Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Familial Revelation

When it comes to family, I think we can all agree that it is never easy and in a word, complicated. I have spent the last few months letting family know about me. Almost all of those I have told have reacted positively, no one has disowned me or anything. The closest I have come to a negative reaction is my youngest brother, who wasn’t negative at all, he was just the closest. I have a few others to tell, cousins who are a bit distant, but whom I still feel deserve to hear it from me, and our middle brother. I have been waiting to tell my middle brother, S, I’m afraid. He has always been the distant brother, one who I can never seem to make happy or get close to. I am probably doing him a great disservice, but I know the type of guys he is friends with so I am hesitant. 

 

 

I did tell another cousin, Kim. She and I were inseparable when we were younger. We spent the weekend at our grandmothers almost every weekend. We were extremely close, we both wanted to be songwriters and playwrights. I would look for ways to get to spend the weekend at the same time Kim did. We would write plays and musicals to put on during cookouts or when we could round up an audience. She was who I wanted to be, pretty, sweet and a girl. I was also in love with her, that kind of children’s love that doesn’t understand cousins can’t be married. I had sent a FB message to her and hadn’t heard anything back for almost a month. I thought that perhaps she either didn’t have FB messenger or that she wasn’t happy with the information. It made me more than a little anxious as she was such a huge part of my life as a child. I wanted her, I don’t know, approval? Acceptance.

 

Well, yesterday, she sent me a FB message… “Love U Cuz!! Call me sometime. You’d be surprised at what we have in common. (her number) Beautiful pic!! (I had sent a selfie of me, it helps when they have a visual to get to grips with things) You are gorgeous!!”

So, needless to say, I was ecstatic! I was so happy that she was happy for me! I was also intrigued by her message. What did she mean by “what we have in common”? 

 

I called Kim almost immediately, this is not something I would let my mind mull over. And it turns out that she, despite being straight and never questioning that, she is in a deep relationship with a trans woman! I was stunned, happily stunned! That she has this mirror image relationship that I have with my wife, it was like the universe saying we haven’t stopped being close! So now we are making plans to meet up in Memphis, to eat and visit!

 

I still have one other cousin, 2nd cousin I believe, I should have kept up with mom’s family tree efforts. Terry was always kind of a distant cousin, but I always thought he was cool. He was the only member of our family, when I was a child, that was gay. He didn’t hide it, just didn’t discuss it, at least around me. He worked in Hollywood as a set designer and then a florist. My grandparents who were very conservative never gave him grief that I know of, he always managed to visit, even got my grandparents to Ted Turner and Jane Fonda’s home to spend Christmas. It was never discussed, his being gay, everyone knew but it wasn’t discussed. We haven’t talked in a while, but he helped me when I moved to LA at a young foolish age. So, I will send him a FB message as well, see how that turns out.

 

I know it seems like I am searching for acceptance, but really,I think I am probably supplementing my NOT coming out at work with coming out to everyone else. There is a point where I will need to just stop this, to confront my employers and then look for another job. It’s not going to work out here, where I work now. They will never accept anyone different from them, which is sad.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Wardrobe Assimilation

When we bought our house, it was after many searches and with a very frazzled realtor who almost wept when we finally closed. One of the features that spoke to my wife was a closet in the hallway that was very big and lined and shelved in cedar. I was less pleased with the small closet that I knew would end up being mine. It has no shelves, just a rack that is about three feet long. This closet would have been great for a man who lived a spartan life. I knew that this closet would not be great for me, a woman who likes clothes. So, yes, I have closet envy.

 

My wife has filled her large closet with clothes and shoes and I have over-filled my little closet completely. I have pruned down my masks male clothing to just the five shirts I wear 5 days a week to work, the rest, pants, shirts, dresses, etc. are all mine. I have shoes piled upon each other on the floor of the closet with a small plastic drawer set for sundries. I could change some things, such as adding a shelf above the clothes rod, so that I have a place to put my wigs. But overall, the size of the closet is the size it must be, there is a window in the only area in which it can be expanded.

