Saturday, November 7, 2009

Moving Forward

Well my grandmother (Father's mother) died last night. That's a new event in my life and it hasn't quite hit me yet. I'm sure it will at the funeral. But in the meantime, it's definitely hit my father like a truck and on top of the fact that his son wants to now be his's just not a good combination. And of course I can't be there to hug him and talk to him because he won't see me like I am, as Debra. He has been calling me Debra or Deb (his new nickname for me) via email and IM but he still is not ready to see me yet...which frankly is fine. I can be patient for that. But it's hard because of the fact that his mother died and we can't be in physical presence together.

My wife rebuked me and told me I should set aside my transition if even for a day to be with him, dressed in guy clothes, and I gave it much thought. She's also requested that I not sleep with my breast forms, that I dress as a guy for our 5th year anniversary dinner, and that I goto her family's thanksgiving this year dressed in guy clothes too.

All of these things are kind of similar in that they are essentially requesting that I not only stop my transition but reverse it, if even for just a day. I'm so against detransition that the thought of dressing up in guy clothes for any time more than I already have to (ie at work) is terrifying. I also think that if I do it once, everyone will expect that I can do it again and I do not want to put that kind of implication out there.

My wife claims that I should try to gradually transition which is a good point and frankly I did try that....I started it by only coming to my parents' house with nail polish on and they suddenly banned me from coming over that way which only hastened my transition.

Speaking of transition, it's interesting because for a long time I thought that my transition would begin when i started hormones or maybe when I went full time at work. But in reality, my transition has already begun.....when did it begin? When I found self acceptance in myself and knew that this was the path I needed to take.

I know that some of you will probably agree that I should take this time to dress up in guy clothes to be with my family but I sincerely think that it would hold serious consequences and would in general be backpedaling. I am moving forward and my counselor is helping me not do it so fast but I am moving forward.


Shannon said...

You're in a tough spot. I can imagine the internal war about wanting to comfort your father. If you can talk to him over the phone and just be there for him as much as you can over the phone, or in chat or email or whatever, do that with all your heart. Beyond that, you have to do what you have to do. When my divorce is final, and maybe before it the paper work is done and we just have to wait, I don't plan on being Michael anymore... I might take my forms out when I go fish with my son. In public, I'm me even when my wife is around. You have to decide what you'r4e going to do for the funeral/service. Being yourself is what I'd suggest but that might burn some bridges. Are you ready for that? Myself? I'd go as myself and I would prefer to not be in the front rows. Pay my respects and let people come to me. I don't know how close you were to your grampa.

You have my prayers and my hugs.


Sophia Athena Farren said...

Debra, this is just my opinion and I did tell you this before. Maybe I'm giving you poor advice, I dunno, but considering who you are now, what a great woman you are becoming, to detransition even for specific occasions seems like the wrong thing to do to me. Let's face it, you know who you are now, and either your family wants to keep Debra their daughter in their life or they don't. To give into their want for you to be in guy mode is only to push off the inevitable. It is like your family is learning to swim, if they don't jump in the water and test it out they will not learn by dipping their toes in it. They need to SEE Debra, not the phony side of you in regards to you presenting as a man. But I won't lie to you, it could cause big riffs, but as I said those riffs are going to come anyway, just when they come is what will change. Not only that but let me put myself in a therapists shoes for a moment, I would wonder if you going against who you really are is a sign that your life is not stabilizing, that you are still sitting in quick sand instead of getting yourself out all the way. To show true conviction in regards to putting your foot down, at least to me, would show a really stable girl that knows who she is!

This does relate to Thanksgiving a bit in regards with me, there is a BIG chance I'll be invited to it at my moms. To go and basically pretend nothing happened and potentially put myself in harms way would not be good. Yet by having it with Dylan, and MAYBE you, Collie, Shannon and anyone else, I can be myself. Thanksgiving to me is a day to be Thankful, to be happy, not to be something you are not and just going through the motions. Also it is my hope but politely rejecting an invitation that it shows my resolve and may even cause my own family to second think about what they are doing to me, and whether they want to lose me even if they have to accept me as Sophia to do so. Well I'll just conclude there, I love you girl, and want what is best for you. You've inspired me so much during these last couple of weeks I hope I can give something back. Stay strong, tempered by love, don't be knocked down by other people's prejudice or stubborness!

