Tuesday, September 22, 2015


The rising waters began to cover the last patches of dry ground surrounding my old, rusty mobile home when the power went out sometime after midnight. I was home alone that night in September 1996 when the edge of Hurricane Fran passed by Elizabeth City, NC, causing the waters of the Albemarle Sound to push up into the canals of the trailer park. I didn't know if I would stay dry inside or not but I had a small john-boat tied up to the deck just in case.
Buzzed and burning candles for light, I listened to cassettes on my boom box, playing this album all the way through at least a couple of times. Whenever I hear Alice in Chains now I think of that night and that hurricane. I experienced no fear, only a fascination with the unpredictability of the weather. My own demons were providing me all the fear I could handle.
I maybe slept an hour that night, nodding off after the sounds of wind and rain banging the trailer around finally subsided. There was minimal wind damage as the eye of the storm had passed far west, near Raleigh. Looking outside I noticed that All of the flood water had subsided. Indeed the canal behind the trailer was completely dry as the shift in wind direction had blown the mass of water to the other side of the vast sound....

Alice In Chains Unplugged

Monday, September 21, 2015

Everything Changes

Everything changes when you can be yourself.

This little expression popped into my head the other day and consequently I posted it on my Facebook page.  That simple phrase does seem to sum up most of what I've learned about life in the last few years, and I believe I've learned more about life in these last few years than I had in all those years before.

I'm sure this has been said before and conceptualized by almost everyone who has gone through major changes in life.  It certainly seemed to resonate with many of my friends who liked, commented or shared this brief post.  There is no greater change, in my opinion and experience, than changing one's gender and/or sex, and these are people who for the most part have not been able to live their whole lives as themselves.

The key word here, I believe, is Everything because literally Everything changes.  The part about being yourself is something that I am sure not everyone can relate to because unless you've had to live part or your life denying, hiding and/or repressing who you really are I don't think you can understand how foreign even the simplest aspects of life can be.  It can seem crippling or at least make life a constant, uphill struggle.

When the mask is removed there is a freedom that is almost indescribable.  It wasn't that long ago that I first began to experience this freedom and feel the rumblings of change, just a few years before I began my transition.  I'd finally let myself out of my own box, then out the door into the real world. 

I'd figured out a long time ago that this wasn't something that I could control so if I couldn't be myself (truly), I had to repress myself.  For many years this was best done with a bottle (or bottles) and something (or things) that comes in a plastic bag, along with a healthy dose of self loathing, despair and a sincere belief that it will all be over soon.

I just didn't think that I was the kind of person that could live a double life.  I didn't believe I was strong enough or more likely the real me that lived within was too strong to be toyed with in that way.   I was right ultimately, even though I did attempt to live that way for a little while before finally giving in and admitting I had to become myself in order to survive.  That was right after I realized I was going to survive and after I got over my disappointment that survival, at least for now, was my destiny.

Everything was going to Have to change.

The feeling of being me out in the real world was amazing.  When I began to experience that feeling I also woke up to the fact that Not being myself was something I couldn't stand anymore.  All the alcohol, drugs, fantasy world or whatever coping mechanisms I'd used to get through the course of any given day were not going to be enough anymore.  Change had to come and the more I experienced tastes of what life could be if I could be myself, the more I craved it.  That's when I realized that survival itself might not be tragic.

On the road to my fate I was mitigating the horrible feelings that had plagued me, essentially, forever.  With freedom to be myself came a coping mechanism stronger that any I'd experienced before.  That might be enough to get me by for a little longer.  Having a real possibility of the sex change I'd wanted for so long and now knew I needed, gave me the light at the end of the tunnel to push forward.

Change can take you by surprise.

My journey inevitably took me into a therapists' office one day, asking for help in order to transition.  The next stop was a doctors' office where I was given a prescription for hormones.  I knew this was a necessary step in becoming myself on the outside so I hoped it would bring positive physical changes, even though I was far from puberty and teenage years.  

What I did not expect was what I experienced over the first few weeks and months of my hormone therapy.  Physical changes did occur as expected, but the mental, emotional and possibly even spiritual effects of estrogen on my system were phenomenal.  I was overwhelmed by the way the dark dread I'd experienced so long I had no memory of anything else, floated away very quickly and was replaced by a peaceful contentment that allowed me to see that everything was indeed going to be okay.

