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I want my HRT really bad and the Dr says I can't have it yet because my kidney function is elevated and my liver enzymes are high, but my other Drs cleared me for the treatment and so I want the hormone treatment, I've had the blood tests to show where my testosterone levels and my estrogen levels were, now it's up to the Dr. :angry:
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Today is St. Distaff's Day. Compitalia, celebrating the household Gods. Today we honor Frigg and her followers, the "Freefolk". "Partly work, and partly play Ye must on Saint Distaff's Dayu" the old adage goes. It is also time for me to "shield in place". I need to take a break from the constant ups and downs regarding "my" dysphoria. My affliction. Tired of facing inward and trying to fix something that in the scope of my life? A lot less of an "issue" than it needs to be, considering. What? Well, let's throw out some things shall we? I have recieved some excellent "counseling" from someone who says my dysphoria is NOT my biggest concern. OK. Good to know. My counselor is a pretty decent person. Specializies in helping people who's professional lives expose them to some very traumatic stuff. I was amazed at how good this person was at getting me to talk. Good to find someone I can be comfortable with. A person that is familiar with the "problems" people who work in compartmented "projects" all they're lives can develop. I thought I was lossing it to Paranoid schizophrenia! The counselor just laughed at me and said "No, that's called self preservation. Johnathan Pollard actually existed. That actually happened. Your pretty much screwed for the rest of your life, just stay frosty and relax". Showed me this picture and said if you can balance these? Your mental health issues will be skosh. When I broached "dysphoria"? Push me over with a feather, the counselor replied "You'd be astounded to know just how many people I deal with could use a little clarity on THAT subject". Love them Doc's that don't beat around the bush!
How is your 2017 going to go? I have a good idea of how mine is going to go. Lots and lots of time in medical facilities. Lots of appointments. Lots of testing. I am VERY HAPPY about that. This flurry of medical activity surrounds my Soulmate and not me. She is FINALLY going to get the medical assistance and screening that she deserves. She is. not me. I am working on my "blackouts" and my manic depression issues, but for now, I am good. I have a mea culpa. I have NOT been a good spouse for a while. My prediliction with my tripartite self. I have been selfish. So, there you go. "Ronnie" is a steady state for me. 50/50. MODLOC. I have a lot of "new" things to deal with. I can NEVER drive a car on public roads EVER again, unless it is the most dire of emergencies. I can't get on an airliner. I wouldn't be able to fly a plane. I'm not even supposed to operate power tools without supervision anymore! But that doesn't mean I have to stop living or caring about the awesome folks I've met here.
I was going to leave this site and then I thought, why? It can help me. Hopefully, I can be of help to someone else. I have 41 and in a less than a month, 42 Y E A R S invested in the person that I DO love most. Violet pretty much is my Universe and she deserves better from me. Sure, some will say that I may be "disengenious" with regard to the "community". That I am not being "true" to myself. Really? I exist in a different "plane" than most people. The person who is my betrothed is also a Petty Officer in the US NAVY, like I am. She saved my life. That's what she does. She can make a towering Marine break out in a sweat by snapping a rubber band, holding a syringe and saying "Need to draw some labs". The only things that can make the USMC hesitate? Godzilla and Hospital Corpsman. Oops, my bad. Hospital Corpsman THEN Godzilla. Got to preserve the natural order of things as the Creator has made them. Nope, for me? This fight isn't about a community. It's about my sanity and I am the ONLY one that can fight it and that means being in it to win it. I may never be "complete", but I promise, I will try NOT to be boring. But I'm not that salty so having a wingman? PRICELESS. I know she always has my back. BRAVO ZULU Doc!
So for this new blog, I chose "Scutum" because I need a shield right now. Something that will insulate me from the Demon I have just gotten to go back to sleep. Scutum is called "Sobieski's Shield" in some places in Europe. Jan III Sobieski was a bad ass. Your writings here and how you look at the World and what you are doing to cope and just the minutiae of our everyday existence can be the exact thing I need to stabilize when I start to get wiggy! 2 anchors are better than one. I have Violet and I have you all. I am blessed. Monsters from the id. They're real.
Trans Workers UK is a Facebook closed group that advances Trans rights in the UK workplace, I'm a member of the group and regularly advice is sought and given by trans workers on most aspects of being trans at work. However by far the most numerous postings are for trans who are still "in the closet" as far as work is concerned, who are wanting advice from those of us who are fully out in the workplace and in life. Most of these folk have come up against the societally conditioned old barrier, that they'll be ridiculed, or lose their jobs and workmates, this is by far the biggest hurdle that we have to overcome, it's our pre-judice, based on experience in society at large. Most don't realise that it's 2016 & not 1975 anymore, and that attitudes have moved on.
Anyway I posted my recent experience to help them overcome their fears;
"Last week my employer (a County Council) sent me on a Fire Risk Assessors course, with a view to my carrying out Fire Risk Assessments for the Council's properties. This sort of fits in with my existing role as a H&S Advisor. Anyway I was kinda nervous about attending the course which was held at the Firefighting College in Moreton in the Marsh. I had imagined it as being a very male orientated place, and half expected to be stared at or have the occassional joke or wise crack made at my expense. I couldn't have been more wrong, I was pleasantly surprised to find that doors were held open for me by smiling young firefighters, who were also very polite. I thought wow, if anyone had told me 3 years ago that I'd be wearing knee high boots, treggings, leopard print top, make-up and attending as a woman at the firefighters college, I'd have said "yeah, in your dreams". But there I was doing it. So to all who are contemplating gender change at work, but think it's impossible, think again, I've done it, it's so much easier than you might think. No, as a male I was not a small built effeminate man, I was a 100 kg 5'10" bloke with wide shoulders and narrow waist, and yeah, I thought it impossible to do what I've done, and yet here I am as Eve, my true self. I hope that this helps to inspire others to to do what they really want and not hang about wasteing time, I regret not doing what I did much earlier in my life. Good Luck to you all xx".
