am feeling bears a little resemblance to the excitement and anticipation one might feel before Baby comes home for the first time.  That said, it would be silly of me and insulting to women to compare what I'm doing and feeling to what they experience when they're pregnant.  I'm merely working on getting my place the way I want it before I depart for Montreal.  Clean, organized, and most of all, to feel like my home when I get back.  I'm not getting ready for a new baby.  I'm getting ready for a new life.

As you've no doubt heard a million times today, we had an earthquake.  For an encore, Mother Nature will throw Hurricane Irene at us this weekend.  Events with the potential to screw things up.  So I'm taking this opportunity to vent about some of the things which are screwing with my head these days.  I'll be having surgery in about 2 1/2 months and while it's obviously a wonderful thing, it's a stressful thing.  I'm a little concerned about the amount of leave I'll have to take without pay, as well as how much I will be able to see my children for the first month or so of recovery.  I have offers from certain family members to come help, which I'll probably take them up on.  Speaking of my kids...

About three weeks ago, I came home at lunchtime to find a notice on the front door from the county Court. My ex-wife, as I alluded to in my last post, filed a motion for a hearing to have all of my parental rights revoked.   And of course her pleadings are all related to my transition.  So I've retained an attorney, and while ultimately I have confidence that at the very least I'll have the same amount of time with them as I do now, it's a stressful thing.

Work is going well although it's been crazy the past month. I'm fully billable.  I also volunteered for a pro bono project which a team of 7 of us work on outside of normal work hours.  Our company does these projects for non-profits, which otherwise wouldn't be able to afford us.  Anyway, the other technical resource on our team was booted from the team for non-performance, leaving little ol' me to do all his work. I was also getting pressure from the higher-ups in the company to get this certain technical certification, so while I wasn't thinking about surgery, meeting with my attorney, spending time with the kids, or working on the pro bono project, I studied for the certification exam. I passed the exam and our pro bono client was thrilled with my work. It all ended well, but it has weighed on me.

And as well as my transition is going, let's face it. It's still transition and it sucks.  The loneliness is rough... it'd be nice to go on a date or have someone to cuddle with... ugh... it's been, um... I think over three years now, but I just don't want to get into all that until after I'm recovered from surgery.  Pre-op dating is not for me.

All this at once has been a lot to deal with. I've not been sleeping well again.  For a while there, I was doing well with sleep, 7 or 8 hours.  Lately, I'm back to 5 or 6.  Have had this pit in my stomach for 3 or 4 weeks now to the point where I constantly feel like I'm going to puke.  Especially when I eat.  I keep wondering when it will all be over and the issues I face in life will be similar to those that a "normal" person faces.  I think 2013.  I don't feel sorry for myself here; it's all just a lot!  I have a ton of great stuff going for me and I appreciate it all.  It just gets tiring being continually focused on the big picture.

I have had this blog in draft for a while, months, actually, but never posted it. It seems appropriate now.

I've read quite a few blogs by women in similar situations to mine; transitioning with young children and an ex-spouse who is less than supportive. What I haven't read in several of these blogs is how they are fighting. Fighting for their children. The ex threatens to take them to court and these people go down with nary a whimper. A blog of one such woman was featured months ago. With the requisite patting-you-on-the-head-there-there-it'll-be-ok comments from the peanut gallery. She agreed to only be seen with her children far away from their town. I don't think that sends the right message to your children. I think it teaches them that being trans is shameful and something that should be hidden away. I think it teaches them that their parent isn't willing to stand up and fight for them.

It seemed that she just put her hands in her lap, sighed, and said, "well, there's nothing I can do about it." To be fair, I do not know the whole story. To read the particular blog entry though, it sounded like she was resigned to the fact that there wasn't much she could have done about it at the time.

There *is* something you can do about it. Fight. Do not tolerate the views of an ignorant bigot, even if that ignorant bigot happens to be the biological mother of your children. Do not let that ignorant bigot stand in the way of your relationship with your children. You call yourself a woman? Then stand the hell up for your children. They deserve that.

No woman would give her children up without a fight.

There's a situation going on right now involving my kids and ex-wife, which is going to end up in court. My ex-wife is trying to get all of my parental rights revoked. I don't have the inclination or energy to go into it in detail, so I will not be writing about it.

But you damn well better believe that I'm going to fight.


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When I transitioned, there just weren't too many blogs out there written by straight, transitioned women. Well, here's one.

I can be reached via email at this address.

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