Fear, part …. whatever

I am really scared.  I made a confession last night to some friends, and that confession may get me kicked out of the group.

For the last several years, I’ve been a member TriEss (SSS, Society for the Second Self) … this is a group started for heterosexual crossdressers and their partners only, and as such, I certainly should not be a part of the group.  The problem is that I have found acceptance and support in the group that I have not been able to find elsewhere.

When I joined Tri-Ess, I consided myself a cross-dresser, and therefore heterosexual.  Deep down, I knew that I wasn’t strictly a cross-dresser; I knew that I was transsexual, but had high hopes of limiting myself to crossdressing, that it would be enough to calm the beast inside.  A fool’s errand, to be sure.

As I kept attending the monthly meetings, I developed friendships with a couple of the members, and their wives.  The chapter I belong to is made up of mostly older people, many older than I am … and to my knowledge at the time, nobody else was experiencing the internal turmoil that I was dealing with.  That didn’t matter, though … because in that group, I found acceptance and a willingness to talk and listen that I just never found elsewhere.

When I finally found the courage to admit to one of the officers of the chapter that I was trans and was going to transition, she told me to stick around .. so I did.  I gradually let out the secret that I was transitioning, and found immediate acceptance, especially by the wives who attended.  They were so kind .. I have probably mentioned them earlier in this blog.  It was a big deal for me, because my own wife at the time was in a strict “need to know, and I don’t need to know” mode — she did not want to hear about anything related to crossdressing.

I’ve been struggling with some related issues lately, and last night brought that up at the meeting.  I am sure that I shocked a few of the group, and I definitely provided a perspective that is worthy of getting sent away.  I only hope they will continue to have me .. there really isn’t a lot of support for a transperson of my age.

Transition is hard.

Even if you’ve got the support of your family (all of them), transition is hard.

I now believe that I’ll need to through the grieving process for those in my family whom I’ve lost.  I’m just numb now.

My wife, who recently told me that she was “outta here” .. well, she’s apparently changed her mind yet again.  I’m not sure I want to stick with someone who purports to love me yet continues with the “he / him” and “Dave”, knowing full well that it hurts me immeasurably.

This is hard.

I’m having a hard time lately.  I’ve been thinking thru things when I can, and today it was on the drive home.

I’ve been wondering whether it’d be better to just go back to being Dave.  Of course, that’s totally unrealistic, because I have breasts and have come out to everyone and their brother.

That’s the problem, though .. my brother.

His rejection of me has cut me to the quick.  Coupled with the other depressing aspects of my transition (loss of wife, loss of son), I’ve been wondering if I can continue in this way.  What other losses do I face?  How much can I bear?

I’m even having trouble facing the family members who are supportive and accepting; since I’m having these doubts, how can I face someone who actually is happy that I am doing this for myself?  My happiness seems to depend on those who I cannot make happy; what do I do about that?

The standard answer is to say something like, “let ’em go, set them free, if they come back they love you” … etcetera.  The problem is, I can’t seem to do that… so I’m left feeling as if I’m the impostor now, instead of how I felt all those years until I began my transition.

I see the looks I get at work; I see the looks I get in other public places, too .. and those looks condemn me for being different.  What’s going on now .. I used to be able to get myself past those looks, but not any longer.  Is it that I have unrealistic expectations of myself?  Is it general depression?  Is it sadness, loss felt at every moment?

Maybe it’s time for me to start seeing the therapist more often — I cut back to once a month because a few months ago, I was feeling pretty damn good about it all.

I don’t want to spend more time in the “impostor” box.  If I go back to Dave, I’m the only one who feels that I’m an impostor .. if I remain Debb, who knows how many friends and family secretly feel that I’m an impostor, a poser, a “dude in a dress”?

All of this introspection is really bringing me down, but is the answer to simply “buck up”, or is there a more complicated, worthwhile answer?

I’ve been thinking about loss lately.

I’ve experienced very little loss, compared to some of my trans friends.  One girl hasn’t seen her children, ex-wife, or birth father & mother for two years.  Another one I know hasn’t seen her daughter or her grandchild for five or six years now.

My ability to see my granddaughter has been spotty, but it’s better than five years.

I’ve learned about yet another form of loss:  that of a relationship with my brothers.  My youngest brother, Tom, is not allowing his kids to see me, or my trans nephew Nic.  I’m not clear on why he doesn’t want them to know … but it feels like he’s ashamed of me.  He would definitely disagree, but realistically what else could it be?

Surely he realizes that his kids have most likely already seen a trans woman somewhere .. surely he realizes that they’ve been to school with one, or seen one at the mall (we’re everywhere dont’cha know) .. or just wherever.  I get that he may be uncomfortable having to answer questions, but he did choose to be a father, and that’s part of the job description.

