Thursday’s child has far to go according to the rhyme. Which is me at the moment, but at least I know the path I am on now and can see where I need to go.
I am in a good place. For the first time in ages I am feeling like myself and that is in no small part to my combined therapy sessions. For what it’s worth I do not recommend having two therapy sessions on the same day, quite apart from the emotional drain it takes out of you, shifting mental gears from discussing everything about your gender to discussing everything but your gender without losing the benefit of being open and honest requires some mental and emotional gymnastics. Though what I talk about in one session often benefits the other.
This week two friends came in to my area for a brief holiday visit, they were due to go abroad but…2020 and so they needed to get away but stay in the same tier grouping. It was a fantastic surprise and even though we couldn’t hug or get too close to each other we could spend time together.
Ever since I have started questioning the timing and way to start telling my friends has been on my mind, and then every time we met up I decided that it was not the right time or place.
When we were effectively given a room to ourselves for lunch and we had been talking about generic life things including the ability of our friends to keep secrets and confidentiality I just said that I had a secret, and it was a big one, and then after a deep breath I told them I was transgender, after the large wide open gasp, my friends face thought about it for a scond and then she said, “you know, actually that makes so much sense!”
I then proceeded to talk about my journey over the last couple of years and how I have gotten to the place I have, thankfully I was only eating a panini because it was cold well before I finished talking. Her and her husband listened in and assured me that not only would they not tell anyone because it was not their secret to tell, but that if there was any way they could help me they would. They may regret that statement further down the line…
Long story short it felt great to tell them, we spent hours talking and it almost officially marks the start of the process of telling my main group of friends now whenever the restrictions start lifting so we can mingle lots of households again. I really do not mind them knowing that I am transgender.
I answered some questions and offered to do my best to answer more as they come up and showed a few pictures from this blog too, which I think will be the main reaction. Hearing is one thing, but seeing is believing.
This last fortnight I had also been tasked with writing down a list of my experiences of gender dysphoria and emailing it to my gender counsellor prior to this weeks session, the last one I had tried to compile last year was not very long, but when I sat down to write it this time I could think of example after example after example of either me rebelling against the gender role I was given or being forced into it to make me “man up and grow a pair”, by the time I had finished there was 10 pages and it not only had things like playing with dolls and dancing and playing dress up, but also some of the more emotional triggers in my life and times where others had taken advantage. I sent it in from my DeeDee email account and felt great sending and signing it with my chosen name.
The therapist loved it, said she thought it was great that I could write so eloquently about myself, but she said it was long. That this document would effectively form the basis of the referral for HRT and that while she as a psychologist found it fascinating that others would be looking purely from a more medical point of view at the longevity and duration of dysphoria, and so while she felt bad she asked me to try to cut it down and just focus in on the salient points..
I will keep the original, but over the next few days I will revert it back to being a 2-3 page bullet point list of times and examples rather than a 10 page autobiography.
She does want to meet me in person for our next session, rather than just chatting over the phone and I agreed – although it is a total organisational pain, I am actually looking forward to her meeting DeeDee in person.
In my other session today I was able to truthfully say that I am finally starting to find myself again and feel like I am no longer drowning in uncertainty about who I am and what makes me tick as a person.
Recognising that I have been taken advantage of, manipulated and abused throughout my marriage has been a real eye opener for me. There is nothing wrong with admitting that my relatoinship was not a healthy one, I may never get to a point where I can say something to that effect to my ex, especially while my daughter chooses to stay there, but that does not make my experience any less true. The fact that my ex has lived an entirely different reality than I have and would in no way see it that way is a moot point; in fact, if she did find out I’d said something she would blow up in my face and accuse me of making everything her fault because whenever anything happens between us the world thinks that the sun shines out of my backside. (It doesnt – people have naturally taken my side because of her own behaviour towards them, my counsellor is not the first person to tell me I have been getting gaslighted)
Although I only have a couple of sessions left that my work will pay for, what I am hoping for is some coping mechanisms to prevent me falling back into old routines and thought patterns when I interact with her.
I am at a point where I am most nervous about introducing DeeDee to my mum and my kids. I know my work is going to be a slog and a dramatic change, but providing I do not leave things to the last minute and give them plenty of notice I know they will do their best to accomodate me.
Yet for all of the nerves I know that deep down I will be waiting for some acidic comment from my ex to pull me down and make me feel like total shit. It is a similar feeling to that “wait until your father gets home” dread you had as a child when you just knew you were going to get in trouble.
I was literally telling my friend that while a part of my research and questioning has been to find ways to justify being transgender to others, realising that this is who I am means that I do not feel the need to justify myself, she agrees, if DeeDee is who I am then I need to be comfortable being myself no matter what everyone else thinks.
Right now I am so comfortable in my skin that I actually listed my male name in something I wrote online as DeeDee because despite my attempts at preserving my anonymity I just don’t identify as that person any more.
This is who I am and not just who I want to be, and that has never seemed clearer to me.