Arrival

When I arrived at work last Monday morning, I lacked something.

Last Sunday night, as I prepared for bed, I didn’t notice what was lacking .. and that’s strange, because this thing had been bothering me every Sunday for some time.

I know, I already posted about this.  I’m just too amazed, and wanted to give it a second try to get this into words rather than a jumble of thoughts.

So many stories exist of fear, of loss of job, all kinds of bad stuff .. I find myself wondering why that didn’t happen to me.  I mean, yeah, not yet .. but really I guess the weird part is that I feel like I own it.  I didn’t expect that; for a lot of years, I’ve been living tentatively.  Like a friend says, I am standing in my own truth, and I am fine with it.

Tomorrow is Friday, the last work-day of the week for me (although I am on-call so will be working occasionally thru the weekend).  It’s also “Casual Day” at work .. which basically means nothing to me.  IT workers are already pretty casual.

I am stunned — absolutely stunned — that I am looking forward to work tomorrow.

Pinpoint

Today was my first day as Debb at work.  I mean, everyone knew; the name on my cubicle was changed, my email address was changed, my team-mates and others were all calling me Debb … but I had yet to come to work as I truly am.

I wore a nice blue top and blue jeans, plus the necklace that Hazel gave me and some earrings that went well with it.  One of my team-mates expected me to wear a dress or something fancier, more feminine .. but I really just want to fit in, and the every-day clothing is top and pants, normally jeans.

Last week, I had a panic attack on Wednesday, and I expected to have more of the same the next few days .. but when I got home that Wednesday, I went upstairs to my closet and got out the outfits I had available .. and the worries stopped.

I noticed one thing this past weekend:  there was a distinct lack of dread.  I knew that I would go on-call today, and on-call is always stressful .. and of course there was the whole Debb thing .. but I didn’t dread going to work.  You know why?  For the past several months at least, I’ve been getting up and going to work in boyclothes .. and I didn’t have to do that any more.

I got come compliments on what I wore today, but more of the comments were about my demeanor.  I was more calm, more centered, and I felt more capable.  I felt more “me” than ever before.

I’m editing this two days later, and the feeling is still there, palpable.  I’m amazed.

Sorrow

As I watched TV tonight (the show “Cops”), I felt a momentarily sharp pang of sorrow.  Regret.

I watched as the police placed a guy in the back of their car; as they talked to him, I started to wonder why I couldn’t be a man.  Oh how I wish that I could have been the man that everyone thought and expected I was.

It was only a moment.  It made me sad, but … hey, I’m not a man.  That doesn’t mean I can’t do “manly” things, it just means I’m not fit to play the male role.  I don’t belong in the “man” category.  In fact, just what in the hell is this category?  Is it the sum total of the nursery rhyme about how boys are made of puppy dog’s tails and .. whatever?  No.  That’s a cute little rhyme.

This is real life.  I don’t know if I was born wrong or what .. all I know is that I don’t fit into the “man” side of the puzzle.  I fit better in the “woman” side, despite 53+ years on the wrong side.  You’d think all the experience I’d gained through those years would have held me in good stead, that I could continue being what others thought I was.  Nope.

I was just too tired.  Too tired of hoping to die; too tired of the gray days in the sun; exhausted of energy to expend.  I think that I could have gone on for probably a half-year more, or maybe even nine months, but the desperation in my head, thinking of bashing myself into a highway underpass, that was going to get me sooner or later, and if it didn’t, the outright exhausted depression I was in was going to take me as surely as it took Robin Williams in 2014.

I could see no hope.  My mind wanted one of two things:  death of body, or transition.  My body, on the other hand, wanted to live.  I knew that mind over matter would only go so far, and I had to make a real effort to make that therapy appointment, to gradually over a month to allow myself to ease my burden just enough to stay alive.  It’s not therapy that saved me, it’s the fact that I went to therapy.  Therapy gave me the hope that I could get better, see the better side.  Hope saved me.

Measuring Up

As a short male (5 foot 4), I always felt a need to ‘measure up’ in some way, as if I was always in competition.  Not that I did measure up, really.  Not that I cared all that much, either.

So .. now that I am full-time (measured by the fact that I am completely out at work although I have yet to wear a really feminine outfit and use the women’s restroom), does the experience measure up?  Am I fit for duty in my desired feminine role?

Yes.  I feel more peaceful; more “together”.  It’s sort of cliche’, but .. normal.  Yeah, that’s it .. I feel normal.  The normal that I expected “normal” to feel like, not the “normal” that I was living for so many years, with that dysphoria buzzing away in the background, but a real normal.  I feel settled, as if a resolution has been had for a dire problem.