The pleasant surprise of estrogen hit me like a bucket of cold water thrown in my face.  It woke me up.  I was alive.  I had first experienced freedom, now I was experiencing the inner feeling of normalcy that most people take for granted.  Maybe I wasn't insane after all, but had just been plagued by a hormone imbalance that ruled my world like a Dark Lord since I first went through puberty.  Combine with that standard gender dsyphoria and it was a potentially deadly situation I was about to escape.

Life wasn't just going to continue and be tolerable, it was going to be beautiful. 

Except for the anxiety of coming out and finally making the transition (my own Mt. Everest), those first few months on estrogen gave me the feelings of being a child again, and it was a joyful childhood at that.  Even as a child I'd felt remarkably different but the pain of that difference didn't truly sink in until I began to feel the chemical effects of puberty.  That pain hit me like a ton of bricks and stayed with me until I started my physical transition with estrogen.

That is when I knew that I was not only going to be myself, a woman, but that being myself was going to be fantastic.  That feeling was not going away regardless of what happened when I came out to my parents and transitioned.  

Everything changes when you can be yourself.

Bolstered by the positive changes they could see in my life and attitude, and me finally giving them an explanation of why my life had been so miserable and messed up, my parents instantly accepted me and actually rejoiced that I was not only going to be alright but finally was happy in life.  My dreams were actually going to come true.  My mind was at peace and now events were lining up for me to finally be at peace with my body. 

At some point when I was a teen I'd heard about a sex change operation.  I remember thinking to myself that I should have one of those although I had no idea how to go about it and didn't think it was a possibility in my life.  It seemed like a great idea though and something that would be perfect change for me, but I thought I'd have a better chance of going to the moon.  It was years later before I found the specifics about it and by then, of course, I assumed it was too late and could never happen anyway because of family, life situation etc.

Well, here in my 40's it was actually going to happen!  Literally, everything was going to change!!  I didn't think I needed other surgeries to be myself.  I guess I was lucky, but I was accepted as female everywhere I went and people treated me the way I wanted and needed to be treated.  Overall, living as myself came very natural to me.  The thing I needed to do no one would see unless they knew me intimately.

I felt at peace within myself but there was still a part of me that very wrong and it was something I could not change myself.  This is something that most people may not be able to relate to, even some people who are transgender and do not feel the need for this change, but this was something I'd physically felt the need for since the first horrific jolt hit me as a teenager in puberty.

2012 had been my great year of change, beginning hormones to start my second puberty, fully coming out to the world and beginning to live as myself.  2015 was going to be the year to make the big physical change. 

You've read some of the details about that fantastic journey here, as it unfolded, and much of what has happened since.  As we come up on the one year anniversary of my physical transition with surgery (GRS), you are about to hear the rest of the story.  Stay tuned, because this is a story of hope......

Monday, August 3, 2015

10 Month Post Op Update

Wow, I'm now into my 11th month since GRS and things are going great.  Even though any complications I had seem far behind me, they told us that full healing would take a whole year.  I guess I still had a few questions, like what was that mysterious swelling that caused me to get an ultrasound, was everything healed alright inside and was the area that had the granulation and silver nitrate treatments going to be okay?  All of those questions and more were answered last week when I finally went to a gynecologist for the first time and had a full physical exam from my regular doctor.

Going to the gynecologist was an affirming experience overall.  I drove a couple of hours to see this particular doctor as she came highly recommended and is someone who's worked with trans women before.  The office had mailed me paperwork which I brought in with me, so the processing nurse knew of my condition before we sat down to talk. 

The only "trans" question she asked me was if I'd had the surgery and when it occurred, even though I had stated that on the paperwork.  This discretion was a good thing because there were other people in the adjoining waiting room who might have been able to hear that conversation.  Considering that a lot of the women in the waiting room were pregnant or had babies with them, some aspects of being in that office did highlight (in my mind) some of the differences I have with most other women.

When I finally got to see the doctor, she interviewed me in her office for awhile before going to the exam room.  She asked me about my surgery, hormones, mammograms etc.  She asked if I'd had breast surgery as she looked at my top and asked me what was going on there.  I guess just me and a slightly padded bra was enough to make her question that.  She's very nice and about my age so talking to this doctor was very easy.  I hoped that the exam part of the visit would be as easy.

