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

Posts tagged ‘integration’

1 Year Manniversary!

So, it was this day last year that I made the decision to start living full time as male.  I’ve pulled this from the first post on my blog:

“This is Day 1.  Ground zero.
Today’s the official start of my transitioning process.
Some day, I won’t be the only person who sees me as a man.  Some day the whole goddamn world will without a second guess.  And it’s only a matter of time.
Joaquin Jack, the rootin’-est tootin’-est outlaw in the Wild West.”

A lot of things have changed since that day.  The most recent change?  I’m now officially a working stiff.  Yep, that volunteer gig I’ve been talking about since April?  They finally offered me a full time, paid job with benefits.  My medical insurance starts in September, and I can start the process of medical transition this year.

Social transition started a long time ago.  Most people I know call me Tommy, even in the workplace.  Most of those people call me by male pronouns, except for family and people in the workplace.  I don’t know how I’m going to navigate that when I start looking and sounding more male, but I have a very cool and understanding supervisor who is used to dealing with people in unusual personal situations, so I’d be surprised if she treats me unfairly.

Funnily enough, my attitude towards pronouns has gotten a lot more lax lately, mainly because I’m just so tired of seeing people struggle with it.  I’ve even had a few people who have been trying their damnedest break down and cry over it, even when I wasn’t pressing the issue.  I can tell with these people, they genuinely want to say the right things around me and it really gets to them when they don’t, and it’s gotten to the point where I frankly don’t give a shit anymore.  I mean, it’s awesome when I get sirred in public, but there’s nothing I can do right now about the fact that I look, sound and smell female, and asking people to do mental acrobatics around it is a little unreasonable until I’ve been on T for a while.

That’s not to say that I let people walk all over me, though.  Recently a few friends and I were hanging out, and I was telling this story from back when I was still doing the whole “chick” thing, and one of my brodudes said, “Hey, FYI, you’re still a chick.”

I punched him in the face.

It was kind of awesome.  His head slammed the wall behind him and he came up dizzy and checking if all his teeth were there.

He got the picture.  We were cool from then on.

***

What else has changed since last year?  Hm…
– My car works again, feels good to have independence.
– I’ve finally gotten back into the habit of showering and brushing my teeth every day- I care about my body now that it might actually belong to me one day.
– I’ve been eating less junk food and soda and crap and staying active, and I’ve gained some muscle and lost 23 pounds worth of spare fat.
– I’m on my way to quitting smoking (which I’ve never really mentioned on here because I don’t want to make any of my  former smoker transbros start jonesing, but I feel it’s worth bringing up at least on my manniversary.)
– I finally got together the balls to cut my hair last year, feels awesome not to have an extra blanket of heat coating my neck and back in the summer.
– I’ve become an expert at using an STP at public urinals, and have broken the fear of using the men’s room.
– I’ve come out to my dad and we even talk about it at lengths these days, and he (sort of) accepts me as his son, off and on.  It’s all I can ask for at this point.
– Have been wearing a real binder, not an improvised one that could distort my ribs, for probably about 9 months now.  Of course I’ve been binding off and on for a long time, and every single day for a year now, but using one regularly that doesn’t hurt my back has done wonders for my self-esteem and general health.
– Since having them compressed every day, I’ve lost at least a cup size.  I used to be a full C, and now I’m kind of a saggy B.  Not as attractive with my shirt off, but much easier to bind, and sometimes I can even wear a baggy shirt without being self-conscious.
– I’ve pumped off and on all year, and let’s just say my microcock is a lot easier to see these days.
– A lot of other smaller things that I don’t feel like recounting.

The only negative thing is that I’ve become a lot less comfortable with sex these days.  Since being with someone who doesn’t neccessarily find my trans situation attractive and kinda made me feel like shit about myself in several ways, and becoming more and more wary that any guy I’m with will want to do me in the manhole, I’ve lost my sex drive almost entirely.  This has led to even more anxiety about it, since, as a general rule, “males have a bigger sex drive”, and since last year, mine has only shrunk.  Of course, it’s all a performance anxiety and self-consciousness issue.  But it’s kind of positive that I’m less desparately, widly depressed about how small my dick is and more generally just not interested in sex right now.  I’m sure when I find the right person, all that anxiety about my genitals will go away, and having my sex drive boosted by T won’t be as soul-crushing.

Anyway, my manniversary celebration turned out to be a lot less exciting than I originally planned, but then, I originally planned to be taking my first T shot right about now.  I’ve basically only had my best friend over today and we’ve surfed the internet all day and listened to music.  That’s it. It just seemed superfluous to make a big deal out of “Hey, I decided something this day last year!”  I’ll probably go buy a cake or something when I actually get on T.

***

I think the biggest point of all this is, I held my own Real Life Test, just to know for sure, for my own purposes, that this was what I wanted to do, that not only could I handle the societal pressures of being male, but the problems that come with living as one gender when the world percieves you as another.

