Back in the saddle…

Sigh. Back at work this week. Drinking a little bit from a fire hose right now. On day three of a migraine. So, kinda dragging my butt a bit. Trying not to let it get to me, but that’s kinda hard to do. Haven’t slept very well the past 2 or 3 nights because of it. I probably should be resting more. Been a busy week both at work and socially. Monday evening was an electro appointment. You may not think that is something one would consider social, but she is one of my best friends. We tell each other e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g….so it’s kind of a chat, bitch session, and therapy for both of us all rolled into one. And with the need for electro all but gone, we actually spend most of our time on our weekly walk. So it’s good.

Tuesday, went to see a movie with a friend. Decided I needed to get out of the house so off we went. That is always a good time! Wednesday I crashed as soon as I got home. Between migraine, meds, and just feeling icky, I went to bed early. But while it was somewhat restful, not exactly a great sleep. Yesterday was a retirement party for a colleague at work. I’ve know him for 17 years, so I really wanted to be there for him and his awesome family. Glad I went. But it was also tiring.

Then the usual phone calls with my sister and my daughters…which are never shorter than an hour. But it’s all good. This is just my life. Normal, everyday life of a middle aged woman. So trying not to complain too much about stuff.

This weekend promises to be better. Off to the boat. Looking after a friend of mine’s puppy on Friday night while she is at a wedding, so that will be good. Rambo is an awesome dog, loves to snuggle with me, so we’ll go for a walk, have dinner, play ball a bit then settle into to watch a movie or read a book or something until his mom comes home. The rest of the time will be full on relax. Not much planned, that’s for sure. So probably just relax with a few friends on whatever boat we decide to gather on, read, nap, etc. Really don’t care if the weather isn’t great. I’ll just curl up on the couch and either watch a movie or read. If I stay awake!! Ha ha.

I am very fortunate in that I have so many new friends at the marina, and I am now “aunty Erin” to 4 or 5 dogs. They all stop by the boat as they are going down the dock, looking for a rub and a bit of play time. A few of them jump on board, entering into the upper salon. It’s awesome! Three of them are labs, one chocolate and two yellow, so I am right in my element. They are all so hilarious!

So right now, it’s the little things that keep me going. Next week promises to be a bit better. Work won’t be as ridiculous. I’ll have more time to write. Have another radio show to do, which is good. That is so fun to do, and really quite easy.  Being a guest commentator, I simply just answer question they ask about a given topic, so no prep needed.

No drama, no disasters, no crisis….at least not yet. So I’m just going with the flow that is my new normal. But trust me there was a time I never thought I would have that. Normalcy. But I gotta say, it is a good thing. To live a happy, albeit somewhat boring life, is such a cool thing to experience. No dysphoria. No misgendering. No confrontations. It’s times like these that I realize I am so fortunate. And I do know that I am fortunate, and this may not be the norm for people in my community. That in and of itself, is actually quite sad. I need to try to be better and helping out. Just this week has been a bit icky.

But I am going to try….

 

Biting my tongue…again…

Yet again, a bit of an issue popped up on the family front on the weekend. I won’t go into to details as it is private, but suffice to say that I was pissed. My response, once I had taken some time to try to cool off, was guarded. The reason being is that I am trying to take the high road and not throw anyone under the bus, in particular anyone in my family. This especially applies to anything involving my two wonderful girls when it comes to their mother. I try to support their relationship with their mother, and encourage them to spend time together. She is their mother and there is a lot of love there, as there should be. (Too bad that wasn’t being reciprocated. Sigh.)

It serves no purpose to demonize her in front of the kids. Well, actually, it does. It would make me feel a whole better about stuff!! But, while this journey is about me, it’s not about me alone. Everyone around me is also transitioning, trying to find the new normal that works for them. For some, that happens quicker than others. Some may need more of a gentle touch. And I get that. It had 55 years to wrestle this thing to the ground. I can’t expect them to wrap their heads around it in 30 seconds.

Having said that, I am getting friggin’ tired of being the only one taking the high road. Cuz my ex sure isn’t. So I smile and put on a good face and respond how lovely it is for them to do whatever (insert family event here), and glad that you had a good time. I’ve been told that I have to maintain the status quo. In fact, I am not able to tell al ot of my story and my pain of having gender dysphoria to my girls, or my ex. She doesn’t want to hear it. She doesn’t want my girls to hear it.