My third brother, Tim, well .. he’s pretty set on the right side of the political aisle.  I don’t really know how much he believes; he can be a softy at times .. but I do suspect that he is at least uncomfortable around me, much as my own two kids, and my wife.  He and Brenda, his wife, have invited me to their home and allowed Jon to see me, so at least Tim isn’t as ashamed of me as Tom probably is.

Dan, my first brother (I was first-born, Dan was born about 17 months later), has Nic, my trans nephew .. so Dan and Becky are more knowledgeable about this stuff.  I’m certain that they, too, are not really comfortable around me, but Dan recently began actually calling me Debb (which was a pleasant surprise), so he’s supportive.

At any rate: one tends to think, “why don’t they hear me?  Why don’t they miss me .. don’t they feel any loss, any pain, about keeping away?”

I worry that as time passes, my path will diverge so much from the path my brother expects me to follow that if we should meet in the future, our differences will be too vast to get over.  I will continue to grow, to learn, to realize my actualized life … they will have this fantasy of what they imagine being trans is like (I know from personal experience how different the fantasy and reality are).

The degree of change may be too much, and the relationship could be lost forever.  That makes me very sad; I question, “why is it that we cannot come to an understanding?”

All I can come up with is that I have to find a way to let it go.  I cannot control it, and I shouldn’t hang around, trapped in this mire of loss .. I need to remember that I am me, whether or not others can find a way to accompany me on my journey.

I must be stronger than I thought was possible.

They say men are stronger

.. and then, they turn around and say that women are stronger, that they deal with childbirth and other difficult things.

Lately, I’ve been dealing with some internal struggles, and it’s time to face facts:

If I had continued to carry Debb, hide her away and somehow carry her on my back the rest of my days, the internal struggle would have been different, but it would have been there — and I think it would have been much worse.  I would in fact probably be dead by now.

I know that I would not have been dealing with the particular internal struggle I am worrying over now, though.

I’m having a great deal of difficulty sorting through the rejection that I am getting from my youngest brother, Tom, and his wife.  One other family member has told me that it’s most likely that the rejection is coming directly from my brother’s wife, Michelle, and that is possible.  She is probably angry at me for refusing to use the men’s room in public, because of her misguided belief that “men dressed as women don’t belong in the women’s room” or some such.

The actual reason really doesn’t matter.  What does matter is the fact that they are “protecting” their children, shielding them from seeing me .. which makes me just plain indignant.  I am not some disease.

It’s very hurtful, since Tom and I got along well and liked a lot of the same things.  Now, that part of my life is gone …. simply gone.  I recently had an email conversation with Tom about arranging our holiday gatherings, and he insisted that I should “tone down” and not react, hide this terrible secret, around his kids.  When I told him that I had spent a lot of valuable energy and time on my transition, and that no, I would not pretend to still be Dave, he said that he’d have to come to gatherings alone.

I told him that I would just bow out, rather than cause that to happen .. because my dad would be there, and I think it would be better for him to see his grandkids rather than his problematic first-born.  I know, from first-hand knowledge, how painful it is to be denied the ability to see one’s grandchild, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

So, the recent holiday celebration split the family apart…. and it is at the wishes of Tom and Michelle.  I am deeply wounded, as I feel I am being treated like a disease; that Tom and Michelle’s precious progeny must be shielded from me at all costs.

I am not a church-goer, but frankly, I have been tempted to go to the church they attend, just to make sure Cam and Avery see me … and let the chips fall where they may.  I am certain that doing that would cause a rift in our family, but at least they would be forced, at long last, to deal with the fact that their kids “know” about me.  The funny part is that Cam is ten years old, and Avery is six.  Tom even admits that Avery would be unimpressed and not at all curious about it … so it’s down to Cameron.  For some reason, they believe that Cameron would be negatively affected in some way.

I just may do that some Sunday.  It would mean I had to be there for multiple services, since I no longer even know the car they drive, and their church is big .. big enough for multiple church services to be held each Sunday.  Shudder.  I can’t think of anything less fun than spending a big part of my day in church, especially in this church, which is unlikely to be friendly towards transfolk.

Worry

I’m worried.

My wife has been very depressed lately.  I know that recently, one of her friends got on her case about staying with me … and she’s admitted to me that she’s reliving all the emotions and depression that she went thru more than a year and a half ago.

I worry that this is just too much for her.

We go to this group, Couples in Transition .. we’ve gone a few times.  She was really turned off at one or two of them, when sex was mentioned … sex is a pretty big problem between us.  We haven’t had sex in a very long time, almost a decade and a half now.  The thing is, it’s on me .. I just could no longer stand to um, use my equipment .. but I let her wonder what was going on.

It was awful and a terrible thing to do.

Besides that, she isn’t a lesbian, at all.  My body changing means .. a lot of things.  She won’t ever want to have sex with me again.  That much is clear … and it likely means an enlarged lack of intimacy of any kind.