It went far better than expected.

I’ve been living with genuine peace of mind in myself for a year, despite the storm raging all around.  I’ve come to know who I really am, and that person wasn’t as cool as I originally thought he would be, but I’ve settled with being a big dork, and I’m happy with that.  I haven’t been experiencing any delusions or hallucinations, the dissociation has ceased, my emotional turmoil has settled considerably, and since having a cool and sane head, I can see that a lot of the world wasn’t as big and scary and dramatic and bad as I thought it was.  I’ve developed a sense of responsibility to myself and others now that I have a cemented sense of identity and I don’t feel like a visitor to this world operating an expendable avatar.  I’m comfortable with myself and my friends tell me that I seem happier.  There’s no more being constantly on edge for fear that my own mind will revolt and I’ll have to account for yet another day lost to someone I don’t know.  I’ve gotten used to what it’s like to be the only person in here, and it’s surprisingly simple, even if at first it was a little claustrophobic.  I feel much more real, I feel connected to the consequences of my actions, I feel in control.  I feel… normal.

That was something I never expected.

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.

Anger management.

I’ve had little to write about lately- kind of been sitting in a pool of stagnation for a while- but I feel obligated to update.  There hasn’t been much change except for the fact that my life has been taken over by a couple of munchkins.  In a sense, that has changed EVERYTHING, but it’s put me on hold.

I’ve been feeling an inordinate amount of bitterness towards the kids, and it took me a little while to figure out exactly what it was that was bothering me.  But now I’ve got it sorted out, and I guess I could stand to get it off my chest.

Just before they came into our lives, I was getting to that point with my dad where I was nearly comfortable enough with him that I could have come clean with him about everything and maybe not even have to leave home in order to start transition.  We were getting really close and he was even on good terms with Jack before he integrated.  I’d just had that talk with him where I explained that integration was happening and a lot of big things were about to change.  I didn’t say what, but I think he had a guess, and I was going to give him time to figure it out and let it sink in before I dropped the bomb.

And then these kids showed up, and he’s completely moved away from me and sunk back into this weird religious hellhole.  Now I’m expected to set the best possible example for these kids, and there’s no way I could start transition with them in the picture.  He wouldn’t allow it.  I feel utterly betrayed.  I was on the edge of finally, finally having something, a place in my life where I didn’t have to hide anymore, and these kids stole it from me.

I’m having a hard time coping with it.  I know these kids didn’t do anything wrong, and I can’t take it out on them.  I know my dad is just trying to do what’s right, and my stepmom loves those babies and wants to see them grow up right.  But I don’t understand why it has to be us.  And maybe I’m just being selfish, but this is the worst of possible outcomes for my transition.

I was so close.  And now I’m back to square one.  I have to leave home before I can even think of starting transition.

Now I’m thinking about having some kind of anger management therapy or something.  I’ve been having the same dream almost every night for weeks, where I get in a fight with someone and I’m trying to hit them, but for whatever reason, my punches won’t land right.  I miss, or my arms feel too heavy to lift, or I’m too weak to do any kind of damage, but it’s always the same- I’m trying to fight some kind of enemy, and they’re just laughing in my face.  I wake up in humiliation every morning.  I’ve always had a good right jab and I throw a heavier punch than the typical female-bodied person, and having that taken away from me every night only makes me more and more frustrated.

And plus, my anger threshold keeps lowering.  I fall into a rage at some of the slightest and most stupid things, and it makes me look like an idiot because there’s nothing I can do about it.  I don’t like people seeing me as this overly sensitive, bull-headed jerk.  I used to be level-headed and logical.  Where did THAT go?
I’m crawling in my skin.  My sex life is alternately eluding me because I can’t deal with myself or anyone else seeing me naked, among other things.  My back is slowly being raped by the binder I’ve been wearing lately- I need to order an underworks binder before I warp my ribs permanently.  There’s a whole new set of people in my life who are learning to address me with the wrong pronouns and the wrong name, and hearing the occasional “Tommy” from the one friend who even bothers to use it does little enough to cool the burns.

I JUST WANT OUT.

I’m back!

So it’s been almost a month since the last time I posted.  Something happened with my writing where it began to feel like a chore, and I had 59 different things I wanted to write about, and I couldn’t pick a topic, and I sat down to write about five different times and nothing worth posting really wanted to come out, and it eventually just all logjammed to where I just didn’t want to post for a long-ass time.  But I wound up going to a convention, which somehow re-jumpstarted my creative processes.  I have all these ideas for short films and projects and things like that, and I’m really back into the manic phase of my life, which I haven’t really been in for about 8 months.  Taking that into account, along with how busy things have gotten around here, I think I’ll be getting back to posting on a somewhat more regular basis, or at least once a week.

