A journey to San Francisco to become no less than Me. (BLOG REBOOT: Former site of Hairy Legs.)

Posts tagged ‘abuse’

Day Whatever: Grandma’s funeral.

So, in the mayhem of the last few days, being stranded in various places with my computer bluescreening at me completely at random, and this new death in the family, I’ve made little progress with keeping to my challenge, and frankly, I don’t really care.

Some things are more important.

I think her funeral is going to be Tuesday, but nobody really knows for sure yet.  I was never really extremely close to her- she was the grandma on my mom’s side, and after mom died, I didn’t want too much to do with anyone attached to her.  At least, it was that way for a long time.  Not only that, but she was very religious and kinda homophobic, and frankly, I didn’t want to deal with the drama of being exiled from her side of the family for being a tranny freak.  I remember thinking, quite grimly, that she didn’t have much time left on this earth and I’d rather her go out thinking the best of things about her grandchild than to have to know the truth.  Besides, I thought, she was a relic of a time long past, someone set in her ways, someone I’d probably never have any hope of changing.  She’s been in bad health for a long time… it was best to just let things be. At least, that was how I felt until only a few months ago. Now, I have regrets.

Recently, I’ve begun to let go of the bitterness I had towards my mom, and coming with that has been a surprising curiosity and hunger to know about the person my mom really was.  All I really remember about her was that she was a crazy bitch, in the good ways and in the worst ways.  She did the sorts of things to me that people remember monsters for, and yet, at the very least, she was a very interesting person.  I’ve heard things about her from her friends, from my dad, and her family that tell me she was capable of extraordinary things. I was coming to believe that my grandmama knew things about her that I wouldn’t even be able to ask of anyone else. I wanted, for a while now, to at least have one last conversation with her- tell her things that she didn’t know about her child, and learn things from her that I didn’t know about my mom.

It seemed like we could have both gained some healing closure from making that connection about one person between us who touched our lives, for better or for worse.  But she was in such bad health for such a long time, especially after her first stroke, bedridden and sleeping every time we came to visit.  I kept thinking, I’ll be able to talk to her next time.  Now, she’s gone, and with her, things that have now forever been lost to time.

Oh, well.  Life goes on, and maybe it’s for the best.

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Onslaught.

So I’ve been feeling really great about everything.  Last night, my lovely boyfriend and I finally managed to pull enough money together to order a good binder so I can stop using the backbreaking one I’ve been using, my insurance is about to go through so I can see about getting a gender therapist, everyone’s been seeing me as a guy, and people are slowly but surely figuring out the name.

I feel like I’m sitting on a go-cart that I’ve been trying to make go for months now, and finally some deity descended from the heavens and gave me a gentle push and now I’m finally, slowly, starting to roll down the hill.  But suddenly, my stomach is lurching because I’m looking forward and the hill gets a lot steeper from here, and I’m just about to pass that point where, if I wanted to, I could stick my legs out and grind to a halt without any major injury, get up, and walk away.  Things are About to Happen, and if I don’t stop before the Point of No Return, then there’s absolutely no going back and I’m going to have to ride this cart for the rest of my life.

It’s unbelievable, because I never thought I’d have these feelings.  I know it’s only natural to have a little bit of apprehension before the point of no return, but now I’m having this internal critic hit me with a real onslaught of all the really hard questions, things like:

– “Everyone’s going to look at you and say, ‘Why did you even transition, if you’re a gay man?  Gay men are basically just women anyway, wouldn’t it just be easier to stay in a girl’s body?'”

– “You never fit in as a girl, but suddenly you think that if you transition, you’ll fit in as a boy, and you KNOW that’s not true.  If anything, you’ll fit in less!”

– “You’re using this trans thing to explain all your boy tendencies, but once you cross over, how do you explain away all the girl ones?”

– “What if you’re not really a guy?  What if this IS just another phase, another obsession with being different, one that could get you KILLED?”

– “You say this explains everything- the abuse, the dissociation, etc., but what if you’re just making connections that aren’t there so that you can make your life make sense, and when the novelty of being trans wears itself out, it’s just another layer of fuck-up on top of the pile?”

