Monday, July 6, 2015

Back and excited to be writing again

I've had a very eventful year and a half since my last post at the end of December 2013.  With so many things going on I have had a hard time getting the time to sit down and write.

Where do I start?  A year and a half ago I was in a place where my unemployment had run out. I was in the middle of finishing my Masters Degree. And was trying to figure out where to go.  I had split with my ex and we were in the middle of a separation where we hadn't formally filed for divorce, but throughout 2013 with the money troubles and as I went further and further into my female self my ex became spiteful, and abusive.  While I understand she was upset that she was losing the 'man' she had married, I had been prepared when I came out to her that I had to go forward with being my true self to deal with divorce and what that entailed.  At the time, in October 2012, I wanted to do everything I could to make the transition in both my life and hers go smoothly.  I still cared about her and as she so poignantly wrote to me we had become more like 'sisters' and less like lovers.  This digression while I didn't write about it had been going on for some time, since when I had first slept with a man five years prior to that.

I felt constrained and held back in those five years, as I tried to navigate what was best for myself and what was best for the marriage and found that they were not the same thing.  During the 5 years leading up to my coming out and starting estrogen my ex put fences around me to try to contain what and how much I did.  I found myself with deep self-shame still, as she would say 'I don't mind if you dress up, it just has to be in private and I don't particularly want to see you that way.'  So perhaps she viewed it as cross-dressing to start, and it was fine for me to have this 'outlet' but as I grew more into it I found it wasn't an 'outlet' it was who I am.

Over those five years I was struggling within myself, in my twenties, discovering that trans existed, identifying with it, and then trying to figure out what my non-binary gender role meant in the context of society and how others judge and perceive us.  I was a 'white male' to the rest of society, top of the food chain, and enjoying all of the privilege that came with it.  When people bring transition up as a 'life-style' choice they don't understand the privilege, the life, and everything you give up when you go through transition.  It's literally like starting over, old friends may stick around but they knew you outwardly as someone else, family members, loved ones and others tend to 'grieve' the loss of who you where to them and have a hard time understanding that you are still the same person you've always been, it's just their perception that has changed.

So, after struggling for five years, pushing the boundaries of what my marriage meant, going from cross-dressing sometimes, to wearing women's undergarments all the time, to shaving my legs and wearing stockings under my pants.  All these small changes put a great rift in my relationship with my ex whom if I'm honest with myself probably wasn't right for me from the beginning.  Though I will say she gave me a semblance of stability, a constant, some support system that allowed me to explore myself for the first time without worrying about or wanting to care for everyone else in my life but myself.  Perhaps this was 'selfish' and some would even say I may have been 'using' my relationship with my ex for certain things, but at the same time I would say that we were likely 'using' each other, and neither one of us really had a healthy image of who we were, so as we changed so did our relationship, and now at thirty I am not the same person I was.

I am not the same person I was, so much as I am the same but again the perception is different.  I don't have a constant hatred of myself, I don't look in the mirror and see a stranger looking back, I am getting closer to feeling comfortable in my own body.  And that journey of finding yourself is a journey I believe we all take, trans or not, many are still searching for who they truly are on their death beds.  Now with finding and feeling true to myself, my life has not gotten easier, if anything it's harder, but I feel better about being honest with myself and being able to present my true self to the world.  I now struggle with sexism, being underpaid and overworked, being viewed as a 'bitch' for things that being viewed as a man I was praised for.

I have settled in to an understanding of myself, and am glad I had the upbringing and opportunity as a female to experience the male perception otherwise I wouldn't have known any better.  And honestly as I grew up and the way I was treated when I was on top of the food chain, I thought everyone was treated that way, only to come to find out when my situation changed that this is not the case.

After being let go for the second time in two years after tax season, my ex and I had used up our savings during the first period of unemployment and were limping by through the end of 2013.  That year though was hell for me, she got resentful, we weren't affectionate, she would judge every outfit I would wear, and struggled with letting me find my own way as a woman.  I was going through a second puberty and was in my mid twenties, learning things a thirteen year old girl learns when they are a teenager or younger.  Don't get me wrong I didn't forget the things I had learned and was taught in the way that I had grown up, I just quickly learned that what I did know that how I presented myself was not taken in the same light.  To wear a dress and still have the ingrained 'training' of communication styles, body language and other nuances of a man is not generally accepted very well by society as a whole.  So, to 'fit' in I felt I had to learn a whole new set of rules and I was struggling with them, asking myself the questions, 'but why?'

At the end of 2013, during my separation and after getting out the the hospital for being on suicide watch for the second time in my life I was lost.  I didn't know which way was up, I had sent out hundreds of resumes, many for jobs I was vastly overqualified for as I completed my masters degree. I couldn't get call backs, and when I did now presenting full time as female many would hear my voice and hang up the phone or not take the phone interview seriously just because who I was did not match what I sounded like.  While I can't prove any of these instances as discrimination, I know them to be, and felt many times, even in person that I was turned away more because of who I am and less because of what qualifications I did or did not possess.

On December 7th 2013, three days after being released from the hospital, with very little money, and feeling lonely I decided I needed to go out, stop sitting around on the computer writing and pondering over my life and actually make some real human connections.  The night before I had gone to a gay bar and met a couple of people that I hung out with and found amicable, now the funny thing is some of these guys were guys who I would have likely tried to date presenting as a 'man' but on estrogen, presenting as female it was a non-threatening atmosphere because very few if any of the gay guys were interested in me.  Honestly I was just looking for a hook up, a short quick fix to make me feel better temporarily and get rid of my loneliness for one night.  I was new to the scene and didn't fully understand how things worked, I would show up at  5pm when the bar opened and talk to the bartenders and other locals as I watched to see who would show up.  Largely a wall-flower, I left and went to a local friends house to sober up at 9pm, little did I know that after 9pm is when the night really begins.  So, as I was getting ready to head home, now about 11pm, I decided that I would go back into the bar and give it one last shot.

I walk in, go to sit over by the pool table, this girl with blonde hair, blue sparkling eyes, who was wearing a black and white checkered button down and carhartt jeans says 'hi.'   I reply 'hello' and walk by her and sit a bit away from her.  She was sitting next to a guy and reading the situation I thought they might have been a couple looking for a third.  I soon found out that was not the case as the guy got up to dance with another man, whom I would later find out was this women's father, she came over to me, said hello again and sat down to talk to me.

We talked a bit, and she offered to buy me a drink.  I was liking how forward this girl was, as she took charge of the situation, didn't play by gender stereotypes and was the first person ever to offer to buy me a drink.  Later that night, she initiated our first kiss, and we walked down to the beach, even though it was freezing to look at the stars and were just smiling and staring into each others eyes.

I dropped her off, where she met her father who was worried about her even though she was close to the same age as I was.  And promptly told him we had 'sex on the beach,' of course meaning the drink and not the action, though this for obvious reasons was confusing.  So I met my now fiancee at a gay bar because she was visiting her dad, and her dad who is gay wanted to go dancing.  She not expecting to meet anyone hadn't brought the clothes to get dressed up, and was able to let her guard down, so we were meeting the true selves of each other for the first time.
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