So it's been three weeks since my surgery. Dr. Brassard and his staff were wonderful. Absolutely the right choice for me. Made quite a few new friends, friends whom (who? whom? I never know for sure) I hope to keep. I'm not inclined to go into the details of my time there or my recovery... it is all private and precious. Let it suffice to say that my recovery is where it's supposed to be at this point. I have friends who have taken care of me since I've been home and continue to. I'm up and moving around, taking walks, doing well. Things are good.

I took a quick look on T-Central the other day and realized that I am just not into this anymore. I'm neither into the transition stories nor the constant din of the TS vs. TG arguments. Doesn't hold any interest for me. Writing about the remainder of my transition, what little there is left of it, doesn't either. I'm sure I will find ways to help those who are where I once was, but for now I am going to focus on me and my recovery. Time to get back to real life.

So, this is the post that I've wanted to write since that first day that I realized that I was a woman. The last post. What have I learned?

As we transition, we read about techniques for "developing our femininity," about developing a sense of style, about walking with our hips at a specific angle or stepping with a certain frequency, about how a woman does this and how she does that, about how women respond to this and how they respond to that, how they develop friendships, about learning how to be a woman. This could leave us with an inaccurate impression, an impression that "being a woman" is about something specific. I've been guilty of contributing to this myself, as I asserted in an earlier blog entry that no woman would give up her children without a fight. That is false. There are not many, but they exist. Which, I suppose, is my point.

Do you want to know the secret of being a woman? Do you want to know what you need to do to be accepted as a woman in real life, from someone who has accomplished that very thing? Lean close. I will whisper it in your ear. Here is what being a woman is all about:


Nothing. It's about nothing. There exists no quality or trait that is universal to and exclusive of women. There is no behavior, learned or otherwise, which if missing from a person, marks that person as unmistakably male or unmistakably female. There exists neither a book you can read nor a video you can watch which will teach you how to be a woman. So stop trying so hard. Sorry to disappoint you, but there's nothing specific to which I can point. We don't have as much in common as you've been led to believe.

Well, there might be one commonality. I suppose we're all just striving to be ourselves. Perhaps that is one unifying characteristic of all women. For any given woman, being herself might mean falling in line with society's expectations; to regress to the mean. For another, it might mean flouting them for the sake of flouting them. Of course, the 3.5 billion males in the world also share this trait, this sense of self. So, if one is a woman, "being a woman" is about nothing more than being herself. As is "being a man."

We are unified by our uniqueness. Whatever acronym one chooses or does not choose to "identify with."

So, after blog entries spanning three calendar years, transition, and successfully living my life as myself, that is my sole piece of wisdom.

Ultimately, we are all striving to be ourselves.  Whether that self is a fully-assimilated woman, a fully-assimilated man, a woman who is "out" about her background, a man who likes to express another side of himself from time to time, or something else altogether. In terms of transition and gender, whatever degree of change one undergoes, even if she goes "all the way" as I have, is not to emerge from the change as a woman or a man. We do this for one reason and one reason only: to be ourselves.

So, to be you, be you. Stay true to yourself. It's not any more complicated than that. Neither I nor anyone else can offer you any advice on that. *You* are the only one who knows. Don't do anything because someone says you should or avoid doing something else because someone says that you shouldn't. I promise you that if you remain true to yourself, at some point, someone will appreciate you for that which you are... a woman, a man, or something in between. It might take years. You may incur tremendous losses. But you can get there. Your reward for this? Nothing more than being yourself. Being yourself is the only way to have a fighting chance at being free. It's working well for me so far.

We are different. There are going to be arguments and dissent. Trans people, and people in general, all might not want to get along, and that's just reality. Even if it might be better for all of us if we did. I might not agree with your self-concept, and you might vehemently disagree with mine. At the very least, perhaps we can acknowledge the fact that the essence of what I'm doing is the same as yours... trying to be myself, whoever she is. And whoever you are.

All the best to you as you seek her or him.