Last time I posted, my parents were THINKING about taking on these two foster children, which I quite unfairly ranted about like a little brat until I was blue in the face.  My feelings towards them have slowly but surely done an about face, and since those kids moved in two days ago, I’ve become quite taken with them.

The two-year-old little girl is absolutely low-maintenance and delightful for a toddler.  She’s quiet, but she talks a little and mainly communicates in nods and head shakes.  And she LOVES pickles.  She’s pretty interesting.

The eight-year-old is another story.  She seems to idolize me, which is awkward because I don’t know how to act around her.  I let her call me by my family’s nickname for me and of course I haven’t said anything to her about my trans status, but since I bind and whatnot these days whether she’s around or not, I’m sure it’ll come up at some point.  She seems young enough to get her head around the idea without judging- I’m not sure how to handle it but I think it’ll sort itself out.  She’s interesting- very intelligent, but kind of bratty and manipulative.  I get the feeling that she was raised in a low-class enough environment to not really have been taught anything about manners, but with enough money around to have a serious sense of entitlement.  She’s already asked if we can go shopping for toys three times, and we’re doing the best we can to firmly but gently reinforce that money doesn’t grow on trees while trying to accomodate her with toys we had in the garage from when I was a kid.  The old barbies my mom tried to make me play with were still almost good as new, so she seems to be satisfied.

Things are going way more smoothly than I ever expected, so I’m just rolling with the times for now.

As to my personal issues, I’ve settled on a full name that I’ll be going with when I get my legal documents sorted out.  I wanted Calvin as my first name because it sounds the most like my legal first name, and my partner was the one who came up with it.  It’ll probably be used in formal and career situations, but not my primary nickname.  My middle name, internet name and stage name will still be Jack, as that’s a huge part of me.  My nickname will come from my last name, Thomasson.  I wanted to just use Thomas as my last time (as in Jonathan Taylor Thomas), but Calvin Jack Thomas felt more like just a string of first names rather than a full name, so I added a -son at the end to give it a little more finality.  For some reason, Tommy feels like the most comfortable name to slip into with my friends and it just suits me the best.

So there you have it- Calvin Jack Thomasson, or Tommy for short.

Take that.  It takes most people 9 months to pick out a name for someone else, and it took me 2 months to choose a full name for myself.  I feel pretty good about that.

I don’t feel too much like going into the issue of integration, other than to say it’s over and done with.  Things are peaceful, and it seems like it’s going to stick this time.  It doesn’t hurt, I’m not uncomfortable and everything slid together like a puzzle- and pieces weren’t jammed in awkwardly because I was being forced.  Everything came together in its own time.

And now that everything is pointed in one direction, one goal has come out.  Transition.  Everything seems to be riding on it.  But I’m not in a hurry anymore.  I don’t need to save anyone’s life, I don’t owe anyone anything, and this is for me.  It’ll happen when it’s ready to happen.

P.S. I PROMISE I’ll get to that STP post eventually.

Name time!

Now that it’s been 8 days since my last post and officially the longest stretch I’ve gone without posting since beginning this blog, it’s time to jump back in the fray.

I’ve been spending a lot of time focusing on reconnecting with my past and working on seeing that I’ve been abandoning things I enjoy just because they were connected with the “girl side” of my life.  I don’t want to do that- it feels like focusing more on gender binary than just being myself, and I know that I’ve spoken about this a lot on this blog, but it’s easy to write about these principles and harder to realize you’re being a hypocrite in real life.

I’d actually been developing a phobia of feminine things, flinching away from anything girly like it was on fire, and it was getting out of hand.  So, as a way of re-establishing a balance in my life, I actually went on ahead and had a “girl’s night” with my best friend.  We watched a Queen Latifah movie, ate Ben and Jerry’s and generally did the sort of girly things that most guys would get shot for doing if the general public found out.  She wanted to straighten my hair, but by that point I’d had enough and we wound up watching Full Metal Alchemist the rest of the night.

It was actually kinda fun.

On to the main subject, I’m having the worst time picking out a name.

I know that a lot of you know me by Jack, and that’s fine in InternetLand.  It’ll probably be my screen name for a long time just because it’s already established with the email and media accounts used the most, and it’s convenient that way.  But here’s the thing.

Ever since this whole integration thing started, we’ve realized that using either my legal first name OR Jack’s name, i.e., my “brother’s” name, would be weird.  I consider him my brother, anyway.  Can you picture how weird it would be, if you suddenly shared an identity with one of your siblings, to use their name and not yours, or vice versa?  Either way it’s going to be weird.  Plus, there’s a sort of stigma attached with his name among people in my life.

With my close friends and acquaintences who became familiar with my DID situation, whether they admit it consciously or not, I know that the name Jack is associated with a condition, at best, or nothing more than a symptom, at worst.  We want to leave the DID behind and bring no more focus to that than the female part of my life associated with my legal name.  This is a fresh start for all of us, and using the name Jack would only be shoving the DID in people’s faces every day.  There’s no room for focusing on that in my life anymore.

