Showing posts with label therapy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label therapy. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

There is Always a Transition

 

Archive
image
Jessie Hart

In an expansion of yesterday's post, today, I am beginning a post on the extra transitions we go through in life. Many are relatable to everyday life, some are not. Everyone goes through changes or transitions. For example when and if they ever become parents.

My biggest transition came when I crossed the gender frontier from viewing myself as a cross dresser I could possibly live without to a fulltime life as a transgender woman. My transition also came along when I was negotiating raising a daughter, building my career and attempting to outrun myself. Life became very busy as I struggled to find myself. I resorted to therapy to try to balance my mental health. Along the therapy path, I was diagnosed with a Bipolar depression disorder to add on to my gender dysphoria which was dominating my life. Through medication I take to this day, I am able to control my depression and my gender dysphoria became much better when I finally decided to fully leave my gender closet. 

As I lived on, maybe I should have taken up the motto, "Later is Greater" as I took my time exploring the possibilities of living a totally femininized life. My excuse is I wanted to make sure I had it all right before I risked it all and left my male self behind. Eventually, I learned from all the trips I was making out the door of our house, doing the best I could to blend into the world as a woman, transgender or not. Then, another transition was facing me head on. It was the great leap from being an experimenter to being a doer or practitioner of being feminine. I took years of watching and learning to understand what my second wife was telling me when she said I didn't know anything about being a woman. Not only was she right, she did did her best to hold me back from learning what she was talking about. There was no way she wanted to show me much about what truly being a woman was all about. Instead, she persisted in calling me the "Pretty, pretty princess."

Her failure to help me just pushed me farther and farther towards my next transition which was a huge one. The more I settled on a feminine look and style I liked, people I previously didn't know began to recognize me and I was forced to begin to build a whole new life as a trans woman. Primarily it meant I needed to communicate with the world with tools which were totally foreign to me. Trying my best to develop a softer feminine sounding tone was a real challenge along with adjusting to a society of women where passive aggressive behavior was the rule. There were too many times I suffered when I didn't perceive exactly where the attack on me was coming from. Instead of usual male frontal attack I was used to, I needed to start watching my back. Communication with the world was a huge part of my next gender transition. 

After I thought I had the communication and appearance transitions down, seemingly there was another challenge awaiting me at every turn. Who knew it could be so difficult to cross the gender divide? I was often frustrated when the smallest details would trip me up, not to mention the big ones such as the ill advised use of water balloons as breast forms. The balloons worked well enough until one exploded on me one night in a venue I often went to. Fortunately, I was on my way to the woman's rest room when it happened and it was empty. I was able to clean up,  quietly finish my drink and leave with no one noticing me, I was wearing a loose fitting top so no one saw or mentioned the one breasted wet woman on her way out of the venue. Needless to say, my next investment was silicone breast forms. 

As I near my seventy fifth birthday. transitions are harder to come by yet more meaningful These days, I mostly just present as old. Plus, my ultimate paranoia of having to go to assisted living and having my gender attacked looms large. As I always say, I need to do my best not to dwell on the future and live in the present. 

None of us control the final transition, no matter how much money or power we have. It is up to any higher power you believe in to make it happen..   

Friday, July 12, 2024

Trans Peaks and Valleys

Image from the
Jessie Hart Archives.

Lifetime as a whole presents us with many peaks and valleys to negotiate.

Since I am transgender and always wanted to be a woman, my peaks and valleys often revolved around times when I came out as my authentic self in the world. Very early on, sadly, there were more frequent valleys than peaks as I learned to survive in the public as a novice cross dresser or transgender woman. I vividly remember too many times when I came home sobbing when I was laughed at. I don't remember now how I survived the dark times and continued to move forward. 

As I did move forward, there were other peaks in my life such as when my only child was born. When she arrived, my existence changed forever. Plus, I wondered how having a new person in the world would effect my gender desires. In many ways, I thought it was poetic justice when I had a girl. For some reason, deep down, I thought I could understand a girl better than a boy.  Since my daughter turned out the way she did, maybe I was right.

A big problem I had with my peaks and valleys was staying in one place long enough to actually understand if I was doing anything right. As I constantly changed jobs and moved my small family, I gave my second wife a hard way to go when I tried to chase myself. I am amazed we made it through twenty five years. 

Another problem I had was when I needed to come down off the gender peaks when I encountered them. Gender euphoria was so rare, I wanted to hang on to it as long as I could. When I couldn't I would become frustrated and ultimately mean around my family and co-workers. 

The more I progressed in my gender transition the more extreme the effort to climb out of the valleys became. The major problem was I didn't feel increasingly secure in my old male role and at the same time, I was feeling more and more natural as my femininized self. Which again caused me great frustration when I fell deeper into my valley. At several points I was so deep, I needed therapy to help me restore my mental health. Therapy on occasion did help me climb up to an acceptable level of a peak. When I was smart enough to actually take the therapist's advice. 

It turned out my fear of heights carried over to my transgender issues. The better I became at existing as a woman in public, I was scared. Primarily because for the first time in my life it seemed to be a real possibility I could reach my dream of actually living as a transgender woman. As I looked down on my previous male life, leaving it scared me. What would I do about  losing all of my white male privileges and then having to start all over again. At the time, the only female privilege I could see was a man opening a door for me. Which I later found to be false as there were other feminine benefits I had yet to experience as I climbed my gender peak. 

Finally, at the age of sixty, I could take the pressure of the climb no longer and I decided to stop all aspects of my old male life. I was taking gender affirming hormones to take me to the next step, my mental health was improving and for once I could see my life clearly as a transgender woman. So even though I needed to take a leap of faith off a cliff and transition, I found I had others around me who provided a soft landing. It turned out, I hadn't lost anything at all. 

My up and down life of trying to live as both binary genders was difficult at times to say the least. Near the end I found I made the correct decision on which peak to climb and it was not the male one.

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Transgender Truth

Image from Ava Sol
on UnSplash

Often as a transgender woman or trans man, we have a hard time find finding out our personal truths. 

Our truths can be hidden behind a maze of society issues which we have to work our way through. In other words, is what we are thinking a real truth or something acting like one. Did I really want to be a girl or just temporally look like one? I struggled to figure it all out. 

Worse yet, was the fact I needed to hide my emerging truth from the world. How was I ever going to discover if my gender life as a guy was indeed a lie unless I was able to take on the world as my own sense of femininity. Was it all an act or was it real, who knew? Little did I know, I was embarking on a lifetime trip to determine how true my gender issues were. As I went along, hiding became less and less of an alternative because I was finding out how natural I felt when I was playing in the girl's sandbox. All the bastions of sacred femininity were suddenly opening to me in the forms of being invited to girl's night's out and earning my way into having women's rest room privileges. 