one of the things that happened to me right off when i came out was bulimia. i was performing online and was superconcious of my body. i succeeded in losing pounds but it was difficult. its easier now in some ways. i gain and i lose and thank goodness i'm not performing online anymore. but as a woman i am taking steps for health and looks. interestingly i ran across a bulimia check sheet from the UK as i was researching social anxiety. i'm into databases and quickly applied the form to a database and began taking notes. i noticed over time that binge eating was the real problem with weight gain. so i began tactics that would eliminate binge eating. the other thing that came out of the study was timing. i knew about this already; that the evening is horrendously bad for binging, but had not been able to do much about it. in fact i binged on purpose in the evening for awhile as i couldn't fight it. my tactics now are to reduce swelling in my abdominal region. while i really am fit and there isn't that much swelling, i want a killer body and so am trying for that. exercise, brushing teeth and drinking liquids also help strategically timed to stop binging. i was impressed that one form could have this effect on me. but i as ready for it. i had spent years struggling with binging and it laid the basis for success with the form. also of note is that there are levels of binging. snacks, meals and three levels of binge. this knowledge helps greatly over the period of a day. i space out my meals and snacks in such a way as to avoid binges and keep on the edge of weight loss if necessary. i am eating about 4 times a day now and its rather comfortable. when i do feel like binging its rather obvious its a mental thing and not really hunger.
bulimia can be very serious. its not just vomiting, but obsession with weight gain and loss. i still have that obsession, but have managed to calm things down quite a bit.
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First of all, I would like to invite you to visit my blogsite. Do not worry, this site is a non-money-maker site. It will not bombard you with different advertisement. My site has become my tool in order to express myself so that I could survive our difficult situation in our society today for the reason of being different. This has become my political statement and vandalism as I resist the position I stand vis-a-vis my community. http://www.ladyboymirror.com is the link to my website.
The blog entry I am posting today has been already posted recently on http://ladyboymirror.com. Thank you so much and I hope to be able to get in touch with you.
Thanks for your time.<a href="http://ladyboymirror.com/2012/05/08/securitas-necesitas-22/scan-14/" rel="attachment wp-att-1354"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1354" title="Scan 14" src="http://ricasantos.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/scan-14.jpeg" alt="" width="490" height="342" /></a>Today is the 4th of September. It is a very special day. The moment I opened my eyes as I wake up this morning, the first thing in my thought is this: <em>"Today is my father's birthday."</em>My relationship with my father is the most sensitive aspect of my life. For that reason, I will not discuss the details here.I was named after my fathers name. I am Raymond Jr. my father the Sr. Bearing the same name would not mean being actually the same. My father and I have a lot of differences. At least that is what I thought. Now that I am old,old enough to understand the complexity of life, I realized another irony and contradictions in our lives. I thought, that those differences I have with my father did actually made the two of us almost identitcal. Yes, I am Raymond Jr. and I am my FOTHER'S SON.My father is one of the most intelligent person I have known in my entire life. His ideas and views in life is diffrerent than the main stream, His ideas are indipendent. He is the first one I have heard who challenged THE BIBLE after reading it from cover to cover. His courage is unmovable that even that proclaimed to be the man of God was confronted with the questions my father seeks answer.He is different than the people of his surroundings. These people around him misunderstood and judged him. Even me, his own first born son, misunderstood and judged him specially during my puber years.However, as I see things from different perspectives, very different from what the society has induced on us, I saw a totally different angle. As I stop basing my reasons and ideas on the moral code of what is good vis-a-vis what is right (things happen for a reason naturally, it is just the way things happen) I am starting to understand and also impressed with my father.Raymond Sr., my beloved father, HAPPY BIRTH DAY.Love,Raymond Jr.From my Father's Youth:
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Our first eating of GSA, I had everyone go around the room and introduce themselves. Your name, Major, Preferred Gender Pronoun and why they came to GSA.
So I would say
"Hey, My name’s Tyler, I’m your president.
My Major is Education.
My Preferred Gender Pronoun is He, His, and Him
and I came to GSA originally, because i needed to get to know people like me, but now I’m here to lead and teach you and the community around us.”
Apparently in the last… oh let me say 30 meetings she totally forgot that i was trans and when i came in and shared that i was so happy i got a new binder, she questioned…
"Why are you excited about a book?"
"it’s not a book…. It’s a tank top… thing that makes my chest look more flat."
"but why would you want that?" She asks….
I told her, “It makes me more confident when I look in the mirror and think I see a boy, with no chest, baggy shirts, and no swag. It makes me happy”
"Can’t you just get a breast reduction?" she asks, confused.
"I mean… a reduction totally. But I Don’t just want them reduced. I…. just want them not there, at all. When i look in the mirror before I have to take a shower, Inearly cry. So I started covering my bathroom mirror with a towel just so I don’t have to look.”
"……Everytime I think of myself in the future, I think of a man. Married to a woman with a beautiful personality….."
She cuts me off “but you are beautiful…. Why do you need to change yourself?”
“Who do you think I am in this equation?”
I gave her a look. I had just gone over this a week before. I’m not doing transgender 101 again this semester.
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I have been in transition for over 2 years steady now. I have found out the understanding and misunderstanding of so many people in our wonderful planet. If you don't fit the norm or the cookie cutter style you are wierd. If you don't have a look that is the perfect or the standard you are not normal. I feel so sorry for the people that have had to live their lives with a abnormal look or something that is different than the Preama Dona or the Pierce Brosdon look. They have to try even harder to feel good about themselves.
I have found out their hardships the hard way. I have been given a slap in the face as it would be of how the way other people have had to survive with the out of the norm mentality.
I have told my therapist that going through the final phaze of my transition is like a pubesent teen girl haveing to realize her body is changing and now she is going to be observed by all as she begins to grow breasts and her hips widen and she becomes a woman. With this I now understand why so many young women are so reluctant to be open with their life and enjoy themselfs.
As I look in the mirror and see the person that I am becoming and the person that I have been. I see a happier person and a more confindant person. I wish that all trnasgendered people could understand that it is not as easy as they make it out to be. It is harder for the older transgender community to go through the changes because we have established a long term family. We have so much more to try and get across to others. We understand more than the younger generation, we have lived through it.
When I watch the younger people look at me I see them laugh or even make comments about the way I look and they are generally the young teenage girls with no clue in life whether or not they will be happy later on or be left in the dust of life. They laugh and play all the time because that is what they know. I feel sorry for them. If they only knew that they have what they want now and maybe in the future. It makes me wonder if they had to be androgonyous for a month if they would have a different attitude.
I am a happier person and wish all the best that I can. I hope you can become a better person in life than those that think they are so important.
Hugs and Kisses to all.
