I have been struggling to sleep, my mind keeps me up late and then my parental duties get me up early. It means I am just getting more and more tired, this morning I even curled up on the sofa after my son had gone to school and napped for an hour, but then I decided to be constructive and am waiting for the coffee to finish while I type this.
This weekend I have finally been able to start catching up with my Canadian friend – time difference means that I log on to the computer late evening and he logs on early afternoon, we started to play a game called Everybody’s golf which allows us to chat while we do something simple and relaxing, this game is a great time killer, in almost every game I play I have an online male character and then a female character that I play in solo mode, I started the same way in this game but since Christmas I started using the female skin all the time. It is a very visible sign of my current conflict, the male avatar looks fairly close to me, to me this is how the world sees me day to day, the female avatar is just cute and looks nothing like me, but definitely represents more about how I would most often like to be perceived, one of the things in the game is unlocking different costumes as you progress and beat computer players and this lolita goth outfit was the one I most recently unlocked until recently she was wearing an oriental style silk dress and heels.
I can use the female avatar with my friend because he knows about my current struggle, but what I wasn’t expecting was that another friend who does not know came online and because UK-Canada live chats are rare (and because we are all friends) we invited him to join the game and the party, after a quick check to ensure that any trans topic was now off the table we invited him in, but I consciously chose to keep my female skin as we played. After passing a comment about my friends skin looking just like him, we joked that my female skin looks totally like me too and then just played the game and messed about. No drama, the other friend is one of my closest friends and would accept Dee without skipping a beat, his wife however is a kind hearted gossip and I am not ready for her/everyone I know to know. Even though she will be amazing for makeup tips.
Last night I was able to start catching up properly with my Canadian friend and told him that I am waiting for my appointment at the gender clinic but that it will be October before my first appointment, I spoke to him about how I had stopped the counselling I had been paying privately for because I had realised I was just going around in circles. The counsellor was very affirming and normalised my dressing and wish to present female, which is great – I still have a lot of guilt and shame around dressing, some of it is cultural indoctrination and some of it is personal disgust at not knowing myself better and just being too horny, but what I want at the moment is not so much a person centered approach to this – which is what I would normally seek as a better way to come to grips with myself, but a solution focused approach that shows me my options and allows me to choose the right/best path.
I told him I had started facial hair removal and that it was REALLY sore, but I know it will be worth it no matter what happens and pointed out that one of the big issues I have is that I confuse people because I am very self aware, one of my sticking points with embracing being trans is the question, why has it taken 40 years to surface? I know my motivation for just about every behaviour and yet never considered why I cross dressed until my marriage fell apart. The two big events are still too close for me to write it off as a coincidence.
My friend is amazing. He talks openly and frankly and never beats around the bush on a topic – if you ask for his opinion he will give it. He started by discussing my impending divorce and my exes engagement, checking how I was before voicing his disgust at how she has behaved (last time we split I got very defensive of her) and how he thought I was doing the right thing maintaining the relationship for the kids.
My friend said that he was not worried about me because I was fucking titanium, I can handle anything and just keep going. Which made me laugh, he asked what I was most worried about and I talked about having to fight to keep my son, I said I am worried he would freak out but think if I took my time then he would be okay with it and transitioning takes years to do anyway. .
I talked about the fear of how my mum would handle the news because we have had more than enough drama in our lives thanks to her and I discussed the idea that this totally changes the relationship with the remaining family, they pretty much have to mourn the fact that their brother/son is not there any more, even though I would still be me.
He told me that for him he did not see it as losing me, he said I was still in his top 3 list of people to go to when he needs someone to listen or to vent to, the things he likes about me are not external and still there. For him, from what I have talked about, this just lets him get to know more of me, the parts that have stayed hidden from everyone – becoming female just makes me more of who I am and not less. Female or male we will still do the same things like we have done this weekend, we will still get the banter, you will just be more open and less sealed off.
He said he has seen me face a few big issues in my life but only a couple have been genuinely life changing, if he could he would make it so that I did not have to face all of the pain and suffering that he sees me going through, but not because he would not want me to be Dee, but because he does not want to see me struggling. We discussed my employer and what my plans are for telling them, and while I am leaving it in the category of crossing that bridge when we come to it, I am more worried that they would use me as a poster child to show how inclusive they are than cause me grief, but co-workers can and will be a constant issue afterwards, I will never be just another woman in the workplace – always that trans person. I am thick skinned enough to know that I can cope with that, and that in a worst case scenario I can always do the same job elsewhere, but in order to do so I need to be so sure that Dee should be the one to face it.
Again he said that he will call me Dee at any point if I ask him to and we would have kept going but his wife arrived home and so he had to log off and go and adult, but I am glad we spoke. I feel a lot calmer today.
He has a way of considering what I am saying and then asking a question to clarify his understanding that allows me to be concise.
Did I mention that my friend is amazing?
I am still torn internally, but I think I am recognising that actually a part of it is me clinging to the old me, a part of me does not want to stand and say I am a woman for fear of being mocked and ridiculed, the small child that was bullied and learned not to take self worth from the words of others still desperately wants approval.
I guess I don’t want to be transgender, I am not as open and accepting of myself as I am with others – I accept anyone as I find them and yet it appears that what is good enough for others is different for me. I hate that I feel that. I hate that a part of me is jealous of all these people that can shout “I am trans” and be excited for their journey. It gladdens me when they share success stories but I envy their certainty about it being the right thing.
I will need to decide if I can cope with being a bald woman or if I will face a few weeks of good intentioned mockery as I suddenly start having hair all the time – this piece of vanity causes me more issues than the thought of being a bearded lady, which I can do something about.
I still do not want to be seen as a man in drag, but if I am out as Dee I want the world to see her and not him.
I still have such a long way to go.