Tuesday, 29 January 2013

yes I know I'm no transexual....

There are those good days and then those bad ones. Today is not one of the good ones and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I did not sleep well the night before for starters but then this melancholy set in that I can’t seem to shake entirely.

I have always been a very complicated person. When I was young I was painfully shy and felt inadequate and nervous. It’s not that life petrified me but I was never able to be myself. To this day I don’t know what being myself really is for I was too afraid to be that; possibly for fear of being found out and singled out as a freak. I became very good at going stealth as a consequence. I had to learn to fit in.

Life moves so fast and we go from phase to phase without ever catching our breath. This period of my life will be used to settle in to defining who I am and what I want to do with the rest of my life. It is already approaching the longest time that I have ever lived completely alone and the silence has afforded me a lot of time to reflect.

I have been reading some websites on GID and transexuality and once again I see a great deal of commotion surrounding definitions like “classic transsexual” or transgender, transvestite, crossdresser, etc. One such website of a so called “classic transsexual” (not the same one I found some time back) goes to great lengths to explain why true transexualism is exceedingly rare and why GID sufferers are just men who want to wear dresses. Even if I accept that only true transsexuals know from the first moment of their self awareness that they are really women and they desire only men and need to have their bodies corrected as soon as possible, it leaves the rest of us with a conundrum – what is the source of our disphoria?. Are we women loving, late bloomers simply AGP fetishists who need to exhibit less additive behaviour? Sometimes I feel that by excluding us from the possibility that some of us may also suffer from some genetic condition, it undermines the reality of our plight. So I can understand why there are sometimes battle lines drawn between the two groups. By putting distance between themselves and the transgender community some people are trivializing our life long struggles with GID.

I sometimes get depressed thinking that my lifelong struggle would get reduced to a question of just having more will power in controlling my dressing because I suffer from a paraphilia. So when I read that on the pages of an early transitioner who is living stealth I find it insulting. We GID sufferers don’t wish them any ill will so I don’t understand why there would be any animosity returned.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

true to you..,

Be true to yourself and don't hide behind a mask. This has taken me decades to learn. Rejecting the way you were made is like saying that you are not worthy of God's love. Many of us are born with challenging circumstances and if not they are thrust upon us during our lifetimes. Being gender disphoric may be a difficult challenge but it can be overcome. The only critical key to doing this however is to learn to love yourself as you are. The lucky ones who had their difference acknowledged and accepted were able to live their early life with the self assurance that they were accepted as they were. They either transitioned or at least expressed themselves openly without fear of judgement or reprisal. However these are the minority of cases and in fairness to my parents, I never let them in on the secret due to my conforming to what was expected of me; the dutiful son who does what he's told. If I am still hiding now it's because my coming out story is still in progress.

My early childhood experiences made me fearful and mistrustful of people. I was born without a fold in my ears and they also jugged out. That allowed me to see how mean even adults could be from a very young age. I was able to understand that in order not to be mocked you needed to fit in. So my bedroom play in dresses was kept to myself. How might things be different today had my upbringing been radically different? Possibly I might be a transitioned woman today but that is only conjecture. The reason I do feel that it might be the case is based on how strong my disphoria is today. My skill set learned through self discipline is what has allowed me to manage this in silence for so long. It is slowly winning out however. My lowering my guard towards self acceptance is allowing joanna increasing space and she is taking it gladly.

Am I transitioning? yes I believe I am but in excruciatingly slow steps. You almost don't measure the progress but then you look back a year and think: "wow I am somwhere I never thought I'd be!". It's just that I am not following any standards of care or hospital program. It will move along organically, shifting and morphing as my life takes new turns. This is the only way it can be for me in order to feel comfortable. It's like entering a very hot bath where you allow each piece of skin to acclimatize to the temperature; eventually you are fully immersed and you have arrived. But this is not a race for I am discovering that it is the journey and not the final destination that matters most.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

a person first

In order to solve the riddle of my GID I really need to think of myself as a person first and as a gender affiliation second. I am neither fully female nor fully male but simply myself; a person created by God with a variation that makes me unable to conform to a stereotype or be slotted perfectly in either camp. This is something I've had to learn on my own for no one was able to teach it while I was growing up. I think every transgender person has this type of personal journey to travel in order to feel self love and be whole. Otherwise we're just constantly failing to measure up as brother, father or husband. This process of discovery can but not necessarily lead to full transition.