 

Aside from the closet, we have a nine-drawer dresser in which I have one single drawer. I know this sounds like I am complaining about my wife, that isn’t my intent. When we started living together, she didn’t know about my being a woman. So, when we moved into an apartment together, I was in full mask mode. And when we were figuring out our living situation, I responded in “spartan male” and told her I just need a drawer and a small part of the one huge closet. Things have obviously changed, but we are creatures of habit and I don’t want to seem like I am taking space from her. This weekend I am going to do that however, get a couple more drawers and see about cleaning out a few junk drawers in our smaller dresser.

 

Next to the closet is a large wicker chest under the window. It is filled with comforters, hand-made quilts my grandmother and great-grandmother had made. I use the top of the chest to put a box of breast forms, my current week’s pair of pants, my sleepshirt and my two wigs. However, it is also the place I pile clean dresses and shirts and capris, etc. that I don’t have the space for in my closet or drawer. It becomes impossible to find anything without digging through the entire pile and having to reassemble the pile. 

 

All of this came about because I decided to do something about the clothes pile. I decided to wash the entire pile even though they are clean, our dog was shedding for a couple of months very badly so hair everywhere. After they dried, I hung everything that could be hung in the closet. I was left with a considerable pile of clothes that still didn’t have a home, my one drawer being completely full. So, they are back on the wicker chest until I can get more space. I intend to create space this weekend, hopefully without my wife feeling resentful that I am taking space from her.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Weight of Things

When I was a child, from 6 to 12 years old, I was fat. I had to wear “husky” boy’s jeans, that was the name of the size “husky”! So on top of having to wear something that was for boys, it had to be named something like “husky”. Who does that to a child? Why not just say we ran out of numbers for your size so now we are going descriptive, something like “Chubby” or no, wait how about “Husky”?! I was picked on at school for being fat; I got into fights a lot. So, I worked out all the time with my mother; I was determined to knock my weight down. I was active and played sports, I was particularly happy to play baseball. I know it seems like a manly sport, but it’s non-contact and I got to wear a uniform that had albeit manly stirrup pants, but they were still stirrup pants.

 

I started leaning out in my early teens, and once I was in high school and running in track, at 16 yrs old, I was very lean. During this time I could wear almost anything my stepsister (who was 13 at the time) had in her closet that wasn’t constrained by height or my shoulders which were too broad for some clothes. My stepmother’s clothes were almost perfect, so I wore a lot of Cato’s dresses during that time. I was weighing in at 120 lbs at the time. Being that lean meant no boobs at all, but at least I could stuff my stepmom’s bras with the contents of my sock drawer.

 

After joining the military, I stayed lean, maintaining 165 lbs; muscle put on by running track and from military training had made me heavier but not much bulkier. I could wear anything my girlfriends wore for the most part. Even after I left the military, I managed to keep to my weight down for years.  I started gaining weight during my first marriage, a combination of being married to a person who made me miserable, depression and quitting smoking did its work. Since I didn’t keep to a workout regime or running, I slowly and imperceptibly started gaining weight. I didn’t realize it at first, I had to get new jeans every once in a while, that was all. I really started noticing when I couldn’t wear a lot of the clothes my (now) ex-wife wore. I started going to a gym, but I found I had a lot of issues with sticking to a routine. There were many times in which I had just given up because I was stressed and anxious and depressed, and working out didn’t seem to relieve any of that. I am also lazy! Laziness can’t be understated here, I like to watch television and play video games.  All of thesethings combined into a pretty potent recipe for being overweight. I had let being thin during my prime fool me into thinking my weight would never change, the foolishness of youth.

 

After my divorce, I was still hiding who I was. We have a son and we were then fighting for custody. Thankfully, I had never told her about my being trans or bisexual, she had no idea. She is conservative in the extreme, probably my trying to push who I was way down into a dark pit. If she had known, it would have been used against me during the divorce and the custody battle. I viewed the divorce and legal proceedings as my fault, because I wasn’t in actuality, my mask, it had to be my fault. Lying in your marriage, especially about who you are, can’t be a good marriage. Depression was my only friend at that time. Then I lost custody of my son, I sank into the darkest recesses of depression, even contemplated the worst thoughts of self-harm. I was lost of darkness for several years, just barely keeping it together to keep my job, but I had let myself completely go. I’m tall, so it doesn’t look it, but was carrying around two of me. 