When I did, the pressure started to mount to live my life more and more as a transgender woman. Every time I had to interact with the world as a man, I felt as if I was somehow an impostor and I was just going through the motions. Plus, my obligations to spouse, family, friends and work started to weigh heavily on my mental health. I did my best to enlist the aid of a qualified gender therapist to help me. There were very few of the therapists in those days who knew anything at all about gender issues, so mine was hard to find. Looking back, I think I saw her advertisement in an issue of "Transvestia" Magazine. When she saw me after a couple of appointments, she told me her truth which I did not listen to. She said, there was nothing she could do with me wanting to be a woman and somehow I would have to learn to live with it or accept it. Like I said, I ignored her advice and continued to ignore my basic truth.

Speaking of truth, currently, I am writing a book gift which was given to me on Mother's Day this year by my daughter. It is a year long project designed to answer questions from my family. The book will be given  to me after I am done and then passed on so others can understand my life and truths after I am gone. One of the questions from my trans grandchild is what has been the most ill-advised thing you (me) has ever done and I think ignoring my therapist's advice may have to be up around the top. Had I listened to her and told my second wife the truth, I would have saved myself so much turmoil over the years and I would have faced my truth. How bad could have it have been. I would have had to find other employment and new friends but rebuilding my life then could have been easier. 

I was stubborn and held on to my idea I ever was male for way too long and it cost me years of alcohol abuse and mental health problems. I was so fortunate I found and was accepted by women who I admired so much who embraced my idea of what an ideal woman would act like. Ironically, the evil TERF's were few and far between. I was allowed to flourish as I learned so much from the women around me who accepted me for what I was for the first time in my life. 

My truth was finally evident to me. I had never been meant to live a male existence and I just wish I had faced my transgender truth earlier than the age of sixty. Sixty is when I gave in and gave up any hope of ever living as a male again. In addition, I am so proud of my college aged transgender grand child for coming out so early in her life. Hopefully, my existence helped hers.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Gender Stress

 

Image from Alekon Pictures
on UnSplash

Living a transgender life can often be nearly unbearable. I found it to be especially so when my male self was refusing to give up a losing cause and I was still trying to discover the wonders of living as a novice transgender woman.

In many ways, I don't blame my guy for holding on because of all the work he did to arrive at where he was in the white male hierarchy he grew up in. By jumping genders, I was risking it all. My job, my family and friends could conceivably all be gone. The pressure was on. In one way I admired the men around me who didn't have gender issues to deal with but on the other hand, I felt so alive and natural when I was expressing my transgender self. More and more, I so admired the women around me even more than the men. 

All of this envy led me to a major point in my life where I finally needed to decide my future gender. In many ways, it was my own fault because when I started coming out, I was more successful quicker than I ever thought possible. Very early on, I was just going out cross dressed to see if I could and then discovered it was going be easier than I thought to build a new life as a woman. To my surprise, strangers wanted to know me. Especially other women who wanted to know why I wanted to be in their world. At the time, I had just lost my wife and most of my close friends to death, so I was extremely lonely. Any attention I received was a surprise and welcome. 

The problem was I still had a male life to decide what I wanted to do with. Did I want to try to keep him part-time or go all the way and do away with all of my male existence. If I had just faced up to my truth, I would not have to have gone through all the gender stress I was to encounter. What happened was, I still hung on to trying to live as both binary genders nearly killed me. The stress I felt, I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I couldn't keep my mind on anything else than when or if I was ever going to take the next step on my transition journey. Which, at that time, I considered to being approved for and starting gender affirming hormones. 

As my life changed, my gender stress magically went away slowly but surely. At that point, I knew I had made the right decision by going ahead and giving up what was left of my male life. The pressure was off and I became a happier person. At the same time, I had developed my own group of women friends who accepted me and my life was similar to a continual girls night out. I'm sure the hormones helped but life became much more bearable. It all turned out to be great timing as it was near the time my health care group (Veterans Administration) started to accept transgender veterans for HRT care which included free mental health guidance which helped me to change most all of my legal gender markers. I was extra lucky when I was assigned to a LGBTQ friendly therapist who was happy to help with anything she could. Plus lend an understanding ear when needed. 

I am not sure I could ever explain the stress and tension gender dysphoria causes to the average person who refuses to even try to understand. The most important issue to stress is that being transgender is not and has never been a choice for anyone involved. 

As I said, I would not have wished my gender stress on my worst enemy but if I did, hopefully my enemy would have  become a better person in the process. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Outing Yourself

 

Image from Simon Humler
on UnSplash

Years ago, as I sometimes I suffered from strong impostor syndrome, when I was actually fitting in with a group of women, sometimes,  I accidentally outed myself. Then I needed to forgive myself for doing it.

I remember vividly one night on vacation when my wife Liz and I were having dinner with a single woman we had be-friended on our trip. I don't remember how the topic came up about the friendliness of some of the other travelers, or lack of from others. For some reason I blurted out in our case, the reason for other people being standoffish was because I was transgender. The woman looked surprised and I immediately wondered if she had known but by that time it was too late to turn back and the conversation continued fortunately as if nothing happened. 

From that point forward, I conditioned myself to letting all other people come to their own conclusions about me. It helped because I was gaining the confidence in myself to not care one way or another what someone else thought of me. But still, I had to battle to judge others and let them make the first move. Like the evil cis-woman with her friends in a restroom I had to use one night at a mixed venue in downtown Cincinnati.  When I entered the small women's room, I needed to make my way through the gaggle of women to a stall to do my business. As I finished and came out, I headed for the sinks to wash my hands and check my makeup in the mirror. In the meantime, the one woman who had glared at me earlier had positioned herself near the only hand dryer which happened to be fastened high off the wall. As I moved to use it, she continued to block my way, so I reached behind her and pushed the button which ruined her hair for the time being. She jumped and moved quickly out of my way and I had complete access to the hand dryer. I then finished drying my hands, glared at her at exited the ladies room. 

I was proud of myself and remembered the number of years it took me to arrive at a point where I never outed myself. If someone else had a problem with me, it became their problem. If I was eating my fair share of a "Lobsta" bake in Maine or eating pizza with my friends at a venue in Columbus, Ohio, I was just me and even though I was always trying to improve the new femininized me, it had to be a better version than the old miserable male person I used to be. 

When I finally escaped all the nervousness of being out in the world as a transgender woman, I used what I learned to stop any idea of ever outing myself again. As it turned out, my inner female who had waited my whole life to be in control finally made it into my light of day and she knew how to make the best of her situation. She made it clear I had always been a woman cross dressing as a man and not the opposite I always thought I was. I guess, all those years when I was secretly hoping I would reveal my secret to the world, I had it all backwards.