All that said, we did at first want to find some amalgamation of Jack and my name, but it came out sounding so hilariously inappropriate that we abandoned that road and fished in other ponds of inspiration altogether.

The first name I almost settled on- Calvin- sounded close enough to my legal name that it would probably be comfortable for my friends to slip into, and it had the added plus of being associated with “Calvin and Hobbes” (which is symbolic enough that I don’t feel the need to outline it for you.)  But I sat on the idea for a couple days and wound up rejecting it.  A couple of the negatives included that the literal translation of Calvin is “bald”, and it just doesn’t sound all that manly, anyway.  It makes me think of some slight, pale, neurotic office worker with no social life.

Searching through all of the names that sound even remotely similar to my legal name, I turned up nothing that fit, not even closely.  So I started another route with my sister last night and went through lists of my favorite movies, coming up with first names that I liked based on my movie character idols.  Three hours later, I wound up with a list of about ten names that almost work but I’m not sure about.  Here they are in order of how much I like them.

– Vincent
– Damien
– Alan
– Thomas
– Oliver
– Xander
– Adrian
– Logan
– Richard
– Jareth (don’t laugh. this was one of the first I crossed off.)

The only problem I can find with Vincent is, it’s such an awesome name I really don’t think I can do it justice.  Is it possible to not pick a name because it’s TOO cool?  Very much so.  I’d like it, but I’m not so sure it’ll stick.

Also Damien is hardcore, but I feel like people would be hardpressed to come up with a nickname that isn’t “Dame”, which I kinda feel defeats the purpose.  It’s like how Anakin’s name got shortened to Ani when he was a kid.  ‘Nuff said.

Problems with other names like Alan, Oliver and Adrian (pretty much any name starting with a vowel) is that they seem to carry too weak of a demeanor.  They’re nice names, but I want my name to have a little bit of a kick.

I liked Thomas because it all seems to suit me nicely (Tom, Tommy, etc.) and I like the tomcat connotations- an extremely virilized, male creature in what’s generally considered a female-typed animal body- but the thing that’s weird about this is that one of my first cats was named Tommy, and it just weirds me out to name myself after a cat.  So this one’s probably out of the running, despite being win on all other accounts.

I like Xander just because it sounds cool, but it’s a little pretentious for me.  Not much to say about that one.

I like Logan because it’s Wolverine’s name.  I don’t like Logan because, for some reason, the sound of it reminds me strongly of sour milk and it kinda makes me want to hurl.

Almost the same thing with Richard.  I like it simply because of Richard B. Riddick, which in my opinion is the most badass thing since Chuck Norris and the only completely good thing Vin Diesel ever did with his career.  I don’t like it because of what people might wind up calling me- Rich, Dick, a lot of other asshole names.  The only nickname I even sort of like out of Richard is Ricky, and… meh.

Jareth I obviously don’t really want to go with because it’s the name of the King of the Goblins in one of the most beloved young-girl coming of age adventure stories of all time.  Just the idea of being associated with Jim Henson makes my skin crawl a little, however, being associated with David Bowie kind of makes up for it.  I mainly put it on the list to remind me of all the J names I could go with, like Jared and Jarron and all those other 90’s brodude names.  Really, what am I thinking on this one, anyway?

We also wound up with a list of rejects I definitely won’t be going with, posted here for your amusement.

– Archduke Ferdinand (Ferdie for short)
– Steve Jobs
– Pizarro
– Boromir, son of Theoden
– Quasimodo
– Harvey Birdman, Attourney at Law
– Yazoo
– Lord Ilpalazzo
– god (with a little “g”, out of reverence)
– Edward (after the Elric variety, NOT Cullen)
– Janosz (pronounced “Ya-nosh”)
– Theodore Logan, Esquire
– Superman
– Zaphod Beeblebrox
– And last but not least, the symbol for “Pi”.

This is what I get for chatting with my sister at 2 in the morning.

I hardly feel closer to the end of my name search than the beginning.  All I really know for certain now is that I need a new one, and I also know a few names that don’t work.  That’s it.

How do you come up with what people will call you for the rest of your life?  It’s awkward right now- I’m in an area where I don’t want anyone calling me by anything that anyone knows me as, so I’m kind of in this weird “He who shall not be named” phase.  I feel rushed to figure it out so the people who know I’m having anxiety about my female labels won’t be uncomfortable trying to figure out what to call me, but I’m having the worst of it just trying to nail one down.  Is it really that hard?  It’s just a little set of letters, it’s just a word.

Funny that so much anxiety can be caused by one little word.

THE most awesome day in history!