With that, I'll leave you with one of the greatest songs ever written.

~~ The end. ~~

I took today off from work to finish up odds and ends before I head to Montreal tomorrow morning. Expected that it would be somewhat of a frantic day, but it's not turned out that way. Have been working on my "to-do" list all week, and I got everything done that I wanted. The recovery supplies are purchased. The freezer is stocked with homemade veggie lasagna, mini meatloaves, spaghetti sauce with homemade meatballs and sausage. The house is clean. I'm packed, more or less. Even had time for a nice nap this afternoon.

I'm very calm about all this. Excited, too, but mostly calm.

I needed to make one more trip out to the grocery store to pick up a couple items for when I get back... tea, cranberry pills, seltzer, and a couple other things. My last trip out of the house before heading to the airport in the morning. I step into the grocery store and who do I bump into but Sharlene. Sharlene is the head administrator of G's preschool, the woman who banned me from it. We worked things out and now have a friendly relationship. I don't have any animosity or hard feelings towards her at all. We chatted for about 5 minutes, she asked me how things were, and I told her I was heading to Canada in the morning for surgery. She wished me well.

One might think to herself, "Geez... of all people to bump into, the last person you see before SRS is her? Ugh." But I don't look at it that way. The truth is that I think it was kind of cool to see her today of all days. There was something almost poetic about it. To me, the preschool banning and subsequent reinstating symbolizes everything that I've done right with my transition. Putting my son's interests first. Learning how to work with people towards whom I'm angry by putting that anger aside and seeing the larger picture. Teaching people that transsexuals are not whatever-you-thought-we-were. Turning a bad situation into a fantastic opportunity.

And that's what transition is, really. I mean, c'mon. Being born into the wrong body? It is a baaaaaad situation. I've taken this situation and turned it into a tremendous opportunity, an opportunity to turn my life around and show others that they can do the same, whatever their particular bad situation is.

So it was absolutely appropriate and cool that of all people, Sharlene was the last person from my life that I'd see before heading to Montreal, which I will do in about 13 and-a-half hours.

I don't think I will write here again for a little while. Time to focus on the task at hand. :)

Here we go!!! :)

I've been thinking about vacations a lot lately. Trying to figure out when my last real vacation was, at least in the way that I think about vacations. Didn't take one this summer, or last summer. Or the summer before that, unless you count taking the kids to visit family for a week. Which I don't. Before that, my X and I took a trip in 2004 (yes, 2004) to San Diego. I suppose that was a vacation, unless you consider the fact that the entire itinerary for the trip was dictated to me. Wasn't overly relaxing.

I suppose the last real relaxing trip was before we got married. That'd be 2003. That's a long time to go without a vacation.

This week, it's been very loud in my head. Between all the last-minute things I need to take care of, my X is pushing for us to go to a co-parenting therapy (always productive when you are in the middle of a custody battle), I have a bunch of knowledge transfer meetings at work, electrolysis, one night out with friends (to see the indomitable Rachel Platten), a couple doctor appointments, and a (certain to be) long conference call with my attorney. I'm very busy, which is both good and bad. I have this list of things I need to get done before I depart on Saturday, and I keep coming up with more to add to the list. None of them are "big" things, but there are quite a few of them.

A trip to have major surgery isn't necessarily relaxing. Although this particular trip will be somewhat of a vacation from my life at a time that I sorely need it. Between the custody trial and SRS, I keep waiting for a moment when I just break down under all this stuff, but it still hasn't come. My therapist says that's because I am stronger as myself than I was as a man. Perhaps, but I also feel I'm getting through this because of my pragmatic nature; I focus on the task at hand and I try not to allow myself to be distracted.

I wonder what it will feel like on Saturday, when I am sitting at the airport, waiting to board my flight to Montreal, when I am away from all this, if only for a short while. Away from the pressures of life, from haranguing ex-spouses, from doctor/attorney/therapist appointments, from work. At the very least, it's bound to be a mental vacation.


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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.

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