Last time I wrote about a bit of the things I felt I had to do to pass as male throughout my life. At the time it seemed so real to me, if I didn’t do these things, someone would figure out my secret. That probably wasn’t the case in a majority of the situations but honestly I was so ashamed if who I was, I couldn’t take any risk that someone else would find out.
Right now, I think i am trying to hold on to some of that control over how I present myself. Without the shame that went with it before, I am able to look at it with curiosity and some bit of amusement, though.
I have planned every minute detail of my transition. Doing this gives me some link to a lifestyle I am familiar with, even as I step into a great unknown. It is like a security blanket I won’t let go of.
Just days after I decided to transition, I had everything planned perfectly. I knew just how the next year of my life would look. I was most definitely in control. Two or three days later, armed with new information and new desires, I started planning again. I was a bit too hasty in my initial planning. This time the plan would be foolproof, I had thought of everything. Guess what happened a few days later?
My mind still wants the comfort of that security blanket and that’s OK. What I am doing is a huge deal and a little security isn’t a bad thing. What I am starting to find amusing though, is how much events are starting to take on a life of their own. That’s not entirely accurate. That makes it sound like it is happening to me, but I am a very active and excited part of this process. It’s just that I get so excited at the prospect of living as my true self, that the cautious plans and timelines keep getting revised.
Somehow and somewhere along the way my security blanket went the way of the emperors new clothes. I am still holding onto it for now though. The grip isn’t quite as tight. One of these days my eyes will be opened to the fact that in reality the blanket has been left behind and all that is left of it is an illusion of control. I think I am starting to get a glimpse of what authenticity feels like.
This thought has crossed my mind more than once in the last few weeks. OK, more than once is slightly underplaying it. The last couple of days I have had an interesting thought ruminating in my head though, and this will be my attempt to put words to it.
I can remember probably in grades 7 to 9, really waking up to the fact I was a bit different. Maybe it’s no coincidence that this is when the boys started getting interested in girls at school. There was a feeling of difference before that, but now it was much more pronounced. I wanted to be friends with the girls, not date them. I wanted to shop with them and be part of the girl talk.
It was around that age that I got very sensitive about these feelings, too. It would have been unbearable in my mind for anyone to know. I wanted to blend in with the boys so I acted like them. I remember once when a boy told me I ran like a girl. I was so embarrassed! I pretended to be mad at him, because that is what boys did and it was good camouflage for my embarrassment. Before I would run in front of anyone else again though, I watched how the boys ran and practiced in private.
These feelings didn’t stop when I grew up. I have been improving my act my whole life. Being able to blend in and deflect conversations when they focus on me has been my defense for years. Because my differences are so big in my mind, I thought one little slip would reveal them to the whole world.
When I told one friend that I am transitioning, she said she had no idea. I guess I have been pretty good at passing my whole life! I have passed as a “real man” for all these years. I do want my outward appearance to more closely align with who I am now, but I think the challenge is not to pass anymore. The challenge now is to suppress the instincts that have become second nature to me. I have to stop passing and just let me be me now.
I have mentioned how overwhelming all this is, not just in what it means for my life, but also the details of transitioning. When I told one person, the initial reaction was curiosity about the steps for transition. I have heard it is different for everyone, and that is easy to believe, and I am not going to go into the steps I have planned because my plans seem to change so quickly. Instead, for anyone that is curious, here is a list of the details going through my head right now. These change hour to hour, but it will be therapeutic for me to write them down.
What kind of purse do I get
If I have a purse, I need a wallet for it
I have to look into my legal name change
Do I need a curling iron or a flat iron
Do I need both
What’s the difference
What’s for dinner
I have no accessories
A necklace would be nice
A manicure would be nice
Long nails would be cool but weird at first
I could use a little more hips but the pizza wouldn’t go there
Just a couple more weeks and I will be Jodi in public for the first time
It will take hours to get ready that first time
What time does the library open today
Maybe I can go to the library then look for a purse
It would be nice to start yoga again but when
Yogurt would be a better choice than pizza
I wonder if anyone has ever thought to make pizza yogurt
I only have two outfits
I need to clean out the bedroom to make room for a new wardrobe
How will people react to Jodi
Anyway, just an idea of the race of thoughts going on.
I know I said it is overwhelming and it is, but please don’t take that as a negative. I am so excited and finding ways to calm my mind. I am truly happy and will make it through all this and probably still worried about finding a nice purse or shoes a year from now.
As my transition starts to pick up speed and the day gets closer and closer for me to walk out in public as the person I feel like, the details are getting overwhelming. I stole this from someone else, but it is no less true for me, people tell me I am courageous but really I am just doing what I have to to survive. I couldn’t go on much longer the way I was. I am extremely fortunate that I have such great people around me though. It seems like no matter how overwhelmed or scared I am feeling, there is someone there to lend a bit of encouragement. I see a counselor every couple of weeks, and she amazes me with her calm compassion. Nothing rattles her and she has been so supportive. I know this is her job, but it appears to me that she chose a profession that matches her person. I also go for electrolysis every week. This is as much therapy as hair removal, too. It is basically a one or two hour visit with a friend every week, except we never have coffee and chocolates, which is a big hint by the way if you are reading this! Again, just a wonderful, kind and gentle person. She has her struggles, but is so concerned about others. I have also reconnected with a couple I only briefly knew in a city I moved away from. I did know them for a very brief time, but there was an almost instant connection. I could tell right away that they are extraordinarily nice and genuine people. Now I get the kindest notes from them and feel so supported in my decision. They seem to always just sense the right time to send a smile or encouraging word.
