Friday, February 25, 2011

Poem Resurrection: Will Somebody Look Inside?

I haven't resurrected one of my poems from my past in quite a while so I figured I'd throw one out there. I wrote this poem sometime around my Sophomore year of High School. (1997) At the time I was writing about the fact that I'd been rejected by girls for so long up to that point and I felt like I never looked right on the outside so I kept asking "won't somebody look inside?". Ironic to realize now that there was much more inside than simply good qualities and romantic desires.

Note: It was also back when I was stuck on rhyme-only poetry hehe.

Will somebody look inside and see what I’m about?
Will somebody look inside, instead of looking out?
Will somebody know me well, and also understand,
needing a hug sometimes, or to just hold their hand?
Will somebody see right through, to who I am inside,
at all the things in me, I sometimes tend to hide?
Will somebody lie on my shoulder, in need or just to sleep?
Like me, will somebody wonder, looking into eyes so deep?
Will somebody be there to talk to, each other’s secrets to share,
someone to spend some time with, and have a chance to care?
Will somebody be there to laugh at, knowing it’s all in fun?
Will somebody understand me, in all I do and I have done?
Will somebody let me hold them, and from everything, defend?
Will somebody actually like me, and be more than just a friend?
Will somebody understand my feelings, without becoming afraid?
Let me express how I feel, through poetry I’ve made?
Maybe this is a lot to ask, and too much to provide,
but still I ask this question, Will somebody look inside?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Love that is "sexual orientation and gender identity"-blind

I realize many in the trans community not only do not believe in God or Christ but even more importantly, have been hurt, shunned, humiliated, dehumanized, so-called Christians. I am one of those people despite my sustaining beliefs.

That being said, there are those of us who still believe and realize that Jesus loves everybody, despite sexual orientation or gender identity. I really found the following dream/testimony/writeup inspiring and it made me cry. So with the permission of the author, I am sharing it with you all.

Update! Lance (the author of the quoted text below) has an official interview on Gender Identity Magazine Online!

"Meeting Jesus"
I'm sauntering through my local mall one day. I'm minding my own business. My mind teeters somewhere between being consumed by my own thoughts and what's going on around me. I alert to some excitement stirring nearby, and sense an electricity rising in the air. My curiosity gets the better of me, so I move closer to see what is going on.

"Jesus is here!"
"Here? Now?"
"Yeah! Down the escalator in the main floor open area! He wants us to come on over and get to know Him!"

WOW! Jesus is here! I quickly do a spot check on my clothes, and nervously make sure my hair looks okay in a window reflection, and head in the direction I was pointed in.

I'm on the second floor when I look over the railing to the area indicated below, and am surprised by what I see. There is already a huge crowd surrounding Him! There are mothers with young children gathering around, there are people of every age, nationality and economic status crowding in as well. The press of the crowd is amazing! But I notice that whoever Jesus is talking to obviously feels loved and special as if they are the only ones in the room at that moment. From my vantage point I can see the way He connects with them, the way He looks at them, the way He LOVES them. It's undeniable and amazing!

I leave my perch and quickly make for the escalator. I don't even wait for the stairs to move me down, I jog down them, and by the time I reach the bottom I'm running. I approach the back of the crowd and notice now that I'm no longer on the second floor, I can no longer see past the crowd of people as they desperately try to get close to Him.

I press in, jump and stretch to try and see. I finally start working my way around the crowd to find a place to squeeze in. I finally find and area where there seems to be a little more organization, and figure "Hey! This will work!"

I see smiling the faces of those that are helping organize the crowd, and anxiously wait my turn! My stomach is in knots, I'm going to meet JESUS!!

It seems like forever but I know the wait will be worth it, so I stand in my spot slowly inching forward as time means nothing to me anymore. ALL I want now it to be close to Him…to have Him love on me the same way I observed He did the others when I was watching from upstairs.

