Thursday, July 24, 2014

Update: GRS, Therapy, Divorce...



Two months from today I'll be having GRS in Montreal with Dr. Pierre Brassard.  I'm cautiously excited, having been through this countdown one time before.  Last time I would always preface my countdown with the disclaimer "if all goes well" as I knew something might happen to prevent me from wanting to leave the country.  My dad's health wasn't good for the last few months and I thought that something might happen to keep me home, but I honestly didn't foresee losing him this soon. 

We are still grieving but things are much better and somewhat back to normal, well as normal as can be expected right now.  I guess I still have to use my cautionary preface, because anything could happen, but I really feel like this is The Time for me.  In the upper right side of this blog I've set up a counter ticking down the days, minutes and seconds to my surgery.  Actually, we know the date but don't know the actual time of surgery yet.  Dr. Brassard starts his daily surgeries at 7 am and it will depend on what order he takes me, but I will at least be prepped and ready to go when the ticker strikes 0.  Yes, he does about 3 of these surgeries a day, sometimes as many as 5.

I want to give a brief explanation of my cover picture at the top of this page, what it means to me.  I took this photo last winter, as a morning's snow was melting in the afternoon sunshine.  Some of the Camellia bushes were blooming because of a recent warm spell and I held the camera low and took the picture looking up through the flowers to tops of the pine trees.  To me, this symbolizes spring coming out of winter and a beautiful time of change.  This shot represents my transition and rebirth, looking up toward the light.  The flowers are slightly blurred but the focus upwards towards the light is crystal clear.  This is where I am going.  Won't you follow me on my journey? 


This week I saw my therapist for the first time since my father's death.  I knew I was going to cry during this appointment so I was extra careful and light with my eye makeup.  We actually had a good visit, I did cry but didn't mess up my makeup.  I'm going to see her one more time before I go to Montreal and maybe I will take my mom to meet her next time.  Mitchell went with me to my last appointment, when my dad was in the hospital.  I'm really glad he got a chance to meet Kimball and we had a good session. 

Some people ask me why I still go to therapy.  We never talk about gender issues now because it's not really an issue anymore.  They were only issues when I was living my life in the wrong gender.  Outside the first few appointments we never spent a great deal of time on gender stuff anyway, I had so much else going on in my life.  I'm sure we've spent much more time talking about my marriage, relationship to Mitchell and my parents than anything else.  That first year we really focused on my anxiety about coming out to my parents.

My therapist told me this week that I was extremely well adjusted and made good decisions.  I don't doubt that now but I really didn't see that coming just two and a half years ago when I first entered therapy.  I told her she should have seen the decisions I was making 10 years ago and she agreed that I wasn't making good decisions then.  I was not well adjusted then either but I did make one Big decision approximately 10 years ago. 

I was facing my 40th birthday, depressed, on drugs, and saw no way out.  I decided to finally allow myself to start letting what was on the inside of me out.  I stopped fighting the urge to dress and started working on a look that would let me get out of my box.  In some ways that meant getting out of the confines of home as a female, as myself, but in some ways it was much more.  I wanted to get out of my old body and life.  I needed that as I felt like I was dying and it was becoming a very unhappy, slow death.  I'd waited long enough.

Life has gradually come into me over this last decade and I feel the next decade will by far be the best ever for me.  My therapist says that there is a saying that women in their 50's are the wise women.  I don't know if I will be wise, but at least I will get to experience that decade as a woman, as myself.

The therapy, which includes transition, has been very effective for me.  I guess at some point I may stop seeing my therapist or at least only go occasionally.  We meet about every 4 to 6 weeks now and I suppose we will keep that interval for at least awhile after my surgery as I am sure there will be many new things to adjust to, both physically and mentally.  I am very happy now overall, often ecstatic, and most of all I have a positive outlook on life.  That is something I did not always have.

Among my trans friends, I think those that are the most unhappy and struggling are those who resist transition, resist their therapy.  Of course everyone is different but in my case the idea was to bring the body, mind and life together.  To live full time, or to be authentic as some call it, is the best therapy there is.  People just have to remove those barriers and roadblocks to get there, or there is suffering.  It's never an easy road, harder for some than others, but I do believe it is well worth it.  For me, it has made all the difference.

"We all have good days and bad days, but I try to be the most positive person I can be because that best reflects the way I feel inside."    Tammy Matthews


After my therapy appointment on Tuesday, I met Joan in Raleigh to take care of some important business.  We still had a joint checking and joint savings account, although I have since opened separate accounts in my name only.  Our business of the day was to go to the bank and take my ownership off the two joint accounts.  Joan would now have accounts of her very own.

She also deposited the check she got from her divorce lawyer (minus his expenses) into her savings account and got her own debit card.  We were in the bank about 45 minutes overall.  I am not sure what the banker thought, but she misgendered me once (calling me he) and told him one time that we were "splitting up."  Other than that she got all the pronouns right and didn't neglect to call me Tammy.  She tries.

We decided to celebrate another level of separation by going out to a nice dinner in downtown Raleigh.  The Pit is an upscale restaurant that serves old fashioned North Carolina barbecue and other southern style food.  Well, it is upscale for a barbeque restaurant anyway, and is a very nice place.  I wanted to try some of the new restaurants downtown but Joan is a lot pickier than I am so The Pit is what we agreed to.

The meal was nice but a little bit heavy, as Southern food usually is.  At least we didn't get anything fried.  Joan got barbeque chicken and I think my choice of spare ribs was influenced by knowing my dogs were sitting home wanting the rib bones, but I had been wanting to try that specialty there.  I even had a sangria with my meal.  Rare is the NC barbeque restaurant that serves alcohol but having a nice drink with my meal is something I've come to enjoy.

There is one little aspect of our divorce that remains unfinished, the actual divorce.  As I mentioned in my recent post, Separation, we thought we were going to sign divorce papers recently but they were actually just papers finalizing the separation and agreeing to a financial settlement.  I now have, in my eager little hands, the actual divorce papers that just need to be filled out and returned to the lawyer.  Of course waiting for it to get through the court system will take a little while but this the Last Step that will end the marriage.  I know my readers have been exposed to all of my angst over this divorce, but it will be Oh Happy Day when it's all over.

One part of life ends, and another begins.  It is what I signed up for isn't it? 

Leaving Joan alone and ending this marriage is my only regret in transition, but then again that freedom was something I've really wanted for a long time.  I don't like hurting someone, breaking a promise or leaving her alone but when a marriage is not working it's time to end it.  That would be the case for us, transition or not.  I'm just really happy that we remain such good friends and are involved in each others lives. 

It's been a pretty fast transition so far and I am considered a success story at this point, at least from a transition as therapy or transition as life saving process standpoint.  I'm just so ready to get on with the next phase of transition, life and relationships.  Mitchell and I meeting when we we did may just have been perfect timing.  At the time I felt I wasn't ready for a relationship and wouldn't be until maybe after I was divorced and through with or much farther along in transition.  I have to admit that all of this, especially my separation and divorce, has been a whole lot easier because I have him to love and lean on.  Besides, if I didn't have him maybe Joan would have hung on in a "friendship" marriage.  We had that long enough.

Right now, I am ready for bigger and better things....a New beginning.
Life is a beach and the future is so bright I gotta wear shades!

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