So I am expected to listen to how much my transition has impacted them. All their difficulties, sadness, anger etc. But I can’t tell them how much I suffered. I know it would not be an easy thing for them to hear. I understand that. And perhaps it would do them more harm than good. And at the end of the day, it would only make me feel better. So what is the point?

As a parent, it is my job to protect my children, to do what is best for them, to sacrifice, for them. So I do. But at times, it’s not easy. For this particular instance, it’s also frustrating. And unfair….I think. But I do it. So I bite my tongue, sit on my hands, count to 10 (okay more like 100…a few times). I don’t respond, I don’t send that email or text. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I scream and yell, curse and swear, and cry. But I don’t send it. I protect my girls. The hard part is that with other things, that is not who I am. I mean I am super protective of my girls when it comes to other people. You can mess with me all you want, but you don’t mess with my girls. This mama dragon will breath hell fire all over you. And it won’t be pretty.

Someday, there may come a time when I can unload all of this on my ex. To tell her just how bad it was. Why I was in no shape to support her or the marriage because I was literally just hanging on by a thread, and it was already frayed and stretched to the max. To tell her that at least I am still here, because the alternative was very real. So, I do what I am told, what is expected of me. Keep the family peace. But it is wearing thin, so some day, at some point, people will hear what they have been avoiding, whether they like it or not.

Until then, my tongue is getting really sore….

Alone Again – naturally…

Sometimes a phrase or lyric pops into your head, who knows why. Earlier this morning, I was sipping coffee on the forward sun deck of my boat, when those oh so famous words by Gilbert O’Sullivan spun musically in my thoughts. Now, while aspects of the story behind this song ring true to my experience, it was not as much the really dark side of this that brought this to mind. It was, I think, the fact that I was by myself. Again.

Now, before we continue, let me state, yet again, for the record, that I’m really happy and doing well on my own. But I will be the first to admit there are times, short bursts of thought, where I actually do wish that there was someone with whom to share things. And this morning was just such a time. It was almost a magical moment, so to speak. Sitting there, witnessing the wonderful view that is the morning sun on calm waters, reflections still, as herons launch into flight.  And not a sound, nothing except the occasional creak of the lines on my dock. 

Almost instinctively, I turn and sigh outloud “Isn’t this the best?”. To no one. And that’s when it hits. I utter the words of that lyric, alone again, naturally. I shake it off, and continue to enjoy the morning, and as others arise and the dock comes to life, I have very pleasant chats with my friends. While this is the best possible environment for me, it does have its sticky points. Mind you, they are not enough to make me think that I shouldn’t be here. Not even for a nano second! I love living on a boat, and being here for three straight weeks, in all sorts of weather, it has been so amazing. So comfortable. It really is who I am. I was meant to live on a boat and so looking forward to being able to do this virtually full time in more “southern climes” when I retire.

The sticky point is that at this marina, it is virtually all couples. Fortunately for me, I have so many awesome friends here, but they are couples. There are only two other boats, captained by single women, all my age. So, being alone is pretty much in my face all the time. But I was a ready for that. When I made the decision to transition, I was fully preparing myself for a solitary life, being alone for the rest of my life. But at least it would be my life, and I was going to be around to experience it. That’s all good, right? So I can take it. But there are times, very fleeting times that I feel the twinge. 

Before anyone leaps up to my defense, I am open to a relationship, and if something falls in my lap, so to speak, I am prepared to consider it, if it’s the right person. And there are many, many people in my corner that insist that I will not be alone for long. It is sweet for them to say so, and I appreciate it. But I live in the present. So every now and again, I feel that little pinch of heart pain. The good news is that I feel it. Better than the alternative!! Ha ha.

The one thing that really makes me feel sad as I type this, is that this is such a common outcome for people who transition. Adjusting to a solitary life. Who would choose that? This is just another piece of evidence for the point of view that this is not a life style choice. No one would go through this to say “oh goody, I’m going to be all alone for the rest of my life”. Nonsense. 

So remember this if you know someone who is transgender. We are alone a lot. Friends are more important than ever. Be that friend. If you are trans, I feel your pain. I don’t have the answer. In fact, I don’t have any answers. But I can say that I am here. There are many of us that are here. Reach out, engage, speak up. People in your life can’t hear you if you say nothing. And let them into your life. I did, and I don’t regret it for a minute. 