Every time I think I'm figuring out the changes in my body with age, most of which no one ever talked about in my family, something else goes weird. I'm not talking the "falling apart, unable to live" state like my mom, but the constant parade of guessing how food is going to affect me, sleeping patterns, how easily I injure/bruise myself, changes in the rhythms of my asthma making it harder to predict after I'd had it down to a science, acid reflux crazy, little things that add up to both a medicine cabinet full of things (antacids, gas pills, throat pain suckers since I dehydrate at a moment's whim of my body now, things like that, prescription medically our lifestyle changes are reducing that amount at least). But we really should come with individualized manuals, this trial and error nonsense sucks.
The manual should include actual nutrition too. Our culture has so obscured what healthy food is it's crazy. And most people trying to eat well are unintentially eating unhealthy in a variety of ways because packaging and manufactures are allowed to lie and obscure a lot from us. It's even worse in other countries, china has a crisis of a variety of fake food facing them. Our crisis is fillers and additives. One of the many things Trump defunded was an initiative to make manufacturers list how much sugar they ADD to the food. *headdesk*
And, on a note of pure curiousity and interest, I want a manual that tells me how the parts actually work. So I can look up any organ and see what it's doing, how it does it, interesting facts. I know I have the internet, but one all collated and at hand would be fun. I know, I have a weird sense of fun.
I'm off, I took a temp job to earn the money for movers, so we don't have to slog with a uhaul this move once house sells.
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Hello, Trans Community!
My name is Plenya Lyze (just call me 'Nia') and I'm grateful to find this forum to share my journey! As a self-proclaimed 'Trans Cougar,' I represent the more mature members of the Trans World! All I'll claim is that I'm 40+, a woman never reveals her real age! It's just that I'm not a kid; and although I've spent time throughout my life exploring my female (or authentic) side, it's only been in the last two years that I've been able to embrace my authentic self, and commit to change my life path to more honestly reflect what I've always felt - my female, feminine side is when I am most authentic, and most happy!
I have a number of ideas about transitioning; I now realize that each Trans individual's journey is unique and singular. I have loved the last two years since I've embraced and committed myself to making my transition real. For an older Trans woman, I'm playing catch up, but I can definitely see my golden years as a sexy, funny woman embracing the world!
Since starting my journey in earnest, I've thought a lot about what challenges and hurdles I'll have to overcome to live my life 24/7 as female. I started female hormones in October 2012. In the last eight months I'm happy to report that my breast growth is coming along very well. When I was a kid, I was embarrassed that I had visible, female looking young breasts; my only regret is that I didn't grow up in a time like today. If i had had understanding parents, I could have embraced my feelings of always wanting to be a girl; playing with dolls, having girl friends, and just my interest and identification with all things female. When I grew up, however, my family did their best to stifle any expression of these feelings, and often resorted to humiliation and emotional and verbal abuse to try to get me to stop how I really felt inside. I'm happy to have lived long enough to realize that now is the time for me to transition to my authentic, female self, and to hell with what people think!
I have some dreams I hope to become realities, as I search for a way to transition and be able to live and work as a female. I've read the stats, and I know how hard this journey will be. But you know what? I'm now ready, willing and able to make these dreams come true, and I'm eager to find friends to share this journey with and find acceptance and encouragement along the way.
Thank all of you for your fearlessness; I hope to tap into that reservoir of strength and determination to make it happen.
Let me start off with saying, I know that I haven't been active in a long time, and I might not get to say this...
Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating the festive season. May this bring you everything you thought it would and more.
I had an eventful few months and that is so going to get me disowned if I'm not already disowned... But that is another story for another day, when I probably need to vent.
I got engaged in the last few months and only my niece, also the one I call my child, and she agrees that I'm being disowned and flung out like last years fashion that will never become a craze again. So yes, engaged and I do love him, flaws and all.
Then, I started working on shifts again, and my time is so occupied with work and love life that I barely have time to think about what to tell you.
Ooooh, did I mention that my one doctor finally gave me the letter that is required to change my gender marker on my ID, and that only took something like 4 years to get. And now the other doctors that said they would assist me are the problems in doing what I need to do. How can this be so difficult to get the letter required for the change. I also said that I will only marry once these changes have been executed on my ID. But I also might subconsciously want to wait a while for making certain that I made the right choice in giving my heart to someone.
So yes, my medical check ups for script renewal has changed to once a year, but I need my script rewritten every 6 months.
I tore some ligaments in my right hand and could use it properly for 9 weeks, okay it's 12 weeks already, and it is still painful to do some moves, and to fight properly with my hand. Okay, it happened because I was in a fight with a guy who's face was harder then the back of a pickup or brick wall. Okay, it was also justifiable that I knocked the guys teeth out, after all he was beating a teenage girl with a golf club and he was a grown ass man.
What else did I not mention that I think you should know about???
Really can't think now, but my operation was a success, seeing that I got through the complications that I faced for a time frame afterwards. Developed blood clots that just didn't want to go away, and bled like a leaking bottle for a bit more then 6 weeks, and it freaked me out the few times I woke up covered in blood, and that my precautions didn't even help me.
Did I mention that my hair is now slightly over shoulder length. I settled down to around 135-140Lbs no longer 145Lbs. Doesn't help my breast development, but I also thought of having a discussion with the endocrinologist on the possibility to change me to another estrogen form, cause I can't figure out what is making me nauseous. Might be the medication, or something else, like stressing. Yes, you would also be stressing if you knew the man that you love is kinda, sort of, disliked by your family, because I can't figure out how to convince them that he is right for me.
Having my legs licked and probably telling me to stop having a discussion with myself, I will be doing the following.
Merry Christmas my sweets, stay as kind as you are. I've not forgotten you, so have constantly thought of what to tell you, but when I had the words, I definitely didn't have the time to write anything.
Keep safe please, as I don't want to hear of another death of someone I knew. Okay, two so called family members, wait was three if recall properly. Father's brother (no he wrote each other off one Xmas, after he decided to attack me for being trans, so not family), cousins husband (didn't know him, and I think I stopped at the accident without knowing about it, and was working), aunt's brother (she married in so does that make him family), and the same aunt's boyfriend (yes she turn 70 this week, in the last 2 months we had to deal with him that got a stroke, and I was the last person around him as his last 2nd and last stroke took his life. He was so looking forward to her birthday and Christmas, but just made it to December).
So be safe and enjoy the festive season. I will be watching over those of you close to me.
