My poor ADD brain is so overloaded right now; I’m not really sure where to start…
(Hmm… Perhaaaps I should start with an appointment to get back on some sorta meds for that damn ADD. Heh.)
At any rate, I had my first appointment with my new** therapist
yesterday Tuesday afternoon, and I’m still reeling from excitement/nervousness; not to mention the fact that I’m preeeetty overwhelmed, BUT I’m going to try to make sense of it and maybe lay out some sort of game plan as I write this… maybe IF my brain will LET me. I keep getting distracted by blogs and videos and all of the research I have to do before my next session.
Okay, baby steps… I’ll start at the beginning.
Most of my session consisted of laying that basic, first session foundation—where I’ve been and where I’m going (all as it related to my transition). We talked about my family and my job and how those are the two big (fear-based) hurdles that I’m facing right now. We talked about my belief systems that have been cemented in place from childhood (ah, it’s ALWAYS from childhood, isn’t it?) and how I’ve never really given my parents the opportunity to reject me (OR to accept me, for that matter)— sooooo, I’m making a LOT of assumptions regarding their reaction—duh.
We also talked about my friends and how they’re accepting my coming out thus far… I know she was needing to get a sense of my support system, and wanting to make sure that I’m not floating out here in transland all by myself.
We also talked about how I’ve been living my life to this point: being a tomboy kid, hating dresses and dolls and all things “girl” growing up, being raised “in the Church”, being jealous of the boys, coming out as a lesbian (to friends) when I was 20, living my entire adult life as a masculine female, and my evolution over the past several years—from accepting that I was genderqueer and dating (mostly) straight women to finally deciding that I wanted chest surgery and to start HRT (and all those little places in between)…
Whew! All of this in an HOUR! (right!?) …We talked fast.
I do feel a sense of urgency, though, in general… Maybe because I’m finally to the point where I’m okay (sort of) with where I am AND with where I’m going? At the very least, I feel like my life (and that sense of “who I am”) is making sense to me for the first time EVER, and I feel strong enough (eh, kinda) to move forward.
Anyway. Mostly, we talked a LOT about my family… and that was scary and hard, and I probably have around five or so blog drafts in various states of completion about my family dynamics, but it’s just so complicated and… well, scary and HARD to talk about (or think about or WRITE about).
Thankfully, she did ease my mind (AND my assumptions) by reassuring me that it I don’t HAVE to come out to them prior to having surgery or starting hormone treatment. At one point she laughed, and asked me if I always felt the need for their approval—even at 34, and of course (duh!)—I most certainly do (but that’s a story for another blog… or two).
Aside from *that* I’ve also become a champ at compartmentalizing my life and ignoring the giant elephant, that is my life… especially, SPECIFICALLY as it relates to my family. With my parents and brother, I’ve settled comfortably into a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” mindset (at least, that’s how I perceive it to be) and with my extended family—well, I started rejecting them LONG before they ever had the opportunity to reject me… sad, but true.
I’m a therapist’s DELIGHT, aren’t I?! (Ha. Aren’t we all.)
I realize that I’ve been unfair, and I realize that I’ve been preparing myself for the worst possible parental scenario(s) my entire life. I’ve prepared for the worst, and eventually I started BELIEVING the worst. It became real, and I have experienced those horrible outcomes (repeatedly) in my head my entire life—I fed the fear and it grew.
Around this time, she said something—an important, LIGHT-BULB-MOMENT *something*… She said that any hopes my parents might have had for me being that picture of the perfect woman/mom/wife they hoped (and assumed) that I’d grow up to be was most likely shattered a long, LONG time ago… Ahhhh… ::ding:: Light bulb.
She was right. My parents don’t question my dating life. They don’t fight my clothing choices or my haircut or the fact that I’d rather help my dad in his workshop than help my mom with lunch… not anymore. They KNOW. I mean, they might now know everything, but they know *something*.
It was the first moment of relief and reassurance that I’ve had regarding my family… I almost didn’t know what to do with it. Ha, I DON’T know what to do with it, but I do know that reassurance is a VERY good thing right now. Reassurance builds confidence, and it’s helping me take my next (more difficult) steps.
HOWEVER… and it’s a BIG however… once I *do* begin hormone treatment it’s like starting a timer. Just as soon as I take that first shot of testosterone—a clock begins ticking down the amount of time that I have before it’s impossible to ignore. Eventually, I’ll have to open myself to rejection (or acceptance). I’ll finally be forced to heave that elephant out of it’s comfortable corner and face the biggest fear(s) of my life. I’ll no longer be able to ignore it or keep my family in their safe “need to know” compartment that I’ve so carefully managed the last 14 years.
But… and it’s BIG but… (ha)
Fear has stopped me from doing a lot of things in my life… it’s been more than a “hurdle”; it’s been a roadblock. I realize now that if I’m EVER going to make progress—if I’m EVER going to grow up— this is something that I have to do. For ME. I’ve always been petrified of making a decision for myself—for being “selfish” enough to overlook what others (i.e. my parents) want/expect/need and do what’s best for me, and that has hurt me. It’s HINDERED me—from progressing, from growing and from succeeding… and I’m over it… At least, I’m TRYING to be over it
Doing this sort of thing (making a decision for ME) is so extremely foreign that I really have no idea where to start, but I figure as long as I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and taking those baby steps—I’ll get there eventually… right?
**She specializes in trans/gender variant issues.