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

My Son and Granddaughter

Good news.

Great news.

In a pretty sudden turn-around, my son came to visit on Sunday, and he brought Rose and his wife Darra.  He told his mom on the phone to have me stick around; he felt it was time that he see me, and that Rose get to know the truth about her grandpa.

When Rose approached me as she entered the house, she seemed tentative and serious.  Just a wan little smile crossed her lips.  When she got near enough, I engulfed her in a sobbing, shaking hug .. crying enough to get her shirt wet.  When she could wriggle free, she asked me, “Grandpa, why do you want to be a girl?”

I answered with words like “Well, I’ve always felt like I might be a girl, deep down inside, and so now I want to look like the girl I am.”

This seemed to work for her.  She looked at me, trying to figure it out, and her smile grew.  I said, “yeah, it’s kinda funny isn’t it?” .. and she nodded, and giggled.  Then it was off to say hi to our two pet rats.

Matt and I went outside to look at my new motorcycle (ok, scooter).  It helped us to sort of bond again, after all the water that’s passed under our respective bridges.  It turns out he had fun riding that scooter around!  While he was off riding, Rose came outside and she was calling me “gramma” .. although I hadn’t asked that of her.  It’s like she flipped a switch.

We had a good visit, and I had the opportunity to talk to my son and watch my granddaughter frolic in the yard.  I got a chance to talk to Darra too.  I enjoyed every minute of it .. and as Matt was leaving, he made sure to tell us that Rose can stay overnights with us again.

After they left, I sat in the living room, Hazel across from me, and said, “What just happened?”.  Frankly, I am still in shock.

Bitter Pills

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday.  I left him a voicemail early in the day, but didn’t feel like that was really enough .. I wanted to talk to him.  So I called his cell phone at 7pm, and after several rings, he answered, and I proceeded to congratulate him on making it 83 years.

.. and then I heard the background noise.

He was at a birthday party, being held at my youngest brother’s house.  My brother Tim and his wife and child were also there.  I hadn’t heard anything about it, of course.

Swallowing these bitter pills isn’t as hard as it feels anymore.  There’s a slightly awful taste, but this pill didn’t keep me up all night as the others have.  Maybe I’m getting used to it?

There’s a song on the radio right now, “Submerged” by Spock’s Beard.

Throw me a line I’m sinking down
Submerging further, further from you
But I’m doing fine making my way
Further and further

Further from you

As I get further from my own family, that’s pretty much what I’m feeling like.  I guess I’m doing fine, after all .. although there’s still this rather large hole where my family used to be.

Fear

Fear.

It’s becoming a national pastime.

Fear is the best friend of the media — it generates the most eyeballs on the most television screens to watch advertisements.

Fear is the ally of the terrorist — it keeps us afraid to commence our lives; disrupts the business of the free world as well as the not-so-free.

Fear is the friend of the politician.  It’s what gets votes .. if you can stoke the fears of people, you can get them to vote for the person saying she or he can keep them safe.

Some fear is reasonable. A fear of heights is just a heightened sense of caution when a small accident could be magnified.  A fear of small spaces, of crowds, of being seen, of not being seen .. all of these can be reasonable fears.

The risk that we could be shot in a terroristic attack is very, very slight, although the likelihood has seemingly increased of late.  Has it really, though?

Fearing that we could be killed or injured in an air-travel incident, on the freeway, or in the bathtub .. these are all reasonable human cautions, greatly magnified.

I am not trying to belittle people’s fears.  Some people are trapped by fears that they cannot get rid of .. this is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about the average person allowing their fears to be manipulated by the media, terrorism, politics.

Empathy for those killed or injured is also not what I am talking about here.  Empathy is good; it makes us more human, more apt to understand that other people go through other things that we cannot understand, but we can make allowances for.

We do not need to pay so much attention to CNN or FOX or whatever news channel you choose.  It’s good to visit the nightly news to keep up on the stories, but I can think of better things to do than to sit and watch the fear-mongering go on and on and on .. can’t you?

Let’s get out there and help our neighbors, our friends, our would-be enemies understand us just a little better.  Let’s humanize ourselves, one more person at a time.

Silence

Silence hurts.

Loud noises can physically hurt your ears, and if they’re heard often enough, can lead to permanent damage.

We all know this.

The silence of my siblings, and my own father, along with the silence of my own son and his family, also hurts.  It’s not a physical pain — at least, not primarily so.  Physical pain is only a secondary symptom, a result of this silence.

The primary result of the silence I am enduring is emotional pain.  In case that’s not very clear — the silence of my loved ones hurts me, badly.

I don’t always think about it — I have others in my life who have chosen to actively care for me.  It’s a saying in the LGBT community that you can’t choose your biological family, but that you can choose your real family.  That’s true; my own chosen family helps me to ignore the ever-present lack of … well, anything at all from my biological family.

Without contact from my brothers, I am left to make assumptions about how they feel about me … and it’s not good news on that front.  It’s all too easy to assume their negativity, as that’s what I’ve gotten in past communications.  So why does their silence bug me so much?

It’s the not knowing.  They might hate my guts; they might be bursting at the seams with love for me .. who knows??

Communications with one of my sisters-in-law stopped when I insisted that I am not responsible for the comfort of her children (my niece and nephew) in a public restroom.  She worried that they’d be upset at having to share a restroom with a trans person, and I disagreed.  Anyway, I’m thinking it’s reasonable to assume that the relationship between myself and her is well and truly done for.

But — I would just like to KNOW!  This passive-aggressive stuff, like leaving me off of invitations to family gatherings held at their house, just doesn’t cut it.  It’s not that hard to just send a simple email saying, “Please don’t ever come to our house”, or “You’re not welcome here”, or whatever.

I know that as soon as I came out to my brothers and my dad, I slipped a few notches down on their Respect-O-Meters ™.  They said they still loved me, but their recent actions give the lie to that.

Occasionally, I even wonder whether they’re practicing the “denial equals love” tenet of parenting (you know, like when you deny a crying baby your attention, hoping it’ll stop crying eventually).

Isn’t that silly?  It’s just wishful thinking, a fantasy, hoping that they still care.

All I’m feeling now is that it’s futile to hope for any change in attitude.

I’m not really built for giving up, though.  :-(

Legacy

Here is the legacy of the American Family Association’s campaign against LGBTQ people. Shootings at gay bars, people planning attacks at Pride events … these people, the shooters and would-be shooters, have been EMBOLDENED by the American Family Association’s campaign of hate.

It doesn’t matter if this was a terrorist attack or not .. nor does it matter whether or not the unfolding story of the LA Pride planned attack was also terrorism. What does matter is that the fucking AFA has painted a target on our backs.

I posted the above on my Facebook page as I continue to watch CNN for news of the attack on the gay bar in Orlando, and of the arrest of a possible planned attacker in LA heading to their Pride event.

I honestly believe that this is true, that the American Family Association and their supporters has fanned the flames of the already-present hatred of LGBTQ people nationwide.  I believe they are a root cause of this recent trouble.

They belong in hell.