Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The "B" word

Biopsy ...

From Greek -  Bios, meaning "Life" and Opsis, meaning "a Sight

Such a simple word.  Beautiful and innocent in its implication, "A sight of life."  Absolutely horrifying in its connotation, "You may have cancer."

Words cannot describe the way I feel right now ... Uncertainty, fear, hopelessness, appreciation, love, optimism, depression, capitulation, determination, loneliness, abandonment, strength and vulnerability all intertwined and strangling every fiber of my being while trying to breathe life into my soul.

I cannot wait to get the tests over with and get the results, while at the same time dreading every step of the way.

I cannot allow myself to fall into the trap of regretting my past decisions, to worry about what might have been if only.  I need to focus on where I am and what I need to do to get to where I belong.  I have decided to share a poem I wrote about four years ago that truly foreshadows my bout with depression and my inevitable struggle to find my female identity.

As a side note, my cats are very intuitive.  At least one cat has constantly been by my side or on my lap since I got home last Tuesday worrying about my situation ... especially my Moose kitty and my Little One.

If you would like to read the poem, here it is:

*** *** ***

My Charade

Sitting, laughing with my friends,
Merriment that never ends.
This fa├žade can’t make amends.

Happiness is my charade.

Visions from my yesteryear,
Acting wild and drinking beer,
Living days so insincere.

Thinking ‘bout the choices made.

Losing life I can’t retrieve.
Mourning loss, but cannot grieve,
Emptiness I can’t conceive.

Pondering the life I’ve laid.

Sinking fast in my despair. 
Burdens far too great to bear,
Reaching out, but no one’s there. 

Loneliness, the price I’ve paid.

What I’ve sown, I now must reap,
Languid, not allowed to sleep, 
Suffering, I cannot weep.

Pain is caused by this charade.

Growing bitter in my age,
Seeking wisdom from the sage,
Wishing I could turn the page.

Weary from this game I’ve played

Consequences turning dire,
Twisting, tangled in the mire, 
Fearing I will face His ire.

I must end this masquerade.

On my search I now embark,
Stumbling, groping in the dark,
Praying, pleading for a spark,

Rescue me from my charade.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I am a coward

There is no nice or easy way to say this ... I always have been a coward.  I find it easier to hide rather than fight.

I am afraid to transition ... I am afraid of what might happen to me if I don't.  I thought my decision to proceed with my transition would be the toughest thing I faced in my life.

I was wrong.

They say everything happens for a reason.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

I hope they are right.

When I started having pain in my lower right abdomen with fever and a hint of nausea I pretty much knew what it was ... my appendix.  When I finally decided to see the doctor he agreed, but because I did not exhibit all the symptoms he put me on antibiotics to see if the symptoms would subside.

They didn't.

I was sent for a ct scan and fully expected to be heading to the hospital.  The sad thing is I was feeling a bit sorry for myself ... like nothing ever goes my way ... like "what else can go wrong?"

I was about to find out.

My doctor entered the room.  "I'm pissed.  And you will be, too."  He set my chart on the counter.  "You had a kidney stone in 2007 and the hospital did a cat scan."

"Yep," I said.  "One of many."  I felt a sudden uneasiness grip my body.

"The initial reading of the scan noted the kidney stones with no abnormalities."  My doctor was pacing the room.  "That was the report I got.  Apparently the radiologist read the film the next day and found a mass.  I never received that followup.  The mass is now 8 inches."

I felt cold.  My wife was on the verge of a meltdown and I could not help her.

"The lymph nodes in your lower abdomen are swollen.  This is what's causing the pain."  My doctor was staring straight through me.  "We feel it's very likely you have lymphoma ... ..."

Cancer?

Oh shit!  ... I don't want to die! ... I'm barely starting to live.

The rest of the day was a blur of stress and emotion as I rushed back to to the imaging center for more conclusive tests.

I had all the ingredients for a major league catharsis ... but I didn't ... I couldn't cry.

I wanted to.

The waiting was ... the waiting is the worst part.  In the day or so until I saw my doctor again My thoughts ran amuck.

"The mass does not involve any nodes."  My doctor sat on the stool in the middle of the room.  "We need to get you to somebody to find out what it is and to get it out of you."

"Alright," I said, still trying to act calm.  "What about the lymph nodes?"

"They do not appear to be connected to the mass," my doctor replied.  "It makes the odds of this being lymphoma much lower."

I was quick to note that he did not eliminate the possibility, but it was much better than what I was told just a day or so earlier.

I have a biopsy next week and will get the results very soon after that ... but until then I wait.

I am a coward.  I'm scared of what may be in my future ... I am scared of the fight, but fight I must.  I'm afraid to survive, for survival ,for survival means I will be right back here where I am today ... afraid to transition, but afraid of what might happen if I don't.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The real me

 So at some point I must stop hiding.  I have to step out from behind the curtain and say, "This is me."