Moving on…

Transitions: There are good people out there…

I know we all hope for acceptance as our authentic selves. It seems that it is such a basic thing, why should we have to hope for it? Sadly, many in my community have to. In fact, many only have hope to cling to as they are not accepted by their family or friends, or work etc. What the Cis gendered community takes for granted, it’s what keeps those of us in the LGBTQ community awake at night. Fortunately, for me, it has not been an issue. But it is still something that I think about, am concerned about, and hope that I continue to have the good fortune that I have. I know, lucky me. 

Sometimes it comes when least expected, or at least not anticipated. That is the experience I had the other day. Again, lucky me. Virtually everyone that I know are in one of two groups. They knew me before I transitioned, and are still with me to this day. The other group are people that didn’t know me prior to transition, but are good friends. The assumption being that they haven’t guessed that I’m transgendered (which I find hard to believe), or they have figured it out and are evolved enough to not care. Either way, I don’t really care. I am treated with dignity and respect, as a human being, a woman. WIth this group, I haven’t told any of them, so the risk is low that I would have any issues. As of yesterday, I have started a third group of people. Those that I have told or they found it and know for certaint that I’m trans and they don’t care, they are still my friends. Here’s the story.

I have had the great opportunity to meet so many new people at my marina, all of whom are really great. I have purposefully not come out to them. I am passed that. All I want to do is simply live my life. So what is the point of coming out? Don’t get me wrong. I’m neither hiding or ashamed of who I am. For those of you that know me, nothing could be further from the truth. My transition involved a lot of really hard work and loss. In the end I’m proud of who I am. All that being said, I don’t hide info about me, so when someone asks to friend me on FaceBook, they can easily discover my story. Such is the case with a friend of mine yesterday. 

I was sitting with a lovely couple in the aft lounge of their gorgeous yacht, enjoying a wonderful conversation and their company.Turns out we have a lot in common; love of boats, dogs, and family, etc. So when she asked if she could share a few links that I wanted to have, via Facebook, I easily agreed. And I knew, knew, that there was a possibility that they learn of my secret. Okay, maybe secret is not the correct word, but the right one eludes me at this time, so it will have to do. I was to learn later, that this is exactly what happened. 

This new friend made a point of coming down to my boat the next day to apologize for how she thought she had dismissed the loss of my best friend, my dog Abby, as somewhat insignificant. Which was not my perception at all, but regardless I accepted the hug for sure! It was a very kind gesture! She said that she read my blog and discovered the circumstances surrounding her passing. So I know knew for sure she knew. And you know what? It made absolutely no difference. Nada. Zip. We chatted for about another 15 or 20 minutes, then she left giving me a big hug and whispered that I am very special and that we are going to be great friends. I still tear up a bit when I think of it now. 

Sometimes I think that this is the best type of acceptance. They have very little invested in the relationship and could easily cut me loose, so to speak, with no loss. Not much down side for them. But they didn’t. And that’s what makes our relationship that much more special. Ever since I transitioned, and in fact for a period before that, my spidey senses, to coin a phrase, have really developed. I can read people really well, so I can tell who is going to be fine and who isn’t . So when she asked for my Facebook name, I wasn’t concerned, because I was pretty sure it was going to be okay. And I was right. As a result, I am looking forward to spending some time with really awesome people. 

Here’s to you Stephanie and Bill. Thank you!

My new reality…Am I ready?

Okay, so that is a bizarre title, but stay with me. I hope, at some point, it will make sense.

Lately, I have been going a bit up and down as to how I think my transition is going. For the most part, that has all been in my head, my own doing. Okay, so it maybe all in my part. I a big enough person to realize the possibility. That, and everyone around me is saying the same thing! I have always said, and you maybe tired of hearing it, but this journey, to transition, is not for the feint of heart. By a long shot. A lot of it has to do with confidence. Self confidence. And no matter how well your transition goes, it is still a factor.