This time alone has afforded me to reflect upon the nature of my identity and tend to my damaged psyche. I feel increasingly peaceful and more able to tend to the challenges and my sense of self worth has benefited as well. It has shown up both in my work life and private life in the form of an internal beacon. I have now also started to let go of the idea that my life needs completion with a partner by my side. This notion is being dispelled although I will not close the door to unexpected discoveries should I come upon them. We all need a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives and challenges like being transgender make us stronger and more resilient to face the challenges of life. I no longer see my condition as plight but instead as a gift from God

My next target is to spend a mini vacation as joanna. I have never gone away and stayed in another city as a woman. Ideally I would like to be able to meet up with a friend while there and maybe have a nice dinner or other outing. This will happen around spring time and will likely amount to a long weekend just to keep costs down. Its been a number of years since I visited Toronto so that could be a likely target.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

my public face

My public face as a woman is one of a conservative and middle aged female. As some of you have seen from my pictures I am not into the sex kitten look but instead feel I am somehow a variation of my mother. Conservative pumps and pearl earrings are the order of the day for me. With the calming effect that repeated practice has brought me I can now focus on my feelings instead of how to conceal the fact that I am a biological male in disguise (to be clear I don't see myself that way but it is a literal fact). Inside I feel female and very very happy when I am out and about and it is this happiness that will ultimately prevent me from doing anything to my body.

It appears that my venturing into the world as joanna is going to suffice in satiating my gender disphoria. I am elated for this fact because my previous doubting was causing me a great deal of concern. Disphoria requires treatment and, as Jack Molay said recently in one of his blog entries, controlled crossdressing is a very good method. When I was caving into my desires to dress up I used to think myself weak and perverted but now I realize that I was simply following the clarion call of my personal makeup (or wiring). Once this is understood, the GID sufferer can take the means necessary to treat their condition. How succesful they are depends on how debilitated they are with guilt and shame. Those fortunate enough to be unburdened with any stigma can proceed to deal with their condition in a positive and constructive way. I can still consider myself relatively fortunate in that I have come to a balance point while still young enough to benefit from the improvement in my psyche and incorporate this into my daily life.

We sufferers of GID have been hampered by a judgemental society who fears and misunderstands us and in turn we succumb to self loathing for failing to measure up to expectation. The reality of course is that we were suffer from a very real condition and not from weak will. This personal discovery has been a saving grace.

I am sitting in a cafe as I write this. Sitting next to me are people going about their business oblivious to my situation. As far as they are concerned, I am just another woman and indeed they would be correct.

Friday, 18 January 2013

pride

Something I have failed to do truly completely is to fully embrace myself for who I am. Dressing up in women’s clothes for me has always been something to feel ashamed of. Even now there are still vestiges of feeling like I am failing at being a man every time I don that dress. It’s hard to remove something so completely engrained in your psyche. I suppose I understand now why there is such a thing as gay pride parades – heterosexuals don’t celebrate their normalcy because they have never had to struggle for self acceptance. I am still not quite where I need to be but I am so much closer to the end of the struggle than near the beginning. Emulating a female is not something to feel embarrassed about because there is nothing wrong with being a female. It is not showing weakness but strength to go out in public in a dress and face the world and I need to repeat that to myself every time I go out.

I stepped out yesterday and had a perfectly lovely time while fully embracing what I was doing. It was a far cry when I could feel myself cringing with the odd disparaging look from a passerby.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Getting real

I don’t entirely enjoy feeling stuck in the middle between genders. I look at people like Andrej Pejic the model who enjoys blurring the gender lines. But he has established an existence and gains his living in this fashion. He is getting paid to be controversial and be the media darling. People like me who have established themselves as male all of their lives can’t do a switch over or a re do. My change of gender presentation is like a mask in many ways because I am living the rest of the time as a male.

But I need not see that as being stuck. I am choosing to see it that way perhaps because of the faintest hope in rekindling a connection with someone in the future. If I were not attracted to females it would not be an issue whatsoever but, even though I need to be true to myself, I am still not ready to spend the rest of my life alone because of the way I am. Unfortunately being trans is often a prescription for membership in the “lonely hearts club band”. I just need to figure out how I can get rid of my hopes in that department. Why is my mind geared in such a fashion that I cannot accept to be alone for good?

Until I solve that riddle, I will not be truly comfortable with the way I am living my life. But I suspect it will come naturally with time.