Since I did, it was difficult for me to forgive myself and all the phantom ideas I had about letting my family and parents down. Including years of therapy and help from key friends, I managed to make it. Plus make up for lost time while I was doing it. 

 

Friday, June 14, 2024

Trans Girls Dreams

Trans Ohio Archive Image from
the Jessie Hart Archives.




There were plenty of times when I thought living a transgender life was going to be impossible. 

All the days of staring into the mirror cross dressed in women's clothing come back to haunt me. As well as my poor attempts at the makeup arts when I turned out looking like a clown. Who knew being a woman was going to be as difficult as I was making it. But it was and took me years of work to come close to getting it right. 

Dreams of course can come during the night or day. As I was day dreaming my life away about being a girl/woman, I also tragically had the problem of dreaming of being a beautiful girl during my dreams. All my dreams, day or night, did was frustrate me even further. Most of the time, all my dreaming did was trigger my severe gender dysphoria. My cross dresser mirror visits were not doing any good and I couldn't see a way out of my gender issues. All the time shattering any hope I ever had of living life as a transgender woman. 

It turned out I was being a drama queen in many ways and was giving up a dream I really wanted way too early. What happened, all of a sudden I began to learn makeup and fashion skills so at the least I could survive in a world of women. It was a slow process to be sure but if I was ever going to achieve my trans girl dream, I just had to do it. Plus when I survived, I felt so natural and was elated at my progress. Perhaps my ultimate goal could be within reach after all. From then on, I still had a huge amount of work to do. As I delved deeper into the women's world I so admired, I then had to decide if I wanted to go all the way or not. Was the grass really greener on the feminine side? Again and again, I found it was as I tackled issues such as vocal training and just overall life surviving in the world as a trans woman. As I progressed, the light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be sunshine and not the train. 

Since I started my journey with no obvious feminine characteristics, I had a long way to go. I started my path by trying out Halloween parties initially dressed as a trashy woman, all the way to presenting as a professional woman at others. So I could see if I could indeed present as a realistic woman. Finding out I could led me to believe my trans girl dream could indeed be realized. At that point, my life became a blur as I attempted to live as both a man and a woman. All my attempts did was create a tremendous amount of pressure on me and essentially wrecked my mental health. With the help of a good therapist as well as several good friends, I was able to survive and once again re-direct myself towards my dream. Once I felt I was back on the right track, I started gender affirming hormones following an approval from my doctor and there was no looking back for me. 

I never considered I could make it as far as I have when I was the kid staring longingly into our full length hallway mirror at home so many years ago. Even though there were many rough patches along the way as I battled my gender dysphoria, along with waiting until I was in my early sixties to out myself to the world as a transgender woman, I still somehow made it. 

I guess the old saying is true, if you don't dream it, it will never happen. My dream of living a feminine life was the only goal I could think of when I was young and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course. I could not say a woman and ruin any life as I knew it, so I lied and said a lawyer or something more popular with my parents. I am sure many of you can relate to my story. 

Finally, after more failures than trials my trans girl dreams came through and somewhere within me there is an inner child who is rejoicing. 

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Strong Women Role Models

Hand Beaded Transgender Hair
Barret from Liz T Designs on
Etsy 

 I am speculating most transgender women or even trans men have experienced at least one or more strong women in their lives.

For any number of reasons, women have been forced to be strong and carry the load for weak men. For many, their first entrance into true womanhood comes with having children. With current economic conditions the way they are, the days of the old fifties version of Mom staying home to raise the kids and take care of the house is long gone. To barely make it financially, both partners have to work.

Problems then arise when the man still wants to follow the old outdated male standards of doing very little around the house to help out. 

By now, you may be asking what does this have anything to do with being a transgender woman. With me, at least, it means a lot. My Mom worked out a deal with my Dad in the sixties. If she went back to work as a school teacher and used her college degree, my Dad would help her out with hiring a part-time housekeeper. Even with the help, Mom had a lot to do with two sons in a very male orientated family. Even though I admired my Dad for being a self made man coming out of the Great Depression and WWII, I had more on hands experience with my Mom who was very headstrong. Who knows, maybe that influence with her had more to do with me being transgender than anything else. Later I was to learn my gender issues ran deeper than one person outside of myself.

Even so, I still searched for the perfect woman to model myself after. I wanted to appear as the confident women in the world I saw moving around in their lives. The older I became, the more I learned the perfect woman did not exist and many women were hurting themselves attempting the be a successful person in the world as well as on the home front. Not to mention, the overwhelming problem of appearance. Until recent times, aging has not been kind to most women who among other things suffer from extended menopause. 

All of these factors contribute to why I have such a high opinion of strong women and how I think the world is changing quickly as many more young women seize the new opportunities in the world around them while young men play video games. 

With all the changes, it is important to figure out how a transgender woman can fit in at all. Certainly, we have to be a better woman to do it at all. Which means understanding all the layers of a woman's life. That is once of the reasons some women resist letting trans women play in the girls sandbox at all. As my second wife always told me in no uncertain terms, I needed to earn my way in. Maybe that is why I never considered her a strong woman role model for me at all. My Mom on the other hand, was a strong role model for me. From how she applied her makeup to how she battled me for my future, I appreciated all she did for me. Including of course, birthing me. She remained my role model even though she rejected me when I came out as a transvestite to her. She immediately said she would pay for a psychiatrist which I rejected. Since I didn't have a mental health problem because of my gender issues. 

We never mentioned my desire to change my gender the rest of her life but even so I decided to adopt her first name as my legal middle name when I transitioned and legally changed my name. It was the biggest honor I could think of for all the things she did for me. The most relevant thing she did for me was to show me what a strong woman was and how to be one. A trait I would really need as I followed all the ups and downs of following a new gender path.

It is ironic to me, the strongest women I know like Liz or Kim have very little idea of how much they have helped me along and the most frustrating part is I don't think I can ever repay what they have done for me. 

Who knows? You might be an offspring of the very few strong women like my daughter. She had to became an ally for her trans child and was then able to take advantage of helping her child at an early age. Maybe your Mom realized your authentic gender self and became an ally rather than the cruel opposite.  If you didn't, you were forced to do what the rest of us did. Study strong women close up and do your best to join their ranks. I was fortunate enough to be able to work professionally along side several strong women who I learned from. The women seemed to combine strength and humility seamlessly to forge a successful business career. 

There are so many variations on how to become a successful strong trans woman it is difficult to mention them all. We all need to the do the best we can to force our way into a world where sometimes we are not wanted.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Owning Who you Are

Image from the Jessie Hart
Archives.

During Pride Month, it is extra important to to own who you are. Just as much as it is anytime but Pride may give you the little extra confidence to get by. 

