Saturday, October 20, 2012

October Surprise

It's October here in Carolina and the temperatures have been very pleasant, with most nights getting down into the 40's and highs in the 70's during the day.  Most of the days are like today, sunny skies with a few clouds and these are good days for our electric bills as I am not running air conditioning or heat.  One of the rainy days was Monday as it rained on and off all day but still with pleasant temperatures.  I got up Monday and walked the dogs between rain showers then got ready to drive to Durham for my therapy appointment.  This was a big meeting for me because it was a chance to finally go over the coming out letter to my parents I had hammered out in 40 minutes the week before.  She actually liked the letter and thought it was really well done.  She told me sometimes the best work is done in an inspired flash rather than being too deliberate in working something up, sort of like I have found out from my blogging so far.  She also asked me if she could share this with other patients and since it was written anonymously I said sure.  I'm going to now make some revisions from the first draft and add a couple of key points I had left out like the need to change my name etc.  I meet with her again on the 29th of this month and also I am excited to report that I did make an appointment with my original therapist for November 14 and I am anxious to update my progress with her as well as go over my letter before calling it a final draft.  For the rest of this year at least I want to see both therapists and then in January I will see how things turn out and re evaluate my needs there.

After leaving my therapist office I went to lunch by myself then decided to brave the rain and go to the NC State Fair for awhile.  Being a rainy Monday, the fair was not very crowded and I found a free park pretty close to the gate, getting there about 3 pm.  This was my first time ever going to the fair alone and it is an annual 10 day event that draws a total of over a million people usually.  My boyfriend would have taken me but it would have taken up an entire day for us to go up there and back last weekend and I did want to take my (ex) wife as it has been a longstanding tradition for us to go together, but she will hardly go anywhere with me now.  I might not have gone but it was a fun thing to do and I drove right past it on the way home from Durham anyway.  There was one item I wanted to buy there, at the Egyptian booth, a small model pyramid that is made in Egypt.  They may bring me luck! I bought the first one in 2010 and within a couple of weeks came out to my wife, opening the door for my transition to eventually begin. In 2011 I bought another one and that same week started taking herbal hormones and soon after that I started hair removal and called my first therapist (something I had dreaded doing for a long time but knew I needed).  So this week, in 2012 I bought my third pyramid and I'm hoping it brings me luck in making my final steps of coming out to my parents and going full time.  Now I have a little simulation of the pyramids of Giza set up on my bar and I have read that on December 3,2012 there will be a planetary alignment with the Giza pyramids that only happens every 2,737 years.  Whether or not that is true or if there is any significance to it or not I don't know, but I do like having my little pyramids and great things are happening in my life at least, here in 2012.

Being at the fair, even alone, was a blast and during the rain showers I looked at all the exhibits in the buildings.  I don't know if anyone read me or not but I was treated like a lady all day, everyone called me ma'am and some of the game vendors called me over saying "come on play this game young lady", which made me feel good because I am not that young, lol.  I didn't play any games or ride any rides, I just did a lot of walking around and looking at everything and I do enjoy seeing all the exhibits, even the agricultural demonstrations and animals.  I ran into one trans friend there who has recently started living full time.  She walked right by me and didn't notice me in one of the indoor exhibit buildings.  She was pushing her (ex) wife, who is disabled, around in a wheelchair, was looking straight ahead.  I had never seen her without a wig (except in a few pictures on Facebook) but I thought, hey I know her, and doubled back to say hi.  We spoke for a few minutes and I got to meet her ex, which was nice because we had talked about meeting each other with our wives for quite some time, even back before she seperated from hers but mine would never go for it.  They had tickets to a music show that night and it was time for me to have supper and then leave.  I wanted to get back to my car, which was parked along one the roads leading to the fair, before dark.  A woman walking alone down a dark street like that can be vulnerable so part of my new life is having to watch out for myself.  Before leaving I stopped at one of the booths and ate a ham biscuit and french fries and earlier I had eaten some home made ice cream, all yummy fair food that is not good for you but I could have done worse :)

Tuesday I rode up to Greensboro with Donna for class and I really enjoy these times.  She actually wanted me to share my letter to my parents with her and I did.  She has a unique perspective being somewhat close to their age, a parent, and also transgendered.  I sent her a copy of the letter by email and she sent me back a lot of suggestions, some of which I will use.  She had made major revisions but I want to keep most of the original and keep it in my own thoughts and words, although a couple of the ideas might be helpful from an older parents' perspective and I will likely include them.  Ideas such as my condition is not their fault and emphasizing my love for them, which I had stated in my letter.  We always get treated like ladies when we go out to dinner after class and she says she doesn't always get that with other people she goes to group meetings with.  I think I may be a good influence/role model for her to in some ways.  She does not get out much except to meetings and now this class, but I hope this experience will be liberating enough to her that she will now get out more, even during the day and even if it's going with me shopping or to lunch etc.  Her wife has influenced her movements to a great extent and possibly by example I am showing her that that does not have to be the case.  They have had a long and good marriage though and she wants to keep it that way so compromises are definitely in order.  I have not heard back from her on this but she did want to watch the presidential debate, ahead of the U.S. elections,  with her wife after getting home Tuesday and usually her wife wants her to change back into male clothing when she gets home.  She was running late on time and I suggested to her why not just go sit and watch it en femme, maybe her wife will figure out she won't bite and some progress will be made.  Considering that's what she Wanted to do, I hope it worked out.

