Extra life

So, things were gone for a while, and now they’re back.

It was abrupt, and under-explained, but the story is that I kind of got smashed into pieces in August. I very nearly didn’t make it back. And I didn’t really know how to deal with it, so I just pulled everything down. Many things came back sooner than later. This place, being at the center of the storm, I haven’t been able to face until now.

Not everything is back. I’ve culled a lot of things that were inane, or transitional musings that could have been misinterpreted. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to post new content again, but I think… I think there is writing of worth here. Writing that I want people who know me — well, who want to honestly know me — to read, someday. And writing that I hope would help people I don’t know understand that they are not alone — that others walk or stand in similar arrangements. Because this is the kind of thing that would have helped me if it had existed, once upon a time.

I hope I’ll have occasion to write here again. I don’t know when that will be. I’m hopeful again, for the first time in a while. I think that must count for something.

recovery

Wow, it’s been a long time.

So, on the day before my birthday of all things, I figured I would try to come out for real to my wife. It had been something I had been talking about in therapy, and I knew that I wanted to make sure that she knew that I wouldn’t embark on anything drastic until we’d both decided it was right, but also not to close off any immediate doors in the name of compromise. Which was a delicate and strange thing to figure out when I couldn’t even tell how she would react.

I’ve probably said here before that my wife knew about … well, me. While that’s technically true, it wasn’t something we talked about, and in retrospect, probably something that I had probably spoken more vaguely about than was healthy. In the name of minimizing short-term uncomfortableness. This time, I wanted it to not be that way. I knew I had no idea what I was doing, but I realized I wasn’t ever going to get that idea. Not anytime soon. So I just said it.

It didn’t really go very well. But I knew that would happen, too.

Suffice it to say that this was my least enjoyable birthday ever. And I wasn’t really sure throughout whether I would survive. I spoke in direct terms, while also trying to be gentle. There were quite a few tears on both sides, and then a couple of awkward, silent days. I spent the day of my birthday profoundly sad, and then I went to the emergency room the day after. These things weren’t unrelated. I lost four pounds overnight, most of it in blood weight.

In some ways, though, it was maybe a jolt of perspective that we both needed. Things didn’t get better right away, but they did. They’re still not necessarily where we even started, but I hope we’re somewhere infinitely more honest. I don’t know where I’m going from here. For a few days, I was so sad, that it was almost like I was “cured.” That is — I almost gave up, completely. So emotionally drained and disconnected from my body that I just didn’t care anymore. And I couldn’t even consider writing about it here, because… Well. I wasn’t ready. So I disappeared.

With time, though, I’ve felt more of myself come back. So I’m here again. Hi, everyone.

Some random things too, since it’s been so long:

Another haircut. I know I whined about my last one. I’d let it grow out since then, and it had gotten long, but unappealingly shaggy. And we have family portraits coming up, so. This one was much better, although it was still a boy cut, because I went to a salon, for the first time ever. And I told my stylist that I wanted to go funkier (I’d always had very conservative, barbershop cuts), and I got what I asked for. Honestly, I’ve never really had sorta-spiky, sorta-messy hair, and I’m kind of loving it (and as a bonus, I can tone it down pretty easily for home). Baby steps. Next time I think I’ll have the courage to get a little more out there.

I really need to do something about my eyebrows.

Can I just say? I LOVE my therapist. I really lucked out, gals. It’s a bit of a wringer, every time, but I always leave feeling so optimistic. Lately she’s been trying to get me to go to group therapy and I’m seriously considering it.

Oh, and if you could see my Amazon shopping cart. I’m a little embarrassed to write about it. Maybe later.

So there, I’m still alive. Missed you.

emancipation

When did I lose my fear of rejection by my parents? It used to be the thing that terrified me most in the world, but…

I don’t think it’s gotten any less likely. It just doesn’t seem very important at all anymore.

first session

My first real gender therapy session was yesterday, and I was definitely nervous leading up to it. Would my therapist be someone I would feel comfortable talking to? How should I present myself? Could I even make it past the door?