Kind loving hearts blossom
Friends, family and loves
We gather in a time of giving
Not the giving of presents
But the giving of hearts
We are all here
Not just waiting, but
Fighting for what we were taught
The teachings of what is right and wrong
And I guess, that we have finally started believing
Believing in our dreams and what our hearts are telling us
So go forth and be who you were meant to be.
Hello to you dear reader and, I hope, after reading my blog you will consider me a friend or at the very least a fellow traveller. Let me begin by telling you why I decided to call my blog 'The Soft Side' I suppose it seems self evident that the soft side I am talking about is the feminine part of my personality which needs to be expressed, and to an extent you would be correct, the soft side is certainly that part which I cherish because I can associate it with the inner woman however, it is also masculine. This my seem confusing but let me try to explain. For many years I believed I was a woman trapped in a mans body and it seemed logical that to correct this biological mistake I should move towards transforming my body to that of a female.
I embarked on my journey with hormones and quickly became aware of the ways I was being transformed, the physical softening and shaping was wonderful but the mental changes I found more profound. By suppressing my testosterone levels and flooding my body with female hormones I found I had to deal with a confusion of emotions, the fact that tears came easier, that rather than aggression I found I acted in a more introverted, contemplative way. Ultimately I think I began to question my actions rather than stride toward my goals with masculine indifference to the consequences of what I did. I became aware of the feelings of other people.I learnt how influential hormones were on my feelings and my actions. For the first time in my life I could genuinely understand what it is to be a woman.
When I wrote and posted "My journey into gender fluidity (part 2) I expected to be posting Part 3 fairly soon. As it is, I'm finding it quite hard to write.
As I've said, these days I'm quite happy and content in my gender fluid identity but my journey here was difficult at times. I want and need to write about that journey but doing so, especially when writing about my early flirtations with "feeling like a girl", evokes memories of the transgressiveness, guilt and shame that I felt at the time. This was partly because I knew instinctively that what I was doing would be disapproved of deeply by my parents and the outside world in general.
It was also because I didn't really understand what I was doing. I knew I didn't want to actually be a girl but the need to physically "become" a girl for an hour or two was quite compulsive. It felt like it was a need that was hard to control. I didn't want to stop doing it but I also felt that it would be hard to do so even if I did.
I'm wondering if other young people experiencing gender ambivalence also felt this compulsiveness to explore the "other side".
Well, part 3 is nearly complete after many rewrites. I hope to be posting it soon.
Meanwhile, I've just posted another message on the "Why Do I cross dress?" thread on the MtoF cross dressers board. It's delving a bit deeper into how cross dressing functions for me as a biologically male but gender fluid person.
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You either love or hate me.You call me ‘tranny’ ladyboy, shemale to mention just a few.
I am one of those people who have risked and lost all by answering a call so deep perhaps even primeval certainly genetic, that it has confused even me. But I have embraced it with a conviction so solid, so passionate that not even the most wilting, derogatory ridicule and physical assaults on and against my person my every waking minute, from people of every strata and age in our society has not and will not quench. It is likely that many of my persecutors will neither read nor hear of this letter.
You insist I do not have a right to live in your communal paradigm of who should be living in it. Your concept of society and its mores condones and espouses some of the most extreme sexual expression yet you shrink from a topic still cloistered in a shroud of taboo and ignorance. In your unmitigated prejudice that is your moral bench mark you have concluded that I am a blight on society, nature’s freak and that I should be spat at, slapped, ridiculed, insulted.
You may have been in that group of 13 year old school boys who, after passing me suddenly felt that surge of indomitable courage and cast insult at my back reassuring yourself that your dad will be well pleased with your effort to denigrate these obvious social misfits.
Perhaps it was you in that group of young people who sniggered, jeered, mocked and insulted me. I wonder if you would have the same courage if you were alone. And why is it that when finally i decide to confront you that suddenly it is some else that you are shouting at.
Where are you my attacker, who ran up behind me whilst I was window shopping and pulled my legs out from beneath me and ran off jeering in unison. And those of you who walk past me or deliberately change your direction so that you can pretend to heave and vomit as you pass me.
Or, perhaps it was your exclusive fashion boutique that I visited, and whose select clientele do not include anything like me. You didn’t have to say anything to reveal your impression of me, your demeanor alone did that and your contempt of my effort to try on a garment expressed in comment to me whilst I was changing that the item was delicate was enough to tell me that I wasn’t welcome and even when you accepted my cash custom with an attitude that belies your desire that is you’d would have preferred to see such an expensive dress on someone more appropriate, your disgust and contempt of me is still so apparent.
You could very well be that security officer who as a self appointed guardian of our morals you wage a private war against the scourge of society who attempt to enter a place of recreation and entertainment by telling me that I cannot enter because I am too drunk. And even when I tell you that I suffer with advanced Parkinson’s you deny me entry. Or maybe you are a little less subtle and all you feel you have to do to send us scurrying is to turn your face away and point to some indeterminate point - I guess your conviction that we are freaks of nature that deserve no more than a dismissive gesture to convey the hatred and contempt you have for me.Besides your attitude for these despicable people must be justified because you are so fair and perform your duties so well. And my manager will always look back me because he told me, albeit in the alley next to the club, to - “keep these wierdos out”
You could have been out on a night of fun who decided to jointly mock and ridicule me using derogatory terms because I look in your eyes an idiot certainly worth a good rollicking or you snigger because everyone else is doing it and the cloistered anonymity allows you to just do enough because you were not taught to mock others and you’re really not sure about all of this.
Was it you that walked past as I sat on a bench and had this irresistible urge to call me a filthy trannny and continuing to say it until you reached a point that you were out of sight. You reminded yourself to tell your pub mates about your brave deed.
Were you that policeman on duty that night who when “I reported the abuse I had endured that evening simply sniggered and walked away or perhaps the officer in uniform standing next to the security officer that denied me entry and refused to even look at the proof of my illness I had purposely brought with me.
Maybe you prefer to just give me an accusing stare hoping that I see your disapproving expression, because your pastor says I am an abomination before God. Jesus also said ‘let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.’
Look across now at that person who has committed his or her life to you in matrimony and whom you love dearly. Are you sure he/she is not trying to make sense of the conflict within that calls to their spirit to question his/her gender identity,
It is not a midlife crisis, a flight of sexual fantasy, a spin-off or side effect of my medication or a mental health issue that fuels me to now live as a woman and walk into a barrage of scorn, ridicule, hatred and contempt every-time I leave my home. Neither is it - a ‘gay thing’.