At the same time, I feel more energetic.  I’ve already seen positive results at work; I feel more focused, sharper.  I can’t really measure it yet, but trust me, our department is full of people who just love to measure every metric possible.  I’ll get there.

There are a few remaining niggles left .. I told a long-time friend, visiting our home the other day, that I’d had my name legally changed.  She replied, “I’ll always call you Dave” … and I looked at her, and declared that no, she would not.  I took her statement to signify refusal, but she didn’t mean it that way … and I came down on her.  I’ll need to be more vigilant and remember that I may hear refusal where there’s just “I’ll have a hard time getting used to your new name.”

It’s weird. I can pretty much schedule my bad days now .. they tend to happen on Thursdays and Fridays, ironically the two days just before my next shot of estrogen.  Monday is hot-flash day.  Tuesday, I can look in the mirror and see the girl; same with Wednesday .. but Thursday afternoon, I can count on that same face in the mirror making it seem impossible that I’ll ever look feminine.  It’s weird how that works, and I wonder whether it’s the actual effect of E, or if it’s just all in my mind.

Enough stream-of-consciousness for tonite.  Bye bye, see ya on the flip side!

Is my blog dying?

I mean, yeah, maybe it is.  I’ve been busy, haven’t had a lot to talk about, there’s not much drama, which I guess was fueling my entries.

Things are moving right along.  I’m very adjusted to my hormone treatment now .. and I think the dose of E is too low.  I take the shot on Saturday morning, and by Wednesday, I’m already running low.  The doctor lowered my dose back in July, because my numbers were pretty high .. and a month later, I realized that the numbers were probably high because of the grapefruit I was eating every day.

By Thursdays or Fridays, I am looking in the mirror and doubting that I can do this.  The closer the date draws (whichever date I choose), the more apprehension I have.  When asked, I say it’s about the wardrobe, or the hair … but it’s really about my doubts.  Can I do this?  Am I really trans, or just having a fantasy of some kind?  Have I completely screwed up my life?

Amidst those thoughts, I also realize that whether or not these doubts mess with my head, I am better now than I was before.  Things have gotten better for me.  Psychologically speaking, I am far better off .. the dysphoria manifests itself in my mirror sessions as my hormone levels drop off, but that’s really only showing that for me, E is the way.

I am wanting the body, too, finally.  For the longest time, I could truthfully say that I didn’t care at all .. but lately, I am coming to realize that a body that more closely resembles the female form will help me externally (to pass a little better), and internally (I do have some body dysphoria after all).  As I watch my body develop, ever so slowly, I see my external form taking shape, and incredibly, I feel better.  I remember way back when I was a young boy, I was embarrassed at the thought of breasts .. I felt that I had to hide them; I thought that I’d develop, and that this would not make my folks happy.  I began exclusively wearing button-down shirts, baggy to hide my body .. I was, simply, “crazy”.

I wanted breasts so badly that I deluded myself into believing I had them.

Even now, looking back, I can’t believe how dumb that was.  How head-up-ass I was .. I hope that now, I am not deluding myself.

Not much to say …

I haven’t had much to say lately.  We moved house (in fact, I still need to go back to the old place and clean) .. my name became legal, and it seems to have lent an air of authenticity to my transition .. I guess I can talk about that for a bit.

When the judge pronounced, “The person formerly known as Xxxxx Xxxxxxx Xxxxx is now Debborah Xxxxxxx Xxxxx”, I felt a rush of emotions.  One was sadness, for beside me sat my wife, putting herself out there, being a witness for my name change court hearing.  She had once said that when I ceased to be legally “Dave”, that Dave would be dead .. so I was sad for her.  I knew that this signaled a new phase, where she would have to mourn her loss, and I hate for her to be in pain.

Another thing I felt is the weird rush of power a little government authority can give a person by endorsing her as a female.  Part of the name change process in MN allows for the person getting the name change to change her legal sex, too, and to have the court issue an order for a birth certificate modification.

The rush of power was .. interesting.  I know that I am a woman, and have known for some time .. but now I have the force of law behind me, and although it really should be just another thing checked off my list, it was a turning point for me, too.  I’ve been going more openly at work as Debb .. my team-mates all call me that (except for a certain ex-pro football player, who gets a pass since he’s old); others around the organization use that name, too.

I look feminine enough that for some time, the cashier at the cafeteria refers to me as “she” .. and now, I have the payment card to “prove” it, having been replaced about a week ago.