These are the kinds of questions that have been killing me, the ones that have been keeping me up at night, really personal questions that only I would know.
I have answers for all of those questions, and when I remember the things that can’t be explained away with a “what if” scenario, like how only wearing a strap-on makes me feel complete and how being on top is the only sex act that entirely works for me, or how I really only feel attractive and not-deformed when I bind up and have a flat chest, or how I’ve been lusting after facial hair since I was six, and how I’ve always felt gay with boys and straight with girls, even long before I knew I could possibly be trans-

When I remember all those things, and how being trans makes my life complete, and how my mind has been at more peace in the last 6 months than it’s been the entire rest of my life-

When I remember how accepting that I was trans made the voices stop, made the dissociation fade and made me stop seeing things at night, and made my mind finally healthy, and some semblance of normal-

When I see how my friends and family are finally more happy that I’m less crazy and upset and irritable and generally screwed-up these days than they are sad to see the old me go away-

Then I know that everything’s going to be alright, and I can keep going.

My little insecurities and fears are not nearly enough to turn me away from the one thing that has made my life finally worth living.  I have been more afraid to die in the last six months than I even was when I was a child, and I take that as a good and healthy sign that I finally love life enough not to want to leave it.

Where do I even start?

I know I promised a massive groundbreaking STP post of some sort (<–more unneccessary buildup), and I estimated that I’d be posting it about… say, yesterday, but frankly, much bigger shit has been taking precedence in my life.  New shit has come to light, as the Duder would say, and now it’s been taking up so much of my thought that I can’t really honestly make a post about a piss-tube.  It’s been so hard to even express all of this to MYSELF that I don’t even know where to START on paper.

I guess I should back up some and start from the beginning, which is hard, because there really is no beginning.  The waves of things that are happening today undulate into the past; I could start with my grandmother, if I so chose, but I think I’m gonna be generous today and just start with a few months ago.

See, one of my biggest fears with this whole process of transition has been my mental health record and how they might infer from it that I’m not a healthy candidate for T.

You might recall me mentioning a past record with Dissociative Identity Disorder.  I wasn’t being entirely honest when I said that was a past issue that was already resolved.  I just didn’t want to address it in terms of therapy or even bring it up with you guys because, well, that’s just the way things have always been.  The sky is blue, the sea is wet, Mommy couldn’t quit pot, and there have always been several people living in this head.  I’ve actually been afraid to even mention it here because I didn’t want some psychotherapist to dig it up and use it as evidence against my case for getting on T, when really, that’s kind of unhealthy because now it was a scenario of trying to bury and conceal things that would be a lot more healthy to just bring up and ultimately bring into some sort of reconciliation.  Another reason it wasn’t mentioned here is, integration (the DID term for melding all the alters together) frankly scares the shit out of all of us.  It’s something we’ve tried three times, always for the wrong reasons, and it always ended in tragedy, heartbreak, and further mental splits.

I won’t go into the childhood abuse that brought all this about because, simply enough, you guys don’t want to hear it, and I’ve been thinking over the last year that it’s not as relevant to my psychological situation as we once theorized.  It was almost certainly what set up our mind to work this way, what caused the initial splits.  An alter is created to protect the mind from damage.  But what created the ever-penetrating, ever-pressing ultimate NEED for Jack to identify and be recognized as so inherently male?

And what made it so important for me to differentiate from him?

For the longest time, I theorized that it was just a part of the human condition- Jack had a very strong sense of identity from the start, always rebellious, always male.  People- friends, family, etc.- have said that when he takes over, I looked completely different, to the point where it’s impossible NOT to think of him as male.  He was one of several alters (almost all of them male), but definitely the strongest as others faded to the background.  In fact, more and more often, he’s been in-body more than me.

I always thought that he just needed to be recognized as an individual, and at a point I began to modify my own actions JUST to contrast him and let him feel more manly.  Where he would naturally act towards something with a more manly mind-set, I’d act girly and cute, as a sort of martyr mindset.  I became supporting cast, the goofy sidekick.  It’s become more and more obvious how unhealthy that way of thinking is.  Jack has never been one to act a part, even if it would benefit him (his honest and sometimes brutal mouth has gotten him [us!] in trouble more than once.)  So I picked up the slack because, as the natural gap of translation between myself and him began to close with years of work in communication, I was beginning to see how much pain he was in just for being in a female body (what we recognized as gender dysphoria a couple years ago.)

There will never be any words to describe what it is like to experience the pain of another person so closely as someone inside your own head.  Even people who love each other very much have the benefit of flesh walls between their minds.  When someone you love is screaming inside, they have the option of muting it, locking it up, and hiding it from you.  You can even ignore someone else’s pain when they’re in a different body.  It’s even easier to deal with pain when it’s your own, because it’s yours and you own it and you understand it and you can do what you want with it.  You can’t do that with someone else’s pain when there’s no barrier between you and your brother’s minds.  If they are screaming in pain, 24-7, you can hear it, feel it, taste it and your mind is steeped in it.

