Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's gone ... it's over.

So I won't leave you in suspense ... I went to the therapist.  After some background questions and a bit of history she asked, "So why are you here today?"

Silence.  The knot in my throat was so big I couldn't even breathe.  "This should be the simple thing to answer."  I squirmed and started sweating.  "Conflict."  I couldn't even make eye contact.  "My brain and my body don't seem to agree on things."

"In what way?"  She was so patient and kind.

I tried to answer but only strange sounds were coming out.  I looked up at the ceiling.  "In how I'm supposed to be physically."

She paused.  "You mean gender identity?"

I nodded.  I felt like tears were welling up but non trickled down my cheeks."

"You feel like you're supposed to be a woman?"

I tried to say "yes" but all I could do was nod.  I felt like I was going to sink into some great abyss ... I felt completely isolated and helpless.

"Have you ever said that out lod before?"

"No."   My voice was quivering, my heart was racing and I thought about running out the door.

The rest of the session was kind of a blur.  I know she was talking and I was answering questions but it was in a swirl of emotion.  She asked if I was comfortable talking to her about this and I said yes.  She's willing to help and even do some family sessions if and when they are needed.

I cried and laughed all the way home.

After I got home I finally gained the courage to talk to my wife in more detail ... but still not 100% disclosure.  I explained what the course of the session was about, and told her I was so afraid that I was going to do something that was going to drive her away from me ... I felt the tears welling up again.

She told me that I could never do anything that would make her leave.

The conversation went on from there, but everything was positive ... except she really doesn't want me to shave my mustache, but understands that I want to.  So tomorrow morning, or right after work the mustache is gone.

I still feel anxiety over what lies ahead, but I know I have a good counselor and more importantly, my wife behind me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The countdown ...

First off I am totally shocked.  I just checked the blog stats and found people from several countries have viewed my blog.  I got a little paranoid thinking, "Oh my God ... everyone is going to know about me."  I guess my insecurities are getting the best of me, but I really don't want to be well known ... I just want to be me and stay anonymous.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with a therapist ... I have several issues I need to talk through, including the reason for this blog.  I don't really know where to start ... I've run the conversation through my mind dozens, if not hundreds of times and have an idea what I'm going to say ... but ... I am the Cowardly Lioness.  I've lacked the courage to do anything for over forty years.

I am not going to give any flashback stories today, although I have many.  They really do not do anything except stir up unwanted emotions in me ... the emotions and issues I need to talk to a counselor about.

I am a bit of a nervous wreck because one way or another my life will be irreversibly altered in less than 24 hours.  If I chicken out again then I will likely slide back into a deep depression ... If I talk about the big issues then I will be forced to face my fears and face myself for the first time in my life.

I truly do not know how far or how quickly I will follow this path.  With counseling I may find I am satisfied without needing to completely transition to my female self ... or I may find that I need to go all the way and live completely as a woman.  Only time will tell.

Either way I will likely give a quick update tomorrow.  Wish me luck ...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thoughts ...

I've been thinking for a little while that maybe I just don' get it.

I have a beautiful wife, I have a fabulous son, I have a steady job that pays the bills, I have a nice place to live and a reliable car ... I have everything a person could want ... Why then do I want to change the most identifiable thing about myself?

If I hated being a man the decision would be easier and I likely would not be having this discussion right now.  Being a man allowed me to be the father to a wonderful two wonderful sons.  The first died at 3 months from SIDS, the younger is going to college and still deciding what he wants to major in ... I don't hate being male, I just feel I am not truly male

If I didn't love my wife with all my heart the decision to transition would be much easier.  I would rather die than to hurt her, so her feelings towards my decisions play a factor in everything I do.  If I didn't worry about losing her then transitioning to female would be much easier because it wouldn't have any dire consequences.

I do not regret anything I have done, or not done in my life.  Where I am today is a direct result of all the decisions I have made to this point ... So why then do I feel it is time to change?

There lies the conflict.

If it ain't broke then why fix it?  Everything's worked well, or at least not been horrible for all my life so why does something need to change?