Right now there is so much focus on me in my life. It is necessary but I am not used to focusing on myself so much. I feel very blessed to have the people I have in my life. The few I mentioned aren’t the only ones. I want them to know that they are a tremendous support to me right now and I honestly think they are all incredible and very beautiful people. You are all role models for the type of person I want to be. Thank you so much for who you are!!!!
A very kind and beautiful person I know sent some remarks this morning about the lack of sufficient pronouns in our language. I mentioned that maybe with awareness, the language needed will follow. The more I have thought about this through the day, the more I am not happy with my answer, and wanted to write a short post about that.
Did you know that LOL turns 26 years old this month? That is since it’s first recorded use. It isn’t just a word in a dictionary, though, it is in everyday use with a pretty common knowledge of its meaning and usage. So how does this word come into such common usage in a relatively short time (when we already had words for the same meaning I might add) and we still don’t have adequate language around a while group of people who deserve as much respect as anyone? How many other words can you think of that have come into common usage in the last 25 years?
I was so wrong. People have been aware of transgendered people for much longer than 25 years and no new pronouns are in common usage yet. Is this an indication of what is important in our society? Is LOL more important than a humans dignity?
One if the things that I inevitably think about on my birthday is the past year (or more). I reminisce about good and bad times and look at the changes in my life.
The changes this year are all to obvious to me, and will soon be obvious to anyone who has known me up to now. Besides the outward changes, though, my feelings about myself are changing rapidly. I am more at peace with who I am than I can ever remember, and there is still work I can do there. I think this reflects in how I interact with the world, too. Over the last several weeks I have met so many wonderful and positive people. Most were just fleeting conversations, but they have brightened my days. Just today I had some good laughs with a lady in Starbucks who was redeeming her birthday drink, too. The insecure me would not have let the conversation go on past happy birthday. Today though, we gave each other some good laughs and I got a good tip for a manicurist.
When I was growing up we learned in history class about the Jim Crow laws. These were meant to keep particularly the Southern States in the US racially segregated. In the late 80’s it was hard to imagine lawmakers were so narrow minded and bigoted. We are so much better now than they were then. Guess what? In the same state that I learned about this, my generation are now the lawmakers and they are using the same tactics. There are not special sections of the bus or separate water fountains, yet, but all of a sudden it isn’t as far fetched as we once thought it might be. My generation has restricted transgender individuals rights in choosing the safest and most appropriate washroom to use. I am so happy to be living where I am.
My very last musing to be written on this birthday? A huge thank you and a big hug to all the people who have contributed to this past year! There are a few key people helping me physically and mentally in my transition. You are giving me such a huge gift! To the people who have pissed me off this year, you get a thank you and virtual hug. I learn and grow even from bad lessons. To my few but precious friends, you are great. Whether I see you often or not, you are a comfort. Finally, thanks to the multitude of kind strangers I have shared a few words or just a smile with. I am an optimist and you help keep me so.
So it’s been one week since announcing the closet is open. What a busy week, too.
First, I have to say that I am more at peace with myself than I can remember ever being. Of course my decision was made before I announced it here, so I have had a bit more than a week to process everything. There is still anxiety around some issues, like employment, but all of the anxiety I feel now stems from external sources, not from how I feel about myself.
On a very happy note and very appropriate considering this blog and where I started, I went for my first ever pedicure last weekend. What a treat that was, I don’t know why I waited so long! My toes are now a shiny deep purple and they look great. There is still a huge learning curve though. I still present as male and going for my pedicure, I didn’t even consider that I should wear sandals so I didn’t smudge the nail polish. Luckily, the wonderful person at the spa helped me choose a faster drying one and let me sit until it was dry enough to not smudge.
The only complaint I could possibly think of is the selection of magazines she brought for me. This particular spa does have a large male clientele and she brought me three magazines geared entirely to males. One e en showed me how I could build my muscles so I could look like Mr. Atlas or at least his modern equivalent. I am sure the spa technician was doing what she thought was appropriate to not offend me and it is probably what a majority of their male clients like. I didn’t correct her, I was presenting as a male and believe her intentions were sincere, but I am finding I am increasingly more sensitive to people who address me as sir or otherwise assume my gender. Its amazing how many times a day we use gender to classify people without even realizing it.
This week will include more electrolysis and shopping for my new hair. Very exciting stuff for me, at least. OK, the electrolysis itself is not a barrel of laughs, but the electrologist is such a great person, it makes it a not too bad experience. I will elaborate more on these and many other topics in future posts.