I really REALLY don’t want to make this into a long-ass dragged out post because, one, I have to go do something in 15 minutes, and two, I think long-ass posts are annoying, even though most of mine are.  Case in point- I annoy myself.  God, ALREADY I’m digressing.  That’s what happens when I’m hyper.  So, let’s get right to it and go through my day by bullet point:

(14 MINUTES GO GO GO!!!)

  • Last night, I had a shitload of really heavy conversations over the phone with my friends about my trans situation- for some reason, it just kept on coming up with them- so I fell asleep feeling really down on myself, but a lot more settled about some things.  I think I finally really got it across to my best friend how important and huge and real all of this is to me, and as evidenced by today, she really took it to heart.
  • This morning, somehow in response to the depression of last night, the first thing I thought when I woke up was that I needed a new shirt.  All my old shirts I pretty much can’t stand nowadays (as they are made of Girly and the Devil and Fail) and I have about 2 shirts I’m comfortable with wearing, so I scrounged through all the change in the house for 2 bucks so I could get one at the thrift store.  I also found that my psychological need to go out in binding is finally so overwhelming that it overtakes any social awkwardness it could produce, so for the first time today, I went out in binding in my home town.  I usually wear guy clothes around here these days already, but with chesticles, it always looked weird, so I actually felt really comfortable today.  This is the start of a new era for me.

(AUGH!  3 minutes!!!)

  • When my dad got home, I told him I stole 75 cents from him for a new shirt, and he basically responded by going into all his old shirts and gave me the shirts he doesn’t wear anymore, which is awesome.  I always used to go into his closet and “play dress-up,” and then slip his clothes back when he wouldn’t notice, and now I’m getting to actually wear his clothes, seemingly recognized as his son.  I now have about 12 shirts I like, which is probably more than I’ll ever need.  Three of them made me intensely happy- they were from his old men’s retreat annual camping meetup called “Fire on the Mountain,” and emblazoned boldly on the front of each is “FTM”.  I couldn’t stop laughing, and told him he’d know what it meant some day.

(Dammit.  Have to come back and finish this later…)

(later)

  • Okay.  So I was in binding when he got here and he didn’t even make mention of it, which is great, but he did remember to call me Jack, probably on that count, which is vaguely awkward retrospectively because we’re merging and I’m not sure how to address the name issue nowadays.  But the whole afternoon was more Jack than me at that point anyway, and he was grateful, so I can’t complain.
  • We decided to go out for an, as I awkwardly put it, “Father and… child… meal” of steak and baked potato.  This is where it really gets good.
  • When we got to the restaurant, the headwaiter showed us to our table and asked us what drinks we wanted.  When he turned to me, it was “And for you, sir?”  My eyes must have almost popped out of my head.  For the first time, I was “sirred” in public and I hadn’t even REALLY been trying to go in drag- it was nothing more than a compressed chest and a t-shirt and baggy shorts!  I couldn’t stop grinning, nor could I barely express that I wanted a Mountain Dew.  Of course, when he really looked at me and realized he’d made a “mistake,” (which was funny because it was the first time someone HADN’T made a mistake in my life) he tried to apologize profusely, but I objected wildly and said it was quite alright.  My dad and I actually slapped a high five over that one.
  • Later, my dad said, “You should tell him why you didn’t mind him calling you ‘sir'”.   I looked at him weirdly- “That’d be kinda awkward, dad.  What do you expect I would say?”  He shrugged.  “I dunno. ‘I’m a woman in a man’s body?'”   I almost choked on my drink.  It was crazy how nonchalantly my dad’s accepting this.  I had to explain to him that it’s not generally taken very well socially- i.e., people get KILLED for outing themselves in public.  I could have very well gotten kicked out, anyway.  But it was weird, the whole scenario showing how easily he accepts it and thinks other people might accept it, in a practically naive way.  If nothing else, it gives me faith that he’s gonna be with me on all this later down the road.
  • The night wrapped up with a jam session, just me and my dad, him playing the guitar and me on the drums (a little badly, but hey, I’ve played about 3 times, period.)  It was awesome.  We played a lot of Kiss (Detroit Rock City is harder than it sounds) and some old 12-bar blues/rock pieces and I think we tried and gave up on some Santana.  It’s awesome having almost the same taste in music as my dad, especially since he plays killer guitar.
  • After it was over, he wound up telling me this- “I came home from work feeling all beat up like something the cat dragged in, and then hanging with you just brightened my day.” Or something equally sappy.  And then he said he loved me.  I’ll assume he meant Jack, and me, and the whole unit, altogether, whether we’re me or I’m us or I’m a guy or whatever.  It’s all kosher to him, and that means the world to me.

So there you have it, the longest shortest post in the universe.  At least it was made of awesome and win.  I STILL can’t believe I got sirred today, for the first time, without even trying or looking for it.  It must all be in the attitude. I’ll try to keep that attitude up.