I don't know how to answer these questions other than saying I have felt like I was out of place, not right or in the wrong body for literally as long as I can remember.  I have developed many coping mechanisms to help get through these feelings, but as I've gotten older the feelings have become more intense ... now there is no coping mechanism that works any more.

I do not know how far down this path I will travel, but I must at least reach a place where I am comfortable with myself.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's complicated

I survived a long and brutal week.  It took everything I had mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I am exhausted today and not in the mood to do much.

I forget sometimes to explain basic things ... like living arrangements.

Many years ago my son began living with my Mother in law and Father in law.  He went to school closer to them and they both needed a little more regular help with day to day things than my wife or I could provide while working full time jobs.  The fact that my wife's useless brother lives just 4 doors down the street is not relative, it's always been up to us to provide the help.  Although it did cause us to not see our son quite as much during the week it did not have an adverse effect on our family unit.

A few years ago my siblings became worried about our mother.  She is 8o+ years old and lives in a house with a large lot where she enjoys doing yard work and other things.  As I am the youngest o the family and lived close by I was elected to move in to keep her from doing too much (which is not possible).  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because shortly thereafter my wife lost her job due to suffering from depression and anxiety so our financial situation only became horrible rather than being on the streets.

My mom says I remind her so much of her father ... I don't see how.  I never met my grandpa, but I seriously doubt he wore ladies panties, nylon stockings or other women's clothing.  This fact creates a huge issue.  If I proceed with any form of actual transition while living here it will likely be entirely too stressful on my mother.

In all honesty I am not worried about offending my siblings.  They didn't worry about offending me when they called me a couple of girls names, or when they teased me mercilessly because I giggle like a girl, and ..., and ...,  the list goes on and on.  If they even remember those issues then my ultimate direction in this life should be no surprise to then.

I would be disappointed if they chose to not let their children associate with my son due to my decision, but my son and the majority of my nephews and nieces are adults and should be able to make up their own minds.

*** *** *** ***

Date - Spring 1974

My teacher was mad at the class for being restless on a warm spring day.  As he barked at the class he pointed to several classmates by name and stated what they were doing that was inappropriate or distracting.  Then he pointed at me and said I was running around giggling like a little girl.

Well ... he was right, but that was just the fodder my classmates needed to make the next few years a living hell.

I know reminiscing about events from 30+ years ago doesn't prove anything other than I am capable of dwelling on negative issues.

I figure my life is a lot like that middle class issue built where the landfill used to be.  Everything looks alright, but the problem there is so much garbage burried under what I have built ... And the trash from the past is now creating massive methane pockets which are likely to explode and destroy everything.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I'd like to say my life's gone downhill a little

I'd like to say my life's gone downhill a little ...

But it would be a lie.  Everything has fallen off a cliff and I'm just waiting for the splat.  No ... I did not tell my wife my dirty little secret, and she did not kick me out of the house or anything.  Everything at work has gone topsy-turvy.  I have been sooo stressed out it is not even funny.  The sad thing is another long time driver will lose his job over his stupid actions.

Today, while covering his route, I saw two hawks ... Beautiful!!  I love hawks.  When I watch them soar over the hillsides I can almost feel the wind in my face ... Imagine the freedom to float effortlessly like that ... but my life has fallen off the cliff and I cannot fly.  I am crashing and nobody will be there to pick up the pieces.


*** *** ***

Date - Fall, 1972

There was a new girl in class, her name was Dena.  She was very cute.  Her mom always dressed her in the cutest outfits and put pretty bows or barrettes in her hair ... too bad she was a bit of a tomboy and didn't really appreciate the efforts her mom made, but she was cute.

One day Dena was wearing this pretty green dress with white lace.  She had these cute, sparkly butterfly barrettes, a darling pair of patent leather shoes and green tights.  Most of the boys made fun of her ... I didn't.  I wanted to ask her how it felt to wear a pretty dress and tights ... I wanted to be her.