This is a very difficult post for me because I have hidden behind a computer generated, virtual makeover for the past several months.  By showing these photos I feel as if I am exposing myself to the world ... exposing my tender underbelly to the claws and the teeth of all those who would wish to emotionally disembowel me.

The story behind the pictures is pretty boring.  I took a day off work ... I was in the house alone for several hours and decided to experiment with my wife's makeup.  The makeup list is as follows:

Foundation - a bit heavy in an attempt to cover the beard
Mascara - Not a lot, but still managed to get my lashes clumped together
Eye liner - Horribly uneven, but I did not poke my eye out
Eye shadow - Neutral colors and not a lot
Blush - Probably not applied well, but I tried
Lip gloss - Ummm ... on the lips - DUH

I was attempting to use as little makeup as possible.  I did not want the drag queen look (not that there is anything wrong with drag queens).  I just wanted to keep it simple ... Like I might actually do if and when I go out as Tiffanie.

 I feel I am in an awkward position.  I do not want to allow my hopes to be built up to the point where I will be devastated and disappointed if things do not go the way I want.  But I also do not want to be so skeptical and critical that I do not even try for fear of failure.

I have messed around with makeup before, but never in an attempt to see if I could look female.  I always just put it on then went about my business at home.  Yesterday was more of a test ... not testing whether I can put on makeup properly ... I can't.  A test of whether I could look female enough with minimal makeup to go out and be me in public.
You see the pics ... I do not look very feminine.

Now, I am happy because I do not look like a guy at first glance, but when you look close it is obvious that I am not a woman.

The four shots I chose were basically random to get my face at different angles.  I am so tempted to photoshop these and make them look better, but that would defeat the purpose.  I am out here for the world to see ... to laugh at me if they like, to mock, to encourage, to pity, to help.  Whatever they are motivated to do, I am here ... and I am not planning on backing down, turning around ... only moving forward.

So I stayed at home yesterday wearing my makeup, my bra and the bra filling (not false breasts, but weighted a bit to hang more like real boobs).  I felt so good ... but at the same time was uptight because I knew at some point the charade would end ... or begin again as I would stop being me.

Mostly I went through my photo archive to find pics for the new page I started on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/photosbytiffanie?ref=hl).  I am merely an amateur photographer who loves to take pictures with my middle of the road camera.  Many of my pics received very nice compliments and so I thought I'd start the page in hopes that others would share photos as well.

I find joy in the simple things.  Seeing things differently.  Creating illusions with nothing more than lights and a lens.

So during the day I didn't think about how I was dressed, the makeup or the fake boobs.  It felt so natural, so right ... I was just me.

As typical for a day at home I had to check to see if the 2 cats we allow to run outside were ready to come in.  I went to the door and called their name ... no response.  I walked outside toward the middle of the yard ... realization hits.  I am outside dressed like this with makeup on.  It was a bit of a panic moment, but I don't think anyone saw me, except maybe the fieldworker behind the house ... I guess I shouldn't care if the neighbors saw me, but I kind-a do.

So life marches on.  My transition moves forward.  I plan to contact the laser clinic Monday to see if my next session can be full beard and mustache and not just under the jaw.  I think if I be rid of the shadow ... the stubble, that I may feel better about myself.  And if I do it now it will be very noticeable by my family at Thanksgiving.  We will see.












Monday, October 8, 2012

666 O.O

Egad ... I just signed onto my blog and saw the view count was 666.  I know I look like a beast ... I didn't know I was THE BEAST O.O

I am trying not to hold myself to some "I must blog this often schedule" because the truth of the matter is there isn't always something to say.  Lately I've been griping and complaining a lot over things that are not horribly important, and I'm sure not horribly interesting.  Because I do want to stay in touch at least once in a while I decided to post a longer flashback story and how it will come into play later as I tell my family the truth about me.  Then I will post a couple pics ... after the pics I will give a short list or recap of recent aggravating events.

Date: Late summer 1980 - the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in high school.

My sister and I were on our way home form church.  Really there wasn't anything unusual about the day, the sermon or anything.

I spent my time at church feeling disconnected from the kids that went to the church school.  They formed a very tight clique and it was clear I was not welcomed into it.  It also didn't help that I would ask questions regarding particular beliefs ,,, not stating the belief was wrong, but wondering what the foundation of the belief was.  My questions never got answered, usually were dismissed because I didn't understand and sometimes caused people to lash out at me.

So now we are heading home.  I don't recall the exact conversation or the sequence of events that occurred, but somewhere along the way there was a concern about the car.  We pulled of the main street so I could jump out and check whatever it was.  As we pulled onto this side street I saw something on the road. "Look ... money," I blurted as I jumped out of the car.  To my surprise it was actually a $10 or $20 bill.  Not much, but more than I had ... and probably more importantly there was nothing wrong with the car.