I have had a few very emotional moments this week and a few crying spells, mostly related to my reading of the book True Selves:Understanding Transsexualism--For Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals, by Mildred Brown and Chloe Ann Rounsley. This book was recommended to me by my original therapist, mainly for my parents to read, and my second therapist recommends it as well. I thought I needed to read it before presenting it to them in a month or two.  Reading this book, particularly the parts about childhood and teen years, has dredged up some long buried memories for me that are painful to revisit. This led to my short, sort of sad blog entry earlier this week that had been written during the end of a crying spell. So far I think the book will be good for my mom to read. It uses a lot of different examples of therapy patients and I understand them all and many of them I can directly relate to in my life, even though there are some really painful memories I have tried not to revisit. I am now over halfway through reading it and have gotten to the part about transition, which I can relate to right now.

Speaking of the US elections, the October surprise is defined by Wikipedia as a news event that has the potential to influence an election and is usually released in October, one month before the presidential election.  I don't think there will an October surprise this year but personally I will be glad when the election is over.  Politics have become very negative and divisive in this country (this is probably the case everywhere) and I will vote this year because I can, but nothing seems to change too much no matter who is elected.  My personal October surprise is this.  I know I have revealed my addictions to hard drugs, some in the 80's and early 90's and then for a 10 year period ending in 2007.  When I was 16, I began to smoke marijuana and smoked it almost daily all the way up until this year.  I remember telling someone in high school that I didn't party, I had problems.  That pretty much defined my use of this substance as a way to numb, forget and put aside the pain I have experienced over the years from gender dysphoria, a bad marriage etc.  Certain passages from the book I am reading really bring some of those very early memories when I was a teenager trying to deal with feeling like an alien in this world.  When I was a child I could always retreat into a fantasy world and even though I was different and somewhat outcast from other children, my loving family kept me fairly happy overall.  When I was a teenager I did not fit in anywhere and much of my family was older people and died off.  The only people I hung out with were other pot smokers who tended to be outcasts, all with their own set of unique problems.  Nobody talked much about their problems, we were all there to forget them and have as good a time as possible getting high and embracing any distraction we could find. 

Socially that pattern continued into my adult life.  I pretty much had the same friends from high school, in dwindling numbers, until this year when I only had one left.  I made the decision to finally grow up and stop smoking that stuff this year and have not bought any since last Christmas, but having saved some for "emergencies" I was left with a supply of it coming into 2012.  I was upfront with my therapist about this and even my doctor when I first saw him and they didn't seem too concerned about it, other than my therapist reminding me that any smoking was unhealthy.  I knew I was stopping so I didn't really see it as a problem anymore either.  My thinking was going in that my supply would be exhausted before I started hormones (knew that would be in spring) but because I kept cutting back it lasted all the way into August for my birthday and I actually smoked a small amount and for the last time on the blue moon night of August 31, 2012. 

I wanted to wait until at least a month had gone by before revealing this here to make sure I could stop and get it out of my system.  Doing something habitually for 31 years, especially when it was a huge crutch and mask for my problems, made me unsure of how it would go without it.  It has gone Splendidly and I have not missed it one bit, in fact for almost a year I haven't really gotten much out of it.  I just did it out of habit and this year because it was there.  Now it's gone, kaput, no more and the Best thing is I don't need that stuff anymore and don't even want it.  Not buying it this year has freed money up for my transition expenses so far and allowed me to save some money as well.  I am a little bit proud of myself for quitting because I never thought I would and before I knew I could/would transition I did not even want to.  It was one of the only ways I could deal with life but now I have proved to myself that I can deal with life as it is.  It does help that I now feel much better about myself and my lifelong low self esteem is gone.  I am actually enjoying living and most importantly, I have hope for the future.  Being in love, truly for the first time has helped also and I do want to credit my boyfriend for giving me strength, love and understanding me better than anyone else ever has as well as being my best friend and perhaps the only quality friend I have ever had.  I think I now have all the tools in place to build my life and even though I look back occasionally and feel pain I had buried and glossed over, and still have some pain now not being complete, that light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly and I am moving toward it in a Straight line.  Not looking down and not looking back, I am free at last, free at last!!

                           Y'all come back now, ya hear!

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