an update…

Written by the butchelor

Topics: Personal

I’ve seriously neglected this blog (and its followers), and for that I sincerely apologize.

Lately, I’ve considered archiving this particular blog/URL and migrating over to Tumblr to continue documenting transition/trans* related stuff… (eh, to be determined).

At any rate, there’s a LOT of updating I’ve wanted to do over the last several months, but to be honest, I just haven’t had the energy/focus to write… I think I greatly underestimated the mental drain involved in actually physically/medically transitioning (i.e. adjusting to the physical changes/puberty/hormones-in-flux + social stress/anxiety that’s come from transitioning within my existing life, rather than hitting some magical restart button and just starting over somewhere new. Although, I DEFINITELY see the appeal to going that route, now) — and only recently have I started feeling… normal(?)-ish… again. I feel like I’m just NOW over the general shock of it all, and I’m finally experiencing the joys of my new reality. Like many trans* folks, I spent countless hours watching YouTube video, after YouTube video, trying to get some sort of grasp on the experience before diving into my own, but no amount “research” can prepare you for your experience. And my transition has been a constant source of surprise. Pleasant surprises and not-so-pleasant surprises and everything in-between. There are times I’d painstakingly prepared myself for the absolute, possible worst, and was instead blessed with unconditional support and love (best surprise ever) 🙂 Also, dealing with new emotions (or the [seemingly] sudden lack thereof) and navigating the same, old world/life while utilizing very different chemicals, has been much more challenging than I could have expected. You (or at least, *I*) somehow seem to forget that, in-between each upload, throughout a year’s worth of transition videos, there’s a LOT of adjusting going on off camera 😛 There’s growing and changing — and PUBERTY. Hello! There’s an entire evolution from one person to another, entirely. You know, I always said, prior to transitioning (largely, because I wanted it to be true), that I would “still be the same person” – in fact, it was my promise to many people in my life – friends and family. I’d been asking them to make this transition along with me, and I guess I felt that I owed it to them remain the same. To PROVE that I would be the same… when, in reality, I’m not the same person at all. (duh) How could I be?

I’m finally Aaron.

And sure. Yes. Essentially, I AM the same… sort of, but it’s a little like discovering you’re made to run on diesel after 30 years of filling up with regular unleaded.. I don’t know. Maybe this part is different for everyone? Maybe it depends on how much testosterone you had in your body before? Or maybe the differences aren’t as “chemically-induced” as I’m assuming them to be? Maybe, at least in part, the differences stem from the sort of re-socialization that occurs as soon as you’re consistently indentified as the correct gender?

Hell if I know, but personally, *I* feel MUCH different than I expected I would…

I find the whole thing pretty freakin’ fascinating.

I still struggle (almost daily) with the temptation to be stealth over the assumed default (?) of being out… it’s nearly impossible to “manage” the knowledge of your trans-status at work or when meeting new people, while surrounded by a lifetime of friends, family and colleagues who still see your old face and think your old name in their head before correcting themselves when they speak, but I do hate the loss of control over something so personal. I guess that’s just part of it, though; I doubt that being stealth could ever, really, be an option — even if I decided to be. Not here. Not surrounded by my past life.

Then, just like that, I find myself on the opposite side of the fence, and I realize that I’m really okay being out (however, not with being *outed*) — being visibly “queer” is something that I got used to and (eventually) found comfort in. In fact, more often than not, I find it kind of WEIRD just blending in as an average, short, straight white guy… (not that there’s anything wrong with that) 😉

I know that it really comes down to a matter of privacy, but generally speaking, I’m sort of terrible at managing personal boundaries ANYWAY. So… yeah, I most likely will NOT be stealth… (but ask me again tomorrow). Honestly, I really WOULD be out, without issue — but… being out as trans feels a helluva lot scarier (to me) than being out as a lesbian did. I suppose because, as I trans guy, I now share a LOT more spaces with cis guys… and that, yeah— *feels* scarier (to me).

I’m TRYING to share the mantra of the nastyass honeybadger, “Honeybadger don’t care. Honeybadger don’t give a shit”. What other people think is none of my business, and “they” REALLY don’t think or care about my transition/trans-status as much as I do…

My therapist and I spent the entire month of April trying to drill that stuff into my brain… May is obviously off to a brilliant start. 😛

I STILL won’t use the men’s restroom on my floor at the office. Simply because I transitioned on the job, and my trans-status in fairly common knowledge. Public bathrooms have been the bane of my existence for a LARGE part of my adult life, and I’m REALLY (really)ready to be over it, but I also (still) feel REALLY uncomfortable. (no big issues in other restrooms, btw — and really, even at work, it’s MUCH better when I go to a different floor… It’s more about being in those intimate spaces with people who KNOW I’m trans, but don’t really know me at a person. Ha, yeah, remember those social anxieties I talked about at the beginning of this essay?) It’s all getting better though. Every day. I’m adjusting to the differences and becoming more comfortable and at-ease every. Single. Day. So, yeah, there’s still stress. There are still issues related to my gender than transitioning didn’t (couldn’t) fix. Transitioning is NOT the ultimate “cure” – at least, not for everyone… but now, personally, I AM making progress that I couldn’t have made otherwise, and I have hope that tomorrow I will feel even more comfortable in my skin that I do today. If I’d started transitioning at 15 or 19 or even 24 or *64*, instead of 34 things would be very different.. again, your experience will be your own. I can only speak to my own. And despite all of the turmoil and stress —the things I tend to write about— MY experience really has been an amazing one! I woudn’t WANT to start over, but I absolutely would. Without one single doubt. If I were to wake-up tomorrow and realize it was just a crazy dream— I would be waiting at my doctor’s office when they opened…

There are several posts I’ve resolved to write – there are a few issues, especially, (name/gender marker changes, coming out to various people from different spaces – family/facebook friends/employers) that I, myself, REALLY would’ve liked to read more about, over the course of this last year. Now that DO I have my own experiences to share, I want to document some of them with hopes that it might help others out there who find themselves looking for similar information…

I’m going to post the first of these, a short overview of my top-surgery experience with Dr. Peter Raphael at the Institute for Plastic Surgery in Plano, Texas, in just a few minutes – so keep an eye out for that! I swear I will do my best to fill in a few more blanks over the next few weeks…

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