Signing off!

(Don’t let me forget to tell you guys the Saga of the Purple Beard.  You just WISH you had a purple beard.)

I’m losing it.

At the time I’m writing this sentence, I’m losing my conviction that any of this is worth it.

I know I’m just falling through a slump, and the second I even begin to question whether losing the respect and friendship of everyone I love is worth the chance to become something that’s true to myself and everyone else- the second I even begin to weigh the consequences against the outcome-  I feel ashamed for thinking I could ever find it in me to continue living out this lie just to make the rest of my life a little easier.  And even that’s a joke.  How could it be “easier” to accept the wrong moniker bestowed on me by the rest of the world for the rest of my life?  Every time the wrong pronoun hits my ears, I have to control myself- not storm out, hit people, break things, shake, yell, cry or even grimace.  It’s a personal battle because betraying how hurt I am by people’s mistakes leads to things I’d rather not deal with as I stand.  But by staying here, I’m putting a blindfold on the eyes of the world to me and letting them walk over me, and they’re not even realizing they’re killing me piece by piece.  I want people to see me and I’m tired of being seen as someone I’m not.

But every day since I’ve been coming out to my friends, they’ve seemed subconsciously determined to remind me I’m still on the wrong side of the fence, and also pretty determined to let me know that’s where they think I belong.  It’s all slow going, and nobody’s catching on all that well.

The funny thing is, I’m feeling more comfortable with myself now than I’ve been in a long time.  A lot of things are shaking apart as my mind rearranges itself and my perception shifts violently every day, but everything is rebuilding from a base of truth and fact instead of theory and guesswork, and I’m happy with it.  To reiterate, I feel more like a gay boy than anything.  This, I’ve found, is ironically putting me in touch with my feminine side.  My boyfriend said he thinks I’ve actually been wearing more frou-frou clothing since I affirmed to him that I’m male, which is an interesting commentary in and of itself.  To me, it says that, as a gay boy, I don’t much mind working with what I’ve got sometimes if I can make it attractive, but it’s generally for show and/or convenience.  It’s really not “me” as much as my more male clothing, but since it’s there and it’s clean and I really need to do my laundry, I don’t mind using it; I’m confident enough in my state as a male that I don’t feel my clothing defines that.

My problem isn’t my confidence in myself, it’s the disconnect between how others relate to me and what I really am.  Now that it’s in question and people are starting to double take and try to see me as what I’m demanding, it seems like they’re shaking their heads in confusion and sticking with what they know, and it’s making me feel like shit.  I think it can actually be harder when you’re beyond the shadow of a doubt of what you believe in and people deny it.

I have yet to even begin to explain what all of this entails to my dad, and he’s already rejecting it without even really knowing what it is.  When I said in my first post he was beginning to use the name “Jack”, it was because he was finally beginning to acknowledge my DID and the differentiation between alters.  He knew Jack was there without him even having to specify, and that’s always a big moment with an alter.  He was glowing when his own father called him by his name without even being asked.  But dad doesn’t even know about the gender dysphoria, let alone that Jack wanted a sex change, let ALONE that we’re now integrating and it’s basically down to, simply, I want a sex change.  I don’t know how he’s going to get through all this, but he didn’t take the news of integration well when I tried to explain that the end product would probably look more like Jack than me.  He’s a pretty fast study, though.  When I told him I didn’t want anyone going through my mail because I’d be dealing with some personal medical issues, he said, “You’re not getting a sex change, are you?”

My instinctual response was “NO,” because, one, that’s not exactly happening yet, and two, we’re just not ready for that talk yet, not candidly.  But I think he’s catching on.  Who knows?  Maybe he’ll take it better than I think.  But for now, I have to believe that he stands entirely against the idea, and once again, there’s a rift of communication between myself and one of the most important people in my life.  I don’t like having to hide such a huge thing from someone so close to me just to keep the peace, but there it is, a giant purple elephant in the room every time we talk.

Anyway, tl;dr version:

Gender dysphoria sucks ASS.

The coming-out blues.

What can I say?  SO MUCH SHIT has happened in the last, what, 5 or 6 days since I’ve posted.  I have to say that San Francisco is awesome, and the Castro district is, indeed, the promised land.  I’d really like to post about all that and how much fun it was before the good stuff fades from memory, but I just know it’s all going to come out sour because I’ve been dealing with some really shitty stuff that I can’t just shove down and ignore and pretend to be happy through while it’s making me want to die.

Long story short, 3 out of 4 people aren’t taking the news of my integration (and coming out) well at all.  The funny thing is, you’d think they’d be glad for me if it meant I was ultimately going to be well and whole and some semblance of normal and maybe even happy, but when I make it clear that the end product is probably going to end up looking more like Jack than me, they want none of it.  They don’t really like Jack and they never really have, and back when the dissociation put a clean barrier between him as a person and me, that wouldn’t have bothered me that much, but now that I think of him as a major part of me, it’s like a kick to the gut.

