The Path – Musings of Transitioning

13 11 2010

I have never been one for just following the road well travelled. I have managed to do very well in life by holding a course until the need arises to change it…

My transitional journey is a lot like long distance sailing;

  • You know where you would like to go – generally.
  • You have the means to get there, but not directly.
  • You tack when the conditions require it.
  • The course is never in a straight line (it is never just a downwind run!).
  • You do not dictate the weather, wind or water – only how you set your sails.

If you have not been off cruising in a sailboat, you may miss some of what I am saying here (and you can skip forward). As I said, life is about the Journey.

I (we, including the wife I was married to) thought that our son was going to be born in New Zealand 15 years ago. I looked like the rugged tanned male mariner (I was told I was a hunk) when I was in those early thirties. We were sailing on a course for New Zealand when we changed the tack. Life goes on and we never did make it to New Zealand, although we tacked onto another cruising boat, then tacked again into a house; gathering flotsam and jetsam along the way until we could not move or breathe.

I cut the anchor after 14 years on the cruising boat, a lifestyle, my wife and my 10 year position as a stay at home dad. In truth, I went adrift as a castaway so that I could focus on something that had been brewing for a long time. I had set all the challenges I had with Gender since I was 9 or so away in the back of my mind. I now set my course to figuring out gender for me.

It is nearing 40 years since I first started trying to figure out why I felt different. And for those that have been on a similar journey, it is never entirely what you think it is going to be, is it?…

Most people, when they hear of sailing long distance on the ocean, they think;

  • Wow, I could be free to go wherever I want – and it would be free!
  • It is white sand beaches, sunsets, drinks on the deck and paradise; forever!
  • Perfect, leaving all the responsibilities behind in the receding view.
  • That you are in command and control.

Nothing is further from the truth. Cruising is 90% boredom with 5% shear terror and 5% of the dream. The bulk of the time you maintain the boat, spend time on passage, explore remote locations and look for supplies to repair and maintain your boat.

Being TG or transitioning is a lot like that as well. Just like cruising, when you start transitioning, you think that you will now finally get all that you want, that all will accept you, that it will be sunshine, rainbows and unicorns… and then there is the reality of transitioning while in society.

By and large, most everybody has problems and issues – in fact, they are so busy dealing with their problems and issues that they do not give a shit about yours. This is, as it should be. When you start taking hormones and transitioning, most people will not notice anything – they will see you always were (except that perhaps you grew long hair). Transitioning is not about you and society OR you fitting in – it is a personal journey on a path few take and less understand. Most of the people transitioning really don’t know why they are here*.

*OK – before I get ‘hate comments’ (and I have never had one), I am just trying to be realistic with others transitioning. The truths are simple…

  • For the vast majority of the population, gender is seen as fixed in concrete and unquestionable.
  • Your very actions of transgender challenge people as much as it would if you said you could defy gravity.
  • Most people have their own crisis going on – and they really don’t want any drama from you.
  • The path you follow is individual, unless you decide that the route of popular psychology and surgery is the correct answer.
  • There is no singular answer to the ‘why’ question. Move forward and stay to the path that you choose.

I even managed to get involved with women (sorry, I am only into women) along this journey in the past 5 years. Like the general population, they had their own take and involvement in my transition. Transitioning takes it toll on close interpersonal relationships. The very act of transitioning means that what would be taken for granted as ‘stable / fixed’ is not!

Oh – time out here. You though this was going to be just about transitioning? You can read about that in the hormones section if you want to know what happens to the body. The real ocean of uncertainty in transitioning is not why you are doing it OR what will happen OR where you end up as in the other gender. No, the real ocean is what will you do for intimate companionship. Transitioning will take you only 10% or less of your lifetime (I know of a woman who did M-F in one year, at age 60; that means the transition was only 1/60th of their life). The other 90% of the time you will still need to figure out relationships, just like you always have BUT from a perspective that is now different. Good luck, reading further will not give you the key or secret.

Intimate Relationships

One was a woman named Amy. You see her name in the title of this blog. Amy was the first who birth the name Sarah (and I still like the name). Amy also had her own agenda and wanted her own lesbian relationship with Sarah… except, I was not Sarah, a woman. I was, as I am now, a transitioning person. Amy wanted me to go all the way and that was never my destination.

There was another named Laura and she was able to be bonded to me in such a way that my soul felt ripped apart by that relationship. She wanted something else. In the time with her – I married her and divorced her.

Both those people had their own strong agenda, and their own baggage. I started to think that transitioning was far less messed up than what ‘normal’ people were in relationships. I dated an angry lesbian army major (who had never cooked or cleaned for herself in her life), a woman (m-f), a crazy Filipino woman who had lesbian issues from her teenage past and a few others. I could not seem to find anyone ‘normal’ and I figured that it was all due to my own transitioning, my own ‘abnormality’ – although by now at near 4 years on hormones, I was feeling pretty normal!

So what was left for me? Guys? Um, no – I was a good guy who fucked around and I knew what guys were capable of. Besides that, they had nothing that interested me – they were hairy, had no shape, no breasts and an outy AND I did not want another relationship with some weird expectations. I have great close friends as guys, but I had no image of myself being in an intimate relationship with them.

I then did my best Tom Hanks in Castaway. I isolated myself long enough that I came up with the answer. As much as I loved being with people, I could no longer be in an intimate relationships. I would become a sheeple (sheep people) and live out the time enjoying relationships that worked. I did have some great long-term friendships, a set of great relationships at work and by and large got along great with everyone including my X (the one I had the son with) and my son. I guess, I just gave up and said that I was done with the freakyness of relationships.

And I was done… then

Along came a woman who I had not expected. One that allows me to be as I am – David+. That allows me to be the transitioning, integrated person without any expectations of any kind. Who revels in my womanliness and enjoys the maleness of my past. It is now nearing 6 months together and I love her more every day. The relationship is not crazy like the fireworks of the past (with many of those fireworks going off on the ground) – it is the steady smooth coal fire of a forge.

See, in transitioning, I refused to throw out what was good about me and still connected with maleness. I always considered the femaleness as added to me – not as in a trade. Perhaps I do not have the journey right for transition – I have always been about balance in my life… and I sought balance within myself of the male and female. I do not always look like a woman, although I have nice breasts! – nor entirely as a male, though I still have the outy.

Me on the right

I sailed off the map. I knew where male was and I thought that I knew where female was – I am somewhere else in both body and mind. Just like the sailing when I never made it to New Zealand, in transition I never made it to being entirely a woman. How do I feel about it?

Plot your own journey. You do not need to follow the path that only leads to one of two destinations. Keep an open mind and find peace within that mind and you will, like in Castaway, come to the crossroads where you can see that you really have a limitless horizon.

And about me, this early morning (I started writing at 0400)?

There is a beautiful woman, Jules, up in my loft still asleep; and we are getting married next spring. I have found a warm, accepting family with this woman. As for a sailboat, my third cruising boat (the smallest) is out in the carport, being rebuilt. Fair winds and safe shores to all who are transitioning. Sarah xox.

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