To a large part, confidence in yourself, plays a huge role in you being able to own who you are as a novice transgender woman or trans man in the world. For me, it took many setbacks before I gained the confidence in myself to enter the public's not so accepting world. Just learning the basics of fashion and makeup was a major undertaking for me since like so many of you, I was starting from scratch. Slowly but very unsurely I was able to learn the basics enough to get by. In order to do so, I needed to learn to blend in with other women and not try to be sexier, which was a dismal failure. Stuffing a male, testosterone poisoned body into an ultra short mini skirt or dress just didn't work anywhere except for shock value at Halloween parties. 

Once I began to develop a slight amount of confidence in myself, I still learned the hard way that the sky was not the limit when I came to exploring a new life as a transgender woman. In one venue ( a  TGIF Friday's) I found myself becoming a part of a small diverse group of strangers who knew nothing of my old male life. The group was a mixture of a lesbian and her friends which included a beautiful exotic  dancer who drew the interest of a big bearded guy who owned a motorcycle and managed a lumber yard just down the street. Against the wishes of the group, he shocked everyone by proposing to the wild dancer and found himself in a short lived ill fated marriage. Ironically, I was the only one who showed him any sympathy in the group and we became close, before he moved on with his motorcycle to another job. The whole episode gave me confidence in the fact that men were not as off limits as I thought they were. Even though they were not knocking my door down to date me.

I found out quickly my sexuality did not change as I transitioned from male to female and even was enhanced when I learned all the attention I could get from other women. Most importantly, I did not need the validation from a man to give me the confidence to be myself. Even though I was prepared to see if there was any sort of a sexual spark between the authentic trans me and men, there just wasn't. I was busy owning who I was and she was doing a quality job during the process. As it was, the process led me down many different paths. Many turned out to be good and others were dead ends but my new found confidence helped me to continue to search.

Owning who I was also meant forcing my old, unwanted male self into the closet where my authentic gender self lived for years just existing by cross dressing in front of the mirror. Of course, he put up quite the battle before losing and nearly wrecked my mental health on the way. With the help of a key group of women friends and a loyal, dedicated therapist, I survived on my gender path and eventually thrived. I just had to muster up more courage than I thought I had to do it. To those of you who would ask why I would risk so much to transition, I can only say the process along the way felt so natural and saved my life. 

Some would argue I am less trans than the next person because I waited so long to come out in my life. That is ridiculous because I always knew I had gender issues but did not grow up in an easy time to express them Plus, I would not give anything to have missed out on certain moments of my male life, such as my daughter. Who has led me to having three grandchildren I love very much. So you can see why I don't consider my entire male life to be a waste of time because I learned so much from it. 

On the other hand, switching gears after being deeply embedded in a male world wasn't easy. The process took me many years before I could come up to speed in a new world which was and is constantly changing for women, transgender or not. In fact, it could be argued, catching up is more difficult for a trans woman because we have to start from scratch and often be better in the world than other women just to survive. Having the confidence to own who you are is the only way to do it. 

Sunday, June 2, 2024

A Zig-Zag Trans Life

Party night at Club Diversity
Columbus, Ohio.

 Maybe I should have called this post I should have zigged when I should have zagged. Or vice-versa.

In many ways, I see all sorts of transgender women or trans men in the same situation. I started at a very young age when I would zig away from my younger brother when we were home alone and I was able to get away from him when I cross dressed by locking myself in the bathroom. Fortunately, I never needed to zag because somehow, he never caught me and told my unapproving parents.

Somehow I thought when I got older, my life would improve. The first thing I learned was my urge to be or at least cross dress as a girl my age would not magically disappear. In fact, it became stronger when I learned it was not just a phase and I began to understand my gender dysphoria better. At that point, I really had to start zigging and zagging just to maintain my fragile mental health. When I was old enough, I even began taking myself to therapists to seek out help. My only main success which came out of it was when I was diagnosed with a bi-polar depressive disorder. It had nothing to do with my gender issues at all. As far as zigging or zagging, I was able temporarily save my marriage and received my money's worth when my gender therapist told me the truth. She could do nothing about me wanting to be a woman. Overall, my desires should not be a problem and I should face my truth. Of course, I wasn't smart enough to follow her advice and resumed all the zigging and zagging. 

It took me years and years to grow up and away from my male self and settle into a life as my authentic feminine or transgender self. By this time, I was growing so tired of all the zigging and zagging I was going through. Even though the whole process was an exciting time of my gender life, I was still becoming fatigued by my life the way it was. Ironically, when I was, I settled into a long term set of appointments with a very understanding therapist. She talked me off the ledge several times and along the way helped me secure gender affirming hormones and the paper work I needed to change all the legal gender markers I could. All of a sudden, I was able to visualize myself living my dream as a full fledged transgender woman. With my daughter's help, we were even able to come up with a new legal name which would reflect my family history and would be easy for my grandkids to use.

Finally all my exhaustion came to an end and I was able to live how I pleased. All the zigging and zagging had worked. All the times I hurried to hide myself away from friends and family, were put behind me. Through it all I learned one difficult lesson. If you can somehow believe in yourself, you can live your best life. Even though you may (like me) take years and years to evolve into your authentic self, the trip is usually never boring as you lead a zig-zag trans life. Overall, it takes a ton of effort to weave your gender issues into a life of family, spouses, jobs and friends. You learn to be forever vigilant in protecting yourself and end up internalizing way too much of your life. It seems the entire process is just ingrained as part of a transgender life as breath itself. We just have to finally zig to get around it. Then zag to adopt your new life as a trans woman.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Transgender Reconnections

 

Image from the
Jessie Hart
Archives


As I followed the path to a transgender transition, I made several important reconnections. 

Little did I know or realize how many twists and turns I would take before I found my truth. Most importantly I needed to realize I was not a man cross dressing as a woman, I was the reverse. A woman trying to make it as a cross dressed man in life. Because of that, nothing seemed to quite fit in my life as I struggled to survive in an unwanted male world. As I attempted to outrun all my problems,  I drank alcohol to excess as well as moved around and changed jobs way too much. I was always running, searching for my transgender reconnections. Sadly, I searched for nearly a half a century before I was able to have any success and connect with my authentic gender self.

During all those years, I was teased with success as I left my cross dressing mirror and slowly entered the world as a novice transgender woman. Along the way, I made all the mistakes I could think of plus some I could not have imagined happening. In my haste to reach the conclusion to my reconnection, I needed to first discover what it was. Through it all, my inner female was screaming at me for more and more attention but my male self did his best to play all his cards and hang on. The game they were playing wrecked havoc with my mental health and I sought out therapy for help. As with anything else, therapy is what you put into it and I went through several very good therapists as well as a couple not so good ones. Then there was the problem of me listening to what they had to say to start with because my male self was telling me therapy was just a waste of time and money. On the other hand, my female self saw the benefits, especially if the therapy process was slowly opening her world at all. 