And the worst thing about it all is that people are acting like this is something that I’m doing TO them, just to spite them or something.  This isn’t something we’re “doing”- it’s something that’s *happening* to us, and there’s nothing we could do to stop it, even if we really wanted to.  But for the first time, the idea of integration isn’t scaring the shit out of us, and it’s going smoothly, at least inside, so it’s not necessarily a change that’s bad, and everyone’s acting like it is.  I hardly have ONE person who’s being supportive of me through all this, and for the first time in a long time, I feel completely

and utterly

alone.

The hardest part of trying to come clean and give people I love the heads up about the changes that might happen in the near future is explaining that the sex change quest that Jack was going to undertake is now a shared quest- that I, as a person, am nothing more than a gay boy in a woman’s body.  But it’s also becoming the best part of it.

Before, when the function of dissociation was basically designed to keep people from having to deal with what I really was, I was putting off letting Jack pursue his sex change until we left so I wouldn’t lose the people I love.  But now that it’s MY thing, now that the changes we go through will redefine my life, tear down what I thought was important to make way for what really is, rearrange priorities and weed out who will love me whether I’m a gay boy or whatever, now that people will come to expect of me entirely new things just by virtue of integration, I don’t feel bound by what everyone else thinks of me anymore.  I feel free to pursue sex change without time restraints and heartache.

And furthermore, I’m planning my coming out party.

😉

This is now my transition AND integration journal.

EMO RANT INCOMING.

Geez, that last post was a huge chunk to handle.  I don’t think anyone even knows how to respond to it.  But I guess that’s okay, because nobody’s ever known how to respond to my DID.  It’s one of those situations that is so completely outside of the norm that people expect, so they have no internal dialogue prepared for it when it comes up, no way of figuring out even what to feel about it.

A long time ago, in my prepubescent years, when I first started to really deal with this, really be able to even talk about it, that frustrated me to no end because I thought people were just hiding from me what they were really thinking because they were afraid it would hurt me.  But I didn’t care whether they hurt me, I just wanted even the first inkling of an outside perspective.  I wanted someone to be able to tell me what to do, what was going on- I wanted for there to be even ONE person who could say, “Yeah, I know what that’s like, here’s what I did,” or even, “I knew someone who’s going through what you’re dealing with, and this is how we all dealt with it,” or EVEN this- “I can relate to you on SOME level because I read something other than fucking Batman comics with Two-Face in them, and I know that you’re not just a media-generated sensationalistic freak or a comic book villain.”  But nobody even said anything like that, one way or the other, no implication of whether they thought I was less than human, spawn of Satan, a circus freak that should die- they game me NOTHING to go on, no indication of what they thought, they just stood there with their slack-jaws and said nothing, forever.

But the fail part of it is, I finally believe that nobody’s hiding what they’re thinking about me, because they just DON’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK.  And on some level, I’ve finally come to respect that.  Some things are just so weird that you can’t expect anyone to know anything about them.

I guess I’m feeling bitter.

I just wish, for once, that I was normal.  And ironically enough, being trans brings more of a sense of normalcy than anything else in my life ever has.  (Trust me, if you think the pronoun problem sucks for transpeople, it’s a definite step down in complexity from the DID pronoun issue.  But that’s hardly the point.)  People in the trans community are some of the most intelligent, enlightened, clear-minded and realistic people I’ve ever met.  It really takes living from so many different perspectives like they have, I think, to give you such an empowered, enlightened way of thinking.  Not to mention, being among the most persecuted peoples on this planet will do that to you, too.  And you don’t get fakers and posers in the trans community, not that I’ve seen, not like in the DID community.  Ugh.  The few weeks I spent trying to relate to those people were too many.  No, in the trans community, by the time they get past learning about how daunting and how much of an undertaking transitioning is, by the time they get past learning how permanent HRT is and how expensive that and different surgeries are and how socially estranged you will be and how your family is going to reject you and how you’re going to have to leave everything behind just to be yourself…

By the time you get past all that, you’ve weeded out the posers and the curious and the people who generally think it might be “fun” or whatever to be trans.  By the time you get that far, all that’s left are the tough and the true with the hearts of gold.

