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May 16 2015

Yesterday Hurt

Yesterday hurt. Yesterday hurt more than any day in a very long time. Even saying that is getting me close to crying again. I wanted to yell, scream, and cry all day, well, not all day. The morning started well enough. I went to get my hair done. My haircut happened to coincide with a day that was very important to me. I had a good morning with my stylist chatting. We spent a nice time talking about how we were both doing, how my transition was going and her life. It turns out she is going to be running in the Chicago Marathon this year, which will be her first marathon. She is running to benefit the MDA (Muscle Dystrophy Association) she lost her brother in 2008 to Muscle Dystrophy and she is taking donations here if you feel you wish to support her cause. Learning all that is amazing, she is a very strong woman.

Yesterday morning, as I was leaving the salon I had a song in my heart. My hair was pretty I was going to dress nicely, even though it was in male clothes and I was happy. I was going to be with people I love dearly. Most of the video clips, including the one below, are from a single My Little Pony Episode that I saw about a month ago and re-watched later in the day yesterday. I felt when I first saw it that it in many ways told my story, but no more so than yesterday… To give a basic intro to the plot of the episode their ‘cutie marks’ which are the marks on their haunches and are symbols of their destiny get mixed up… I was singing this first song in my head until late morning when my mom made a comment that I will always be her son.

I don’t even remember the context of the comment but it, in retrospect, it was her subconscious just using the same word she used over the last twenty nine years. Yesterday morning and afternoon, I was far from a strong woman. I briefly questioned that comment and she explained it was because she had told some people at work but not many. The unvoiced thought that went through my head was something to the effect of “you are embarrassed of my situation? Is my situation too difficult for you to explain?” I filtered myself and it started a trend that ran throughout the day. At the time, I had no doubt that being assigned male at birth was a mistake of destiny. In the next sentence, I am going to use a very complicated relationship, I will explain after I say it. We were on our way to meet up with my adoptive biological half-brother and his fiancé. My adoptive mom also had a son adopted from her at a young age. This wonderful man is her biological son. Their reunion was in 1995. He knows of my situation, and fully supports me. He greeted me and at the beginning of the day addressed me with the correct gender, and started asking me a lot of very good and very interesting questions about the transition and my feelings.

Somewhere though my mom gendered me male, everyone in public was gendering me male… I kept being called “sir” “he” “him” and every interaction changed. All of a sudden, people looked at me funny when someone held a door for me. People started staring at my neck. My brother even stopped gendering me completely; he used my name, gender-neutral words, and pronouns. That caused my mind to shift. The way I walked changed. My mentality changed. My use of language changed. All my walls went right back up. I started hiding feelings and thoughts again. I became the silent shell of a man that I used to be. I went back to believing the feelings of the last 29 years, were my correct path.

That happened about two pm. It was subconscious. I knew in my mind that I should not think that, but I could not help it. When everyone around me treats me as they used to be before I came out, it is like a kick to the chest. If they do not try, it knocks the wind out of me. That is all I need. My mind defaults back to where I was a year ago. I put up all my walls again. I started thinking I was a man again. I tried faking it again. It was incredibly painful. I started thinking that I had made a mistake coming out. I started think that I was causing pain with the transition and becoming the person, I thought I was supposed to be. I had become afraid that I made a terrible mistake. How was I going to undo everything I had done since September? Everything came into question in my mind.

We got through to dinner with me being the shell I used to be. I was fearful, depressed, and angry again. I was angry that I could have made such a large mistake. I was depressed that I would never be able to express myself again. I was fearful that I would never be able to fix the large mistake I had made. At no point during the day had I seen a gender-neutral washroom. After six hours, certain things get urgent, especially because Spironolactone is a diuretic… Therefore, I went to the washroom and faced a decision. I was resolved to undo what I had done, return myself to what I was. The moment I stepped into the men’s bathroom, I panicked and ran into a stall. As I sat, I teared up slightly. A song occurred to me; I realized there were already changes that I could not reverse. This song is actually a song I pointed out to my birth mom last week when it came on the radio while I took her on a tour of the 29 years she missed. It was a song that I spent a lot of time with, in private, many years ago during high school. That whole trip occurred to me. I realized that that was time between a mom and her daughter. A part of me could not go back. I sang the song to myself…

