Monday, September 9, 2013

Birthdays



Birthday flowers from my boyfriend.
I celebrated another birthday recently and I have to say it was by far the happiest one in memory.  I remember two years ago setting this year's birthday as a deadline for myself.  It was August of 2011 and I was on the edge and in pain.  It had been a breakthrough year in many ways but that birthday was filled with a lot of anxiety.  In fact, my most recent birthdays had all been filled with their own unique brands of anxiety. 

In 2009, around the time of my birthday, I was having a lot of anxiety about coming out to my spouse.  By the same time in 2010 I Still had not come out to her and by then the anxiety was becoming acute.  In just a few weeks I actually did come out to her, as I talked about in this blog post entitled Hello World.  That brought a huge relief and not nearly as  painful an aftermath as I had feared.  She didn't run off and tell my parents, she didn't leave me and the ensuing year brought a lot of growth and changes.  I no longer had to hide myself so I could dress freely at home and go out when and where I wanted to, with the exception of staying out very late or staying overnight somewhere.  In other previous posts, Hello World Part 2 and Hello World Part 3, I go into a lot of details about what happened in my life and relationship with my spouse in 2011. 

By the time my birthday got here in August 2011, the joy and relief of being able to go almost anywhere as myself almost anytime I wanted to had been replaced by the angst of still being trapped in a life I did not want to be in.  More than just feeling trapped in the wrong body, I felt trapped in a wrong life.  My head had cleared up and I had seen that living as myself, as Tammy, was possible.  It no longer had to be just a dream, it was fast becoming a reality but still there were major obstacles to overcome.  I cried by myself on that birthday and promised myself it was the last year that I would be stuck like this.  I sort of knew it would be too much to accomplish for me to be full time by my next birthday, but on that day in 2011, I made a promise that within one year I would be in transition and by the following year's birthday, 2013, I would be full time and on the road to fully being myself.  

During the summer of 2012, after I had already started hormones, my therapist asked me what my goal was on when to go full time.  I didn't give her a date but I did give her a range.  I told her I would like to transition on New Year's Eve that year and that I had set a deadline of being full time by my birthday on August 19, 2013.  She told me to shoot for the end of 2012 and like any goal if you fall short at least you come closer to it than if you put everything off until the last minute.  A new year and a new me is the way she put it and that is exactly what I had in mind. 

Throughout my life I have been a chronic procrastinator, and at the time I really didn't think I would make my goal of being full time by the end of 2012 but I sure as heck was going to make my deadline.  I had to conquer what I saw as my "Mt. Everest" first, coming out to my parents, and that created a great deal of anxiety on my birthday last year.  As it turns out, I  conquered my own Everest and went full time a few days after coming out to them on December 21, 2012 which was the Winter Solstice and ironically the last day of the world according to the Mayan Calender.  A new era was ushered in alright, but for me it was much more of a beginning than an end.


Sharing a kiss with my baby on Thunder Ridge as the sun sets across the Blue Ridge.
So when I celebrated my birthday last month I had the satisfaction of knowing that I beat my deadline by 8 months.  This was the first birthday that I could fully be myself and everyone knew me as Tammy.  No more hiding and no tears this year!   It was a very good day to say the least and we actually celebrated the occasion over 6 days.  On Thursday I left for Virginia to spend 4 nights with my boyfriend Mitchell, then I returned home on Monday to celebrate with my parents by going out to eat and having cake at their home.  The day after my birthday I drove to Raleigh to spend time and go to dinner with my estranged spouse Joan, who gave me a very special birthday card addressed to Tammy. 
Enjoying a special dinner at a nice restaurant in Lynchburg, Virginia.
With all I went through trying to get Joan to understand and accept me for over 2 years, getting that card was a real victory.  Of course, my parents accepted me almost immediately but getting a card addressed to their daughter really, really warms my heart.  Mitchell met me as Tammy and although he saw both sides of me when the other side still existed, he has always been my biggest supporter and confidant, much more than I could have asked for in any relationship.  He has brought me a love, friendship and happiness that I never could have imagined.  I am so thankful to have all of these people in my life and especially thankful to have all of their acceptance and support.


I have conquered my "Mount Everest", now the mountains are much more manageable.  Here I am in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Happy to be accepted and loved.  Enjoying time at my parent's home after a birthday meal at Red Lobster.
So, while this is turning out to be a beautiful year and I feel much better than ever, I still feel trapped in a way.  I am finally comfortable with myself and happy, but I am ready to complete my transition and move on with the rest of my life.  My goal now is to complete my transition by the time my next birthday gets here.  This has actually been my goal from the beginning but now that things have fallen into place, it looks like it has a good chance of happening.  Next year will be a big birthday for me numerically, one of the "milestone" birthdays that people usually dread.  They now say that 50 is the new 40 and I actually feel more like I am 30.  Some say that life begins at 50 and I believe that's going to be the case for me.  Hopefully, I will get to celebrate 2 birthdays next year.  I do hope you will follow me for the rest of my journey and beyond here on Tammy World and I appreciate each and every one of you!



High on the mountain, the peaceful valley awaits me on the other side. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7XnlhIDz1U