Not so with the DID community.  There’s no way to prove anything, no test of character, it’s a completely speculative field, and it’s obnoxious how many people are there because they think it’s “cool” and “edgy” and “unique”.  How many people out there walk around pretending they’re insane because it’s the “in” thing nowadays?  It’s heartbreaking and disgusting how so many people will basically roleplay DID for a few months online because they think it’s fun to be weird and unique, and then be like, “okay, I’m not insane anymore,” when they’re bored with it, and inexorably leave this pockmark of… of… FAKE on the credibility of the few people out there who actually have a problem.  We are BURIED beneath the avalanche of it.  How many people do you think would still claim to be DID if it meant they had to go through anything similar to a trans experience, to be visually easy to be picked out as a freak, to be socially persecuted and in danger every day, to possibly leave their lives and jobs and friends and homes behind just to be themselves?  I postulate that so many of them would go, “whoops, I was just kidding, now wasn’t I being silly?  Ha ha…” and hightail it for the hills, and only the few people who actually HAVE this problem and can’t make it go away and have to deal with it EVERY DAY would still identify and band together, just so they could have someone to relate to.  But it’s SO hard to weed out all the fakers and actually find someone who is truly, diagnostically, mentally ill with this particular condition, so fucking hard.  I don’t think I’ve ever really met one person who could convince me they were telling the truth about this, not one person who sounded like they really knew what they were talking about.

I guess, at the end of it, I’ve always been alone in that sense.  I gave up hope looking for people like me long ago.  I hate to sound emo, because I’m not, I’ve really come to accept that I’m weird and my condition is rare and that it’s just not worth dealing with so many losers just to find one genuine person, and I deal with it the best I can.  And I know I must sound like a middle-schooler in adolescent angst, thinking the world is out to get me and I’ll always be alone and nobody in the world knows what I’m going through, but the funny thing is, after 20 years of looking for even one person of my species, it’s very easy and hardly even saddening to believe that I’m the only one of my kind out there.  In fact, it’s the only way of thinking that doesn’t kill you.  If I come across someone who truly does get it, hurray for me, but until then I choose to believe that it just ain’t gonna happen, and I don’t get hurt.

/END EMO RANT

I hate indulging in those, but sometimes you just gotta get it out.

IN OTHER SHIT,
Tomorrow I’m going to the gay arts and music festival “Homo a Go-Go” in San Francisco.  My biggest goal for this weekend is to use a men’s bathroom for the first time.  (Well, really, it’s the second time I’ll have used a urinal, but that hardly counted because we were camping in the off-season, there was NOBODY else in the campground when I snuck in to use it, and I wasn’t even really dressed as a guy anyway.  It was more a practice run than anything.)  This time, it’ll be in a public place somewhere that’s hopefully safe.  Honestly, my biggest fear isn’t that I’ll run into trouble with any people, because people never question my gender when I put a decent amount of effort into my appearance.  It’s that I’m going to somehow fuck up getting the STP into the right position and piss all over myself, even though I’ve been practicing for months at home and I’ve “got it down cold”, as Hudson’s Guide recommended.  I guess I’m glad I put off the STP post because this content might beef it up a little.

I doubt I’ll see anyone I know from WordPress at the festival, although one of the main events is the SF Drag King contest (which I couldn’t really get into anyway because I’m not 21 till a few months AFTERwards, which sucks.)  It seems like everyone on here isn’t really from the west coast, although if anyone was and happens to see me there, give me a shoutout.  Now I really wish I’d made a heads-up on this earlier.

SECONDLY, a sign from the universe that I’m doing the right thing in bringing this DID stuff out.

I don’t usually buy into the whole universal-mystical-fate bullcrap, but yesterday was pretty convincing.  Not long after finishing that post, we went to go up the hill to do an odd-job for someone. ($40 bucks for this weekend, how could we pass it up?)  At this point, Jack was in-body, which is an important point to make for reasons that will become clear soon.

Now, where I live, there’s a steep grade between our town and the next, where we had to go.  About halfway up the grade, my clunker-van decided to overheat, which is a little unusual in the evening, but anyway, Jack chose to pull over at the last gas station before the final stretch and put some water in the coolant system and let it cool off.  As he was pulling in, this lady on a motorcycle was looking at him and smiling, and all he can think is, “Is that hot milf flirting with me?”

After he put the water in, she calls out- “K——“, which made Jack flinch in disgust and also wariness.  He didn’t have a clue where she knew me from, couldn’t visually recognize her.  But weirdly enough, she told him that she was Jane, my recent and favorite therapist, who I’d told about Jack and his gender dysphoria months ago on my quest to get him a transition.  On my first appointment with her, she’d taken a serious interest in Jack and helping us on our way, and then the next time I’d gone in to make an appointment, the receptionist told me that she’d left the county and closed the case!  I had been sorely disappointed.  Turns out, she’d gotten laid off like just about everyone else in this county.

But she’d never personally met him, and when he introduced himself as Jack, she was delighted.  He told her he was working on getting gender therapy, and she said that she knew someone volunteering at a local peer help group that would probably love to meet him- a transgirl!  Finally, someone in the community who can at least relate to us that much!
They talked about other things, but more or less, it was incredibly encouraging to see someone who basically knew the whole scenario and wanted to help.  Sometimes it’s hard not to think there’s a Tranny God out there watching out for us poor sinners.

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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