I'm getting close now…I can see glimpses of Him through the crowd. Suddenly a smiling man approaches me. Ah! One of the crowd control guys! Wait…his expression is changing. He scrutinizes me head to toe. He stops directly in front of me and I can no longer see Jesus . I'm not sure what's up, but the more he looks at me the more his countenance changes to one of stern resolution.

"You're here to see Jesus?"
"Yes sir…"
"You're a female.."
"Why are you trying to look like a male?"

His face gets more stern with each question. I feel my face growing hot and red. Suddenly it FEELS like every eye is on me. I glance around, the scene hasn't changed much..only a couple of people are noticing the exchange and I gulp back thankful tears that no one else really has noticed as much as I thought. I try to raise on my tiptoes to look at Jesus again, but Stern-Face-Man shifts his position and once again blocks my view.

"Do you like boys or girls?"
"Girls, sir..I always ha….."
"Then I'm afraid you can't approach Jesus. You know you'd be MUCH better suited to see Him if you took care of a few things first!" He raises an eyebrow that leaves no doubt as to what he is referring to, and that he will not give me clearance until I do those "things".

I stand there as if slapped. He stands there like a stone. I know I am whipped. I swallow and slowly turn around. I start to walk away. My heart is broken and I feel as though I will be ill…Jesus doesn't want to see me…this man had conveyed that to me very clearly.

What I did NOT (COULD not) see during the whole exchange, was beautiful Jesus. His head had snapped up from what He was doing and was staring intently in our direction. I didn't (couldn't) see Him looking right at the back of Stern-Face's head as he grilled me down. As I was walking away I didn't see Stern-Face turn around to Jesus to give Him the thumbs up for sending me away, and I DIDN'T see the tears in Jesus' eyes and the sad shake of His head as He looked back at Stern-Face.

My stomach felt as if I had been kicked. Suddenly as I was trying not to break down and was wiping my eyes on my sleeve, the entire mall went silent…I stopped, looked up with cry-reddened eyes, and noticed that everything was still moving around me. Life was going on, but I could hear nothing…

Suddenly a booming voice peals through the air. A voice that shook me to my shoes! "LANCE!" I whirl around and see Jesus standing up! He must be standing on something because I can see Him past and above the crowd, and He is looking at me with the most love filled eyes I have seen! "LANCE!!" I glance around and no one seems to be noticing this exchange…this is personal between me and Him! "LANCE!!!" It is loving and….desperate? As if my walking away would absolutely break His heart! Our eyes locked, and suddenly it was like we were the only two in the place. He glances at Stern-Face (who was oblivious and was scanning the crowd like a hawk) and looks back at me with tear filled eyes, and suddenly throws His arms open wide!

In that moment, I KNOW I HAVE to get to Him! I start running towards Him and encounter the crowd. I am sobbing by this time, but not with the pain from before, but with the love that is erupting inside me for and from Jesus. I start pushing my way through and BAM! I run into a brick wall, I glance up to see I have run right back into Stern-Face and realize he has moved SWIFTLY to block my path when he saw me returning. A new wave of fear shoots through me, but this time I glance past his head and can see Jesus still elevated and looking straight into my eyes. The love in His eye pierce me to the core, and His arms are still open to me. Strength pours through me when I realize that THIS time I can see Jesus' eyes, and NOT only that of Stern-Face blocking my view like last time This gives me the strength to look at Stern-Face with a new expression; no fear, no shame, only a KNOWING. a determination and a resolve that I want Jesus as much as I now KNOW He wants me.

I lock my gaze back on my Master, and shoulder my way past Stern-Face, and anyone else that might share his views. I no longer see them…I no longer hear them, I am going to get to Jesus.

I reach the inner edge of the crowd and Jesus jumps down from where He is standing and runs to meet me as I rush to Him. He grabs me in an embrace that erases ALL doubt about how He feels about me. I fear the end of the embrace, but realize that Jesus will hold me as long as I need Him to. After what seems like forever I relax and pull back just enough to look at His face. His eyes of love and compassion are staring straight into mine.

