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.

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When will you be done transitoning?

I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked this question. Every time I am at a loss. The word transitioning does in itself imply a process, a starting point and an end point and time to get from one poin to the next:
from Webster’s dictionary:

1 a : passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another : change
b : a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another
2 a : a musical modulation
b : a musical passage leading from one section of a piece to another
3 : an abrupt change in energy state or level (as of an atomic nucleus or a molecule) usually accompanied by loss or gain of a single quantum of energy

I relate more to the 3rd definition of an abrupt change which has more of an immediacy or nowness to it.

My feeling is the minute I chose to embody my true self, I transitioned. The rest, all that followed in learning, growing and integrating, and moving through the struggles, are just the natural unfolding evolution we all experience if we are on a path of personal growth and spiritual evolution.

A person is a person the minute they are conceived. The rest is development and growth.

I believe what people are asking around when will I be done is really about what physical changes still need to happen – surgeries, facial hair, muscle mass…. to indicate some sense of being fully formed. So when I tell people, as I do, that I am done, I wonder am I being disingenuous somehow. Again for me, I transitioned the moment I chose to fully embody my innate nature. And I am waiting for my beard to grow in and as I work out, I am waiting for my body to build muscle mass and look more like how I experience myself to be. In this sense, I am not yet done. But again these are just aspects of growth and development, they do not define the truth of being who I am – transitioning from my afab self to a trans-masculine self – is immediate upon choosing to embrace and embody who I am.

As I sit here, contemplating this writing, I reflect on myself, what has changed and what has not. I have said a million times that I am still me at my core just more so. This still holds true. I am now more at ease with myself as the stigma of being gender non-conforming has resolved as I allow myself to be the gender queer, trans-masculine self that I am. How I dress has changed a bit, as I wear more button down shirts to work. I now truly dress in business casual. (A friend once joked with me around my sense of business casual which was truly more casual, hang out clothes). I still wear the same jeans I have always worn (carhart and dicky’s). And in truth, I would likely have always dressed this way if I didn’t have those double d’s to contend with and “hide”. Now that I do not, I can comfortably dress as I am. My hair is changing – leg hair darkening and growing more on thighs, pubic and arm pits when once it was so little. That little strip of hair at the navel is starting. Sideburns and small patches under the chin.
My dysphoria is greatly relieved, my anxiety almost totally gone, my confidence stronger.

And as I write all this I continue to know the evolution does not make the person. I am right here, right now. I transitioned the minute I chose to embody my true self. Yes I want more facial hair and muscle mass, but those things do not define me, do not make me the gender queer, trans-masculine person that I am. The choice to be and fully embody and embrace my gender queer, trans-masculine self is the transition.

And I cant help but feel that when I say this, the people who are asking now believe that the changes are done. I wont visibly change anymore. I know that I don’t owe anyone an explanation. They can interpret my answer as they will. But I cannot help but think about the impact or implications on clients in particular. Should I grow a full beard and choose not to shave someday – will this be a betrayal of sorts. “But you said you were done… I thought that meant you wouldn’t change anymore” I imagine them thinking or saying. It is a double entendre of sorts. And maybe in the end it wont matter, just as a baby grows before us, we often miss some of the changes as they occur so consistently and subtly moment to moment, perhaps my continued growth will be the same to those who see me regularly and be less impactful and less taken as a betrayal.

Time will tell.

I am legal

Woo whoo!! I am now legally Sky and my drivers license has M. Such a long and arduous process. And am I remembering everything?Diplomas, professional licenses, someone reminded me to tell the post master otherwise I might not get mail – would never have thought of that one. Debating on the birth certificate. I am curious what others have done. And does it matter? is this one essential for reasons I am not thinking of?

Gender marker was a tough one for me. I did decide to change it should the day come that I can actually grow a beard – or my fantasied sexy 5 o’clock shadow. It will likely make traveling easier. But I still don’t feel wholly male identified.

Its like what I told one of the psychiatrists I work with recently. We were with a client and the psych ended a sentence early something like “Sky will be your therapist so check in with….” and she faded off not finishing the sentence. She just couldn’t get “them” out. We talked after, and I said think of it this way as she struggled with the grammar – “when you say them in reference to me you are acknowledging my dual nature, as I identify as two-spirited”. Something about this seemed to have registered. We’ll see.

I just wish that there was a non-binary gender marker for all those legal documents. As male feels as false to me as female does.