 

When Michelle and I finally got together, then married after 25 years of friendship, weight became a thing for both of us. We are older now and it’s harder to lose and harder to workout. We don’t spring back into shape, we had to really work at a change of any kind. It can be disheartening to put forth all this effort for little to no change, weight-wise. We tried juicing, which is when you don’t eat anything but the juice of vegetables & fruit. It’s not a fun cleansing, we did it for 30 days. At first, you miss chewing food, you are always hungry and you get agitated. About two weeks in, you hit the plateau where hunger dies down, the chewing is just forgotten, and you start feeling great. I lost 75 lbs in the month we did that. Of course, when you start eating again, if you maintain your workouts and eat reasonably, then you will stay on point with the weight loss. We didn’t do this, we had started shopping for houses and with the stress of getting a VA loan and finding a house within our price range and the packing of our apartment and moving, for three months we basically ate junk food and stopped working out. (Lazy remember?)

 

After buying our home, I purchased a treadmill and managed to get the great hulk of a thing put together in our home office. I have used it ten times. I don’t know why I have trouble making myself use it, I usually like treadmills in gyms or in the apartment gym, but at home I just find excuses not to use it. I have some pain in my ankle, caused by being overweight and I use that as an excuse. It’s also boring, I get bored on the treadmill, even if I use my phone to play tv shows or movies on Netflix. I keep rededicating myself to working out and using the treadmill to only use it a day or two at a time. Then I find an excuse, any will do, to not touch it again for weeks.

 

In the end, I am my own worst enemy for being healthy. I tend towards fatty foods and leading a sedentary lifestyle which is just not good. I want to be thin(nerbecause I want to look as good as I can and fit into the clothes I like, but I also just want to be healthy and vibrant again, a bit of youth reclaimed. For those of us already fighting the ravages of testosterone and a biologically male body, weight becomes a big issue.

 

I don’t have any answers for getting the weight down or keeping it off for lazy transgender people who have a genetic disposition to be large in the first place. I am guessing eat right, workout and don’t try to cheat the system because I am pretty sure that never works out well in the end.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My Post Interrupted…

The problem with being me (sans mask) at home is that it consists of mostly weekends and a few week nights. The weekdays belong to my mask, who works and gets paid to keep our family fed, housed and all the things that come with it. Of those weekends and week nights, I don’t really go out, I like to be at our home and work in the yard or spend family time. The mask I have grown up wearing is an introvert. I have no way of knowing what *I* am, who I am. I like to think that I am nice and a bit of an extrovert, but since I spend no real time with friends or outside of my property, it’s hard to see if I am growing into anything. 

 

It’s not that I don’t want to go out, but I am hampered by my own issues, those of my voice (first and foremost) which is very male and makes me horribly self-conscious. Then there is my weight, about which I have done very little lately, my work out routine is mainly thinking of an excuse in order to not work out. There will always be issues; body image is a huge one since it comes in two forms, the obvious gender dysphoria and being too heavy. I’m my own worst enemy. Who doesn’t want to be pretty?

 

More than this, I’m trying to shed my masks mannerisms, these were used to distract from who I actually am, movements honed into a masculine ideal so that I could not be detected. Of course I am doing the same as all transwomen do in the beginning; I am over-feminizing my movements to where they are more a caricature than reality. I am working on this, everything takes time which is at a premium to those starting late in life.

 

Sorry – I was writing this and I got a twitter alert. Trump has just tweeted this statement, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow..........Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.........victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you,”

 

Alright, most of you know I am a veteran of Desert Storm/Shield. So it should be pretty easy to know how I feel about Trumps statement. We are already serving, we have always served. This is just like the bathroom laws against us. Do you really think we haven’t been around since the start of humanity? That we haven’t used the bathroom? Fought in wars, served with honor, gotten medals and saved lives? Trump, who has never served in the military, gotten deferrments from service, is trying to stop those who are transgender from serving. Yet another thing, one at a time until we are put back into the closet where white cis men in power don’t have to see us. This is the start of the take down of the LGBT community, first the T, then the rest will go down one at a time under this administration.