I am disappointed that my own birth family just can’t get their heads wrapped around this.  My name change became official on July 27th, as seen below; soon after that, I went to the funeral of an aunt (my dad’s sister) — I’d been requested to dress as “male” as possible, and in deference to it being my aunt’s day (and my dad’s day to mourn), I followed that wish .. but I did get a few comments.  After the burial and the commensurate late lunch at a restaurant, I handed out short letters to my other aunts & uncles and cousins explaining that I had recently changed my name, and why.  I asked them to only read it the next day, as this was Dorothy’s day .. but a few of them read it when they got to their cars.

I heard back from two of them .. and wouldn’t ya know it, one was from my first cousin Sandy, who had “fallen out of the fold” as far as Christianity was concerned, and her daughter, my second cousin Deb.  They both responded with loving kindness.

Sadly, none of the other, more Christian of my relatives got back to me at all.  Quite the commentary on how some folks’ beliefs hold them back from expressing love for fear of seeming to endorse this “lifestyle” I’ve “chosen”.  I’m glad that there are indeed Christian people out there who do seem able to understand; I just wish that more of them could be from my birth family.

Other than that .. hmm .. I guess there’s not much to say.  Again, I cannot overstate the weird feeling I got being addressed by an officer of the court as Debb; it’s terribly ironic what a boost that gave me.

Mom

Mom, sit down for a minute.  I have something to tell you, something I wish that I’d been able to formulate before you died.

It’s a few days after the sixth anniversary of your death.  During your last days, I struggled as I watched you slowly fade away.  I told you any number of times how much I loved you.  I read to you, longing to be close to you.  I wished that I could communicate to you the things that I didn’t even fully recognize for what they were.

I miss you.

I’m your daughter, the one you knew but didn’t know.  I learned so much about life from you; we each loved to read many of the same things, such as “All God’s Creatures”.  Oh, how I giggled and outright laughed at some of the situations this veterinarian got himself into; you would be out in the kitchen, giggling along with me.

I remember when you gave my hair a perm.  I remember that you allowed, or even wanted, me to grow my hair long.  I was privileged to feel like a girl despite my unfortunate body.  I loved hanging out in the kitchen with you and Grandma Bork, helping with canning, feeling like just another one of the girls.  These are the memories I will take to my grave.

Dad feels like it would have gone badly, had I been able to tell you about my true self.  I’m not so sure, but we’ll never know.  All I know is that you loved me for me.

Thank you, mom.  I miss you.

Debb

Bitter pill, revisited

So .. it’s time for another confession.

I’ve been lying.

I have embellished stories about my military career.  I did so in yet another stupid attempt to make myself appear more manly, feeling that appearing more manly would make me more manly, thereby disproving those feelings that I was a woman.

My male body allowed me to do all sorts of stuff in the military.  I joined Special Forces, and was able to qualify for my 5-level (“Journeyman”) in Combat Control.  I qualified for jump duty, earning my static-line and military free-fall badges.  I got to go on “camping trips” — field exercises where we engaged “enemy” troops in all kinds of military actions.  I spent many nights in the freezing cold (or cool, wet conditions), huddling beneath my own tent made out of a scrap of parachute, or under my parka.

All that was not enough.  An experience lived is an experience not manly enough, apparently.  I was weak enough in the beginning of this build-up of “manliness” that I only embellished the number of parachute jumps I made.  62 became 629… but that wasn’t good enough.

So, for friends and family, I made more shit up.  I’ve told my friends at work about a fictional accident where I broke my back in an accident with a tree.  I never broke my back .. although I have hit a tree — a small one, like a twelve-foot sapling.  I broke its trunk, and for that, I earned the nickname “George of the Jungle”.  I never spent time in a medical center healing from a broken back, either… I just have a bad back.

I am such a fucking liar.

I embellished my combat experience, too.  The sum-total of my “combat experience” is gleaned from the military exercises mentioned earlier, along with a nightmare of a week-long test at the end of my combat control course, and nine days spent hiding in the wadis of Iraq before Desert Storm (not a shot was fired).  This explains my lack of PTSD — I never actually fought in combat, although our exercises made it seem real enough I suppose.  You don’t always know you’re going in to an exercise, so sometimes it felt like getting ready for combat until our weapons were issued along with blanks or laser targeting equipment.

I really am a fucking liar.

I put this confession here now, hoping that I will have the guts to come clean to my friends, at work and in my personal life.  It is becoming more important than ever that I begin to be comfortable in my own skin, warts and all .. and in order to do that, my friends & my family need to know all of it, not just the fantasy world I built up in order to appear as manly as possible.

Although I am not a man, it is high time to “man up” and tell the truth.

Name

My court date for my name change is all set.  I go before the judge on July 27th, 2016; after that, I should have a court order with my new name (and new sex designator) on it, and I’ll begin the journey of getting my name plastered everywhere except junk mail.

:-D