Friday, 11 January 2013

time for the next chapter in earnest.....

While I am not certain yet whether I will ever move to another level of transition, one thing that has changed slowly over time is the way I feel about myself as a person. I don't really feel like a man. I have learnt and been trained to live as one all my life but I don't exactly feel I am one. There has always been something off with my identification as a male. As a youngster I was sensitive, shy and girly looking. I still have feminine features as an adult which now help me pass as a female. So what remains is to see where the tide takes me, I have accepted that my relationship with N is beyond reconciliation and that my kids are growing up rapidly. Living part time is allowing me to test the waters of what a full life as joanna might be like. So far it has been revealing and rewarding but questions still remain.

My own version of transition will be painstakingly slow and that's the way it needs to be. Like the slow and deliberate peeling of an orange because I have had more layers to peel off than most. An Orthodox religious upbringing frought with guilt and shame which stiffled any attraction I may have exhibited towards my femaleness.

Also any kind of relationship with a female at this stage will be frought with conflict and compromise. No one wants a person stuck between genders and focusing on another person will stall my progress. I have learnt that lesson twice now. So I am relaxed and ready to undertake the next chapter of my life.

I will pray and reflect on what needs to happen next. I have a lot of support and I feel positive about life. I also have my health. What more could I ask for.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

well its over....

Well it’s now officially over between N and myself. I suspect this is for the best because having weighed all of the factors involved and given my rather advanced GID it was never going to work anyway. There is admittedly a pang of sadness in admitting this because my lack of normalcy really hits home at times like these. So now I can focus on living my life on my own terms not being concerned about how to fit the demands of another person into my life. Certainly there are disadvantages to being alone but when all is said and done I don’t believe that transgender people (who are essentially stuck in the middle between two genders) fit in very well as life partners to conventional genetic females. Most of the people I know are riding a tenuous balance between outright hostility and minimal tolerance for their condition. It is rare indeed to find a couple that works perfectly when dealing with this condition.

At least now I can deal with my condition with complete lucidity and acceptance and can continue to focus on raising my children. The blinders are completely off.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

the next challenge....

The next series of steps have to do with balance. Balance in life is crucial in order to maintain harmony of mind, body and soul. Now that I have come to an understanding of what I am, I need to figure out what space my being trans needs to occupy in my life. Is my ultimate goal to live mostly as Joanna or is it more of a split between male and female? I don't have the answers yet but I do know that I am going to enjoy the process of discovery instead of spending my time hand wringing and stressing over it. The answer will come naturally and organically and I don't need to pressure myself into anything now.

N and I are off but maybe on; i don't really know. But I can't worry about that now as I did before; after all I was trying to fit myself into her expectation of a male and keeping Joanna as invisible as possible. So invisible that her seeing me dressed was something that terrified me for fear it would turn her off having feelings for me as a mate. That plus trying to raise my children at a distance was producing an unacceptable level of stress in my life. I was accoustomed to stress, however, so it did not register with me until I had my outbursts which she claimed to be verbal abuse. It probably was and I am addressing that now with these sessions. I will see where that goes as it can only help me to be a better person.

For now this feeling of complete liberation feels right. I am living for me not for someone else (save my children of course). I will not bring them into my gender issues as I made a choice to be a father and a father I must be to them. They did not ask for a gender confused person for a parent and I will shield them from it at least until they are old enough to be independent and on their feet emotionally and financially. After that they can decide just how much of my female persona they see. Since I am choosing to forego hormones or surgery that is an option I can comfortably pursue without trouble. I must say that I found it heartening when my prospective therapist Helene thought I had been on hormones for years. That and my continued success passing in public as a woman has sealed my decision. It does not matter what I call myself it only matters that I am following my nature as a human being who is different and created by God like everyone else.

I know this blog has tended to drone on in a circle at times. I am aware of this flaw. It is the flaw that comes with the stream of conciousness that comes from my heart and soul being annotated instantly. Therapy is like this and it has helped me enormously to be able to do this. I am moving from understanding what I have to just living. I want to be at a place where I just exist with this difference and no longer feel any angst. I feel I am getting very close to achieving this.

This blog will not be about what I wear or my choice of lipsticks and while I don't criticize those who do this, I find that I would lose interest in writing these things down. Therefore when I no longer feel that this blog is of use to me or to anyone else, it will cease to exist.