That’s not really a marriage, is it?  It’s more of a caretaker / client kind of relationship ..

These are all questions I’ll need to bring up with my therapist, but writing them down helps me get them clear in my head.

So ..

So .. Donald Trump.

Sigh.

We are so so stupid.

By this, I mean “we” as in all Americans.  The ones who swallowed all that bullshit about Trump coming from the left .. and the ones that swallowed all that bullshit about Clinton on the right.

We were sold down the river, all of us.  The next two months will be absolute hell, with the left saying how truly awful the next four years will be, and the right, praising their righteous candidate as if he were God.  Two months of rolling our eyes, or of allowing ourselves to be tugged hard-right, then hard-left, then .. you get it.

This election has likely been a true disaster for some … hopefully only a few, although even one negatively affected person is too many.  The only thing I will be doing different to plan is that I will be getting a passport, even though I have no need of one.  Many transfolk will need to carry out a lot more things in the next two months, to prevent the loss of their ability to do them — name changes, legal changes to their gender, all kinds of stuff.

I wonder if there are those on the right who would have had to take immediate steps .. oh wait, yes, the 2nd amendment folks I suppose.  There’s always a bit of panic about our Second Amendment rights being taken away, even though such an attempt has never been seriously made.  What the hell, I think I’ll get myself a gun, too .. just because I can .. although of course I could say that I will feel less safe in Trumps USA.  Not sure I believe that yet, but that could be my privilege speaking, not actual common sense.

Certifiable

I received my new birth certificate today.  It’d been so long since I sent in the application, I didn’t realize at first what I would be getting from the Minnesota Department of Health.

I opened it, and felt the seal of the official document, and instantly knew what it was.  I carefully unfolded the packet of papers and read the receipt ($66 in total).  I found the official copy of my court order, and then, the birth certificate itself.  Debborah William Brant, Female.

I assume that for many people, getting their birth certificate changed is a really important step; honestly though, I may have skipped doing the birth certificate had it not been for the laws in some states that your birth certificate matches the label on the restroom.  Nonetheless, I felt a slight jolt of emotion.  Reading it feels a little like seeing a part of me erased; I am so glad that I have a copy of the original birth certificate, to be able to look back upon it sometimes.  A talisman of sorts.

Dave is still here, and I am not going to be saying good-bye any time soon.  I intend to hold on to the good parts, of which there were more than a few.

I told Dad several months ago that I would do this step; he didn’t offer his thoughts, but I’m pretty sure it hurt him even though I did not intend that.  Dealing with this must be difficult for him; I hope that I can, some day, help him see that this was necessary.

Sometimes

Sometimes I read blog entries by others, telling of their accepting, supportive family.

Sometimes I read articles by others, again telling of their supportive family.  Their accepting children; their acceptance of their trans spouse.

Sometimes I am filled with jealousy.

Nothing Special

I’ve been told by a couple friends that I look pretty good.  That’s a real compliment.  Of course, I’ve seen myself every day, so .. I don’t see it.  I’m OK with that, though .. I feel pretty good.

Nothing special.

I’ve gotten more comfortable in my own, real-me skin.

About restrooms:  I discovered after I wrote the previous post that there is newer precedent that says I’m OK to use the women’s room at work, that work can’t tell me I’m not allowed.  The thing that makes it difficult now is that I would rather not cause discomfort of others.  I’ve just gotta learn to do a bit more to take care of my own discomfort.

The reason I decided to just go ahead and be Debb at work, as everywhere else, was restroom discomfort of a different sort.  I was on my way into the men’s room at work on a Wednesday, the week before I began being Debb there.  A guy who was on his way out of the restroom almost ran into me; I said “excuse me” .. he did kind of a double take, and said “uh .. this is the men’s room”.

It was clear to me that it was time, that I looked girly enough that people were assuming.  I liked it, but at the same time, I got kind of freaked out that I might not “pass” as a man in the men’s room.  The rest of that week, I toned it down some.

This whole question of passing is an interesting one.  When I first began going out in “public” as myself, I was scared to death, yet relieved at the same time.  I deluded myself into believing that I was passing as female, but it didn’t make me confident.  It made me self-conscious, very wary, and unable to smile or act normal.  Hell, I was almost unable to drive properly because I was afraid to turn my head and see someone in the car next to me looking at me.

I’m sure I gave myself away, even if I would have otherwise passed.

I believe that I’ve kind of graduated from oh, I dunno .. maybe first grade?  I’m at the point now that whether or not I can “pass” as a woman or not, I’m passing as .. myself.  That feels pretty good.

I am growing in confidence, which is something I’ve always faked before, whether jumping from an airplane, or walking along in the mall, or holding a newborn baby.  The confidence is real now.  It’s so real, it is remarkable, noticeable.