What I don't see is Stern-Face smugly standing back waiting for Jesus to go down the rule-list with me. I notice Jesus glance his direction, then look back and smile at me. I realize I want to do anything this man asks me. His love is so intense I am ready for what He asks of me. I don't know how I will do it..but I am willing.

He leans in, holds me tight and whispers in my ear…"Believe in Me...follow Me…seek Me." I hold Him tight waiting for the rest. Waiting…waiting. Finally I pull back with a puzzled look.

"What else Jesus?"
"That's it!"
"That's it? But he said…" (I'm pointing at Stern-Face)
"Don't worry about what He said. 'I' will change the things in you that 'I' see need changing in you. You just stay close to me and build a relationship with me…know my voice."
"But what about my clothes…my haircut…my chosen name?"
"What about them? I'm looking at your heart!"
"But I like girls! I ALWAYS have!"
*With a slight chuckle* "WOW! Like I didn't KNOW that all this time?"

Then He holds my back a little so He can squarely look me in the eyes:

"I knew you before I even formed you. I knew who you were and what made you tick. I have watched you try to struggle past "Stern-Faces" your entire life while trying to get to me, even when you didn't even realize it. I saw every time you walked away broken hearted because of the pain of people talking FOR me. I LOVE you…I always have..and I will continue to love you. I died for YOU! Not your clothes, your haircut or anything else! You just stick close to me and 'I' will take care of what needs to be taken care of."

With that, He gathered me back in His arms, and I realize that nothing, NO ONE will be able to tear me down again…I finally met the Master, and I'll never be the same again!

Author's Note:

Those that know me know that I think in situations and pictures. This story is a pretty basic story-style rundown of my return to Jesus. It has been a four year journey, loving, seeking and getting to know Him. He has delivered me from behaviors and habits. He has given me a will to live. He has delivered me from the demons of self harm that taunted me. So many things He has changed in my life since the day I turned myself over to Him. He has given me a desire for His word and a love for Him I never had before…but He hasn't UN-transgendered me…imagine that! Sorry Stern-Faces…you lose. :)


Monday, February 21, 2011

Almost Perfect

I just finished reading a book called Almost Perfect By Brian Katcher.

Let me rephrase that. I just finished crying my eyes out, laughing, smiling, crying with joy, and crying my eyes out some more while reading this book. I couldn't put it down and for the first time in a long time, I read a 350 page book in one sitting.

The story is about a boy, a senior in high school who meets the "new girl" at school and they start getting close but she keeps pulling away even though she's flirty. One day, he kisses her and she tells him she's transgender. (Note: in the story she actually says she's 'a boy' which i really hate) He at first freaks out and can't deal with it...all he can think of is that he kissed a BOY. But after a while they rekindle things and their relationship kind of goes up and down throughout the whole story.

Let me just say that while I didn't transition at 14 like the girl in the story, I can still relate to her experiences in so many ways. Her parents reject her, they're ashamed of her, they move her out of state and home school her for 5 years after she tries to commit suicide and they see they cant make her "act like a boy". It's only after she turns 18 that they can't stop her from going to public school...and that's how she meets the main character.

I cried every time she was rejected by the main character....I cried like it was my own....because I have been rejected like that already in the past year by many guys who really "don't get it". The main character kept having these stupid revelations like "wow she really has boobs" and "wow she doesn't look or sound or feel like a boy at all" and I just wanted to scream at him "OF COURSE NOT! SHE'S A GIRL!"

The worst part was when she went out with a different guy to make the main character jealous and the guy literally beat the snot out of her. I bawled. She went to the hospital and didn't want to live anymore and was committed to a psychiatric hospital. Wait that still wasn't the worst part. The worst part was when the main character comes to see her at the hospital and she tells him that she's moving away and never wants to see him again because she never wants him to see her as a man....because she's detransitioning. I cried so hard I couldn't read the pages at that point.

