Changes and some cognitive dissonance

There have been a lot of changes during these silent months. I moved to Oregon which proved to be a good and positive move. Other than my sister and her family, few people know me so I get a fresh start as me. It’s been amazing in all. After a big job snafu with the job that brought me out here, I found another job. Better position, better pay, better agency in general and a great team. I was hired as male and am referred to as such 100% of the time. I did come out in my large group interview but my current boss was not there so I do not think she knows. I am clinical supervisor working directly with her. I almost outed myself during a management lunch with her and our other team manager. We were talking about having kids and I almost said something about being past my childbearing years. Realized that’s probably not what a guy would say and found other words. 

Anyways … It is an interesting experience to be referred to as he. Something happens on both a brain and mind level that I can most closely refer to as cognitive dissonance. Which has led me into the query of how out as trans nonbinary do I want to be? Is tge disdonance because I am truly non binary and being referred to in the binary? Or is it just new to my ears and will take time to normalize? 

I believe it’s some of all of the above and I realize I am liking the ease of just being who I am perceived to be. And I am enjoying the ease of new found male privilege. I really don’t want to disturb that. After 48 yrs of living as a gender nonconforming butch lesbian and fairly constantly being met with micro aggressions it’s nice – really nice – to feel the ease, acceptance and respect I currently feel. I know I am not ready to disturb that by letting all my coworkers know I am trans and nonbinary preferring they them their pronouns. 

I feel at peace with this for now. And I recognize that someday if the cognitive dissonance does not resolve I will need to do something different. And I imagine with time under my belt for people to know me better it would be easier to come out. 

On a completely different topic and maybe needing a trigger warning (talk of vivid sexual experience)- I recently bought a Pcock wanting to try out a different stp system. I like the look and feel of it better than the one I have now but have been utterly unsuccessful in using it to pee. But one evening listening to tunes and feeling sorta sexy or feeling into some new sense of sexiness that I’ve not experienced before I was moved to put the peacock and harness on. Then I was moved to jack off with it. It rubbed against me in in such a way that I got extremely aroused and had an orgasm. It was intense and unexpected. It has left me curious. Curious about my sexuality. Curious about my anatomy and whether someday I might want/need bottom surgery. Once it improves and has a better chance of leaving me with the ability to really feel and even climax during sex. But I am drawn to penetration. I always have been – enjoying being the one wearing the dildo with my partners. I like receiving too but it’s different. And to penetrate and feel it – I came close with this evening encounter with the peacock and it has me kinda wanting more. 

Fascinating and pleasurable self exploration happening on so many levels these days. 

Moving

I recently found out that I am now licensed in Oregon to practice psychotherapy. I have been needing a big change for a while now, so applied for licensure finally. The same day I found out, I applied for a couple county jobs knowing it will take time to develop a private practice. I got a call back 2 working days later asking if I would be interested in a Clinical Supervision job instead. Had I seen that one I totally would have applied as I am really digging providing supervision for interns and people working towards licensure in my private practice. Had a great interview via Skype 2 days later and now they are checking references. During the interview I of course did not mention being trans. After the interview I realized that the transcripts I sent were e-copies I got a number of years ago and had my old name on it where as my application had new name and male gender. I felt I needed to call and clarify. My sister who used to work for this organization said you absolutely need to tell them because they have recently contracted people to come and train employees on how to work with the trans population. Hence, it will likely be an asset. So today I called and told one of my interviewers. She seemed to take it with a grain of salt. I, on the other hand, felt my whole body tighten, I was pacing, my hands were shaking when I got off the phone and I have had a stress headache ever since. It was liberating yes and I am relieved to not have to come out like at did at my part time job here. And it totally stresses me out. I realize I need to work on this in therapy. I am proud of who I am, of the me I am finally manifesting and I still get majorly stressed coming out to people. I came out to a trans client not too long ago and I had the exact same reaction. A trans client for gods sake, why would that stress me out? But it literally feels like it is some sort of life threatening act. Do I still carry internalized trans phobia? Is it old childhood shit that I haven’t processed around it not being safe to be me? Is it some past life unresolved stuff? I keep saying it is internalized trans phobia to myself. Whatever it is, I want to work thru it. I want to be open and proud of who I am. I want to be able to educate people. I want to be able to speak freely about this. Right now I cannot do any of these things due to these extreme anxiety attacks. Does anyone else feel this? What do you do with it? How have you worked thru it in yourself, if you have? I really want to make this move to Oregon and let myself fully embrace and embody myself, no part left sleeping or ignored. There is something here needing attention for me to fully be free.