Luckily, the exam wasn't bad at all.  I had to take off all my clothes, put on a gown and lay back on the table.  First she felt around for glands in my neck and abdomen.  She did ask me if I'd had throat surgery, apparently because of my lack of a discernible Adam's Apple.  A lot of trans women get that done along with GRS (a couple of the girls in Montreal had this) but it was something I didn't think I needed. 

Next she did a breast exam in which she noted that I'd had good results so far from hormones and that I needed a mammogram.  I think this is a standard thing for doctors to request but I really don't think I need one, having only been on hormones a little over 3 years. 

It's like I am a 15 year old girl in that respect but then again we take a lot of pharmaceutical estrogen and progesterone, so maybe there is an elevated cancer risk.  Anyway, it looks like a mammogram is in my not so distant future.  When checking out of this office I scheduled that test for October and the lady at the desk asked me to bring records of my old mammograms.  I didn't want to ruin the moment by telling her this would be my first.

The vaginal exam was thorough but surprisingly easy.  The doctor felt around my outer labia, which is a routine part of the exam, and could not find the little lump that had been a big concern for me just a few months ago.  I haven't been able to feel it lately either and the discomfort if caused me when crossing my legs etc. is gone.  So I guess that is just one of those things they never can pinpoint but that did resolve itself on its own.

I feel that my vagina is very tight and from talking to other post op women this is not unusual.  In a lot of ways that's a good thing, but I was a little worried that it could make the exam more difficult.  She did the exam with her fingers and speculum and it was easy, so there was no need for worry.  She asked me what kind of tissue was used to make the inner lining of my vagina and the truth is I don't know.  I never learned the specifics of the operation, as I would be sleeping anyway.  That it was a penile inversion surgery is all I know.  This doctor did tell me that the vaginal wall was mucous tissue which explains why I am able to get moist there, even enough for sex without artificial lubricant sometimes.  Apparently she has seen other patients who have a different type of tissue there.

It's nice to be able to tell my doctors that I am sexually active with my boyfriend and that everything is going great in that respect.  I don't think my experience is completely typical, but I am able to have orgasms more easily than I did before the surgery.  I'd always heard, and was expecting them to be more difficult to achieve but possibly more satisfying after surgery.  In my case now, they are easier to achieve, often multiple and very often more intense than before my operation, as well as generally being much more satisfying because I now have the right part for me.

In the end, she said that I had a normal looking, functional vagina and that everything was fine.  I did get a prescription for Estrace cream, that is applied into the vagina with an applicator.  She told me the amount of estrogen from the cream is like a drop in the bucket compared to the hormone therapy I'm already on.  This cream is supposed to help with vaginal elasticity and was one of the things I'd wanted to get from this doctor as I've heard good things about it from my friends.

There is some scar tissue where I had granulation and treatments for granulation, but they are fading as well as the general surgical scars.  This doctor told me that they looked like normal scars from a regular woman who's had labiaplasty, so they do not necessarily give me away as trans.  She also told me I would not need labiaplasty, or a stage 2 surgery, which was encouraging to hear.  I am truly done with all the "trans" surgeries, having escaped with only having to do one.


I also saw my general practitioner (GP) last week.  We had scheduled a follow up to my Bell's Palsy episode and it was also time for another physical.  There is a problem with my thumb that I needed to talk to him about as well and you will be hearing more about that in future installments.

As far as my Bell's Palsy, I am rating it 97% gone.  My voice therapist recently did another evaluation of my voice, partly to see if the Bell's had any lasting effect there.  She found some slight anomaly that showed up on a graph and may or may not be a result of this palsy episode (as it didn't show up before).  At any rate it really doesn't affect my voice to the naked ear or affect the way I am gendered.  She said I'd achieved the mastery level of voice feminization which I guess is not too surprising because I never get called sir anywhere, even on the phone, and really don't have to think about my voice anymore.  After my last couple of sessions with her I will be done with voice training too.

The only thing my doctor's evaluation could only find was slight asymmetry in my smile, which I believe I had before but don't remember for sure.  I realize that there are a few lingering effects from the palsy (for instance the affected side of my face gets "tired" sometimes) but they get better with each passing week.

He also wanted to give me a full exam as well as take blood work (which I haven't gotten back yet).  He decided not to do a speculum exam to look inside my vagina, because I'd had one a couple of days earlier. 