When recess started we all ran toward the playground.  Dena couldn't run too fast because of her shoes ... she was a few feet behind me when she slipped and fell.  She tore her tights and started to cry.  I felt so sad for her.  Sad that she skinned her knee, sad that she ruined her outfit.  The boys just kept running ... some pointed and laughed ... I didn't ... I almost cried.

Mrs. Ackerman came running from the room, scooped her up and took her back into the class.  I didn't feel like playing or having fun after that.

*** *** ***

So I'm sitting here trying to relax after a long and hot day.  I'm a bit grumpy (a massive understatement, like "Isn't the Grand Canyon just a pretty little hole."), and my wife is trying to be supportive.  I tell her I need a cooler shirt so I could get out of my hot and sweaty work shirt ... she brings me a pink and slightly frilly tank-top ... I love her more than anything and it tears me apart that I am the cause of some of her anxiety and depression, but I'm afraid it will only get worse.

I do feel like my life has fallen off the cliff ... everything is out of control and there is no way to recover.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Feeling a little down

I'm feeling a little down today :-(

First, and most important ... my niece graduated college today , but I missed it.  My bronchitis and sinus issues are really bad, so I'm sitting her updating my blog and feeling yucky instead of celebrating with my family.

Second ... I mentioned that I called my insurance for a self referral to a psychologist.  Well ... I lived up to the name of my blog.  I chickened out and haven't called.  I did call the podiatrist so I can find out why my right foot hurts almost constantly, but that's not going to help me deal with situations.

Eventually I will either try to resolve this, or I will just crawl back into my shell and die.

*** *** ***

Date - Spring 1972 ... I was in first grade.

All the boys in class ran to the corner of the sand covered play area for recess while the girls played hop-scotch.  I liked hop-scotch ... I wanted to play hop-scotch, but I knew I didn't fit in with the other girls, but I also didn't fit in with the boys.  I had already been teased by my classmates because I wasn't like the boys and I was too young to really comprehend the depth or details behind this ongoing rejection.  I decided to run with the boys in hopes I might not get teased that day.

As it turns out they were planning to have wrestling matches (which was against the rules) and I was immediately uncomfortable ... I didn't want to wrestle.  I stood near the back of the pack while some of the other boys wrestled to figure out who the toughest in class was.  After several short bouts it was apparent that Junior was stronger and faster than the other boys and nobody wanted to fight him ... so they elected me.

I was stuck ... Do I run off and prove I'm girly or do I get beat by the toughest and prove I'm a wimp?

I chose to wrestle.  The teasing for losing would be less intense than the teasing for running ... I won.  Somehow I won.  At that moment, for those few hours I was the toughest boy in class ... and I was miserable.  I wasn't a boy and I knew it, but I wanted to be accepted.  It made the confusion just that much worse.

The funny thing is, several years later in high school, wrestling was part of the P.E. curriculum.  The girls went to the gym to play volleyball and the boys wrestled.  I complained.  I like volleyball.  The wrestling coach and the other boys gave me hell for not wanting to wrestle.  Then I beat one of the coaches prize wrestlers ... I pinned him ... They stopped teasing me for a little while.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Just an ordinary day ...

Date - Late 1969 or early 1970.  I was not in kindergarten yet.

It was a typical Friday night - My parents were heading out to go bowling while my siblings and I were preparing to watch Star Trek while eating some form of light meal.  Two of my sisters were in their bedroom so I went back to see what they were doing, I found them looking through some makeup and talking about something to do with school or something.  I asked them about the eye shadow and they asked if I wanted to look like a girl ... I said yes.

I seriously doubt they actually put any on me, but after the initial exhilaration of being girly wore off I became scared ... My dd would see me and know I wasn't acting like a boy.  I had already dealt with comments like "long haired kook" because I let my hair grow long enough to touch the top of my ears and "daft lass" because I would get emotional over silly and unimportant things according to him.  If he saw me wearing eye shadow he would come unglued and I knew it.  It was my first experience of wanting to show everyone how pretty and girly I was and being scared of the repercussions of my choices.

I don't recall ever wanting to play with girly toys, but the boy toys (trucks, tractors, and so on) became very boring to me.  I was aware of the concept of "this is a boy thing and that is a girl thing" but it wouldn't really smack me in the head until I went to school.

