Being Seen

I often wonder whether or not I am doing the right thing

The realisation and acceptance that I am trans and living and moving in the wrong social circles has stopped a lot of the huge feelings of self doubt and uncertainty that I have lived with for most of my life.

I know that transitioning for me is not because I could not continue to live the way I am now. I have always found a way to keep on placing one foot in front of the other and could no doubt trudge along for another 5-10 years unhappily existing; but really it is because I know that the way that I live now is just not genuine and to me that fakeness is just more damaging to me.

I am living a half life and not actually embracing myself to the fullest.

The slumps and unrecognised periods of depression, the worries about being less than everyone around me, that feeling of being the cuckoo in the nest, my sense of disgust with who I am, all stem in some way from the fact that I have been living as a man, when everything internally screams to be recognised as a woman.

My niece and one of my Canadian friends both wished me a happy Trans Day of Visibility. Yet I still feel totally invisible.

Other than my two Canadian friends it is only the people I know through forums and bloging that call me by my preferred name. Even my sisters who have known for ages still use my male name when they text me in our family group chat. Only one has ever bought me presents for DeeDee, but the rest still use Uncle & brother cards and as I talk about the counselling to move towards hormones they seem to get increasingly worried about what is going to happen with me, it comes from a place of concern but feels like a negative. Most of the time conversations around gender just do not come up because I don’t want to overload them, especially when so little is actually happening.

For me it feels like I have done nothing to transition with my life in any meaningful way so far, on my bad days I just see myself as no different to the person I have always been, some sad man crossdressing at home and not doing anything else (intellectually I have no issue with anyone expressing themselves and their gender but emotionally I use my internalised transphobia as a stick some days to beat myself up) – as much as I desperately want to tell my mum I am transgender and will be changing my presentation so that the outside matches how I feel on the inside – I haven’t. Logically I know it is just because it is best to do it in person and everyone has plans that have had to go on hold, emotionally it took me so long to build up the courage to say something that the longer I don’t say anything the more of a fraud that I feel.

I desperately want to tell my children so that I can stop hiding in front of them, my daughter will be moving soon with her mum and my son knows I intend to move in the future too so they have both been talking a lot about where I may end up and all I can tell them is that I will move when I am ready to move and the time is right – I know that I will not move before I have started hormones because if I did I would drop back down to the waiting list of whichever healthboard I move into. Once I am on hormones they cannot take me off them without doctors and GP’s getting involved, and other waiting lists for GRS are a national issue because of the limitation of options. My daughter was in my room two days ago cleaning up a present that one of the dogs had left in protest after I had gone out without them and I realised afterwards that because I hadn’t put away my clean washing pile there were hosiery and knickers and ladies PJ’s very obviously mixed in with the pile. She never said a word but I went and put my clean clothes away the very next morning!

I know my kids will need time to adjust but they should not have to carry around the burden of not being able to talk to anyone about me just because I haven’t told enpugh people yet. They are teenagers and will either be embraced or mocked by their peers (because teens can be brutal) and they are both diagnosed with ASD which makes social cues and awareness a different experience for both of them. I do believe that when they need to know is after I have come out to my friends so they have adults they can trust to talk to if they need it, by then an accidental comment to the wrong person will not be the end of the world for me.

My canadian friends have actively done a lot of work and it is becoming easier and easier to feel myself engaging with them as DeeDee and not their male friend. The fact that they are actively using my name and are subtley changing their way of talking and joking with me gives me a real boost that really helps me to feel grounded when I cannot dress or look the way I want to.

I want to have that same process start with my other friends, I want to be able to have the conversation with them and let them start the process of working through in their minds whether or not they can accept me, becoming “one of the girls” will take a lot longer, but I already have way more access to that space with regards to chat groups and invites and planning get togethers then the men in our friend group (as in, there are literally no men other than me in them) so I think the no man’s land (pun intended) won’t take me quite so long to cross. That mental adjustment will take longer than seeing the physical adjustment, which will happen organically when it can.

By the end of this summer I know that I will have told my mum, and my friends and hopefully will have spent at least one or two days or nights as myself in company.

By the end of this year I want to have started the conversation with my work and be looking seriously at how and where I can move to continue doing what I know I am good at, but in a place that lets me make that new start.

I know who I am in far greater detail now because it has taken a few years of thinking about nothing else to get to this stage.

So much relies on the other dominoes falling into place, I don’t think I will be able to change out my wardrobe and wear androgynous or female gendered clothing before I fully come out, I visualise it more as just increasing the times I can be DeeDee in front of others until I just don’t go back to the male costume which I think of more and more in terms of stealth.

When I am socialising as a man I view myself as being hidden in plain sight, when I get to be DeeDee I am no longer hiding. If I have to do that and shave everything 2-3 times a week (daily for my face) then so be it, but I cannot wait for hormones to do all the work anymore than I can wait until I lose the weight that makes me a UK size 18 so I can wear size 14 clothes and feel pretty.

I just have to be realistic and work with what I have, that is how I move from invisibile to visible, maybe I should just pcik a date and go for it. As the Dr Pepper ad states, what’s the worst that could happen?

XX

11 thoughts on “Being Seen

  1. Transition is hard. It is a mountain to climb, and can seem daunting. Do what you have been doing. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. What can you do to advance your transition? Is there a person you could tell, who might be supportive? Could you have a facial hair removal session? (Each one is another step on the way.) Can you go out as yourself?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Clare, with everything being so shut down this last year there has been very little I could do. As more businesses start to open I will see if I can get back to hair removal where I can at least ask about chest/back options even if faces are a no go. I know most of my friends will be a non issue albeit shocked, but it would cause more long term damage if my mum found out I had told others first than it will for her to get it straight from me the next chance I get regardless of how she takes it. It certainly does feel like a mountain at the moment though!