Sometimes too, reconnections were tantalizingly close. There were so many days or nights when I could relax and enjoy a glimpse of what a life as a transgender woman could be like. The more reconnections with a feminine world I could make, the more natural and better I felt. Probably, most importantly, all of the gender progress I was making was because I believed in myself and my confidence was building. I had escaped the basic confines of the wardrobe and makeup challenges and made it to the one on one communications I was suddenly faced with as a trans woman. It was during this point of my transgender reconnection process I learned the most. Mainly because, I was relaxing and letting my long hidden female self take over. It turns out all those years of having to quietly sit back and watch my male self struggle enabled her to be a better person when she got the chance. 

When I reconnected with my female self, I was able to be a full person again and I knew one of my therapists said it right when she told me there was nothing either of us could go about me wanting to be a woman. If I had followed her advice and set out to discover what my second wife had told me all along, I would have taken the time and really looked into what a women's world was all about. Other than the outward appearances of fashion and makeup. It was the biggest reconnection I couldn't make until I had earned it by actually adopting and living a life as a trans woman. Even to the point of beginning HRT or gender affirming hormones. 

In many ways, the new hormones were the final piece of the puzzle in reconnecting my transgender self to the world. Physically and emotionally I was ready to face the world as a united human being.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Trans Girl Secrets

Image from Ben White 
on Unsplash.


Secrets became a very important part of my life at a very young age.

It all started when I viewed myself in women's clothes  in front of the mirror for the first time. I realized my life would never be the same again. Plus I also knew my desire to be a girl would not be well received by my family at all. It was in the late 1950's and early 1960's when cross dressing was still considered to be a crime where I lived near Dayton, Ohio. In those days any sort of gender dysphoria was thought to be a mental illness. Even then, I couldn't see the act of cross dressing in women's clothes to be an act of mental illness. 

What happened then was I needed to go into a dark secretive closet, I would not come out of completely for a half a century. Along the way, I included very few outsiders in my secret. Four or five to be exact. I did not even include myself in my secret. What I am referring to is the fact I wanted to do much more in my life than just cross dress as a girl, when in reality, the reverse was true. I was a woman cross dressing as a man the entire time and I was indeed transgender after all.

Predictably, one secret leads to another and another and in my case led to lies being told later on. My dishonesty came when I refused to admit to myself who I really was and took out my frustration on those closest to me. I became a very unpleasant person to be around when my gender dysphoria was at its worst. Even to the point of me losing a job because of what I was going through. It was like I was setting myself up for failure at every turn in my life as I waited for more and more people to discover my secret. 

The longer my secret was hidden away and on the other hand, I was desperately trying to discover a new feminine world as a transgender woman, the heavier my secret became. I attempted to hide all my transgender activities from my second wife and was reasonably successful. I say reasonably because I would do more and more as a trans woman until she caught me and the gender battle between us would continue. She was wiser than I was when at one point she told me to just leave her and live a life as a woman. That made her the second woman in my life who I should have listened to when they told me the same thing. The first was my gender therapist years before. 

Sadly, my male self was not ready to give up the strangle hold he had on my life and encouraged me to do the male thing and try to ignore and internalize all my struggles. Of course in the end run, the only thing which happened was the pressure just kept on building as I managed to keep my secret. However, no matter how hard my male self tried to protect his domain, he was slowly sliding down a cliff of no return. Finally, with the help of several close friends I made the gender leap of faith. I gave away all of my male clothes, started gender affirming hormones (HRT) and never looked back. 

Perhaps the best part of not having to protect my secret and not live a lie was my new friends never knew my old male self at all. My inner feminine soul was finally free to live her life. When she did, she became the third woman in my life to tell me the same thing.

The only secret I really ever had was I was never really a man at all. 


Saturday, May 4, 2024

Living in Your Own Prison

 

Image from Engin Akyurt
on UnSplash

When someone says living a life as a transgender woman or trans man is a choice I get a huge chuckle. 

I wish the people who think my life was a choice, needed to live a small time in my shoes and  then they could truly decide my life was never a choice. I was living in my gender prison. In many ways, I could describe my confines to a bigger version of what was called my personal closet. Either way, I was stuck in a very dark and isolated space where I was all alone. Especially in the pre-internet days when I was living.

When the internet came along with social media, I was able to locate a few others who were cross dressers or transgender women , which made life a little easier in my prison. My biggest problem then became hiding my new on-line contacts from my wife who was more tech savvy than I was. Let's just say I needed to learn the hard way when my wife found a discussion I was having with a person in nearby Indiana and I had to become much too comfortable with.

Looking back, I could call the few, brief times when I tried to purge my feminine wardrobe and be a full time man as being out of my prison on parole. The problem was deep down I knew what I was doing was wrong and the pressure would build to build a new feminine wardrobe and try again in front of the mirror. I could almost predict when I would go back to my gender prison. 

Yet another casualty of me serving time in my closet was one I always mention, my mental health. Since it was already fragile and I was going to therapy for help, I didn't need any extra problems to push me closer to the edge.  I was becoming a hot mess as I took more and more chances when I left the house as my novice transgender self and explored the world. The problem became, I was feeling more and more natural when I escaped my prison. Even still, the process was not easy and involved too much scary trial experiences when I first went out. 

The entire process became all I thought about and when I was in my my male mode I caught myself thinking too much of the next time I was going to be able to experience life as a transgender woman. Plus, at the least I was busy studying the mannerisms of all the cis-women around me. I was locked in to one thing only and it was being a woman myself. It was a good thing I had my therapist to talk out my exploding feelings about my gender. 

I guess the only frustrating part of trying to explain to the outside world what it means to be transgender is there was no choice. If I would have continued in my self destructive male ways, I would have killed myself and become yet another statistic. Fortunately, destiny had other ideas for me when I escaped my gender prison and started to live an authentic life as a trans woman. Similar to so many others in the transgender community I was a survivor and thrived when I was free to do so. 

Friday, May 3, 2024

Bad Gender Decisions

 

Image from unknown origin. 

I often wonder if during all the writings I do, as I  describe how I succeeded in living my dream as a transgender woman, do I emphasize the bad decisions I made. 

Needless to say, I made plenty of choices I wished I had back to try again. First of all, I suffered from the same problems nearly all novice cross dressers or transgender women go through. Unlike cis gender girls our age, we didn't have the peer pressure or knowledge to help us be girls or women. We were not invited to the sleepovers where the girls experimented with makeup and clothes and it showed. I equated the whole makeup process to painting model cars when I was growing up. It took lots of practice to get the basics right. In the meantime, as I learned, many times I made bad decisions and came out looking like a clown. This was especially true with the clothes I chose to try to wear. I tried way too long to force my male body into clothes designed for sexy teenaged girls and I paid the price when the mirror lied to me and I tried to go out in the public's eye. 

