Written by the butchelor

Topics: Personal

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
~Anatole France

I haven’t blogged in an entire lifetime. No, seriously… SO much has happened, and it’s pretty daunting to even consider catching this blog up on all of the details of my transition – my life… so, I won’t even try. Not yet, anyway. Maybe, eventually, I can fill in some of the blanks.

I just haven’t been able to write much — not since spending so much energy and brain-power writing The Letters (upon letters, upon letters) to family, friends and coworkers regarding my transition. I was abso-freakin-lutely emotionally, mentally SPENT after all of that. I can’t even imagine how I would be feeling had everything gone terribly. I think the fact that everything went so, AMAZINGLY well – *shockingly* well – it was a different sort of overwhelming. I wasn’t prepared AT ALL for success. I was prepared to make some huge sacrifices, and I was convinced that I’d find myself alone, unemployed, homeless and/or… well, all sorts of other horrible scenarios. But none of those things happened. Not a single one. I, and everyone in my life, have created the ultimate, transgender coming out success story!

I didn’t quite know how to process the success, and everything just moved SO fast after each letter that I sent and after each conversation that I had — it created a different sort of… stress? Guilt? I think I was just SO focused on the coming-out aspect for SO long, that the REST of the process got pushed aside and once the I finished coming-out, I was thrown into the midst of “everything else”. I’m not exactly sure… I think I’m still trying to figure it out, sort through it and let my brain catch up to the reality of my new life.

Man. It really IS a new life.

In every sense… maybe that’s one reason I haven’t quite known how to write – or really even communicate effectively – about my transition. At least about much of anything that wasn’t a physical change. The physical stuff is easier to talk about. I mean, I LOVE my flat chest, stubbly facial hair and badass new muscles! It really is pretty amazing how much I’ve physically changed. Transition has a funny way of turning even the most modest of us into raging narcissists. Though, those things are right in front of me. Every time I look in the mirror. Every time an old friend sees me or hears my voice for the first time after seven+ months. As much as I’m enjoying (beyond words, clearly) this new life – there’s some major culture shock involved. 34 years is a long time to live in a female body and be seen and treated as someone in a female body— albeit a masculine female body for last 14 years. There’s no number of blogs or YouTube videos or conversations with other trans-people that could have prepared me for THIS life. Life as a man… no, life as a trans-man.

It’s equal-parts AWESOME!!!! and scary as hell.

And now I’ve hit a mental block. I have no idea where to go from there… *sigh*… In the words of Dora (fish, not explorer), I’ll just keep swimming —err, writing…

For me, now, communicating about deep, emotional stuff requires MUCH more concentrated effort. My emotions are no longer situated directly under my skin. They’ve, somehow, been buried – they’re still there! (Somewhere). I just don’t seem to have the same access to them as I did before. It’s like they’re muffled under a pillow. Or a layer of thickened skin. Not sure if it’s due to the change in hormones or in the inevitable changes that have occurred in me, as a person.

I started seeing my original therapist again a few weeks ago, and that’s helping me to reconcile the person I was with the person I’m becoming. They’re definitely two, completely different people. Ha, it’s a bit of a mind fuck… I mean, sure, I know people change all the time: people lose massive amounts of weight and change; People divorce or marry and change; People have kids or move or get sober or lose their sight, use of their legs, their job or a thousand other major (or even minor) life-changing events that cause people to re-evaluate their lives, and make those conscious (or subconscious or naturally inevitable!) changes. I guess the difference is, I NEVER expected the emotional, social, psychological changes to be as significant as they seem to be. Yet another thing I was unprepared for… and I can honestly say that, while many aspects of these changes have been good, I’m still not 100% comfortable with others. There are certainly parts of my “old self” that I want to hold onto – parts that are becoming more and more inaccessible. It’s a little scary to feel pieces yourself slipping away and to be unsure if they’re gone forever or if, like the physical evolution, things are just shifting into something new. Something, ultimately, better.

I’m trying not to get hung-up on the fact that I’m a “different person” now – of COURSE, I’m a different person. To think that I wouldn’t be after going through such a monumental change would be silly. Change is scary. BIG changes are BIG-TIME scary, and there’s no freakin’ road map. No manual. Or template… there’s pretty much just waking up everyday, trying to figure it out. Life! It’s just life, right? For all of us – regardless of whether or not we’re transitioning or losing weight or getting divorced/married/having kids/moving/getting sober, etc. We’re ALL out there trying to do our best with the life we have.

There’s one point Dr. Therapist always comes back to — his seemingly all-time favorite nugget of wisdom: “Let’s just focus on ‘what IS’. We don’t have much control over ‘what was’ or ‘what if'”… it’s become my mantra for the last 7+ months. I love it, not only for its simplicity and truth, but mostly for the relief it’s provided. I tend to waste a LOT of energy worrying about the past and possible future. It’s a comforting reminder to only focus on the moment or situation at hand. Unfortunately, it’s usually SO much easier said than done.

Today (and everyday) I just keep trying to: analyze the differences in myself LESS, and focus on the changes I’ve chosen to make for myself, MORE. Enjoy blending in, for once, instead of freaking out over the possibility of becoming invisible. Be myself, rather than pretending to be someone I’m not. Accept that I was never a “normal girl” nor will I ever be a “normal guy”. Acknowledge the courage it’s taken to get this far, rather than downplaying or dismissing it. Realize that other people’s opinion of me is none of my business… and, maybe most importantly— remind myself that I’m NOT the abomination that I always assumed that I was (even if that DOES happen to be someone else’s opinion). And, as cheesy as it sounds, I deserve all the good things this life has to offer, and I should love and care for myself as much as I do for others.

I really am 10000 times happier now, than I was a year ago… or even six months ago, and I certainly don’t mean to imply that the stress and anxiety that I’m experiencing now, seven months into my medical transition, are in any way WORSE than the stress and anxiety that I was experiencing pre-transition. They’re obviously different. I’m different. Life is different. Yeah, okay, okay, I know – I think I’ve established the fact that, WOW! Holy shit, I’m in an entirely different place now! 🙂 I just had so much uncertainty before and I was fueled by fear… mainly fears surrounding those damn “What ifs”… I’m finally in a place where I can live a much more authentic life and more clearly focus on what IS. That is most definitely a positive change. A change that I’m really proud of – more proud, even, than of my flat chest, stubbly facial hair and badass new muscles. 😉

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