 

I know one thing about me, one thing that doesn’t change wether I am wearing my mask or not. I shall not go quietly.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Transgender Dominion

I don’t travel in the circles of other transgender. My son is the only other transgender person I have ever met face to face, that I know of. I would love to make friends and hang out if they were good people, I am an introvert and it takes a lot for me to overcome that. I have heard that in a lot of cases, when groups of trans get together that it can get clique-ish. That these cliques can become very judgmental of others for not being transitioned, or transitioned enough, or even passing etc. I admit this causes me some concern, I never feel transitioned enough for myself, no idea what trans-snobs would think of me. I think it is easy to forget how it felt being the newly out person, or to be jaded because they spent so much money transitioning and this new person hasn’t done that yet or doesn’t need to spend that money. It becomes a kind of badge that they probably feel must be earned. Of course, that isn’t how it is in reality. In reality, we all walk our own path, transitioned or not, if you are transgender you just are, regardless of a judgement rendered by your peers.

 

I was recently on Facebook and noticed that someone was in a tirade over a British comedian, Eddie Izzard’s, claim that he is transgender. [Note: I will be using masculine pronouns in reference to Eddie Izzard, because that is how he continues to refer to himself.] The person who ranted didn’t like that Eddie was “pretending” or using a transgender claim as a way to boost his presence. Now, I had known from his comedy specials (Dressed to Kill, Circle, etc) that he identified himself as a transvestite, or an executive transvestite. How much of that was his comedy, or how he actually identified I have no idea, and frankly I didn’t care. I don’t need to know a person’s gender or even sexual orientation for me to enjoy them as an actor or comedian or a dog walker or person sitting on a bench, anything really. 

 

In the Facebook post the person who was ranting had referenced the article (which I of course cannot find the actual post now to give the URL for the article), instead here is a similar article. https://inews.co.uk/essentials/culture/eddie-izzard-people-still-shout-abuse-streets/

 

In both articles he says he came out 32 years ago as transgender. I read the article I cannot find now, and this article and I still cannot actually understand if he came out, then how does he refer to himself as “he” and why still use a male name. But here is the thing I don’t have to understand a thing about him for his being transgender to be real and true. I don’t have to do a thing, don’t have to care, don’t have to shout or shrug. Why other transgender people have this feeling that they alone can judge who is also sufficiently trans has always been a mystery to me. I don’t have to conform to anyone’s idea of trans for me to be a woman. I don’t even like being transgender at all, I mean I support the cause; I want everyone to be treated like a person and not like outcasts or beaten and killed. But the truth of it is, if I could, all transgender would magically be transformed into the gender they are supposed to be, leaving no one to be transgender, just people. Labels are used to control people; labels don’t work in the interests of the minority. So, I don’t care how Eddie Izzard identifies. I don’t care that people see a bloke in a dress because he still uses masculine pronouns and his male name, they were going to do that anyway and it is his life. His being transgender doesn’t detract from me any more than two gay people being married detract from my marriage, which is also a gay marriage. - Do two bisexual people being married constitute gay marriage? No idea. 

 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

All the things

After telling my brother that I was a woman, I waited to see if someone in the family would contact me or make mention of it. However, I suppose he is being tight-lipped about it. I have a suspicion that he is keeping this secret because he thinks I don’t want it out. He probably doesn’t realize that I have come out to both sets of cousins, I am pretty sure that the wheels of gossip are spinning now. One of my cousins was just wonderful about my confession to her. The others have yet to respond, but I’m ok with that. When I sent them the letter through FB messenger, I told them that I don’t expect a response, that I just wanted them to know. I’m perfectly ok with this arrangement. I can’t and won’t please everyone and this has nothing whatever to do with pleasing anyone.

 

Aside from the general tell-everyone thing, I have been feeling lackluster and a bit despondent. The constant intrusion of manly hair dealings, the lack of time to be Beth rather than my mask has allowed darkness into my thoughts. I don’t care for it, but shaking it off isn’t always an option, sometimes you have to ride the darkness until you find the light. My light is often my wife, who will surprisingly include me in “girly” things. Yesterday, she had talked about waxing and how she wanted to try the wax beans and wanted to know if I would be interested in trying it too. It was nice to be included, to know that she is thinking of me. It has helped too that my best friend, Joe, showers me with compliments about how pretty I am. Between the two, it is easy to forget the genetic misfire of this body.