She had such a hard time living as a girl, being rejected, and realizing that her life would never be the same...she would always have to tell someone. Someone would always have to know. She was opting for the other way out, a fate worse than death, a life of complete misery: trying to be something she was most definitely not: a man. The main character feels so completely horrible, i think he (and the reader) truly just want her to be who she really is, whether she ever sees him again or not.

I have a lot of mixed emotions after reading this book and in fact, I'm feeling very emotionally drained. On one hand, I'm thankful that my circumstances in some ways were quite different and I have been very fortunate. On another hand I'm insanely jealous that she got to start transition at 14 and that by 18 she had 36B breasts. (not to mention no male puberty to screw her body up) But yet on the other hand, reading about her giving up and talking about detransition tore at my heart so badly. I'm realizing right now as I write this that I fear detransition worse than I will ever fear death.

When she talked about her own suicide attempt, I was taken back to that night a year and a half ago when I, myself was unable to keep living. I don't know why but sometimes I doubt that night, maybe because I was in a crazed state thanks to the men's bible study or maybe because it didn't seem to affect my parents and their decision to disown me in any way. But I am reminded that it was very real and after all I have been through and all the joy I have experienced (despite all the pain too) I could find myself back in that garage with the engine running if the only other option was to "be a man".

In closing, I'd like to thank the author for the Author's note in the back that not only tells the reader that these kinds of events really have happened (and still happen) to transgender people but also warns transgender readers to seek help and gives a few resources to do so.

I'd recommend the book to anyone, transgender or not.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Born this way

Today I had another one of those stupid revelations. When I say stupid, I mean very profound and yet very obvious.

I was thinking about how my chiropractor laughs at me when I mispronounce a condition I have in my spine: Spun-diddle-yee-isis. It's a cutesy thing. I do things like that naturally somehow. It's part of who I am. Cutesy, girly, you name it. And frankly I think I always was that way but only allowed to take it so far while trying to be a guy.

When I talk about my past, especially my childhood, I sometimes feel like it's all hypothetical. I often ask myself 'Am I reaching too far to try to make this point?' But here's where the revelation comes in. Despite all of my childhood memories and how I interpret them, I know for a fact with every fiber of my being that if my parents had come to me as a child and said 'do you feel like a girl or boy?' or 'do you want to play with this or that?' or 'would you rather do this or that?' and finally if they added on: 'It's ok with us either way you feel'. If they had said all of that, if I had really felt like it was ok for me to be a girl....I would have responded as such. I have no doubt in my mind about that. And that kind of amazes me.

So like I said, some of you will probably walk away from this post thinking I was merely stating the obvious. It's funny how little stupid "obvious" revelations can hit you sometimes.

I really hope someday my parents can truly see me for me and understand that I was born this way.

PS ~ In no way am I suggesting it's my parents' fault that I am trans or that I wasn't able to transition earlier in life. I blame an unaccepting society.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Last Days

Today is February 15th. Exactly 1 month from today, March 15th, I'll be entering major surgery and when it's over I will never quite be the same. Ironically a year ago tomorrow was when I first came back to work as a woman. Also ironically, 2 years ago in March is when I first started questioning my gender issues and completely unrelated but interesting to note, when I became gluten intolerant. It's kind of funny to think about. And it's amazing to think about how far I've come in the last 2 years.

After surgery, I will be experiencing an era of new "firsts". But over the next month I will be experiencing some "lasts". The last days I'll ever have to worry about tucking. The last days I'll have to feel self conscious (at least for that reason) in yoga pants, swimsuits, thin shorts, and other tight pants. The last days I'll have to worry about where a guy places his leg (among other things) while making out with me. The last days of chafing from tucking too tight. The last days of being afraid of being seen naked, even by a significant other. The last days of wearing 2 pair of underwear at all times. The last days of worrying about how going to the bathroom sounds to the other women in the stalls next to me. The last days of experiencing side affects of a testosterone-blocking drug.

