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Nov 07 2015

The 13th Attempt

Preface: I have not written in a while, I know. I apologize for that. My life overall has been good and I have trouble writing about the good that happens… Which is odd. I get distracted from writing because I’m enjoying my life.

However, something came up recently in my mind, and it has been bothering me since. What I wrote below was the text of this document before I added this preface.

This is the end. Hold your breath and count to ten. Feel the Earth move and then, hear my heart burst again.

My life has changed so much in the last year and a half or so. I have so many people to thank for powering me into being myself. It makes me feel like a failure that I’ve needed this much help yet, I feel so happy to know that all these people around me are willing to help, willing to help save my life. I counted it up recently that there are 12 times in my life where I intentionally, or unintentionally, attempted to take my own life. There are a couple other times in my life that my life could have ended but did not. I think frequently about why I remain. Why was I left on this Earth? What is my purpose? It seemed life was a plague, a disease, that would not leave me.

These thoughts, are not uniquely transgender. However, transgender are people are much more likely to have thoughts and attempted actions like this. My sole wish, is that nobody has to go through what I went though. That thought, is not uniquely transgender either. People face hardships on a daily basis from dealing with terminal disease, to mental disorders, to situations of losing loved ones. Each one of us I’m sure wishes nobody to suffer like we have. It doesn’t matter why a person has suffered to want to wipe the problem off the face of the planet.

I ran for so long. Then the sky fell. I lost the shell that kept me alive. I couldn’t run anymore. I had to risk it all. That is what it felt like to me. People asked me at the time I came out “Are you sure you want to do this?” I said yes. At the time, I felt like it was the dumbest question I have been asked during the course of my life. In retrospect, I could not express myself properly, it was not a dumb question, but it was a dumb answer – because it was a lie. Those were some of the last lies I’ve told.

To get out of a life of lies, I lied. I was not sure. How could I be? I had no idea what was on the other side. I could not know it was the right choice. I took every hand that would support me and I charged forward. I did not know if it was the right thing, but I knew it was what I needed to do. I have no idea how, but I was suffocating inside a life that was not mine. I never knew what the end result would be. I never knew how powerful it would be.

No matter how much research I had done, no matter how much work I put in, something kept surprising me with regard to the transition. Something I didn’t expect happened. I was unprepared for this. But, I never shoot to miss. I was ready. There was no way I could have done this alone. There was no way I could have done it with opposition. There was no way for me to survive, without hiding, without preparing, without getting ready… For the sky to fall.

But then, when I was ready, my life crumbled. Hand in hand with all supporters, and my heart on my sleeve, I sang. Put your hand in my hand, and we will stand. Let the sky fall, when it crumbles we will stand tall, and face it all together.

As my life crumbled around me everyone around me seemed to always be there supporting me. Everywhere I turned, I didn’t realize all the people that loved me so much. Everywhere around me people told me I was amazing. People told me I was strong. People told me I was brave. I had such trouble believing them. People told me “you are changing everything at the core of you.” I didn’t believe them. Now, I see. Hormones, Estrogen and Testosterone, are at a core of each and every one of us. I thought I would be the same person just projecting a different image. I wasn’t ready to let him go. But, I was fooling myself.

There was a war within me. Twelve times I tried to kill him. Each time Joe pushed me back. I’ve been here before, but always hit the floor. I’ve spent a life time running but always got away. Each of those twelve times had I succeeded; I would not have survived either.

Yet, he survived, other people saved him, and in doing that he, and they, saved me. As I watch him wither and die, I thought I would be happy. This is the 13th time I’ve tried to kill him. Will he finally go away this time? However, I feel different. How do I live? How do I breathe? When you’re not here I’m suffocating. I want feel love run though my blood. Tell me is this where I give it all up? For you, I have to risk it all. ‘Cause the writings on the wall.

(This is the theme song for the new James Bond Movie SPECTRE, and you may not want to hear it. If you don’t – don’t hit play)

If I take no action, Joe will cease to be. I have now built an identity separate from him, although we share many similarities. I do not feel like him anymore. I have discarded him and soon enough he will vanish. Is that okay? Is that what I want? Can I be whole without him? Can I take him in again and not be lost within myself again?

If I take him on again, will his fear, his depression, and his anger infect me? Has it already? Am I afraid to finally lose him? Do I replace the aspects I miss with him via friendships with others? Can I find that from outside?

The writing is truly on the wall. It is obvious to me that without intervention he will vanish. Many people saw this before I did. Am I okay with that? Hormones have been my weapon to put him on the ropes, without taking me there as well. It’s not too late, I could save his life. However, if I did would I be able to be one whole person? Would I be complete again like before my soul fractured in the way that it did? Would I be able to be happy with him, as us, as me? Do other transgender people deal with this? I have no way to know.

That is why I publish. Do other transgender people deal with this particular issue? Or am I unique? Maybe my post will catch someone else’s attention and help them though their own trouble. Do I have another ‘problem’ on top of being transgender? I doubt it. It doesn’t feel right? However, Should I still feel this fractured? I don’t know.

I feel like my life is just beginning yet at the same time I don’t know if I should sheer old parts off or if they should stay here reminding me of both the good, and the bad. Do I move on? Or do I move on? Okay, that was dumb but that’s how it feels. It’s more like how do I move on. Why did male puberty have to pollute me in such a way?

He will always be a part of a past; he has had his lasting effects on my life. Do I let him go? Or do I hold on to him for dear life? How am I supposed to know? He has, in essence, given his life for me. It was the best gift ever to keep me alive despite my hardest work to forget. Do I let other in, his place? Has he made these decisions? Or have I? Is he half of me? Or am I a replacement for him?

All I can do is make the best choice I can… And put this out there to help those that may be struggling with the same problems. I have tried to make the safe decision each step of the way. That’s how starting hormones was. For me, that was the safe decision. But now, I sit here for the first time, not knowing what the safe decision was. He ran from every important decision. How do I trust me when I cannot see what decision I should make? Any time I was really hurt, I would try to take his life. He survived despite all my efforts, but he insulated me.

I am alive because of him; but, I am also unsure and afraid because of him.

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.

2 comments

  1. Dorothy Bollman Browning

    Oh my dear Jo,
    As I read this it seems to me that you are going through something right now similar to a divorce. So many of the same feelings but give it time..time…time. Embrace the good things that Joe has given you; the knowledge that Joe has given you. There are undoubtedly things in Joe’s life that Jo needs to let go of in order to be the confident woman she can be. Can you still remain friends with Joe and yet be your own person of Jo? Of course you can. This is just your grandma’s perspective on this blog. Love you to the moon and back.

    Grandma Browning

  2. Marcy Browning

    I echo Grandma’s thoughts and have one more other than the ones we shared last night.

    Regrading feeling like a failure for needing so much help. I am familiar with that feeling. When my body betrayed me with the cancer I needed a lot of help. So many people where there for me. The true failure is not recognizing you need help or recognizing you need help but not accepting it. Accept the help when you need it, even if it is a lot, then turn around and give it to someone else(you do this a lot already). That is what I have tried to do. I am so glad you allowed me into your life to give and get help, love and be love, accept and be accepted. As you told me when I said I was fearful my cancer would come back. “If it does we will deal with it together.” Joe is not a disease, let him help Jo the most. Although we sometimes talk about Joe and Jo, I honestly believe that they will meld together soon as Jo gets stronger and knows she won’t be snuffed out by masculinity. Be ready for a long hold when I see you next weekend. Better Days Are Coming! I love you.

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