 

Onto other things.. Twitter. I have an account, @bethlocke45 ,which I use to shout my thoughts at people. I have avoided twitter for years, yes I love tech and I am an IT person, but I just don’t like being limited to 140 characters. Twitter always felt trite. I can’t say my views have really changed, but I have embraced twitter without my mask, and that is freeing no matter what venue. I don’t have much of a following, but I like to think I have quality over quantity.  At first I had put I was a “transblogger” on my profile, which I had seen on others and thought it was a cute way to put it. But then every post, no matter the subject was ignored and instead became an attack on my being a “man pretending to be a woman”. So, I tried taking off the transblogger, but I left my blog address on the profile. Miraculously, I was cured! I was no longer a man, but a woman with whom they could disagree. Sure, I still deal with the mansplaining and the assumption that I don’t know what I am talking about, but it doesn’t take over the entire discussion. It’s amazing the change in tone and how less aggressive people are. I don’t like leaving this part of me off, only because I had a few really good conversations about what being transgender means. In fact, one conversation actually brought about the best talk with the best results. Another MtFtransgender person and I were able to have a conversation with a cis woman and explain what transgender meant after she had asked on a political post. She is now an ally and we follow each other on twitter! So I feel like I am losing that part, but I would have to keep arguing the other 99.9% of the time about my not being a man at all. So for now, I have left the transblogger off my profile. I would rather argue about things that we have choices on, like politics, sarcastic poetry and cat gifs. I told you, trite, right?

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Birthday

Another year is down. I typically don’t subscribe to the linear timeline or the various anniversaries established within it. Celebrating my birthday was always something I did with great reluctance and only if approached by others to do so. Otherwise, my birthday didn’t exist. It isn’t that I care about my age or time that has passed. I just didn’t want to celebrate the error of my birth as a biologically male child. Celebrating that anniversary was never something I wanted to do. I was a somber child; you wouldn’t know it because I hid behind jokes or I was just silent and kept to myself. I felt that if I couldn’t distract them with laughter they may look too closely, they may see something wrong with me. I felt wrong, broken. I couldn’t define it, couldn’t express it. I grew into a mostly silent adult, rarely going out of my way to meet people or engage. If they somehow guessed about me, or just rejected me out of hand, it was better to just be hidden. I avoided photos of myself. I look through photos of my life and with exception of a very early age; I can count the number of photos of my mask on one hand. I never ever contemplated a “selfie”, it would just never happen. In the last couple of years, when I am able to be me, I take the occasional selfie and even look myself in the mirror without disgust. So things are improving slowly but surely.

 

As with most transgender, I go through periods of time where I am depressed and experience an increase in my dysphoria. I also feel like I am stuck and not moving forward. In those moments, I want to just stop, go back to pretending to be my mask, grow the stupid hair on my face and be miserable. These feelings happen and I get through them, I rarely mention them because I don’t want these momentary issues to define me, they are not my story. I’m human, so I am far from perfection; I experience doubt and loneliness, fear and jealousy. I live with mostly women, my wife and my daughter;they are both beautiful in their own ways. I have female friends who are beautiful and wonderful. I experience jealousy that they are able to concentrate on being treated equally, to be taken seriously as people. When I come out fully, I will have to contend with not only equality and being taken seriously, but I will have to fight to just be treated as a woman. I won’t ever be able to wake up in the morning and be pretty and with false modesty exclaim how I look terrible. I will forever be fighting this body because I lacked bravery/information at a young age. Testosterone has done so much damage, hardened my mask into the very likeness of a prisonSo, yeah, not all roses here, I have the issues. Not as bad as some, bad enough to be scarred by it. There is nothing to be done but continue the fight, to try to make my life as good as I can. 

 

Since I have come out to the majority of the people in my life, I find that the anniversaries mean more, that many things mean more to me. My birthday, while it is still a contentious subject, I find that I can enjoy it for others. I celebrated this year as me, as Beth. That makes this a pretty good birthday.