When I was laughed at in public, I knew my feminine life had to change for the better if I was ever going to be able to survive. I just could not keep coming home in tears after another night out making bad decisions. Certainly. the process was not improving my deepening gender dysphoria. In desperation I sought out help from one of the only known gender therapists in Ohio at the time which was a good decision. The bad decision came when I decided to not listen to what she told me. She told me there was nothing she or I could do concerning my deep seated desire to be a woman. I would have to learn to live with it. If I had not been so hard headed and stubborn, I would have taken her advice and prepared myself for a life as a transgender woman. 

Once I started to really explore the feminine world, I made plenty of bad decisions. The primary example was when I became comfortable in presenting in places such as clothing stores, book stores and malls, I would always challenge myself to do new activities as a trans woman. Activities where I had to face the public and communicate one on one with the world. By doing so, I knew sooner or later I was going to have to challenge myself and use the women's restroom. Nature was calling and I knew I needed to answer the call. 

I started the process innocently enough by using the women's room in one of the bookstores I went to on a regular basis. I would do my best to make sure the room was empty before I went in and took care of my business. I was fortunate in that I read about and knew quite a few basics women follow when they gather in the restroom. I also knew from my experience in the restaurant/bar business women were not always the pristine gender they are known to be but that is another story. As well the other basics I needed to learn such as looking other women in the eye, washing my hands and stopping to adjust my hair and makeup. 

For the most part the only bad decisions I ever made as far as rest room usage was concerned was which rest room venue I decided to use. On a typical night, I would plan to go to my regular venues  plus maybe try out a new place. By this time, I was becoming fairly secure in my presentation to the point I wanted to try to challenge myself. I decided to go to a borderline redneck venue, order a couple of beers and try to use the restroom before I left. Before I knew it, someone had called the police on me and I was told to leave. Which had to be the worst decision I ever made. From there I went back to my usual regular venues and everything was back to normal.

Normal for me was difficult to change. I was so use to pushing my boundaries as a novice transgender woman, I had a difficult time adjusting my life when I no longer had to push so hard. I was enjoying the fact I did not have to face making bad gender decisions to begin with.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Are You Really Someone Else as a Trans Person?

 

Image from Kevin Laminto 
on UnSplash

For the longest time, I considered the idea I was two separate people.

On one hand, I was living the male life I was entrenched in and on the other, I was attempting to carve out the precious time I needed to explore my cross dressing self in front of the mirror. Trying to live a life on the gender border between male and female as very difficult to say the least. When I was in male mode, I spent every spare moment wanting to cross dress again at the least and trying to imagine what living as a girl would be like the rest of the time. To make matters worse, I even dreamed of being a pretty girl when I was asleep. Then I had to wake up confused and bitter when I found out life really hadn't changed and I was still a male after all. I needed to go again and challenge an unwanted world. 

Through it all, I often wondered why me? It took years for me to embrace who I really was and know the answer. I was just me and it would have to be good enough. However, the family upbringing I went through made it so difficult. During my youth, I was taught nothing was good enough. When I brought home any "B's: in my studies, they were not good enough. Where were the expected "A's." The never good enough attitude carried with me into my cross dressing life, all the way to when I became a novice transgender woman. In other words, when I acquired a new dress, when its newness wore off, I always felt I could look better in another dress, It led me to being a thrift store shop-a -holic. I couldn't wait until I could take what I had set aside money wise from my wife and use what time I could set aside to locate the next great outfit. 

My problem became especially bad when I was able to afford shopping for new wigs. I went through what I called my clown era of wigs before I settled into one or two wigs I wore all the time. By doing so, I was able to finally begin to build myself as a stable transgender woman in the world. I was beginning to learn I was someone else and that person was not a guy. 

As I was doing all of this  and as I lived a new and exciting world as a trans woman, I found I was taking all the stress off my mental health. The new authentic me enabled me to feel more confident on the gender path I was taking. I was fortunate also to have had a good therapist at the time to help me talk my way through it with her. Since I had previously been diagnosed as being Bi-Polar, both of us were careful to keep my gender issues separate. Plus, no mention was ever made of me being two people. I set the idea aside as being yet another mistaken idea from my youth. It could have been my male self attempting yet another move to survive the onslaught of life changing ideas which threatened his very existence. 

My life today proves I was always only one person and that was my feminine side. It is so sad I needed to fight so long to feminize my entire life as a transgender woman. The only true person I needed to be.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Saving my Own Life

Image from Alysha Rosly 
on UnSplash
 
 
I make no secret of my Bi-Polar mental condition which went undiagnosed for a good part of my younger life. 

Ironically, it was my first gender therapist who connected the dots and determined my condition when I told her I often spent days struggling to even get myself out of bed. I just thought I was riding the waves of gender dysphoria  which kept me so depressed or elevated when I was experiencing brief moments of gender euphoria. During this time of my life, I was far from being the easiest person in the world to live with. At the least, I was prescribed medications which evened out my moods. The meds also helped me sort out my gender issues and finally figure out one mental issue had nothing to do with the other. In fact my gender dysphoria was not a mental issue at all but instead an organic one. Had I listened to my therapist, she was trying to tell me all of that but I was unwilling to listen. Primarily because at the point of my life I was in, I was still a novice transgender woman and didn't know if I could live my dream life.  There were still too many gender bridges to cross such as telling family, friends and bosses I was transgender. 

The furthest I had come at that point was telling approximately five close friends and spouses I was a transvestite. A long way from living as a transsexual with all the resultant rules I would seemingly have to follow Such as major gender operations, moving away and then starting all over again. To make matters worse, I hadn't even thought much about my sexuality. Would I suddenly desire men sexually? I was overwhelmed with all the big questions and just continued my life as a very serious cross dresser. At the least, I was able to work on my presentation as a woman and go from there.

Even though, my solution was far from perfect, I was saving my life the only way I knew how. The problem kept reappearing when I started to go out more and more behind my second wife's back. When I did, I fairly quickly began to build up a robust life as a transgender woman. Every step I took, the more natural I felt when I could never see how I could go back to living a male life. The whole process created tremendous pressure on my already fragile mental  health. I became increasingly self destructive, all the way to an unsuccessful, ill advised suicide attempt. Essentially, from the point of suicide, I purged most of my feminine belongings and even grew a beard to prove to my second wife I could do it. By doing so, I was intensely unhappy for the short time she lived until passing away from a massive heart attack. I often wonder what would have happened with us had she lived.