Perhaps you are son or daughter or relative or brother or sister or mother or father of who has disowned that wayward member of your family at a time when they needed you the most. When they cried out for acceptance and love and received rejection instead.
Nothing will turn me back except my death but then I will have died being the person I have always wanted to be. You may kill and injure my body but you will never quench my spirit and desire to become the woman I want to be.
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I had always been glad to have the parents that I do. My mother has some problems with showing that she cares, but I know it could be so much worse then it is.
On the other hand my father is such a great person. He grew up with a stay-at-home mother and a father in the Air Force. Their family is very conservitive and went to church on a weekly basis without fail. We've notice the hypocrisy that's come from our family.
My father has been so supportive of me. I'm very lucky to have someone like him in my life.
I've been pushing my luck though by having fits of dysphoria. Then I regret saying something that would make them feel bad.
But I do love them and I do recognize that I'm lucky to have supportive parents.
Welcome to the wonderful world of my life. I hope you are sat comfortably. Please make sure your seats are in an upright position, tray tables are folded away and please keep your arm inside the vehicle at all times. If you scream, it means you want to go faster!!!
This is my first blog on here, so a little about myself. I'm Amy, I'm 32, a transgender female. I have come out to my friends and family. My friends are amazing and supportive. My parents are supportive but I think struggle a bit. My eldest brother is great. My sister and other older brother haven't spoken to me since I told them. I'm the youngest in the family.
Right now i'm unemployed. I was working at a veterinary practice but after I told them I was trans and wanted to transition, life there got very difficult. I do have an interview for an assistant job at Toni&Guy on thursday, so hopefully I can get that and move out on my own again. I am wanting a job where I can work my way up and grow as a person, in an accepting environment.
I'm not female full time yet out of respect for my family but when I move out, then I will be. I am waiting for a date of my first appointment at the Laurels gender clinic in Exeter. I have got the funding, so just waiting for a date. They said possibly september.
Well thats me in a nutshell. Hope you are all well and drop me a line if you fancy a chat or a new friend.
Peace and Love xx
When an adventure requires its central character to play the role of hero and damsel the plot becomes very confusing and at odds with itself very quickly, this was an experience to be savoured and suffered. I finally took the final step on escaping the cross-dresser skin that had wrapped me up so tight. I stepped out of this all-encompassing cocoon and tip-toed delicately and naked in the free air as woman for the first time. Gone was the awkward, exaggerated mannerisms and grace and beauty was found. For the first time I blushed at a mans affections rather than acting like a man in a dress, I felt like one of the girls and discovered just how different and real my situation is now.
For the first time I belong. The outsider is in from the cold.
It may not have been as realistic as the picture dictates but for the first time I had a place to call my own and my confidence blossomed into a powerhouse that was a runaway steam train on fire. I strutted my stuff, wiggled my arse and other revellers called me miss and sweetie! Arriving at this monumental part of my life has excited as well as humbled me, freedom has never been so close, the jailor had forgotten to lock the cell door and my escape has begun.
With all my strength my cell door has been broken and I breathe free air for the first time.
While all this excitement was happening inside me some very real experiences also cropped up that I had not considered before. Using the little ladies room for the first time was very surreal and I actually felt fear as I fumbled with makeup and tried to smile with the other girls.
Now, any man will know that using the gents is normally a quiet experience, a place of reflection, you think about how to get home, what you are going to say to the pretty girl next, and so on. It is a generally peaceful place, where men clear their throats and spit in the trough, they may joke with one another very briefly about how liberating that first mighty piss is. But what hit me like a tidal wave upon entering the ladies was absolute chaos, girls huddled in groups nattering like a mothers meetings, tissue and makeup gunk everywhere, and I am surprised there is not a sand shortage with all the mirrors lined up one after the other. I think a few of my fellow toilet dwellers could sense my anguish with this strange world, one actually asked if I was okay, I brushed it off as being a little tipsy but on reflection I wish I had explained my inexperience.
Another aspect that I have to improve on very quickly is applying makeup while standing up. I have practiced and practiced at my make shift dresser at home, but nothing prepared me to have to stand, with others watching, and make myself beautiful.
I had visions of the chaos but no imagination could have prepared me for this!
Later on in the evening, after I had become rather drunk, I was now stumbling about as opposed to gliding like a flower on the breeze, my next experience is one that has taught me the biggest practical lesson to being a woman. Whatever is going on, where ever you are, no matter who you are with, never, ever under any circumstances lose your handbag.
I was trying to make my way through an overcrowded corridor of the club and as I passed through a doorway another clubber hooked onto my handbag some how and it was ripped from my shoulder and back into where I had come from. At first I could not actually believe it. I started searching furiously around me and started to panic. Phone, money, cards, not to mention the cost of replacing all that makeup! I was like a damsel in distress and while at the time all I could think about was to not start crying, the actual emotion has added to my overall experience and made me feel more like a woman. Luckily my handbag had ended up with some lovely doorstaff who not only gave me back my little bag of tricks but comforted me to some degree, again adding to my feeling of real womanhood.
I am liberated and cannot wait for more days like this.
First off, Mothers Day.
Happy Mothers Day to my wonderful mom. I have no idea how I would have made to now without her. I love her so much and with all my heart. She is my hero.
No. It has no always been easy. The last few months have been a great example of that. Some would think I broke my mother's heart with my decision to transition. But I think it would have broken her heart more to lose me to the deep depression I was headed for. Because who know where that would have taken me. I was headed for a dark place. I had to tell my parents. I had to tell them what was going on with me. Simply because they are a part of my life. The last thing I wanted was to hid what I was doing from them, then to show up looking totally different.
I have been watching videos and reading articles about trans men And how they grew up and the feelings they had. It sounds so familiar. I felt the same thing. I thought the same thing. I sent a video to Mom. I hope she watches it. And it helps her understand that this is something I have to do. That the feelings I have are nothing new and I am not the only who feels this way. And it also showed his Mom coming to terms with it. All I can do is hope it helps her. That it helps her accept me a little more.
Another thing on my mind.
