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Number 7

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"Where dreams are the stuff reality is made of"

Explorations

by , Editor

The month of January has several important personal events attached to it. On the 24th, I will celebrate my 17th anniversary with my life partner, the woman I married in 1976. On the 30th, it will be four years since the death of my mother, coincidentally, on her father's birthday. The 8th marks three years since my first day of full-time living as Melanie (the subject of this issue's installment of my Transsexual Diary). But the subject of my considerations here is that on January 9th I celebrate my first year of being physically female.

Naturally, such an anniversary gives rise to many musings. I find myself both taking stock of where I am now, thinking about where I might have been, examining what has changed and noting what has stayed the same.

The first thing I would like to share is that, for me, it has taken this full year to arrive at the point where my body feels as if I had been born this way. Not that I ever felt strange, mind you. Immediately after surgery, I felt comfortable in my new arrangement. And over this year there has never been a single occasion when I have regretted my decision. Yet, it took the familiarity of a year being a woman before the brain relearned where everything was. Only then did it stop reminding me all the time: "Hey, isn't THIS different!"

Also, there has been the psychological shift from a lifetime spent wondering what it would be like, to the certain knowledge of how it is. This part alone gave rise to many depressions, elations, fits of temper and odd decisions. Here's why: Over especially the last five years, when I first began to seriously consider perhaps having the surgery some day, I had to build up tremendous justifications to strengthen my commitment to see this through. Once it was a done deal, those justifications didn't just go away. They hung around GETTING in the way! They were commitment-maintaining drives in search of a commitment.

This caused me to have tremendous mood swings as I re-evaluated my life which now appeared to have no center to it. The interesting part was that I had heard about this happening to other post-ops, but even with that knowledge did not recognize, nor could control, it happening to me. I became so uncentered that on one particular day I quit my job working for my most loyal friend and told my life partner, Mary that I would never be coming home.

What made me act in this irrational manner? Simply that I still had all these intense drives that no longer had a purpose. So they focused themselves on whatever petty problems they could find and blew them out of proportion to sustain and justify their existence.

Thank God for the patience of those around me, who backed off and gave me the room and the time to come to my senses! Without their love, at this moment I would be a waitress in Arizona! As these justifications finally began to dissolve, as each one melted away, I found myself a tiny bit more comfortable in actually thinking of myself as a woman. All through transition I had FORCED myself to think of myself as a woman, but it came from mental will power, not from an accurate assessment of my condition.

Now, each day, I am always aware of my roots, but never question my gender. And that is no longer because I am tricking myself in order to feel at ease with my peers, but because in actuality, my gender really IS female. Remember though, it took a year AFTER surgery to reach this point!

Gestures, affectations, voice, are no longer second nature, but first. The only time I even think about it is when I stumble across a new experience I had previously not had in this role. Most of the time I am fully focused on the activity at hand, pointing my attention outside myself instead of inside.

I find that when I enter a crowded room I have stopped wondering what everyone thinks of me, and now instead determine what I think of them! The measuring stick has changed completely.

On the home front, my children have fully accepted the change. I am still daddy (though I hardly look the part!) But I am also a woman now, and that is basic to our relationship. Sure, certain apparent paradoxes rise from this oddity, but has anyone ever thought about life, death and the universe without running into paradoxes? As a famous man once said when confronted that he had contradicted something he had said earlier: "Did I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself!" In other words, so what if I am a woman and their daddy, its only because I AM a woman AND their daddy!

As for my relationship with Mary, boy has THAT grown! We are more committed to each other and less possessive at the same time. Another paradox? Perhaps. So what! I see so many positive things in paradoxes that I am beginning to think that unless you see a paradox in something you aren't looking at it the right way.

Well, I could go on and on, and probably will in other articles! But for now, let me just tie it all up by saying that personalities are not based on what we know, but on what we refuse to consider. Any major life change must cut through those knots in Gordian fashion, then tie up the ends together again. The end of a journey is not when it's over, but when its finished.

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May you never find occasion to say, "If only....."

The Subversive #7

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--signed,
, Editor

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