Following the tragedy in my life, over a short period of time, I regathered myself and refocused  on a new feminine life. I quit dwelling on death and began living a preferred life as a transgender woman. By doing so, I was all of a sudden needing to quickly learn more than I ever imagined about my new life. Throwing out or giving away all my male clothes was at once liberating and  on the other hand, very scary. I had never purged my male self my entire life and he resisted. 

Regardless, scary or not, the process of a gender transition saved my life. Over a space in time, my mental health has stabilized and with the help of gender affirming hormones, for the first time in my life, my body and mind are beginning to mesh. The entire process took me a lifetime to figure out but as I always say, it all was so worth it. 


Monday, April 15, 2024

You got it...Now Live with It!

 

From the Archives, Club Diversity. Columbus 
Ohio.

For some unknown reason, I have been remembering more and more what my gender therapist told me so long ago, she couldn't do anything concerning me wanting to be a woman. Now I don't remember if she told me I could not do anything about it either. 

If she did and had I listened, I would have saved myself so much inner torment over the years from my gender dysphoria. At the time my male self was not even close to being ready to give up any claims to his life which at the time was becoming relatively successful. After all, he had worked long and hard to arrive at the point where he was. 

If I wanted to blame anyone but myself for not accepting my true authentic self, I would blame my home environment. I grew up in a very male dominated family. My Dad had two competitive brothers and his competitive personality filtered through to my brother and I. It seemed no one had girls in the family and if they did, they were second class citizens. How I existed was by keeping my true feminine desires a deep dark secret. I learned early the very male trait of internalizing any negative thoughts or ideas. The whole concept turned out to be very self destructive over the span of my life which included the years of being a very serious cross dresser or transvestite. The whole process nearly took my life before I finally figured out I had it, now I needed to live with it. 

All I wanted was the impossible. Give me back just a fraction of the time and effort I had wasted by trying against all odds to maintain any sort of a male life. The cruel and unusual punishment came in when the more I achieved as a guy, made it more difficult to give it all up. I had a spouse, family, friends and good job to suddenly consider. What would my daughter think? Not to mention my wife and brother. All of a sudden I needed to draw a line in my gender sand and decide which route in life I was going to take. 

Everything changed for me the night I finally decided I had put enough exploration as my feminine self to make the ultimate leap over the gender border. Needless to say, it was a huge weight off my shoulders. I had a chance to go back in life to a point where I was not so jaded by either gender and experience for myself what the future held for me. It was at this point friends jumped in and showed me the way I never thought possible. I found I had it all along. I was a transgender woman and now I had the rare opportunity to live with it. I discovered there was so much more I needed to learn when I entered the world as a trans woman. 

Plus it took a while for the overall excitement of transitioning into my dream life to wear off. Everything I did was new and different and even when I was not accepted, I learned from my mistakes and for a change, my inner stubborn streak served me well. I had it and now I was living with it. I guess if you are able to live long enough as I have, you have the opportunity to see life go full circle. I paid my dues as a guy and what he learned turned out to be beneficial in my new life as a woman.

Quoting the singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell song "Both Sides Now",  only when I was able to see the world from both sides of the binary genders, was I able to relax and enjoy my life. All along I had it and just missed out on the real possibilities of what I was missing. Living with being transgender was all that mattered.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Transgender Pressure Cooker

Image from Jeshoots.com. 

When someone writes or says something about me being a transgender woman being a choice, I have to laugh. 

I'm sure those of you who have gone through life the way I have with gender issues would agree. Primarily because we have given up so much to cross the gender frontier. Primarily, I am referring to losing family, spouses, employment and gender privileges to transition. Just losing male privileges alone is a major issue. Very quickly I discovered I lost a portion of my intelligence when by accident I became involved in a conversation with several men. I found I was not respected in their world until I finally got tired of being ignored and left the group. Then I began to not speak much until I was spoken to until I began to gain more confidence. 

When I began to be successful, the pressure to be even better as a transgender woman started to increase. For several reasons, my fragile mental health became worse as I started to try to live a life situated between the two main primary genders. In other words, I was stuck in a gender fluid universe I did not want to be in. Living one day as a man and the next as a transgender woman, nearly killed me.  It became so bad I needed to make a conscious effort daily determining what gender I was going to be that day. How was I walking and talking were just a few of the many gender considerations I was going through as the pressure kept increasing. 

All of a sudden, I was able to establish a whole new identity as a trans woman. I was talking to other women and building a small circle of friends which taught me so much about the world I so much wanted to be a part of. I kept going because the process became so natural to me and very soon the main source of pressure came from having to return to what was left of my male life. Even thinking about going back caused me stress and added pressure. 

Finally, I knew I had no way around it and never really had a choice with my life. As a gender therapist told me so many years ago, there ultimately would be no choice for me if I was a transgender woman. Sadly I did not believe her and stubbornly went on to fight a losing gender battle for years before I gave up and faced my gender reality. By doing so, I tried very self destructive measures including suicide and excessive alcohol abuse before I started to live my truth. 

I had no choice and needed to give up all the pressure I felt to transition into a feminine world before it all literally killed me. Thank goodness for all the friends and family I had who helped me through my difficult pressure packed days. The more good days I had with them led to my belief I could live my gender truth full time. Ultimately transitioning was similar to sliding down a hill towards a steep cliff for me. I had others around me who took the pressure off and made the landing a soft one.  


Monday, April 8, 2024

Growing into the Problem

Image from Karla Hernandez 
on UnSplash.



 Back in the day when I was growing up as a young gender dysphoric person, I felt I had been able to hide my femininization efforts from the rest of the family.

For years and years, I lived under the impression I was successful. After all, I was doing my best to compete in all the basics I needed to fit with a demanding, unwanted male world. I was born into an extended male dominated family, so there was considerable pressure to conform as one of the oldest sons of three competitive uncles. 

Along the way, my main goal was to properly hide my small but growing collection of feminine clothes and makeup. I used every cent of my allowance money plus money I earned from delivering the local newspaper to rural neighbors. I thought I was successful because I was never confronted by primarily my Mom about what was going on with me. Remember also, this all occurred during the late 1950's and early 60's. Information on gender issues was for the most part non existent and was considered to be a mental illness which was even worse. 

I think now, if indeed I was ever "discovered" as a truthful cross dresser, my Mom who essentially took on the major role of raising my brother and I, just decided I would just grow out of it. Plus, she may have thought I had some sort of fetish for woman's clothes rather than the deeper issue of wanting to be a girl. It could be described as kicking the rock or can down the road just hoping it would go away.