Take my experience. Case in point. Now, I say the following not to brag, but to make a point. My transition really couldn’t have gone any smoother. With the exception of my divorce, which I knew 19 years ago would happen when I did transition, it has been a remarkable success. I still have my job and doing better than ever. Being offered speaking opportunities to the point I am having to turn them down. More friends than ever before. I could literally be out every evening with different friends just hanging out and having a good time. And being asked to join the leadership team of various activist groups. Then there is family. I have never been closer with my family than I am right now. Finally, ever since I transitioned full time, in fact even before that, I have never, ever, been mis-gendered at any time or anywhere, even when travelling.

So by all accounts, I should be fine right? Ya, that would be nice. But even with all this, my confidence can still be shaky. Maybe it’s a sense of disbelief that no one has issues with me. I mean, just like you, I hear all the stories of heart breaking abandonment and serious conflict that trans people experience. It is all around us. Given that, I went into this fully expecting the worst. That is who I am. Plan for the worst and hope for the best.

With my success, and the fact that I still have doubts, imagine what it is like for those that face real struggles?? Their doubts are real. Their challenges are real. Their sadness and fear are real. Oh my gosh. How sad. My heart goes out to them. I with I could do more than just offer words. I am both sad and fearful for so many of my friends that do struggle. That’s probably why I am active in the community, politically, to try and raise awareness and make some type of impact, regardless of how small. Not sure if I make any impact, but regardless, I keep going.

Part of my issues (of which there are many, trust me!! ha ha) is that when my confidence does take a bit of a hit, I feel guilty about it. I have no right to feel like that when I look at what others in my community face. So that just piles on. But I am getting much better with my confidence. I have been speaking with a few people on my transition team the past few weeks and that has helped. One in particularly really slapped me hard up side  the head and gave me a reality check. That was all part of a longer conversation, about three hours long one evening, about my life in general with a focus on some specifics – more about that to follow in an additional post once I digest it all. (Thanks ‘Becca!!)

I have also just spoken on the phone with a truly amazing woman in the U.S. who is part of my tribe, or cluster, or family, as she said last night. We spoke of her experiences and how they mirror mine. We examined what is going on in our communities and how they relate. By getting me to focus on the big picture she was able to ground me in dealing with the micro issues that I am having. All without dismissing them. It helped to take my own power back and not let my confidence take “a hit”. And that is always helpful. People like her help to keep me grounded and I am so fortunate to have them in my life. Parenthetically, I am hoping to see her and her partner soon on an upcoming trip!! Yippee!

My message?? Is that bouts of low self confidence are normal, almost expected. They shouldn’t be surprising, (although sometimes they can sneak up on you, and that can be totally surprising). They are manageable, and eventually, will subside. Surround yourself with people you can trust. Supporters and cheerleaders (see previous posts for the difference) are wonderful things to have in your life. Get them if you can.

This is a long journey. Some aspects of it are amazing. Some not so much. While I have settled into my life, I have to totally accept this new normal and just my normal. This is my life. Leave all doubts behind. No reason for them. And they are not productive. I have waited for this my entire life. I will be ready. I am ready.

Bring it on.

The ups and downs, all in my head…?

Into my second year of full time, with my transition done for the most part, my life has taken on a sense or normalcy. Albeit, a new normal. A better normal. A normal, I can live with. Given that, there are still times when my brain goes to a really strange place. And I’m not sure why that is or what that is all about. Is it something that all trans people go though? Or is this something that is specific to my experience? Somehow, I think not. 

I think it has something to do with self confidence. Now, for those of you that know me, or even just follow my blog or Facebook page, self confidence is not an issue. And it really isn’t. Honest. But…yes, there is a but…there are times when I wonder about what is going on around me, if someone has figured out that I am trans and is reacting negatively. Usually, it doens’t bother me. If they have a problem with me, it is their problem, not mine. Provided of course, that they don’t have any overt reaction directed at me. 

Everyone around me now is super cool with me. No issues at all. I have a ton of new friends, and have the opportunity to be as busy or as on my own as I like. My choice. However, recently one of my new found friends has been a bit chilly around me lately. Oddly enough, it started about the same time I posted a short video of support for my community in the US, recently attacked by President Trump. And that video got a lot of views, at least for me it did. 1,200 and counting. I’m pretty sure some people around here saw the video as I frequently post on their page. In this video I come out as a “transgendered Canadian”. So is that it? Is that the reason? I have no evidence, zero. But just like everyone else, my brain fills a vacuum of information with worst are scenarios.