Some of you may be thinking things like: What about the last time to pee standing up? Or the last time to have intercourse as the penetrator? And other such privileges of having male anatomy. Well those were already out of the picture for me, not because of the lack of ability but because of the lack of desire.

I wish I could say this will be the last days of my parents estrangement from me but I don't feel like that will be the case. Having surgery alone will not bring them back to me but hopefully it will start to give them a sense of the permanence and also my need to live this way. After a year of transition, being happy, and having surgery....I'd say it should probably be pretty hard for them to cling to a "maybe this is a phase" ideal. With such hopes dashed though, hopefully their hearts can start to mend.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lonely nights along the way

I cleaned the house this weekend, had the tires rotated, got some groceries, went to church, saw a movie. The rest of the time, I found myself sitting in my living room, on my computer, watching Dexter or other TV shows. And for some reason I had a sense of loneliness. Not loneliness for family, my lost parents, or even friends. This was a certain kind of romantic loneliness I haven't felt in some time. It also wasn't missing any person in was just wanting to have someone to hold me close. The day before Valentine's Day, go figure, I guess, right?

This whole dating situation that happened over the last week kind of broke down some dreams I guess I had in my head about being post-op. Since I started transition I had thought about how dating may change after I finally was anatomically correct. Maybe I wouldn't have to disclose that I am a transsexual woman because they wouldn't be able to figure it out on their own.....even after we became intimate.

But the last guy brought on a couple thoughts:

1. Even after getting to know me in person, interacting with me, being attracted to me, and so much more, a guy can still not be able to get it out of his head that I once had the body of a man and tried to interact on this world as one.

2. Using my real name on the internet and linking it to my experiences transitioning from male to female was probably not the smartest thing to do. I'm feeling a bit regretful now because once I am post-op and there is nothing else left to "give me away" that's connected to my physical body, I will still be very "googlable".

But those two things are not things I can change.

In reality, it doesn't matter how googleable I am because as much as I just want to live as a woman, I already came to the decision early on that I couldn't ever go fully "stealth" and desperately hide my trans status from the world. I would feel like I was lying or being dishonest, exchanging one life of hiding for another. And frankly it doesn't matter if there are guys out there who can't get over something in the back of their head about my past life....because I have already experienced guys that can. So I know they're out there and some of them even have sparks that are ready to be set off when we meet.

There are just going to be some lonely nights along the way

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dating Disclosures

I feel like I have to go the rest of my life with a placard hanging from my neck which has the word "TRANSSEXUAL" transcribed on it. The sign is more than just protection from other people not wanting to interact with me but also for me. It's a safety that keeps me away from the people who would cause me pain and tears. The placard is just a metaphor for the fact that I have to disclose my "trans status" to people, especially people I date. I can choose to hide it for a while but at some point it's just going to come up so I try to make sure how it comes up is within my control...instead of a surprise.

It's days like this that I go back to desperately wishing I had been born a natal female. I recently removed this "placard" from my dating profile and started interacting with a couple guys, one of which I seemed to have a fair amount of chemistry with. We exchanged long messages back and forth and they were insightful, playful, humorous, and yet intelligent. I don't meet many guys that can interact like that. Well the time came and he asked me on a date, we had a nice coffee + dinner date and that was that.

Today he asked me on a 2nd date and I felt like I had to finally disclose my "trans status" to him before such a date or before either of our hearts became entangled. Needless to say, that did not go over well. He wasn't rude or anything but it came down to the age-old line: "Let's be friends"; 3 words of rejection I had heard plenty of times before.

You know what really got me though was the fact that I will be a post-op woman in 32 days didn't matter to him. I mean, I tend to think that after surgery, a lot more guys will be accepting and maybe I won't even have to disclose till much later on because there won't be any surprises when interacting physically. But he really didn't seem to care post-op or not.....I was not woman enough for him to date, only be a friend. Well I don't really need friends that don't think I'm woman enough.