Instead of going away for me, I grew into the problem but it took me years of wasted time and effort to take advantage of my gender growth spurts. I say "spurts" because of the time I took fighting my transgender issues at all. Keep in mind too, I am referring to at over a half century of my life. Quite a bit of time to consider mistakes and successes when it came to accepting and then growing into my considerable gender dysphoria. For me, gender dysphoria could be described as looking in the mirror one day and seeing a feminine face then the next seeing a masculine one. The whole process just destroyed my fragile mental health. At the point, I sought out therapy to help me. Which provided me with various amounts of relief. 

I had one male therapist who told me to ignore the problem, all the way to a gender therapist who told me the truth. I needed to learn to live with being transgender because it wasn't going away. Easier said than done for me because I was too stubborn to listen to the advice I was paying for. 

True gender growth for me didn't really begin until I started to escape my dark closet and began to explore the feminine world. Of major importance was the fact I finally outgrew what I call my cross dressing fashion adolescence. In other words, I stopped trying to dress as a teenager who was able to wear revealing or even sexy fashions. On the other hand, I just looked ridiculous or even trashy. Once I learned to dress for my age and body style, my presentation as a novice transgender woman improved and my new public life improved dramatically. I was growing into my so-called gender problem. I grew so fast, plus with the help of others, I discovered I didn't have a problem at all. 

Once I grew into my "problem" I discovered a wonderful world I had only dreamed of. I was even able to bring a substantial amount of my old male life with me and carefully weave it into a new existence previously dominated by my old male self but then taken over by my new feminine one. She quickly proved to me, she knew what she wanted in life and had learned from all those years of  rejection. She was like I told you so. 

Now I am not sure all the time and effort I took to grow into the problem was worth it. Many times I wish I wasn't so stubborn and had taken the time to listen to my feminine reality and just went ahead and transitioned into a transgender world.  

As always, thank you for following along with all my experiences here on the blog! I appreciate your time!  

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Living in the Transgender Present

Image from Alexander Grey
on UnSplash.

As I lived and constantly thought about escaping my unwanted male world, I daydreamed major parts of my days away.

It became very difficult to stop looking ahead and live in the present when all I could think of was the next time I could cross dress as a girl or woman. Over the years, I wish I could reclaim just a bit of the time I lost due to my day dreams of being a woman. The problem I ran into was when I started to journey away from my dark gender enclosure and was successful, the more natural I felt and the more I wanted to challenge the world as my authentic self. My overall life became more and more complicated and further disrupted my already fragile mental health. At the time, I was seeing one of the few therapists in my native Ohio who dealt with transgender issues at all. Along the way, during one of my sessions, she (my therapist) told me the truth. There was nothing she could ever do about my gender issues and somehow, someday I would have to deal with them. On the positive side, she also diagnosed my bi-polar depression for the first time and was able to separate my two main issues, mental health and gender. 

Then I reached a  point  where I had to decide how to exist in the present dealing with two major issues. I was prescribed several different medications to deal with my mental health issues but as we all know, there is no magic medication to deal with being transgender. The only positives which ultimately came from seeing the specialized therapist came from my wife. She thought I was trying to help the problem she saw in our relationship which back in those days was considered cross dressing or being a transvestite. Which still was a long way from just being viewed as a guy who liked to dress as a woman for Halloween. Naturally, my wife was afraid of what our friends might say. During it all, we hoped seeing a therapist would help. I can only imagine, if I had listened to my therapist about the long term life expectations of being transgender would be, how much different my life would have been.

With each experience, as I started to explore the feminine world more and more, I began to begin living in my transgender present. Every time I was successful in the world, the more confidence I began to experience and maintain. My whole world essentially flipped. When before I day dreamed about being a woman, now I was dreaming in a negative way about going back to a male life I increasingly did not want. To help even more, I had a new therapist who helped me keep my two main life issues separate and even provided crucial assistance in aiding my search for gender affirming hormones. 

In my mind, the hormones, or HRT as they were called then, helped me to cement where my life had become. I loved the external and internal changes the hormones had aided me in achieving. In a short period of time, I had come so far I asked my therapist for her help in changing my legal name and other gender markers. She came through with flying colors and with the help of my daughter, I came up with a new family based name which reflected my heritage. I chose the name of one of my maternal grandparents as my first name and my Mom's first name as my new middle name so my initials would be easier for my three grandkids to remember and use. 

From there on to the present, I have gone all out to live in my transgender present and make up for all the lost time I had in my life daydreaming away for my next trip in the cross dressing mirror. 


Thursday, March 21, 2024

Walking the Transgender Tightrope

 

Image from Johannes Plenio on 
UnSplash




I have never been accused of being coordinated at all which completely held me back when it came to me being able to participate in any sort of athletics except for football which often meant dealing with brute strength. 

Little did I know, I would have to develop my own sense of gender coordination to deal with my gender dysphoria. It turns out the better I became navigating the world as a novice transgender woman, the more balance I would need to survive in life. What happened was, the better I became with makeup and fashion, the more confidence I felt and in addition I was gaining the all important confidence to try more and more exciting yet terrifying experiences as my feminine self. 

Doing the more I could possibly hope for led me to trying to walk part of my life in my old male gender and part in my newer female one. My second wife even approved of a plan where I could have three days a week to leave the house dressed as a guy, go to a motel, cross dress as a woman and basically do whatever I wanted. Then dress back into my boring drab male clothes and come home. It didn't take long for me to become bored with this arrangement and I began slipping out of the house behind her back when she was working. Out of sheer willpower I needed to begin being more coordinated in how I was trying to run my gender conflicted life. There was really only one thing I knew for sure, I loved my feminine side and wanted to do more and more to let her out. 

Sadly, the whole process of trying to balance the two genders fighting for dominance within me was destroying my already bi-polar fragile mental health. I tried therapy and for years had only one therapist tell me the truth...there was essentially nothing I could do about wanting to transition into a transgender woman. I was what I was and I should accept it. Of course I wasn't smart enough to take her advice. I still wanted to save what was left of my long term marriage to my second wife while at the same time exploring what could be possible if I actually had the courage to transition into a fulltime world as a transgender woman. 

Finally, after falling off the tightrope more times than I can say, I could take the mounting gender pressure no longer and tried suicide as a solution. Just before my wife passed away from a massive heart attack, I thought I "purged" for the final time and got down from my tightrope. I grew a beard, gained a bunch of weight and overall was miserable but I gave it my best effort. 

I proved to myself I wasn't coordinated enough to navigate something complex enough as a gender tightrope and moved on to living a life as my authentic self. I am not one for regrets but if I allowed myself one, it would be I would have had the courage to transition earlier in life (before the age of sixty.) I would have saved myself so much time, effort and frustration as I attempted to balance my gender tightrope.      

Much More than a Phase

  Civil War Cemetery image from the Jessie Hart Archives.  When I was first experimenting with wearing woman's clothing, I worked long a...