Leslie Ann said...

I love your observation about when transition began. That's quite astute.

My sympathies on your grandfather. I honestly don't know whether you should be yourself at the funeral. I would remind you that the funeral is about your grandfather, and to a slightly lesser extent, his wife and children. Paying one's respects means just that: respect for the parted and those closest.

You have some difficult decisions in your immediate future. I would be wary about burning bridges, especially at an emotionally raw time like this. Good luck, Debra.

Lori D said...

You have my sympathies on the passing of your grandmother. It will be a time for grieving and comfort, and that's what should be at the forefront.

I have a fairly strong opinion as to what I think you should do. You've taken a rather fast-paced approach to transitioning, and I'm really concerned about the ability of those around you to acclimate to those changes and cope in a proper way (i.e. anger, grieving, loss, gradual acceptance, etc). Even as recent as a few months ago I attended a wedding for a friend. With my hair in a ponytail, I wore a dress shirt and slacks and presented as male. It was a tough experience, but the wedding wasn't about me, and considering several friends and coworkers were going to be there, the last thing I wanted to do was create an interruption at the wedding. I resolved to bless the wedding party by taking some pretty kick ass photos (if I might say :) ) even though they had a professional photographer on hand.

In the end, presenting as Larry wasn't a big deal for me. It was one night. I knew who I was. And I compromised an important evening for someone so they would know how I understood the night wasn't about me but about them.

If this offends you, I'm sorry. I'll refrain from posting any longer. I find myself continually struggling with the right words to say about the path you're on. I speak from my own personal experience, but I also have watched dozens (if not hundreds) of friends transition, and there seems to be common steps that over time result in better results. At least for friends and family members.

Renee said...

I have a slightly different take on this. Do what you need to do, but later on, no complaining when others do what they need to do. We all have choices to make, and a lot of them are going to be hard and painful.

Lori D said...

I like what Renee's saying. She's suggesting that your pace might be what you need to do for you. But it might be too much for others and you may lose those you thought would be allies. I'd hate for you to end up feeling so alone in the light of transition. Sure, you gain new friends, but I'll take thick blood with the water anyday.

And thank you for answering. For what it's worth, I read the post to my wife and then read her my response. She doesn't know who you are, didn't see your blog, just heard my voice. She was incensed at your perspective, but then again she saw me transition and thought I went too fast too. Her point she made to me was that so many of those she's seen transition all run head first like a kid into a candy store. I know I was guilty of that too.

I would only share that you should be as introspective as you are in externalizing who you are.

Good luck to you.

Renee said...

Yep, Lori is right.

In every transition there comes a time when you feel abandoned by someone you care about, and what we always hear is some variation of "How could they do this to me?". What we don't stop to think is that somewhere in the past - be it two weeks or two months or two years - that same person was sitting alone somewhere, feeling very abandoned, and asking the same question of you...whether you could hear them or not.

And FWIW, drabbing it up for a day, at this stage for you, isn't de-transition. That's not to say that you should or shouldn't do it...that's your call. But it's not de-transition and it doesn't say anything negative about your or your resolve to eventually have the life you need. It just says that you made a choice on behalf of people you cared about during a time that was very important to them.

As I always say, how we treat others says more about us than it does about them.

Sophia Athena Farren said...

Well Debra, looks like you have some solid advice from all ends. Just pray about it, and do what you are lead to do! Transitioning is such a complex process, as I've found out and many have found out it is almost impossible to predict what is best for others or is worse in regards to transition. With something as radical as transitioning, and so world changing, I will be the first to admit I could be wrong in regards to what to do. There are pros and cons to each suggestion here from what I see.

One thing I will say that this funeral is as much for you as it is your family as well. They just didn't lose a dad, or a Grandfather but you did to girl! I don't envy your choice at all! From a psychological perspective I can see potential positive and negative outcomes all over the place!

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