Holidays and conversation

2014 s almost to an end. I am ready for a new year full of new opportunities and growth. Christmas was its usual challenge. Next year I gotta figure something different out. I was actually excited in some ways primarily because my family would be meeting my ex-girl friends new girl friend. As my sister said we have an interesting blended family. Family dynamics left me overly sensitive and I left early. Which was 8 pm and my planned departure time anyways. I left abruptly is better stated. Anyways, a couple days later I had a bite to eat with my dad. My father is a man of not many words so I am always struck when he talks. Well, he talked. It was the day before my birthday and I am guessing the struggles on Christmas and my bday motivated him. He told me he has always felt his purpose in life was to have and provide for a family and to raise kids that would make a difference in the world. He raised 5 great kids each making a mark in their own ways. He said to me that he felt the most proud of me; that I had and am making a difference in the world in a very significant way – first as a lesbian and now as a transman. He acknowledged the way that I provoke thought and expansion. He spoke about the possibility of my going back to school and what I would do with that education – again to promote change. I am not sure that in all these years my dad has ever expressed his pride for me. I took it in and still feel it swimming in me. It feels like a good place to start the new year.

I hope 2015 brings all of you joy, acceptance and love!!

Looking for some feedback

Hi all

Studies are going well. I take the exam November 21st. I feel ready to take it now. Ready to be done with it really!

For my application I need to write a 750 word essay that presents my dissertation topic. I find this interesting as I imagine as I learn more my thoughts will greatly change. However, at this point in time, this is what I am thinking:

1) Presentation on cross-cultural views on gender, including feminist theory.
2) Presentation of science that verifies the trans experience (possibly finding researchers interested in the topic and working with them to explore avenues not yet explored).
3) Thesis: Gender is complex and cannot be limited to or based on the physical attributes/genitalia of an individual. Trans people of all identities exist to heal the rifts between the sexes, restore the balance and equality among all people.

This is very rough, I know. When I talk about it – it is fuller and more fluid.

Anyway, the feedback I am looking for is “what do you think is missing?”. What would you as trans people or trans allies want to see studied and brought in to the consciousness of our culture today?

I will seriously consider all feedback and weave in whatever I connect with.

Thanks!

Month 2 on T

This is my second month on Testosterone. Still feeling strong, confident and happy. Only marked effect of T is pimples. Frustrating and an odd mark of honor at the same time. No weight gain or loss. Feel physically stronger and more energetic. Feel more able to hold my seat in confrontations or disagreements. Ok, I guess there are more effects than just pimples.

I have a meeting today at the Gender Identity Center in Denver to see how I can become affiliated with them. In my search for mental health support around this last year, I did not find a single trans-man or woman therapist. Many straight and open or gay. I would have preferred working with someone who has been through it on all levels. Someone who really gets it. So I figure, I am a commodity. Chuckle. I do have something to offer that others don’t, given my lifelong struggle with this and now going thru the transition. So we will see what happens.

A side note: the above meeting is also a effect of making this choice in the sense that 1 year ago I would never have reached out to a group I wanted to connect with. My social anxiety would have taken over. With the GIC I put myself out there openly and confidently. I got a reply immediately and have maintained openness and confidence. Sure pangs of the old anxiety come, but less and they do not take over. Pretty awesome.

The Beginning Feb 7, 2014

ImageHi – this is going to be a very personal blog about my journey. I am 48 years old, born female. The same story you have heard a thousand times – born feeling like I inhabit the wrong body. I subverted the thought much of my life living easily as a lesbian gender non-conforming person. Early last year, visiting my sister who is a therapist working with many trans people, she told me about a study that found gays of my age who are gender non-conforming, if they were younger and in the society we are in now (slightly more open), would have gotten a sex change. This is how I recall it. Anyways, she asked if I ever felt this way. My answer was to burst out crying. I do not cry easlily but truly had no choice. It was a feeling thing and the suppression for so long finally found a crack.

So began my journey of realizing I can make a different decision for myself.

Many of the blogs, videos and websites I have found speak primarily to f-m or m-f transitions. I found only one that spoke to the gender neutral. So I decided to ad  my process to the blogosphere. I hope those who need what I share find it.

I know ultimately I experience myself as male and I know that I have lived my life gender neutral as it felt better than female and more acceptable than trans. I am now exploring if that is enough. I have done therapy for many years and in many ways around the issue. Monday I meet with a physician and will hopefully leave with a prescription for T. I will begin at a low dose 25-50% of fully masculinizing doses and see how that feels and choose daily from there.

This blog will chronicle that journey.