      Like

  2. DeeDee,

    As Clare said, transition is indeed hard, scary, and we oftentimes wish it could just be over and done. Like you, I ruminated on all the steps, what might happen, the timing, all that stuff. I tried to think myself through taking steps. In the end it was the pleasure and enjoyment of taking each step that carried me through. As Leo Babauta wrote, “Fear is kind of like a wall, and on the other side is a kind of freedom.” That freedom which was an awareness that I was boldly being authentic was very good.

    But friends and family and career can react in any number of ways. For each of them our transition and their feelings are very surprising. I felt like shouting, “I’m still the same person you know and love !” but to some, I wasn’t. Some instantly embraced my truth and for others it took quite some time. Even years.

    One thing that helped me was I wrote out my own Frequently Asked Questions. That satisfied some of my urge to take some control and especially gave me some confidence that I had my own answers in my own words pretty well thought out. I edited and refined, and added questions as I came up with more. It became kind of a fun private game and quest for me.

    Best wishes,

    Emma

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emma, you may find you have a best seller on your hands if you ever publish your FAQ’s, but it is definitely a good idea to use this time to make sure I can answer some of the more obvious questions without struggling x

      Like

  3. “…internalised transphobia as a stick…”

    Can I start with you are doing your best you can right now? As your confidence grows and the situation changes, other possibilities may well appear. As Clare says, it’s a mountain to climb.

    With that metaphor in mind, you could look at it as a binary of climbed / not climbed. However in doing so, if your goal is to reach the summit, it’s easy to fall into the trap that anything that doesn’t take us to the top is failure. That’s a really hard hit with the stick 🙂

    If you can, look at what you have done through kind eyes, only listen to the words you’d say to a friend because often, we’re our own worst critics.

    Going back to the mountain, prepping base camp, planning the route, testing things, even climbs which take you a little way: this is all progress. Maybe small steps, but at each point, you are further along than you were the day before. You know a little more and can make a more informed decision as you move along.

    That you are trying, even with all that’s going on, shows a strength of character. Keep going. You’ll get there ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Lynn’s comment. Indeed, internalized transphobia is a beast. Her metaphor of mountain climbing is amazing. this line especially rings true for me, in many parts of my life:

    “If you can, look at what you have done through kind eyes, only listen to the words you’d say to a friend because often, we’re our own worst critics.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “…Her metaphor of mountain climbing is amazing….”

      Thank you and in fairness, Clair did start the ball rolling with her comment on mountains. 👍

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I would add to the mountain climbing metaphor by saying it need not be a solo expedition. It’s certainly safer to be tied to a climbing partner (or partners), anyway. It’s obvious, here, that you have some experienced gender mountaineers who can help to lift you up, in getting over some of the rough spots. Of course, once reaching the top of the mountain, there is a euphoria caused by the rarefied air. So, coming back down is necessary before one can breath easily, and that’s best accomplished with the help of others, as well.

    My cautionary tale is that of my calculated coming out, and how it was really more miscalculated. It was unfair to ask people to keep my “secret” until I could make my next step. I still feel the embarrassment of finding out later that I had been wasting so much energy with a continuing effort to keep up a facade to people who already knew. I don’t blame those who “outed” me, because they were only finding their own ways to deal with something so life-changing (for themselves, as well as me). I think, by the time we feel ready to let go, we have spent years, or decades, in preparation. Our transitions will always be so far ahead of the transitions we may impose – or gift, if we’re lucky – to others in our lives.

    Finding level ground may require rappelling; we just hope it’s not repelling. ;-I

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I removed the erroneous line for you Connie, I am incredibly fortunate to have the input from so many expert mountaineers, as you have mentioned it really is a help. Reading through these comments has already lifted my spirits substantially because you are all so kind. I do hope not to be repelling the people I care about! and am really just trying to manage the risks without micromanaging the outcome which will be what it will be.
      If I could, I would ditch my male wardrobe tomorrow and simply start living as DeeDee but it would just cause so many short term problems that would have long term consequences that losing the time now and being patient just makes so much more sense. Even if it does lead to me being frustrated. Thank you for reminding me though that I am not invisible even when I sometimes feel it.

      Like

      1. As careful as I tried to be, my daughter (about 12 at the time) walked in the front door after an (unbeknownst to me) early dismissal from school one day. I was coming out of the bathroom, on the way back to the safety of my locked office across the hall, at the very same moment. My exposure to her could not have been more than two seconds long, but it was a total undoing of years of secrecy. Before I could figure out how to deal with it, it was a whole-family problem. I no longer had the luxury of coming out on my own terms, and it took another decade before I was able to accomplish a workable level of damage control – let alone the acceptance for which I had been hoping. By then, she had had her own child, and I thought I’d never be able to transition. I finally came to the realization that the more I tried to control things, the further out of control life was becoming. Also, whatever hurt may come of it, it will never hurt any less by coming out (coming clean) later. Maybe you felt as I did, just before your first child was born, that you didn’t think you were ready to be a parent. For myself, I can’t believe I ever had doubt, and I’m so glad I didn’t wait. In much the same way, I’m glad that I didn’t wait any longer to transition – even if I now know I could have done it sooner.

        As always, I believe everyone should go at her own pace. I only give examples from my own life as food for thought. You don’t need to even taste it, but I wouldn’t be offended if you seasoned it to your own liking, either.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s