So, right now, this is all on me. I’m trying to figure how to confirm or dismiss this theory. But do I really need to even do that? Everyone else is fine. If this one person has an issue, they will quickly see that they are the only one. It is party of one. It will either self correct, or not. What should it matter to me? If that is their thinking, it is unlikely that anything I say will change their minds. So, probably just best to let it go. But it does bug me. We got along so well initially. It would be a shame that would change just because I am my authentic self. So probably going to sit on my hands on this one. 

My new normal, such as the it is…

Just a little bit goin’ on politically

Holy! Just when you thought it really couldn’t get much worse for my community, guess what! Argh…

A certain president who shall remain nameless, of a certain country bordering on Canada that shall remain nameless, took once again to Twitter to create U.S. Policy in 140 characters or less. Seriously? Seriously! Now, I haven’t been very political, and I try to stay out of the business of commenting on the politics of other nations. However, this time I couldn’t help myself. I refer you to my recent video posted 3 or 4 days ago on Facebook. What’s different this time? This time it really hit close to home.

When said president stated that transgender people would no longer be able to service in the military, I lost it. Completely. I have friends in the US military who have served, valiantly, or who are still serving who are impacted by this. It’s totally ludicrous. And what’s worse is that the claim is baseless. As for the cost to the government for supporting transgender people who serve…it would be less than what it costs for the president to go golfing since he took office. Ridiculous! So, I think I got it off my chest. But maybe not. Depends on how this turns out and if it is in fact implemented. I’m just so infuriated that they have to deal with this. Even worse, that I can’t help in any way. So I did the best I could and asked all my friends to share my video and offer their support to my community to the south. 

But the point is, we are not safe yet. We, as a community, a large community, a global community have a long way to go. For what? To simply live our lives and do our jobs with dignity and respect. Is that really so unreasonable? I don’t think so. My transition did not impact anyone that lives in my city or country, or with whom I work. Not at all. Zero, zip. And if it did, that’s their problem. Because in reality, it shouldn’t. So get over yourselves. It’s not about you. This is about me, choosing to survive. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I don’t know that my transition didn’t impact people. It most certainly did. The impact on my family was huge! The cost, substantial. So I have all the time in the world to listen to them, to hear how this has changed their lives. It’s up to me to see what I can do to mitigate all of that, while at the same time, not loosing who I am. Tough act. But it is mission one for me right now. And it will always be, especially with my two daughters. My girls are priority. Period.

Why can’t we just get along, as human beings ??!!!

Learning to let go…

I had a session with one of my advisors last evening. She is so amazing and uplifting, and tells it like it is. So fortunate to have her not only on “my team” as I go along this journey, but as a wonderful friend! We covered a lot of ground, but the big thing I have to really focus on is letting go.

She was very quick to point out, and accurately so, that I get in my own way, that I can be my own worst enemy at times, to moving forward. And this, she says, is exactly that situation. There are relationships that are not beneficial that I have to let go. While they may have been an asset at one time, they are now holding me back. Let them go, she says. It’s the best thing for everyone. Stop hoping for change and trying to make them feel better. Not my job.

So that is what I am going to concentrate on. I know exactly who she is talking about. And I get it. She’s right. I know deep down she’s right. It is in my DNA to want to help and I get frustrated when people are not doing what they need to do, to be better and move on. But not my issue any more. These are big people. They will work it out. Let them do it. And that is what I need to do.

I find this difficult to do, and a bit of a challenge, but I know I have to do it. And she is not the first one to tell me this. Many people around me that know of these situations with these people say it is a “no brainer” if I want to move forward. I know, in many ways, they are right. I do. In my little brain, I get it. It’s my heart that hasn’t quite caught up yet. Now many people will tell you to “follow your heart”, and “the heart wants what the heart wants”. I have actually said that to those that are my trusted counsel. They all say the same thing. “Not this time. This time it is all about you moving forward, and these relationships are not ever going to do that.”

So it is up to me. If I want to move forward, I have to let go. I am going to have to sit on my hands every time I feel that I should reach out. I have to disconnect from any means of communication so that I am not tempted to do so. I know, I know, they are correct. I do. And I do need to move on. I don’t want to, nor should I, stagnate for the potential benefit of others. I say potential because no one knows if my involvement with them would have been beneficial for anyone anyway! It’s clear, however, that the cost to me personally far out weighs any benefit. There is no “up side” for me. So I let go.