As we grew closer like that and he began to take precedence, I began to realize this life wasn’t meant to be mine alone forever- a slow, steady realization that didn’t frighten or even much sadden me, it was just the way things were, for whatever reason.  Things were shifting and it was obvious that it was going to be his life now.  And I realized I wanted to give him something, something that would make his life bearable, almost as if it were a way to make up for forcing him to live in this so-wrong body with me all these years just because my psyche demanded his presence as a way of protection.  I felt so much guilt that things were this way just because I needed his help so many years ago.

I wanted to give him my body.  I wanted to let him take it and modify it until it fit him, instead of me.  I couldn’t see him in pain anymore.  And I knew that I’d be far more comfortable in a male body than he has ever been in a female body.  I’ve been pushing for his transition- our transition- for two years now, and it’s been our journey.  Even when I forced a female appearance for my parents, I’d always had more of a tomboy mindset than anything.  It just didn’t bother me nearly as much as him.

Dissociation is a funny thing.

When your psyche is trying to build walls between you and what would otherwise be destroying your mind, you will overlook the absolutely most obvious things just because your psyche thinks it’s healthier not to even notice they’re there.  When someone experiences something that’s traumatizing enough, their mind will actually blank out and ignore the entire section of the brain that stores that data, just to protect you from it.  And then, years later, when things become safer, your psyche lets down its guard, and the walls start to crumble, some of the most amazing shit will tumble out.  And usually, when you see those things, you can’t unsee them.

Such strong religious pressures from such cruel and domineering and abusive parental powers will sometimes annihilate your desire to be anything but what they WANT you to be.  For so many years, it was just easier to want to NOT want to be a boy.  And the memories have been hiding for so long- that’s so much of what the abuse was about- so much of what the forced wearing of skirts was about, not just because of their religion, but because they were afraid I’d turn out a freak- it blew my mind when it all came to light and all made sense.

Jack isn’t just a mechanism to protect myself, he isn’t masculine just because a stereotypical man’s man is a better protector.  I can’t believe how many years I explained it all away with that weak, pathetic theory.  He’s the boy part of my mind that they tried to kill, screaming to be free.  The REAL part of my mind.  Everything they made me to be, everything that everyone knows about me… was built on lies.

Why did I feel such a strong need to dissociate from him?  Because all they ever told me all my life was that he was wrong.  That I was wrong.  He’s not the alter.  I am.

In writing this blog, we’ve been hiding the fact that we’ve been separate all this time, and we’ve been writing this as a team effort.  Jack’s never had that much patience for writing, so I generally do the physical typing.  Therefore, it’s in my tone of voice, my writing style, but it’s almost all from his perspective, as if I were documenting HIS journey from the outside.  And yet, this has possibly been the most healthy thing we’ve ever done, because it’s brought us together and forced us to see the truth of things.  It’s shown us our pasts as they entwine and become one.  It’s brought us together and taught us to think as one mind- something new and so unbelievably alien, something that hasn’t even been considered as a natural way of living since before I can remember- something that may actually work this time, and not make us fall apart, because we have this one thing to work towards together now, the one thing we’ve needed from the beginning.  It’s made us see that this quest we’re on, for the right body, is more important than the individuality of either one of us. It is so important to get to the bottom of the truth, to become ourselves, one whole healthy being, one male person who loves himself and doesn’t need to be something he’s not just to be able to function properly- “properly”- it’s been the one thing that has made us see that integration is now the only way.   And now that I think we can actually work through it this time, I’m not afraid of addressing it, even with a gender therapist.

We’re on our way to a enlightened way of being.

I’ve finally gotten to talk to my best friend about it, a person who has known Jack and I as two separate entities for a long time.  Let’s just say, there’s a big difference between telling your best friend that your alter is some day going to be living in a male body “but don’t worry, I’ll still be a girl, *twitch*” (as I’ve been telling her for years), and telling her that you’re on the road to integrating with your brother and very soon, you’re going to come out as a totally different person, and you’re BOTH male, ONE male person, and the girl she’s known all these years is more or less a fabrication…

It gets confusing, not to mention heartwrenching.  There were a lot of tears and she said she was afraid of losing me.  But I tried to explain that she won’t be losing me, she’ll be GAINING me, the real me.    And now I have I go through what all of you have, with my family.

Now I really know what it means to be trans.

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