This is the same doctor that started me on hormones back in 2012 and last gave me a physical before I left for Montreal.  He has a couple more post op patients but I am the only one who's been with him from first hormone through the complete sex change, so I know he was anxious to examine me and I was glad to show him how far I've come in this ~ 3 years.

This doctor always has a nurse in the room when he examines me with clothing off, even though it was a different nurse now that he's changed offices.  I guess that's just his procedure as the gynecologist didn't have anyone in the room when she examined me.  Anyway, I am not nearly as embarrassed to take my clothes off these days, which has been a positive effect of my surgery.

He also asked me if I'd had breast surgery and when I said no he said I had grown there since he saw me last spring.  As he was examining me he told the nurse my breasts were from the (hormone) replacement therapy.  He then took a look downstairs and asked me a couple of questions about being sexually active, which I was glad to answer.  He made note of everything being in the right place, clitoris, urethra, vaginal opening, so everything is normal and looks good.  Great reports!

July 2012
Since I'd posted it recently as a throwback picture, after the nurse left I showed my doctor this photo from 3 years ago.  It was taken on my way to see him after I'd been on hormones 2 months and was going to get my dosage doubled.  After that my transition took off and has not slowed down.  I did not reduce my hormone dosage after GRS.  In fact I changed to injections and have higher estrogen levels now than I did before surgery, so I am still changing a lot in just about every way.

The one thing that hormones could not change I addressed with my surgery in Montreal and today I could not happier with the outcome or my "decision" to have it done where I did and when I did.  For me, GRS was the missing piece of the puzzle for sure.

When I showed him that old picture I told my doctor that wherever I go people treat me and accept me as any other woman.  In fact, few know that I am really trans.  He prefaced this statement by saying that I Am a woman, but he told me he wasn't surprised to hear that, and that I look like any other woman with my clothes on Or off.  Hearing that from the man who started me on this (physical) transition truly made my day.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


There is a stigma to being different.  I guess a lot of people feel it for different reasons to various degrees at some point in their lives.  Personally, I've felt it strongly since at least time time I entered school as a kid.  People deal with having a stigma in various ways.  Some embrace whatever it is about them that brings upon shame, others go into hiding and some are destroyed by it.

Transgender people have a special kind of stigma.  Most often this feeling of being disgracefully different is the cause of us repressing who we really are and/or secretly leading double lives.  This can be extremely overwhelming and can lead to isolation, addiction, shattered lives and sometimes worse, although some are better at putting on a happy face and leading a "normal life" than others.  In any instance, the dark shadow lives within.

When we come out, Good God, the stigma is suddenly there staring everyone in the face.  It is like having a tattoo on your forehead if people know that you are transgender.  You may be successful at covering it with enough realness, by blending into the world so that everyone doesn't know.  Still, someone always knows.  And they are staring at that tattoo.  Even if they embrace and accept you, you have to wonder what is going on their heads.  What do they really think of you and this strange condition you are now so openly displaying?

I've come to discover that transsexual transition is only about treating your own gender dsyphoria.  It doesn't do a thing to do away with the stigma of being grossly different.  That requires a different treatment altogether.

By and large, you cannot effect how other people are going to react or think about you, so how you cope with this stigma of being trans is all in your head.  It can destroy you or you can find a way to deal with it.

Stealth, going completely underground so that no one (and I mean No one) knows this secret about you, is one way of dealing with it.  This is the old way and used to be considered necessary for survival.  Today, acceptance is more widespread so not as many people choose the option of going completely underground after coming out.  It requires severing ties, telling lies and going back into a closet. 

Closets are usually dark, cramped, uncomfortable spaces.  Prior to coming out we live a type of stealth, hiding from the world.  As I have stated before, personally this is not a situation I want to return to.  It's not healthy for me and for those of us who don't want to completely start over, it is not possible.

You hear of people doing things as extreme as committing suicide even after they have fully transitioned.  Did the dsyphoria not go away or was there some other dark element at work.  Could the stigma of being transgender or the realization that some will never be able to deal with it (family, spouses etc.) be the culprit? 