*** *** ***

Today was yet another very stressful in an ongoing string of stressful and generally terrible days.  The details are  not as important as the fact that work continues to be more and more stressful and the family issues I deal with at home just don't seem to go away.  To be fair, my wife deals with the majority of the family bullshit (her mom, her brother and a few other things) but the fact that she is stressed and I try to be there to support her gives me little or no relief from anything.  It feels like I cannot even breathe somedays.

Today on the way home I snapped at my wife over what we were having for dinner ... This is starting to feel a lot like 2 years ago.

2 years ago I suffered from horrible insomnia.  Some times I would get only 3 or 4 hours of sleep for an entire week ... I also began showing signs of depression and getting upset over stupid little things while the big things kept piling up ... I can't go through that again.  I called my insurance and made a self referral for psychological counseling.  I will be seeing a different one than last time.  Hopefully I have the fortitude to discuss some of the more important issues  ... and perhaps learn to face some of my fears.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Conversation - Part 1

My wife has suffered from depression and severe anxiety for several years.  The past few years have been difficult for her at best, and I am always afraid that I am somehow making her issues worse.  She has been in counseling for several years to help her sort out her issues.

About 2 years ago I suffered from horrible insomnia and anxious depression.  Although I would have some anxiety overloads, I never had the debhilitating anxiety attacks my my suffers from.  I was in counseling, but I never built a close rapport with my psychologist.  I never felt comfortable getting into the very personal issues which I needed to talk about ... he did give me insight on other less pressing issues.

Talking to my wife about my issues is not an easy task.

*** *** ***

Date - Beginning in 1965 (although I do not have memories of my infancy)

I am the youngest of eight children.  My closest sibling is four years older than I am.  Our father was a World War II bombardier and raised us with the macho, military, you do as I say attitude.

When I refer to my early childhood I do not necissarily remember which event happened on exactly what date ... but I do remember them.  And although I am focussing on the events that made me realize I was different ... that I was not who I was supposed to be, I do not want to infer that I was not loved or that I do not have happy memories.

I think the fact that I am different was very apparent to everyone.  They may not have realized how I was different, but they sensed it, saw it, knew it, and this was the basis for much of the torment and teasing I dealt with growing up.  In fact several people in my life (my father, my siblings, some of my teachers and so on) specifically said I was acting like a girl in different circumstances ... they were so right and didn't even know it.

I've always felt out of place.  It didn't matter what group I wanted to hang with or what activity I was involved in I felt like I didn't belong ... and usually I wound up alone.  When my classmates made fun of me because I ran like a girl I played by myself and practiced running until I was one of the fastest in class.  Same was true when I was told I kicked, threw a ball, swung a bat or bowled like a girl, I practiced until I could keep up ... I practiced being a boy.  I dev eloped a sharp, sarcastic snese of humor as a defense to keep the bullies at bay, but in the end I preferred being alone so I didn't need to use it much.

*** *** ***

So my wife and I were at my work again on another weekend.  I won't quote the conversation verbatim, a summary of the topics will do.

I've been wearing women's underwear for a few years and womens pants and tops for at least 2 years.  I am not attempting to look like woman, but I am more comfortable in their clothes.  I asked my wife if my clothes choices, my ear piercings or other issues bother her.

The answer - No, not at all.

I asked her what the bounderies were ... what line does she not want me to cross.

Her answer - As long as I don't get too girly.  I'm supposed to be her husband not her girlfriend.

**Sigh - Sob**

Although we talked more later I did not pursue the issue any further.

We went and got manicures and pedicures.  I had them put clear polish on my fingers and toes instead of leaving them bare ... then on a bit of a dare I had flowers painted on my big toes.  I like it :-)

At some point I will find the right words to explain to my wife what my feelings are.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I missed my chance

Last week I rambled on about my life, my dilemma, my issues and promised to tell you all about my childhood, but over the past few days I realized that if I don't talk about things as they happen (or very shortly thereafter) I will always be chasing my tail and not dealing with the issues as they affect me in the present.