The discrimination I feel from some members of the LGBT community. Not any of my friends. Those people of been more the accepting and understanding and very very supportive. I am talking about some "family" I have met since. The looks, the questions, the exclusion I feel. From the butch lesbians, it is like "How dare you desert us?!?" And from the femmes out there, it more of "Another one bites the dust.". I didn't realize that the gay world was just as closed minded as the straight world. And I feel very disappointed about it. Heart broken really. I spent most of my life being discriminated against because I was a tom boy growing up. "Why can't you be more like a girl?" Then coming out as a lesbian, "Why can't you be straight?" and, "Why would you chose to be gay?" Now as a trans gender man, and being a straight man at that, I feel that the struggle to fit in and belong to a community is starting all over again. I feel like an outsider in the community that is supposed to be about acceptance and tolerance. LGBT does stand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual AND Transgender.
It makes me wonder if I will ever find my place. Find my community. Or will I always be looking and searching for the acceptance I am desperately seeking? I don't announce myself to new people as trans gender. I just introduce myself as Dustin. Since that is my name after all. I see the looks I get from people. I "see"the questions. The standoffishness. (Is that a word?) Of course, it doesn't help that some at my place of employment, say "she" with obvious emphasis. Just to make sure the confusion goes deeper. I think I have to insist on being called "he". I honestly thought it wouldn't bother me that much but it does. I can live with being called my old name. I am treating it more like a nick name at this point. Most people are doing pretty good with correcting themselves so it's good. I don't want to be an asshole about it all but I do want that level of respect that everyone deserves. I really feel that once I have surgery, the looks will change. Plus, I want to up my dose of testosterone. I need to see my doctor about it. In between my shots, I start feeling off. Like something is wrong. Almost like a PMS feeling. I feel angry and aggressive. I am ready to take the next step and up my treatments. I want, no. Need to take the next step.
I also have an opportunity to get a new job. I know I know. I love my job. But the new job pays way more money. It would still be Monday to Friday. 6 to 2:30. So an awesome shift. It would ease my mind about bills. And allow me to save more money towards surgery. The benefits are great. The people are pretty cool. I would get to work with my BFF again. I guess the only real problem would be asking my boss for a letter of reference for the potential new job. My boss has been so good to me. With dealing with my name change and my transition. As we are all aware, the only one I have really ever had a problem with is the douche. I admit, I won't miss him at all. I really don't know what I am going to do at this point.
It has taken me all day to write this post. I keep getting distracted by Facebook, T.V and sick cats. Bean and Fidget are sick. They are on the mend now. Thank goodness. We went to the doctor yesterday. He spouted a bunch of medical jargon I couldn't understand. They got some fluid under the skin to help with dehydration. And I was prescribed pills to give them. Problem is, the pills make the cats throw up. It s very hard to keep them hydrated if they are throwing up twice a day. So no more pills. I have a bowl of water outside of Bean's new little house (Thank you Auntie Tasha! ) and a bowl of high calorie dry food as well. She will eat when she feels like it and drink as well. Holding her down and forcing water down her throat is stressing her out more then being sick right now. The girls did get a steam bath today to help with congestion. Bean even sat outside in the sunshine for a while. I think she will be OK.
The doctor also gave me hell for Fidget's weight. Not sure what else I can do. She is already on diet food. And I moved to a place with stairs so she would have to go up and down. It is not my fault she is lazy. Same with Bean. She has always been a tiny little thing. Granted. She is too skinny right now. But even when she is healthy, she is a light eater. I can't force feed her. She is not a big fan of wet food on good days. So. all I can do is try and maintain a good balance between my skinny Bean and my tumba wumba Fidget. Wish me luck.
The Bro Code Article # 23
When flipping through TV channels with his Bros, a Bro is not allowed to skip past a program featuring boobs. This includes, but is not limited to, exercise shows, women's athletics and on some occasions, surgery programs.
Well dear readers! they say that time and tide wait for no man .. well woman in this case!.. I`ve read more blogs than i care to recall and i`ve done a lot of soul searching these last few weeks, enough to really give a therapist nightmares in fact ... I`ve found a few things along the way i thought i`d share with you ..
1, My hair arrived and monday i tried it for the first time.. hmm me and the girly who made it need a little alone time in a dark room!.. cant see out of it . cant do anything with it and well basically nearly set it on fire when i went for a smoke!.. oh i can see the head lines now .. tg woman found with melted head in night club land .. Dangers of smoking blahg de blah
ok so today i took it out of its bag, and thought hey time to do something drastic i bought a pair of scissors.. !.. but as usual a friend whispered a bit of advice ( " oi karen styling you tube lfw " ) and well i got to watching a gazzilion coloured girls show me how "dey do dat thing wiv the bobbles and cremes and walla theres my new hair all sparkly nice.." so i tried it ..
now me i am not a hair dresser, i`m not camp enough .. for it .. i think .. but after a few trial and errors i got it sorted. A little hair styleing on my lacefront hair . and .. yeah not bad!... the proof of course will be what happens when i step out to the meeting tonight.but i do have a few thing sin my favour.. a its all hallows eve.. an b, its gonna be dark"!
Anyway back to the plot of this blog umm.. where am i .. monday .. wow what a night .. ok not a massive crowd at the lounge but enough to make it homely and a couple of glasses of shampoo and well hey it was fun!..was gonna meet samantha and sat there pondering things wig hair lippy all dolled up .. no sign of her. then i heard her behind me just after of course the obligatory fb message " sammy where the heck are ya ?"..turn round shes sat behind me and didnt recognise me with my hair in place!.. woot! so yeah we talked a bit sipped a bit cava mmm cava voddy mmm cava voddy coke.. . discussed a few topics i wont share here!.. and enjoyed each others company .. for once its nice to just be.. ya know?..not judged not sneerred at .. just be.. well taxis here for my lift to the station so time to sign out a lil bit might and i do stress might try a bit more later when i get back...
Today I have realized that people of transgender experience need to quite being hateful to each other. How can we be taken serious if we can't get a long with one another? I am starting to believe that before people transition they should educate themselves on what it means to be transgender and think hard about if that is the reason they want to go through the transition.
From the time I was 21 until I was 27, I did my research and because I did so as well as some soul searching, I came to two conclusions. One, the gay lifestyle didn't even fill the void. I knew I was attracted to men but I didn't feel like a guy. And two, I realized that all my life I felt I was born in the wrong body. I knew this at a very young age but didn't know what it ment. I didn't tell a soul. Instead I kept it to myself and acted like I was expected to act.
So I went to New York City and transformed myself to who I am today. I consider myself a hetrosexual female and only date men that consider themselves straight because they do not find gus attractive.
