For those of us in the TG community, there is a duty for support of each other as well as education for both inside and outside the community.
Warning, stop reading this right now. This article deals with the harshest subject in an honest manner.
You are not going to like what I am saying part of the time. You are going to think that I am wrong. Stop reading now.
IF you choose to start reading, then read it all, until the end, please. Please. It is a longish article and I will likely add to it upon more reflection and experiences.
I started this blog with who I am… a journeyer
Here is the fairytale, the story that you want to live. This is the story you tell yourself that will make you feel complete. So you woke up one day and thought – “I am not going to live the lie anymore. I am going to be who I was always meant to be. I am going to become the person who has been inside and hiding for all these years.”
For years, you just blended in, ‘kind of’. No one really knew what was in your head, the monsters that came to you at night, the dreams you masturbated to. Occasionally you reveled something of yourself and you were thought of as gay, or a dyke or a CD; by a partner or stranger that wanted to pigeon-hole you. You went to work and nobody knew what was inside you, dying to get out. You went to church, got married, had kids… and still they did not know. Then one day, you say a couple sentences to try to sum up all that you have felt, dreamt, wished, thought and all that you hope will happen and BOOM the bomb goes off.
Then you go see a doctor, go see a therapist, go to marriage counselling, go see a lawyer – get a divorce, fight for custody, have some surgery – and what do you have left? Who are you now?
If you have already exploded it all, if you have already blown up all your past life in a planned, rush of a sequence of timed detonations, then I am going to tell you the truths you know – the ones that you already know and live with everyday. If you have not blown it all up then take a look at what I am offering to help you transition.
Take a calming breathe and repeat after me. Know who I am then what I want. FIRST – Know who you are, then SECOND – know what you want. Know who you are first and then what you want will just happen. Get it? Not quite yet, but this will help.
Time and time again when I encounter people who are unhappy and challenged, they are transitioning, or in love with someone transitioning. There is a swamp of feelings surrounding transition but most often I hear from people “I did not know I was (they were) like that. If your true goal in transitioning is to ostracize your past and try to start with very little in tow, then make grand announcements of a character, behavioral change. If you wish to maintain something of your old life (children, family, work, friends, sanity), then read on.
Transitioning need not be so painful. It need not be the rebirth that so many books and speakers seem to endorse. Not every person needs to fall from the sky, burn up to cinder then rise like the Phoenix (and that is the dream of many). If you think that you are prepared here for all the changes, read Astronaut Training first.
A Farmer looses an arm. Not an uncommon injury in some form or another across the country - much more common than F2M or M2F transitions, every year. The key here is what happens to the person after they lose the arm; the transition that might take place - and you should be able to imagine some tough scenarios here:
- They wallow in self pity, retreating into a world with little social contact.
- They feel like a freak, unable to do what others so easily do, and everyday is work just to keep up.
- They change their character entirely towards the negative and become mean drunk and lose their family.
More often than not, a person with this sort of injury receives intensive therapy and, if they have the will, they return to their old life as they were. The lesson here is that if you were to lose an arm AND you want the people who always loved you to treat you the same, then keep your character. People can deal with the changes that come from you physically changing much more easily - they cannot adapt as well if you mentally change.
If your penis does not work, we have designed a drug so that you can make it work. The reason for that drug is two fold, less so for the operator but primarily so that things operate the same as they always have for the partner. It retains the ‘character’ of the act.
People have ‘character’ expectations of people they are with. If you change your character too much, people around you have a very hard time coping. Here is a man who retained his character after horrific life altering events. Read his story if you are not familiar with just how physically gifted he was before his accident and the character he maintained after the accident.
Women are subjected to a constant threat of a major body change. The result often changes the person they were. Once again, I will be bold saying that a partner, husband, family and friends will have little trouble with the transition IF your character remains intact. But, move towards Shame or Anger; taken what has happened out on a family, or the partner – or one of the negative courses like the farmer above who lost his arm and that will send a message that you have changed, mentally. Mental – character changes are the toughest for people around you to comprehend and, in turn, continue with you in a relationship. Mental – Character changes leave those who love the altered person adrift in how they can be with them.
Also Liu Yan – http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/19/arts/dance/19barb.html
You can transition, live a great life and continue with family and especially your children… but your character needs to be defined.
Who you are – Know who you are – FIRST.
What you want to do with transitioning comes after knowing who you are, first. Too often we become lost on the “who we are becoming” journey and forget that there are many things about who we are and have been that are what others (and often ourselves) enjoy most about us. We spent a childhood, adolescence, adulthood forming who we are; not all of it needs to be left behind during transition.
So, if you really want to “get lost” and be forgotten, transition how you are. Most people transition and leave behind all that they ever knew. But this is not the only way…
Now about Children…
So you have decided to transition and you want to freak your kids out. This is easy, tell them just the way you did your partner, wife/husband, friends and work. Now if you want to maintain being with your children and you are switching which gender you are attracted to in a partner, this will complicate things – but only a bit – but that is a different article.
NOW, the part about kids and family. This is the secret recipe to give you the best chance at happiness IF you wish to maintain those around you AND be able to transition with them. You are going to need to keep your character consistent here, in spite of all the other changes that you will be doing. It is the little things that shake up the situation. Here are some M2F examples…
- Refuse to mow the lawn because it is not ‘womanly’; or you might break a nail
- Stop working on cars and get to the point where changing your own tire is beyond you
- Go from confident business adviser to shaken, insecure person
- Only do ‘girley’ things in a ‘girley’ way
People who care about you just can’t handle the change – and that is not their fault. You have a responsibility to yourself first, and then to them. Ask yourself if you are being real when (and this is because I am such a car gal) you tell your wife, children that “even though you have been a mechanic for 15 years, you are not able to do anything on a car at all now because you are becoming a woman” – and this is a true story, because I heard the woman who was so proud of her new “F” on her driver’s license say this to me!! How are people who know you supposed to keep up if you change who you are as a result of what you want?
You want to make it easier for your children? It is easy (and I am using 17 years teaching and 10 years as a stay at home father as my basis here). Retain your character with your children. Regardless of what your character is, retain it or make your character better for your children.
The real secret here is that you have to be who you are before your transition.
As an afterthought (I stumbled upon this video late October), this is a good message to Transgender individuals who are ‘over doing it’ or who are trying to figure out how to ‘act’.