Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Zumba girls

I spoke about my first Zumba experience in one of my latest vlogs which of course included my uncomfortable first time out with no padded bra. To reiterate, Zumba is an aerobic workout that includes dance steps from many different types of music combined with sexy butt wiggling, hip shaking goodness.

Last night was my second time attending. This time, I had purchased a new sports bra from Victoria's Secret that actually had cups and it succeeded in giving me much more confidence than the first time I had gone. I also acquired some capri yoga pants to wear instead of the short shorts I had worn the last time.

As I headed into Safeway to buy a bottle of water and get cash out to pay for Zumba, I felt amazingly assured of myself and my femininity. When I got to the gym, the guy at the counter addressed me and another lady that came in as "ladies" and I signed in and paid. The room where we usually have Zumba had emptied earlier than last time so we all went into the room right away.

Once in the room, I found myself surrounded by 25 or more girls, all socializing in grps of 2, 3, and 4. I found myself standing alone, awkwardly at first but after some time, one of the ladies near me held her tummy and said to the other girls she was talking to "I still haven't gotten rid of THIS". I saw my opening. I held my own stomach and agreed that I hadn't either. She looked at me, laughed, and said "Oh right, miss cutie petutie here, like you really need to lose any!" . I laughed and said well I think I do and we all agreed that it doesn't matter what size we are, we always think we could lose some. =)

Thus began my conversation with 3 girls who all introduced themselves to me. As we chatted about random things, I found myself becoming much more comfortable. I also realized that I was not being seen by these girls as "the transgender girl" but as "that really tall skinny girl" and that was definitely better.

During the workout itself, I found myself looking in the mirrors on the wall and noticing how much taller I was than everyone in the room and it kind of reinforced to me how these girls all probably saw me. The word "beanpole" kept running through my head. It's not a bad thing, also not a good thing, but better than being seen as "that tg girl" or even "that guy". *shudder*

By the end of the workout, I was completely beat and ready for bed as was expected. We all had a good laugh at my cute little water bottle that was totally dry and had been for the last quarter of the workout. As I headed out to my car, one of the girls I'd just met turned back and waved and said "Bye Debra!". I waved goodbye and told her it was nice meeting her.

In summary, it feels really good to be involved in activities with other women. I think it's something I've always longed for as a part of my own femininity. On another note, even with small breasts, I really need to be happy and confident in myself. That confidence emanates from me when I have it and I don't think anybody questions that I'm a woman in those times. Having that confidence all the time? I seem to still have a ways to go to get to that level.

As a final note, if you are interested in Zumba check it out at . The instructor that I have experienced so far has been awesome and her Zumba page is here: .

Monday, March 22, 2010

I feel therefore I am

So I talked to my sister some last night via FacebookIM. When it came to talking about being around me, she said she had to think about her daughter. She said that because her daughter doesn't have a father, she'll have enough problems with men without having to tell her that "her uncle hated being a man so much that he became a woman".

I of course immediately had to make it clear that I didn't hate being a man. I just wasn't a man inside so everyday life was always an act, a facade. I hated being something I was not.

The way she said that just really struck me though. Do people really think it's better to be a woman? Or easier? I mean, really? Do they really think that I made this change in my life, lost my wife, lost my parents, my sister, my niece, my church, my house, etc....because it was EASIER? Or more fun??? Do they think I wanted to go through painful laser treatments every month, hours of practice in voice lessons, endless counseling sessions, and painful surgeries simply because being a woman is "better"???

I think a lot of cisgender people do not understand because they are just that, cisgender. They never experienced any feelings that the gender of their body was not correct.

Being someone who has lived as both male and female, I have to say that both have their challenges and both have their rewards but I did not make this change in my life simply because being a woman would be easier, more fun, or better. I made this change in my life because a woman is truly what I am.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Keep on trying

Keep on Trying

A matt of timeless grace
stomped on, exploited
a jug of sweet generosity
sucked dry, barren.

A fount of appreciation
impersonal, objective
a candle of beauty
quenched, unlighting.

A girl just like others,
excluded, prohibited
a desire for acceptance
rejected, unwanted.

Exhausting tears bring rest for the wounded
to live another day is to keep on trying.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A girl's gotta try

Recently, I've taken an interest in the writings of a few parents who have recognized that their children might be transgender. Many a tear has been shed while reading of the experiences these young children are going through as well as the continuing love and support provided by their parents.

My keyboard has become accustomed to the random showers of tears that seem to come for various reasons including my own loss of girlhood growing up and of course, reading about the love and care being shown also twists the knife in my wound when it comes to my own parents' way of dealing with me in the exact opposite way: ostracization.

I have sent both of them links to both father's and mother's blogs but it's doubtful they even gave either link a single click but I don't really know. What I do know is that all of the blogs I have found usually involve younger children up through the teenage years.

My question is: Where are all the parents who are dealing with (or have dealt with) their son or daughter coming out as a transgender individual later in life? We know it happens all of the time, in fact, it's much more common, statistically speaking. Do these parents just not blog? Is it a generational thing?

Not only would I like to send such a link to both of my parents but I would also like to review such blogs myself to get a better idea of what they might be feeling underneath all of the excuses provided by their conservative beliefs.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that there are parents out there today willing to support their child in such an amazingly difficult transition. I'm just curious to know the differences and similarities in how parents of fully grown men and women who transition are feeling too.