Sadly, I let go…

Transgender and Sexual Preference: A Teaching Moment

Surprised. I must admit I was surprised. Though, in thinking about it a bit more, I really shouldn’t have been. About what? Glad you asked.

A few days ago I was involved in a discussion with members of the LGBTQ community. We were discussing how to attract different groups within the community. One person stated that it would be good to have the perspective of a Lesbian on the topic at hand. Now keep in mind, we were all aware of where each of us is within the LGBTQ umbrella (for lack of a better word). It was at this point in the discussion that I simply raised my hand and said “we do”.

“What do you mean”, they replied.

“I am. I’m gay”.

“Oh, sorry, but your trans aren’t you?”

“Yes, but that has nothing to do with sexual orientation. I’m a lesbian”

“Okay, wait a minute, back up and explain that to me.”

And we went from there. So what followed was a discussion about what it means to be trans, at least to me, and how I can be trans and gay at the same time. This, to them was a revelation. Don’t get me wrong, they were quite taken aback that they didn’t think of this and apologized profusely. No feelings were hurt at anytime during this discussion. I, to, was taken aback that they didn’t know or think about this. How could that be! They are part of my community, LGBTQ community. Seriously??!

But they don’t think about it because in their world they don’t have to. They are completely settled in their world, and go about their lives as they should. It did prove to me however, that the LGB may not really understand the T so much. And this appears to be a recurring theme. Not only in my little corner of the world, but in communities around the world. It does go to show that there is work to do, not only in the general public but within the community. The sticky point for me is that CIS people who engage with the LBG part may feel they are getting correct information about the “T” part. And maybe they are. I guess my take-away is, don’t assume that.

Maybe that’s why the Lesbian world (in my circumstance) don’t accept trans woman who are gay into their sub community. They think we are trans only and therefore, by their definition, can’t be a lesbian. I could certainly go on at length about that topic. Right now, I think that this is something that may be worth a bit more rumination on my part as I try to find my way in this whole new world. I certainly don’t have the answer right now, and may never have. So I won’t open my big mouth…at least not yet.

Hmmm…

When did this become a competition???

Okay, so spoiler alert, this is going to be a bit of a rant. Hoping for all our sakes, it will be brief….?

WTF!?!? When did being transgender become a competition? What’s with all the “I’m more trans than you” bullsh!t !?!? I mean really….REALLY. Come on. Don’t we have enough to worry about in our lives without beating up others in our community? For gawd sakes, everybody….get over yourselves !!

And I’m not talking about Facebook selfies that are done to either document your transition for all to see, or fishing for compliments on how you look in your new whatever. That’s just the way it is, and Facebook provides a great platform for people to indulge in that. Fill your boots. Doesn’t bother me. I only hope that everyone can, at some point though, be confident enough in who they are that they don’t need external validation. Disclaimer, I am probably just as guilty as many of posting selfies, usually with my daughters as I am a proud parent, so that goes with the territory.

What I am so fed up with is the attitude that some are spewing about out there that they are somehow more trans than others. Comments and body language that convey such sentiments as:

I look more like a woman (or man) than you

I never get mis-gendered, like  you

I pass everywhere I go, not like you

I have had FFS, you haven’t

I have had SRS/GCS/top surgery etc, you haven’t

Enough! If I see one more set of rolling eyes, or shaking head at me, I swear to gawd, I’ll be spending the weekends in jail cuz, I’m going to harm them!! Okay, so not really, but holy crap…super frustrating!

Everyone’s journey and circumstances are different. What works for you, may not work for me or others. What you feel you need to do as part of your transition may not be what I need. What triggers your dyphoria may not be what triggers mine. What surgeries I am comfortable with my not be the same for others.

Can’t we just all try to get along and play in this big sandbox nicely? And no, we don’t all have to like each other, and come together to hold hands and sing Kum-bi-ya! But we do need to treat everyone with dignity and respect. If you are having a crappy day, and people are putting you down, that really sucks. And I’m sorry for that. Maybe we can try to make ourselves feel better by making someone else feel better?? Life’s too short, and this is tough enough as it is.

Thus endeth the rant.