This idea, of presentation in physical interaction, is one I’ve had to worry about a lot lately, especially with those to whom I’m out. I’m still not past the point where I can get over the fact that my outward appearance is still plainly male, and while my voice and mannerisms have been creeping more towards the effeminate in these situations, I still feel mostly ridiculous, like a cartoon caricature. As I’ve lost weight, I can kind of look in the mirror and squint and imagine what I might look like as a woman, but it’s fleeting. And probably nowhere near realistic.

But. Anyway.

I needn’t have worried on the therapist front. She was great, very personable, easy to talk to — I think we clicked really well. We talked a little past our allotted time, and I’m really looking forward to next time. So that’s a good sign!

It all has me hopeful about the future.

Also, when I expressed my fears about ever being able to pass, she said she thought I looked very elegant. Which was really nice. I mean, probably just kind reassurance, but… really nice.

It’s clear, though, that a lot is going to hinge on having that serious talk with my wife on where this all may be leading. And the main problem is that I have no idea what the answer to that is. At the same time, I’m afraid to think about where this leads without having a serious discussion about it. It’s very much a chicken-and-egg problem, and I’m just deathly afraid that unless I do it exactly right, I risk losing … a lot more than I may be prepared to lose. On the other hand, I don’t know if I can last a lifetime or thirty years or whatever pretending that this is something I can ignore. I don’t even know if I can last the rest of this year.

At this point, I don’t even really care if we talk about transitioning, not ever transitioning, or something in between. As long as it’s honest, and honest about the consequences. I’m just not sure if honest is the same as brutal. What I do know is, I need to figure this out before it just pops out of me out of sheer pressure, which will not be the right way.

This entry has turned out more ambivalent than I thought it would. I’m frightened. I’m hopeful. I’m happy. Sometimes the answer really is “all of the above.”

commemoration

National Coming Out Day was Tuesday, and while I’m certainly not ready to come out to the world, I did do what little I could to commemorate the occasion. I came out to two people, one a friend and coworker, and one an amazing, just totally kickass transwoman I’ve known for ages and have always idolized. I won’t go into too much detail tonight, but it was an emotional, but very positive day. I am so grateful, as ever, for my amazing friends.

ALSO: I totally asked to join the TG discussion list at work. Which was nerve-wracking beyond belief, because after all, who knows who’s on the other side of that email? But I got a very nice message back, and — we’ll see what comes of it.

Still haven’t gotten my callback for therapy. Starting to feel a little stressed out about it.

In the meantime, I had some drinks with another of my favorite coworkers today, and well, I’m not out to her but I’ve become acutely aware of how girly I get when I’m tipsy now. I can’t imagine she didn’t notice. She must have noticed, right? I need to be more careful.

intake

So the way it works at this place is that you do a two hour intake interview, and then they’ll select a therapist for you based on what you said, and that person will call you up to set up appointments. The second part hasn’t happened yet, so I’m all anxious about the fact that I really liked the woman who did my intake interview and I’d really like to have her for real.

Um. So I was really, really nervous, and then I wasn’t. So strange to describe it that way, but that’s really how it felt. I think I’m kind of in that moment of silence before the winds come to blow down my house. When I meet my final therapist and have a real session I’m sure I’ll have more meaningful things to say.

I’ve been singing again lately, which has given me a chance to get out to the city and see a lot of old friends. That’s been… really special to me — reconnecting me to people I haven’t seen in more than half a decade. It’s strange how much having kids disconnects you socially, and I’m beginning to realize how much those connections really mean to me. Especially now. The only thing is, now that I’m realizing it, it’s coming to an end. Soon my little gig will be over and I won’t have an excuse to be in Seattle once a week. Oh, there’ll be therapy, but that will almost certainly be in middle of the day, when it’ll be hard to meet up with anyone. So I’m beginning to feel sad about that.

But as for singing, it’s wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. My voice is not really back to its old form yet, but I’m remembering that I know how to do this. I’m even singing alto half the time!

Oh, and I accidentally came out to someone at work last week. Wow! That made for a strange, but positive day.