So tell me why again do people think this path is a "choice"? Who would ever choose this?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

1 year of fulltime womanhood

Well I can hardly believe it but 1 year ago today was the last day I'd ever have to present as male for anyone at any time. Up until that point, I had already only been presenting as male at work but this day last year was the LAST day for that. I planned to work from home for the remaining workdays left of the week while everyone at work had a big meeting with my dear friend, Elayne, about my transition, and then I'd take a week off vacation before coming back to work for the first time as ME.

I can remember my excitement, my complete and utter joy, as I took down all that was left of my male wardrobe: old baggy t-shirts and a few sweatshirts. I had already been wearing girl jeans exclusively to work. I bagged all of those old clothes and put them in the garage where they would be disposed of in some fashion later on.

A lot has happened in the last year especially while on the subject of my wardrobe. It seems to be constantly changing for me. Either things get too big or no longer look appealing on me and I end up discarding them in some fashion and of course buying more. A lot of the style is the same but there is also much room for jeans and tees too...not to mention clogs instead of heels! =) But only sometimes!

Somebody asked on facebook today if you could have any amount of money in the world....any amount that you could think of....would you take it if it meant never transitioning. I didn't even need time to think about it. I blurted out "NO! I wouldn't take any of this back for $1000000000000000000000000000000.00" and it's completely true.

There is nothing like being me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Masks and tears

My how time flies. 14 months ago, I was popping my first pills that would take me down a completely different path than the previous 28 years had taken me. In the past while celebrating anniversaries such as this, I would have alluded back to December 2009. Today's post is actually going to be more about October and November 2009 instead.

These were the months that I initially swapped emails with my parents about my transition and their rejection of it. Today, for a "31 day picture challenge" I've been updating on Facebook, I had to find a picture of something I wanted to forget. The main thing I could think of that I wanted to forget was my parent's rejection. And so I went through the countless emails from both my mother and father from back then, rereading each one with what seemed like a new set of eyes, in some cases.

While reading these emails, I found that while there was definitely a major theme of rejection and not being able to handle my change, (and of course their biblical backing of that) there was also an underlying theme of needing more time to process things. Many times they asked me if I could please not dress for this or for that or help them ease into things. It's odd because I really don't remember hearing those words. Maybe I had read them....but I had not really heard them.

I think when I was going through their rejection at such a major time in my life, my eyes were so blocked by the tears of grief that I glossed over these other details. It makes my heart sad in some ways wondering if things could have been different had I been able to really hear their pleas. Of course, I always go back to the fact that I did try to ease them into my transition with nail polish. But I can rightly admit that maybe I should have kept trying instead of giving up at the first sign of resistance.

That aside, I can't really say I regret how my transition played out after that. My first time out of the house really painted a way into my self confidence and so did flying down to my grandmother's funeral. By the time a cousin's wedding happened in March 2010, I really can't say I could have attended garbed in a suit.

Transitioning from one gender to the other can be quite a change for the person who is changing but I think we often forget how much of a change it is for those around us too. I look back at how things changed for me and in some ways, I really did leave my parents in the dust instead of staying with them the whole way. I saw the prize in front of me and reached for it with barely a look over my shoulder. And in some ways, who can blame me? The prize was not simply money or fame but living a life to its fullest.

But if I had graced my parents' presence a few more times wearing the mask they wanted to see, would it have really been more difficult? And more importantly, would it have really helped? I can never really know. I still tend to believe that they would have used those times against me when it came time to take off that mask forever.

Please don't confuse this post with an album of regrets. I see it more as an observation of events that can only be seen in third person when they've already been played out.

I don't feel like it excuses them of anything they said or did or are even still acting upon but I do feel like I need to say something to them:

Mom and Dad,

I'm sorry I didn't take more time to ease you into my changes. I know you don't understand why I needed those changes and also why I need the other upcoming changes in my life but please know that I do indeed need them. But I am sorry I did not try harder to keep the distance between us from widening. Always know that.

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