Family perceptions and growing up

I had dinner tonight with one of my sisters. Not the one I’m really close to but the other one. We connect deeply when together and have profound conflict at times when not or simply zero contact. It’s interesting. Anyways we were talking about a lot of stuff but towards the end she said to me that she has always perceived me as having a chip on my shoulder around not being accepted by our family. Stating that I was always loved. I felt my gut and chest tighten. My brow furrow. I was really wanting to hear her vs react and protect. My throat tighten with held back tears. Literally in the exact moment she had to leave to pick her son up from an event. We did acknowledge we need to continue the convo later. So I drove home feeling this all and pondering. I realize that while yes my family has always loved me – they have never known me. Growing up and even to a degree now they never ask(ed) about who I am, who I am becoming, what I am doing learning experiencing. So I felt loved but this superficial love of being part of the family cuz that’s what u do. Not loved because I was known and respected and accepted. Part of this has to do with my gender. As I was trying to explain to my sister all the times  / years I walked in being my gender non conforming self and feeling shamed by comments that I should dress differently. Be more feminine. Often these comments came from this particular sister who is very cis gendered. She did explore her sexuality spending ten years with a woman who she might still be with had she not died of cancer. Now married to a man and has two teenage boys. I am not sure she will ever get it. I am not sure a cis gendered person can ever get the hiding we have to do of our authentic selves – or at least half a century ago when I was born and growing up. There is a difference between being loved because u are a member of a family and being loved because you are known, respected and accepted. And yes I needed to find my way of learning to love respect and accept me before anyone else could. But my family did not pave an easy way to do that. So perhaps I had a chip on my shoulder. I truly felt more forlorn and agonizing not seeing any way to be me. Needing to hide to survive. My sister even pointed that out; I was the kid who hid behind the couch sucking their fingers when company came. We could get curious about why I felt I had to hide. Was it simply that I was shy and introverted? Or was it because I wasn’t able to be me so didn’t know how to be. Hiding was easier. So a chip… Or maybe a part of me fighting to be seen, to be allowed to be, to find someone close who wanted to know me and was ok helping me discover me, uncover me from all things I hid behind. 

This is relieving to write. Tightness relaxing. Still a little tearful but it feels like tears of life unfolding  now vs sorrow. If that makes sense. 

So interesting family and our divergent perceptions of reality. Each of us has our own experience and own truth of exact same events. But never can we know fully what the other experienced thru the lens of our own experience. We need to be willing to see life thru other lenses to grasp other perceptions and experiences of events. And yeah I would like this sister to wear my glasses for a while as I attempt to wear hers. I do not think she gets it. And perhaps if the convo wasn’t so abruptly ended maybe she would have. 

More clarity with some angst

I recently bought an STP. I cannot go into a female bathroom anymore comfortably and have on a couple of occasions had to wait a ridiculously long amount of time for the stall while dining out – and drinking beer. It was difficult to wait as you can imagine if you are a beer drinker. It was novel at first, using an STP. I like the idea and ease of peeing standing up, will make camping so much easier. I got the EZP from Transthetics – a truly great product. I wore it daily for a couple weeks, using it frequently as needed. The more I wore it the more disconcerted I felt. I realize I really do not relate to having a penis. It feels wrong. I want it to feel right and keep trying. But in the end I am filled with angst. I am realizing more and more that I am gender queer and will never fit in the binary box and I am finding this to be difficult as well. Difficult because so many people do not have a clue. and even when I educate and tell them my preference for pronouns, they struggle to manage they-them-their. Some honor it by just using my name, but they report how awkward that can be; one noted she used my name nearly 20 times in a short convo. And then the few people that are stuggling with my transition, struggle in the context of me being a man. This then frustrates me because I am not that any more than I am female. I have moments of being truly pissed off at society for pigeon holing me and so many others – everyone if we really want to be honest. We must be one or the other and even transitioning carries with it the idea of transitioning form one gender to the other.  And I feel stuck… I don’t know what to do or where to go. I find myself swimming in angst filled emotional waters. Sad, angry, confused, stuck…

I find it also interesting that I am calling myself queer – gender queer and sexually queer. I am of the generation where queer was really derogatory. I get it is changing and I am finding myself really relating to its nuances. It feels even more open, spacious and undefined then non-binary, cuz non-binary still considers there is a binary to be separate from. Queer is its own thing and that does feel right. I will never be male, female, gay or straight or bi. Pan-sexual perhaps if I understand it correctly. But again, in my generation, even my gay friends (gay includes lesbians for me) are not familiar with the term pansexual and are gay, straight or bi and there is nothing else.