I was near silent as I returned to the table. I declined the desert that I wanted, because I was too sad. My anger was strong while driving my brother and fiancé back to their hotel. We took pictures – I know I will hate them. My happiness was so fake. I could not smile, but I tried. The first part of the trip with my mom back to her house was silent other than small talk about the fiancé and our reactions of her. I trapped myself in my own mind. Then I sighed. This was the chance for change, and acceptance. I said it. “I had a horrible day.” That is what started it. I started explaining all my feelings. I came clean with her. She began to tell me that I should not let how other people treated me affect me that much. It was the same advice I had been hearing since sixth grade. It is not helpful for me. I got angry and almost shut my mouth and did not express myself, as I would have before. I said to myself, ‘No, I’m going to try to change. I need to make her understand.’ I started explaining that the filter was a subconscious reaction that caused a filter to form and that started everything. It brought everything in my self-image into doubt.

I spent the entire car ride explaining and trying to help her see. She said she knew something was up but didn’t know what to say. Every time she tried to give me advice, I would interrupt and say I just needed someone to listen and give me a hug and a kiss. The best support is an ear and a shoulder. I am going to have bad days. This one was one of them. I will work though it slowly and eventually rid myself of this reaction. That is the day gender will no longer matter to me. It will take time and work, but until then I need true friends, who provide ears and shoulders not lectures. A true friend helps a friend in need. Even if they just need an ear. By the end she got it, I had to force it at first but she heard me. She listened without adding much more after I pushed and I was expressing the things that were truly in my heart. Even a year ago, I would not have pushed this hard… I was back to normal. She expressed to me that she was proud of me and that I was a strong person, headed in the right direction.

My biological little sister reached out to me by coincidence over text and I had expressed that I had a bad day. I told her I would get back to her. I also expressed that to my husband over skype. My sister told my birth mom and soon enough all three were worried about me and anxious to hear what happened. They were all there to listen.

When I got home, my husband was there he saw the look in my eyes and took everything out of my hands threw it aside and embraced me. I cried on his shoulder and told him what all happened. In that moment, it felt like everything was going to be okay. My husband already knew that I just needed a shoulder to cry on and someone to listen. All during this, I am sure my birth mom and sister were anxious to hear the story. Eventually I was able to tell them the story. It took them a little while and a little explanation to know that the best thing they could do was to listen. They wanted to ‘help’ just as my adoptive mom did. Telling the story again made me grow a little bit more. I realized that both my moms, my husband and all my friends and family around me were proud of me. They have watched the last twenty-nine years, and they are too realizing, just as I am, that this transition is the right thing to do. Each and every one of them is proud of me. Even if the transition in my mind, and their minds, takes a while, it will heal us all. Especially both my moms are particularly proud of me. Even though they have watched different parts of my life, they can both see this is positive.

It will take a while. It will take a lot of work. The sprint may be over, but there is a marathon ahead of me. I know I have a strong support network. I have so many friends and family around me who love me, and I love each one of them in return. I have come such a long way. I never expected when I was younger to grow in this way. I have been through a lot. I have made quite a few people proud, including, finally, myself. I will keep moving forward. I will become the woman I am supposed to be and I know that in the end everything will be fine.

If you wish to watch the full My Little Pony Episode, it is available here or on Netflix. However, be aware that if you care about the overarching plot of My Little Pony – yes, there is one – this particular episode contains spoilers that I was mostly able to keep out of this post.

About the author

Josie

I’ve never been good at writing about myself. I’ve never been good at ‘talking up my strengths’ but at least I should try…

I am a 30 year old (gasp), woman. To me, it is just that simple. My life is slowly coming together into a form where I can be proud to call it my life.

Who am I? I’m a strong, loving woman that was assigned male at birth and is finally correcting that egregious error by biology. For most women if they have an urge like wearing a sundress, they just do it. For my first 29 years on this planet, that wasn’t a possibility.

I write to heal, then publish to inform. I hope my journey can make the journeys of people that come after me just a little less painful.

I also have a ‘day job’ as a Data Center Technician. I do an incredibly physical job lifting fixing and moving servers. I daily, walk into and then maintain ‘the cloud.’ Servers are still quite a bit larger and heavier than your desktop at home. So much so that I am the only woman on my team of 20 and one of 5 in the entire building of about 75. Technology is without a doubt a male dominated industry. Which makes me quite sad.

I wish I could better express who I am. I don’t feel like I’ve done justice to my history, my life, and my story, but for now, this will have to do. To me the most beautiful thing in the world is understanding and empathy. If we can have only one thing for each other person on this planet, I choose empathy.

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