I think it's quite easy for my parents to not associate anything having to do with transgender children with their first born son because "he just wasn't like that". I'll admit that I hid it well but they still forget little details like how much I loved The Little Mermaid despite everyone making fun of me for it or how much I reached out to girls. And I don't just mean one girl at school, I mean girls at school, girls at church, even girls that were best friends' sisters.

In conclusion, does anybody know of any such blogs, resources, or videos out there? I realize that even assuming my parents would even read or watch them, it wouldn't necessarily mean they would suddenly want to support and love me again.

But a girl's gotta try. =)

Friday, March 12, 2010

I will always love you

Over the last few months, my wife and I have been slowly splitting things up and learning how to live without each other. She has had an extra hard time letting go of her husband, letting go of the man she loves. I think on the other hand, I knew what I was doing and I knew that she would have to make some major changes in her beliefs to really love me for the woman I am. Realizing it was wrong of me to expect her to do so, I simply tried to help her along in the process of splitting up. I believe I was able to do this because I put up an emotional block in my heart that would not allow her feelings to flood my heart and bring me to a breaking point like they had for so many years.

We filed for divorce last week and that brought with it some definite finality to our relationship. This week, after being in each other's presence again to split up the kitchenware, she once again pleaded with me to stay with her as her husband. She even offered to try to learn to call me by my new name. I told her it was much more than calling me by my name and she left that day, crying. I waved and said "bye" and it sounded like through her crying, she said "Bye Debra". I'm still not sure if that's really what she said or not but hearing it broke down those barriers I had put up when I started transition. I proceeded to cry a torrent of tears afterward and I asked myself, as I often do, "Why am I crying, exactly?". The reasons that went through my head were that I was feeling her pain of separation, her desperation to keep me, as well as realizing how much I needed her, her of all people, to acknowledge me for the woman I am. My need for her to call me by my name, use female pronouns, treat me like her wife, NOT her husband. My need for her to be an advocate for me when she is around others who don't even want to understand my plight and continue to call me by my old name and male pronouns. I need her to be ok with us being lesbians at home and in public. She'd have to of course first believe that it was right in the eyes of God to be a homosexual.

These are all things you cannot just act out, you need to really believe in them. I emailed her that night and explained to her everything I mentioned above. She called me the next day and told me she knew she could not do those things. I think she finally caught a glimpse of what it would be like if she stayed with me and all that would entail. Something finally hit home in her heart and I could hear the comprehension in the tone of her voice as she said "I just can't do that."

My heart has taken on a reflective stance for the last few days as I contemplated everything we've been through together and how much I still love her and how much I am really going to miss her. It's funny, I think the tears I held back over the last few months all came out this week.

So with that, I'd like to send a personal message to my ex-wife. Jessica, Baybo, I only wish good things for you, I wish you a happy life, I'm sorry that my actions in transitioning have hurt you but I truly hope you can find a wonderful man out there that will take care of you. And I will always love you .

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Still so much to learn

Yesterday, I had an appointment for my 5th laser session on my face. I had been told previously that the 5th session would hurt more than any of the others so far because they turn up the laser. Well, they turn up the laser every time, I believe, but for some reason everyone I know as well as the laser operators have told me that the 5th session will hurt more. The last 4 sessions I had on my face were no exception to the pain so I was not looking forward to this session but at the same time, I was seeing serious regrowth on the chin area so I knew it needed to be done.

I found myself in deep thought as I drove to the laser center, numbing cream applied, pressed under clear cellophane. I was thinking to myself about the pain of laser and all of the physical and emotional pain I've already been through and have yet to go through, still. When the process began like usual, laying on my back looking through sunglasses as the operator began burning away what was left of my beard, I was thinking to myself about how far I've come. As the operator continued and I felt the pain, my eyes started tearing up, not from the pain but because I was telling myself "Look at how far you've come, Debra. Embrace the pain, it's worth it." I was almost overwhelmed emotionally, just hearing myself say that and thinking about it. I have been through so much and it has been worth it.

The journey continues and just like every other laser session, I expect to battle breakouts on my face for the 2 weeks following. On another note, I'm learning that I have a long ways to go still learning to really be a woman especially after learning to live as a man for the last 28 years of my life. Learning to use more words when I talk instead of the "short and to the point" less-than-sentences men so commonly use, learning to make serene suggestions and calm concessions instead of demanding respect, learning that it's ok to open myself up and show a little more care for others and even sentimental things.

I may be a full time woman but there is still so much to learn.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Poem Resurrection: Smell of a Sunny Afternoon

I wrote this poem in high school one afternoon on my parents' front steps so it's kind of a blast from the past. I remember writing it and at the time I was solely concentrated on a relationship with a woman....but you can tell through the poem (and I remember this feeling) that there was more there to it that I didn't understand at the time. I tend to think that maybe my gender identity was trying to push through.

Smell of a Sunny Afternoon
Quiet breeze blows gently
against uncovered skin.
Lazy blue sky
is clear.
Peaceful silence true
enveloping all.
Warmth of the Sun
absorbed willingly.
The scent of calm

A smell brings feeling:
a want of something unknown;
a need for companionship to share;
a restless heart trying to understand;
a freedom unwanted but chosen;
a love unbroken for what is not.
Inspiring thoughts stir to the top
inquiring mind asks impossible, unsought questions.

Beautiful sunset joyously burns
as dark twighlight replaces the colorful sky.
Stars shine down romantically
and the breeze turns chill cold.
The moment is gone with the setting sun
but the feeling lingers.

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