My creator didn't make a mistake. I was born to be a strong person and my mom was able to raise who she needed to have a complete family.
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Its 5:40 on a lovely bright Saturday after weeks of cold and misery. Like most days when the weather isn't trying to freeze me to death, I decided to take my housemates dog for a walk. For me, walking time is thinking time, and the topic of the day was 'what on earth do I put for the first entry on a blog about being transgendered?'.
I ran through the usual list, boring checklist of my coming out, experiences with the NHS, shamefully confessing that I still haven't told my family despite living as a woman for nearly 6 years (I'll do it next week, honest!), but then I decided to write about just how much being trans is like compared to all those movies people make when they occasionally remember that people like us exist.
After a good hard think, I came to the conclusion that none of them reeeeeeally manage to capture the feeling of being gender fluid, but you know what does? Jaws!
Yes, the Spielberg classic about a giant fish that's basically a chainsaw with fins captures the transgender experience at its most heartfelt. No being Trans does not involve being dragged down to the bottom of a cold dark abyss buy an unseen nightmare (but I'm sure for some people it might). No, Jaws feels like being Transgender for completely different reasons.
Take the plot. For the uninitiated, Jaws starts off with a shark attack, then another, then another. Each time there is one the local authorities desperately try to cover it up, they need the tourists to come toothy nightmare or not. Eventually it's staring them in the face and they resort to hiring a crazed fisherman and sending him out with a shark expert and the local sheriff to collect a bounty on the sharks head. If your wondering where this is going, that is how realizing I was trangender basically felt.
I didn't have the whole 'oh ever since I was 5 I knew I wanted to be a girl etc etc'. Nope, for me it was like the opening of the film. In my early teens I dared to try cross dressing and enjoyed it. Suddenly I was in the middle of the ocean and felt something bite down on my leg. Some unseen thing was rushing up from under me with a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach. 'Oh God.....what if I'm like those freaks on tv who are boys who turn into girls?!?!?!?'. Like most things a teenage indulges in, I hid the evidence and tried to bury it. No one need know, especially not me.
Yet like Amnity Island, the shark attacks continued. Like I'm certain many trans people do, I started to question everything about myself, and thinking what would happen if I were female. Why did I have to do this? I'm happier being like that! I wanted no-one to know the truth, but the chewed up body parts we're washing up faster than I could dispose of them.
Later in the film there is a sign of hope. A group of fisherman catch a large predatory shark just off the coast. All is saved! Life can go back to normal! Of course it's the wrong fish. I got my false hope when I went off to university. No parents, no old friends, no little sibling to embarrass. Just me, a fresh start, and leaving all those daft thoughts about being trans behind. And for a year it worked. Indulging in secret cross dressing aside, I was a hetero male. However, the feeling was just waiting for the beaches to get full again.
Over the summer break, I went back home to my parents. There I had a sudden realization, I hadn't put it behind me at all. I was looking out to the horizon and seeing a huge shark fin mocking me. Well like most of my approaches to problems I decided to dive into the deep end. This was it, me and the shark in the ocean. Only one of us would get out alive! I came out to my friends went almost full time, and joined the uni LGBT society. I figured I would either realize it was stupid, or I would get eaten by it and not care much anymore.
It was long, and slow and frankly nightmare-ish. I got abuse, got taunted, mis gendered, all the usual things that society piles on us. I blamed my trans-feelings. They were ripping my boat apart and trying to tip me into the water to gobble me up!
I imagine some people are upset by me describing the life of a trans person as some unseen terror, but this is where the whole monster metaphor stops dead. By the end of the film the sheriff is clinging to the decking of the slinking boat, the sharks reaching up to bite as he fends it off with a spear and a rifle. Up until now the shark has stayed hidden, it's unknowable, some unseen force your imagination cooks up. Now we see it in all its glory. And you know what? It looks ridiculous!
The prop shark for the movie was frankly awful. Its well documented that i barely worked, and moves more like a floating log than a shark. Suddenly the film that had had me hiding behind my hands had me grinning. In my final year of university, that was my liberating moment. Why the hell had I been so scared of this? I'd turned a simple fact of my life into some unknowable nightmare by simply not seeing it. After a year of learning and practicing I passed better, and suddenly being trans was just something I was.
Jaws being concidered a classic is a cheat by my movie standards, because what scares you isn't what is on the screen at all. It's what's in your head. Like that, the fears associated with being trans aren't a terror of the deep, their just a badly made prop that's floating half upside down with no real movement.
Of course now that I think about it, I suppose trying to get on hormone therapy is a little bit like 'Jaws: The Revenge' too......
All my life I sought a life-long relationship, and, yes, I found true love for ten years, (in my forties), only to lose it for my refusal to marry her (back then, a Holy Union), for fear of losing my Disability benefits and bankrupting her as a result.
As I approach my 60's, I realize I have become more complex, because of all the life experience I have been through, making it more difficult for me to find someone with whom I am compatible. What brought this home to me was my experience with four Lesbian dating websites, (from my mid-fifties to the present), where the women my age (59) were more complicated and had more complex demands on a potential partner.
Slowly, it gradually occurred to me, that if I didn't find an alternative way of looking at love and companionship, that very likely I would remain single and have no romantic love and companionship for the rest of my life.
Gradually, I realized serial brief relationships (with the possibility of a relationship growing into a friendship or even a long-term relationship) would be a lot more realistic.
Here are my reasons:
WHY IT'S BEST I LIVE ALONE
- Am set in my ways.
- Needs to use the bathroom on short notice.
- Terrible odor when I use the bathroom.
- Never shared my living space (not even with my lover of 10 years).
- Can not share my apartment and finances due to being on Disability.
- Needs to live in HUD Public Housing (if anyone wanted to live with me, they, too, would have to be "very low income," too).
- Allergic to horses, dogs, cats and birds (most Lesbians not only have cats and dogs, but sleep with their pets).
- Am actually happy with my apartment (and I am unlikely to find as good an apartment - especially HUD Housing - anywhere).
- Only negative where I live is some residents in Beacon and many residents of my apartment complex, I don't like. Avoid them and save money to take trips every three or four months.
- Love my building.
- Management treats me humanely.
- Maintenance treats me humanely, and does an efficient and thorough job maintaining and cleaning the building as well as making repairs in my apartment. (Most HUD Public Housing properties are poorly maintained.)