The rest of the way home my sister made it clear that God had a plan for me ... for that money.  I was not to spend it frivolously because he needed me to do something with it.

Shortly after I got home a friend called and asked if I wanted to go roller skating.  This was unusual because he never called me on the phone and he rarely, if ever invited me any place anyway.  As the only money I had was the money I just found I declined the offer and went to my room to try and figure out what God wanted for me.

Over the next several weeks, and into the school year a strange pattern emerged.  I would try to figure out what to do with the money and sometime shortly after I pondered the question my friend would ask me if I wanted to go skating ... always skating ... always wanting to go during the same time frame.  After going through this so many times I had an epiphany ... maybe God wants me to have fun.

I ran the thought past my sister.  She said, "Sometimes answers don't come right away.  You need to make sure you are doing what God really wants."  Her not so subtle way of saying I was wrong.

So my friend and I go skating ... we had fun ... I met a girl and we skated together, held hands ... even kissed.  This simply complicated things a great deal for me.  I knew I was a girl (or was supposed to be a girl), I had no interest in boys, but this girl was exciting to me ... How could I possibly have feelings toward a girl if I was going to be a girl myself?

The bigger irony ... I met her again almost exactly 6 years later.  I wound up marrying her.

I can see a similar set of circumstances playing out when I announce that I am indeed transgendered.  My sister will first try religious guilt.  "When you get to heaven and God gives you your perfect body are you going to want that changed, too?" or "It's Satan lying to you.  God's path for you would not include you going against his will."

My answers in order.  "Why do you think that our perfect body will be any gender?  The Bible does not say we will be made into perfect males or females, it just says we will be made perfect." ... and ... "It is a little egotistical of you to assume you know what God is saying to me.  How do you know that this hasn't been my life test?  How do you know God wants to see how far I will follow him, and that some good will come from my transition?"

She will follow up the religious guilt with medical fear (she is an RN).  She will talk about all the bad things hormones will do to my body.  How they damage the liver, cause dvt (blood clots) and other life threatening issues.  She will tell me of the dozen or so transgender people she knows who wish they hadn't gone through with it and list all the issues they have.  She will make up whatever truth she needs to try and sway my decision.








So it occurs to me that at some point my family may be reading this.  It is likely they will find some of the statements I've made ... especially the statements regarding my childhood a little harsh.  I have no intentions on hurting anyone's feelings, and I realize that I am stating my side of the story ... theirs may be completely different, but I am speaking the truth.  Maybe if they realize that their actions or comments, although intended to be helpful, have caused stress to me and to others they may reevaluate how they approach certain situations.

The annoyance outline:

- Thanksgiving dinner / week is still not completely resolved
- My niece wants to move back in with us, but is not seaking help for her issues
- My laser appointment got canceled due the laser needing servicing
- My work is expecting me to keep track of certain data on a program that is not working yet
- The fence at my mother in law's looks like someone tried to tear it down
- My eldest sister's husband had a stroke
- We had company this weekend ... again
- I had to work this weekend
- The visitors woke me up twice Friday night and once Sunday night
- One of the visitors parked his car so mine was blocked in and I was almost late to work Saturday
- There was no apology for the noise nor the blocking in issues.

I could list more, but I didn't want to go back more than one week.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

So where to now?

My wife an I are on the way home Sunday from her mom's birthday, dinner and general escaping from the house.  We covered a range of subjects in the 30 minute drive, which is usual, but the last part of the conversation was special ...

Me - "So why haven't you friend requested me on my new Facebook account" (talking about Tiffanie's account)
Her - "I didn't think you wanted me to involved in that part of your life."

I'm driving (which is not the normal situation) and I whip my head to the right so fast I can feel the car start to drift toward the shoulder of the road.

Me - "Why would you think that?"
Her - "I don't know.  You hadn't asked."
Me - "I want you to be a part of all my life, not just parts of it.  I figured since you hadn't asked that you weren't comfortable with that part of me."

The conversation went on for a bit, but that is the gist of it.  The end result ... my beautiful wife has joined me on Facebook.  I am very happy :-)

In many ways I feel like I've been keeping secrets from her ... not by intentionally not telling her things, but because I can talk so openly about so many things online that I forget that she may not have read the post or the blog entry and is therefore not aware of what I  may be thinking.  I really do not talk about myself very well (which makes talking to a counselor an interesting ordeal) but with this online anonymity I can just be me ... ask my questions, share my fears and concerns ... be me.

On the other hand I feel more vulnerable.  Because I have been so candid ... I have exposed my true self and expressed myself with emotions she is not used to seeing from me I'm afraid she may be taken aback and feel a level of discomfort or uncertainty.  If my wanting her beside me worsens her anxiety or depression ... if it causes her to question the depth of my love for her or causes her issues, adds to her stress in any way I will never forgive myself.

All I want is to be me ... and I cannot be me without her.  We will see what the future holds, but right now as I type, things are looking like they may be alright.