And then the person who accused me of enjoying people being confused about my gender. I do not enjoy it actually. What I really want is to be seen as me, as queer and for that to be ok, to be accepted and to have a place in reality.

A kiss

My hairstylist kissed me after I told him I was transitioning. I don’t know what else to say, I found it very touching and sweet. He is a New Yorker and it seems he is missing the diversity here in our little mountain town that he had in NY.

I never followed up on the swim. Overall went very well, however I almost didn’t go. About 2 hrs before I began having a major panic attack. Lightheaded, heart pounding, blood rushing too fast thru body, chest tight, sweating, foggy headed. After about thirty minutes of telling myself just don’t go, I decided to take a valium instead. That really helped. So I went and I plunged and used the men’s locker room. with the option of a family locker room I am not likely to do that again. It was fine really, but another one of those showers where they are all together. Fortunately my timing was good and no one was in the locker room but me until the last 5 minutes. He used the locker right next to me which is interesting considering the numerous other options. Oh and when I peed I passed another guy. I am finding the notion that men generally do not make eye contact in the bathrooms to be false. But I will acknowledge I have to be making eye contact for eye contact to happen – but eye contact always happened there and other situations of past.

The pool time was awesome, so dang liberating and right feeling.

The Jacuzzi, I was struck by the big smile this older guy gave me as I entered. He definitely initiated eye contact. Felt very welcoming.

And the sauna… it was fine, but I did find this one guy staring at me. J noticed it too. I will say, I have a very large tribal tattoo, half sleeve, over the shoulder and covering my right pec… and it may be this is what he was looking at. Hard to say. Regardless, I never felt unsafe and it definitely helped to have J there.

So only thing I will do differently in the future is use the family locker room.

More family stuff – specifically my brother

I come from a family of five kids. My oldest brother and I have always had an interesting relationship. At times loving and supportive but usually – historically-  there is/was a tension and antagonism. He has always played a very harsh Devils advocate with me often to the point of tears leaving me feeling so incredibly unheard unseen and not understood. He does/ did this with no other sibling and even my ex  gf felt more respected by him then I. So for the last eight months or so this has been changing. He listens to me, asks me questions like he has always done with everyone but me, laughs at my jokes, stops talking if we both start talking at the same time or if he is talking and I am trying to interject.  None of this has happened previous to the last eight months or so. I feel respected and I have to admit it feels good. And it leaves me boggled now every time I see him. I ask myself: 1) is he responding to my more grounded confidence? Or 2) did he struggle with me as a gender non conforming female more than he struggles with me as a trans masculine person? Or 3) is this some form of male privilege – now that I present more maled on so many levels does he respect me more because he has a higher respect for males. I am one of three AFAB siblings with two AMAB sibs. My oldest sister who I am very close to has a distant and usually tense relationship with this brother while my other sister has always been closer to him. This other sister has made more mainstream choices then me and my other sister save a ten yr relationship with a woman. (Her partner died and now she is married to a man and has two kids). I say all this because it’s complex. He respects this one sister without a doubt and definitely relates the most with her life choices then me and my other sister. So is his stuff with me respecting males more or at least significantly more than gender non conforming butch lesbians? Or is something else at play? It is perplexing. And one of those boons that I both really enjoy and struggle with.

Then there is my sister that I am very close to. She has been visiting the past week and a half. I took time off to spend time with her and her family. I asked her tonight if the reason we have spent less time together this trip is due to my transition. She acknowledged it is part of it. She isn’t sure if she is grieving her sister or struggling with being “soul mate close” to a “male”. She is essentially struggling with her notions of gender and how she has gendered our relationship. She is struggling to stay connected to the non gendered essence of our connection which she acknowledges hasn’t changed and let go of the outward gendered changes in me (voice, confidence, smell, appearance, body etc). She wholeheartedly knows the connection is there and that she can still talk to me about anything and I still respond to her with the same support, insight, inquisitiveness, compassion… And still she is creating more space or needing more space. It is painful to me. I believe her when she says she just needs time to adjust. That we will make it through this. Likewise I am afraid. To lose this relationship would be a devastation that I cannot comprehend. A death.  Is this what those closest to us feel as we transition? They say it is like losing someone. But at the same time not really cause here we are. I do not want to lose her. I would give up a thousand experiences as with my brother to maintain my connection with my sister. And I will not give up me.