Anyway ...

This last weekend my wife and I went to my work to help me prepare for an inspection.  We were in the same room with no distractions ... I tested the waters for conversation ... She was in a down mood and anxious about several events (car trouble, issues with her mom and so on),

I chickened out ... Not a word, but in my mind it was justified because I didn't want to make her troubles worse.  I must realize that there may never be a right moment to discuss this, and I missed a big chance to have a true discussion ... Now I'm kicking myself and only dreading the eventual talk even more.

*** *** ***

Date - Early 1969  I was three years old

I have many memories from my very early childhood, many of them pleasant and fun as childhood memories should be ... many of them difficult, emotional and confusing as childhood memories will be when you are the youngest of eight children and the closest sibling to you is four years older than you.

One of my earliest memories was walking into the bathroom while my mother was on the toilet.  I do not believe this was an intentional act on my part.  She usually used the second bathroom and I probably had to go, but as clear as my memories are I do not remember the details of why certain things happened, just that they did.

When I saw her I did what most youngsters would do ... I pointed and asked, "What's that?"  I pointed to the unusual area of short hair between her legs.

"It's my vagina," she said.  Now this would prove to be unusual as neither my mother nor my father would ever be very forthright about anything as I grew up, especially anything dealing with sex or private parts.

"Why you have that?"  I asked ... Of course I'm not certain my speaking abilities were that clear at that age.

"Because I'm a girl, and you're a boy," she said.  And thus began a confusion, or perhaps a certainty that would shape my entire life.  Although I do not think I ever questioned her aloud, I always knew she was wrong ... I was not a boy ... or at least I wasn't supposed to be.

*** *** ***

Looking back on my life I have always said I am not your typical guy ... I guess I was hoping somebody might catch on, but if they didn't I wasn't really outing myself.  Recently at work on a couple of occasions when the term "typical man" or similar has been introduced into the discussion I've replied, "I don't claim to be a man."

Maybe nobody is paying attention, or maybe I said something they already know or figured, but each time I've said that nobody even flinched.

A Proper Introduction

Hi :-)

My name is Tiffanie.  I have a story to tell ... a story that is still being written.

I will warn you up front that some of the topics and issues I will be discussing are very personal ... Not X-rated, likely not even R-rated, but personal.  Some of you will dislike what I am saying, find me disgusting or think I am somehow perverse, disturbed or just generally sick.  That's fine, you don't have to like me, you don't have to accept me or my choices ... But then again you don't have to read this blog either.  I invite constructive criticism and advice, but I am asking nicely that if you find this blog distasteful that you simply refrain from leaving you hate filled comments.

Some of you may stumble across this and wish to follow my story, support me, give advice or your own experiences.  The purpose for this blog is not simply to put myself in a spotlight ... in fact it is just the opposite, I want to avoid the spotlight.  I want to blend in and just live my life.  I am writing this as a way to separate and clarify my own thoughts.  I know self therapy seldom, if ever works, but I have learned from experience that putting my words on paper (even if it's cyber-paper) helps me see things in a different light ... and again, those of you who are following this in a supportive role, you may see something and be able to have some input that will have a positive impact on my life.

Thank you in advance for all comments, supporting me or just simply reading.

So what's the twist to my story??  My name is Tiffanie and I am a girl ... a woman, but my body just doesn't know that.  I am that dude you see in the store, on the streets, at the gym ... your average blend into the background overweight middle aged man.  I walk like a dude, talk like a dude, I'm happily married and hold a steady job as a supervisor to about 100 employees.

No, I am not confused ... I am a woman in a man's body.

Why am I deciding to possibly pursue my gender issues so late in life?  I don't know ... but the desire to resolve this lifelong issue has grown exponentially over the past months and years.  This is, in fact, why I am writing this.  I am not trying to inspire others.  I am not making a statement or being an activist.  I am simply trying to understand my feelings and myself.

If you are choosing to read this far I am assuming that you are a least a little supportive.  The first few entries of my story will be the history of Tiffanie ... her childhood.