- Very low crime rate where I live. (The lowest crime rate I have every seen at a HUD Public Housing property I have ever seen.)
Here are what I think are the advantages of short-term relationships:
The Advantages of Short-Term Relationships
- Due to very low income (some would call this a "budget income," I can not relocate quickly to continue dating a woman (in order to avoid a "U-Haul" situation where I would move in with her, and hope for the best!)
- Most women do not qualify (very low income) and are uncomfortable dating a woman who lives in HUD Public Housing, especially if it is poorly maintained and is in a dangerous neighborhood.
- Able to enjoy the relationship before the drama and games begin.
- Can't find a woman locally to me because of homophobia where I live. (Most women are already coupled before they move here.)
- Both parties should be single out of respect for other relationships and for themselves.
- Sex is not the primary reason for such a relationship, but companionship.
Of course, there are many other reasons people may choose short-term relationships rather than long-term or lifelong relationships.
Would like to hear from others if they resonate with this in their own lives (especially if they are 60 +) and how realistic they think this is.
Am I selling myself short? Or am I having realistic expectations for a 59 year old, average-looking woman, who is kind, compassionate, supportive and has many interests?
Thank you in advance for your comments!
The Reality of Being a Transsexual
By Cindy D. Keranen
I am often asked what I would do differently if I had the choice to do it all over again. This is a powerful question and its one I have pondered many times. Looking back I made so many mistakes and it has cost me so much in terms of heartache. I wish I would’ve done so much differently.
When I decided to become a, “fulltime woman” I could not have known just how difficult it would be. I was working a good job; it paid well and the hours were great. I was commonly complimented on my work ethic and praised constantly over my ability to get things done. Before I, “came out” no one knew what I was and I made the mistake of talking to my supervisor about becoming fulltime. I informed him I was getting my name legally changed and I would look very different when I reported for work. He assured me I would have no issue; I would learn this simply wouldn’t be true in the end.
When I first came out I wasn’t very passable. My makeup was horrible, my breasts were silicone forms, and I was very odd looking for a West Texas girl. I dressed as any other, and my mannerisms were feminine enough, but my features were not well hidden. The awkwardness of my appearance was only further enhanced with the fact I was wearing high color shirts. I wasn’t able to show any cleavage because my breasts were forms. My voice was feminine, my mannerisms were feminine, but it was not a secret what I was.
When I came out I was harassed, debased, humiliated, and made fun of by my coworkers who made a habit of calling me by my birth name and also sir. To make matters worse, management was only not supportive as they said they would be, but they apart of it. Ultimately, when I was threatened by a coworker and I physically confronted him my employment was terminated. This would be an issue over and over again.
I applied to jobs time and time again. Because it took me some time to get my makeup down and also because I was wearing long sleeve shirts with high collars in the summer time, I was unable to find a job. When I was hired and subsequently discovered, I was terminated because of the other employee’e uneasiness with my situation.
There I was, unable to revert to being a man and unable to find gainful employment as a woman. I have been fulltime for almost two years now and still I have been unable to even start my HRT regiment. I am only passable now because I have taken the stand of, “I don’t care anymore what you think” and my confidence and makeup skills compensate for any doubts. I am no closer to now to the end of my transformation then I was two years ago. I shower with my eyes closed, I shave in the shower, and I apply my foundation in total darkness. I don’t open my eyes until it’s at least applied. I hate my body; it isn’t mine, and trying to fix the issue is proving all too difficult.
So, my advice to anyone considering becoming a fulltime transsexual woman is this; take your time, get your ducks in a row, and be prepared to find new employment. Save your money, get going good on HRT, and most of all get good with the application of your, “war paint”. Be prepared; don’t make the mistakes I did. If I would’ve stayed, “in the closet” only another six months, I would have had my breast augmentation and the money for my SRS. (I was 3 weeks away from my breast surgery when I was fired and one paycheck). Be sure you are passable, and be prepared for a long and difficult road.
I am almost 33 years old and there is little hope I will ever have my surgeries in time to be young enough to ever enjoy all the benefits of being a woman in our society. Please, be prepared!
Silence – sometimes a blessing, sometimes a detriment. I often wonder if I’ve yet to define which it is to me. It is a negative friend I have bonded with through my own choice. No one actually forced me to be silent, I allowed it to be. I can’t even begin to express the years that I remained silent while inside of me was screaming to be born; to be free; to be happy, only to be denied because of my fears of rejection by family, friends and co-workers. There were times when I let those fears fester to the point where I began questioning myself as to whether or not I was some kind of freak of nature. The numerous nights I spent alone crying until there were no more tears to shed. Even now, I hesitate to be my true self at times and suffer the guilt for not having the courage to open up and blossom. To let go and be the woman I truly am in every cell of my body; in every beat of my heart; in every waking thought; in every moment.
Questions pop into my mind — How much longer are you going to let everyone else dictate your happiness?; How many more years are you going to hide behind the veil of cowardice and live in loneliness and misery?; How many more hours are you going to waste pondering the “what if’s” of yesteryear? Yet, in spite of the questions and knowledge of knowing that my inaction will only cause sorrow, I still embrace that silence.
Now comes the reality that at age 63, I don’t know how many years I have left and that if I don’t begin to live my life, truly live my life as it should be, I will die physically as I have died a thousand times over in my heart. Adrift in an ocean of a society that is discriminatory by nature; cold and hurtful by ignorance and hate; and blinded by the need to force their views and beliefs on others through verbal or physical attacks, I desperately search for a lifeline, a lifesaver to pull me to safety.
What scares me the most is my inability to ascertain whether I can break my lifelong habits of silence when that lifeline comes along. Right now, the transgender group I have joined is that lifeline and I find myself thrashing, clawing and reaching with every essence of my being to grasp hold of it while still clinging to the safety of the silence I have made friends with, reluctant friends for sure, but nevertheless, friends.
I will frequent this page, undoubtedly cry again and again, but for sure, I will find the strength in it to overcome the silence, one step at a time. I need to or forever be bound to a broken heart.
Now, more so than ever before, I realize through reading and listening to the news that the pain I have endured and still endure has been shared by so many before me. It is helping me to cope and it is my sincerest hope that in some small way I too will serve to help those who are younger and struggling with the same silence and fears, that they may take the steps to reach out and touch base with those who really care as it may just make the difference between having a sad life or a happy one. Life is too precious to squander away as I have so learned — the hard way.