Every trans person defines their own transition.  Just this year I've realized that my own transition is complete.  I've gone from point A to point B.  Although I gave up a career and lost a spouse, I know it's something I had to do and it has been extremely rewarding.  I guess I am lucky in that my transition was successful in curing my gender dsyphoria.  That was my one goal going in, but recently I've realized that nothing has made the stigma I feel from being extremely different go away. 

So, I have embarked on another journey, one of introspection.  I realize now that I have never been comfortable being transgender.  I hated it, hence I hated myself.  I fought it for as long as possible, then I came out and transitioned as quickly as I could.  I wanted to get away from this thing as swiftly as possible.

You know what, it worked.  Bingo, I was cured!  It couldn't have been so easy, could it?  I don't hate myself anymore.  I learned to love myself and luckily also found someone to love me.  Life is Awesome!

But wait, I am still trans.  I'm still not comfortable with that, even though I am finally comfortable with myself.  How do I deal with this awful stigma?   I've always felt like a woman, not a trans woman.  That's one reason I didn't want to transition.  I wanted to be a "real" woman, not a trans woman.  Now I am having to realize that I am as real as I am going to get.  Not only do I not feel pride in being this way, I have to admit to still feeling shame.

Maybe it's just the lingering pain of 4 decades of wrongness, maybe it's the fact that much of society still views people like me in a negative light (that often includes discrimination and violence committed against us), maybe it's the fact that I still worry about what people think of me (in every way), maybe it's the fact that my secret isn't such a secret anymore, but something still bothers me about about being trans.  Inside, I feel the stigma.

The bottom line is that I don't want people to know, but it's a catch-22.  In my situation, for a lot of reasons, some people are always going to know about me.  All the realness I can muster cannot wipe that away. 

I realize I am fortunate to have made it here alive and seemingly in one piece.  I'm fortunate to have been able to complete my transition the way I wanted to and I am fortunate to have a future that could possibly fulfill all my dreams.  The only nagging problem related to this condition is dealing with this tattoo on my head.

So I have sort of withdrawn some lately.  I've let fear creep back in to some degree.  In real life I have been fine, just not interacting with friends as much for various reasons.  My family life is looking up and couldn't be better.  But online in social media, except for my private groups, I've tried to sort of distance myself from being trans. 

It's an awkward situation and I'm not satisfied with it.  I haven't been posting blogs recently because right now I generally write about my transition and I didn't want to draw attention to that situation.  Friend request have come in from people I've met who may not know I'm trans and I don't know what to do with that, so I've blocked some so they wouldn't find out.  Otherwise, I've tried censoring the content I post publicly. 

This isn't working in a way that I'm comfortable with.  I don't want to go back to hiding, and partial hiding seems to be a tedious balancing act that's going nowhere. 

So at the end of the day I have to find a happy medium in my life.  I'm still going to be trans.shhh, meaning I am not going to advertise or tell everyone I meet that I am different.  Still, I am not going back to missing out on life or opportunities out of fear of someone finding out. 

Feeling stigmatized is not only not justified, it's not going to hold me down.  I won't let being trans define me but I'm going to have to suppress that creeping feeling that I need to go out of my way to mask who I am in every situation.  Even if I don't embrace it, I have to deal with it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reflections On The Solstice

The Summer Solstice.  The longest day of the year.  Somehow it means something although I have never truly investigated it or studied the ancient or pagan beliefs enough to understand it's true relevance on those terms.

Wikipedia says. "solstice is an astronomical event that occurs twice each year as the Sun reaches its highest or lowest excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with the seasons. In many cultures the solstices mark either the beginning or the midpoint of winter and summer."

I can, however, feel the impact of the solstice.  There is something about the earth and celestial bodies that speaks to me.  Though it speaks not in my native tongue so I know not exactly what it says.  The voices are louder a couple of times a year so I realize something important is going on.

2012, this was a year that spoke to me.  For at least 4 years before it came to pass I looked towards that particular year with hope in my heart.  There was anticipation for a great celestial energy, a fantastic time of change.  Did I plan the fantastic change in my life around this fabled year and it's astronomical events, or was it merely coincidence?

The summer solstice of 2012 was the day I planned to begin hormone replacement therapy, basically beginning my transition even though I had already taken many steps down that road.  I actually got the prescriptions from my doctor on May 15, over a month prior to the solstice.  I considered waiting but I was literally dying to accelerate the process of change, so I started HRT immediately. That would allow me to be on hormones for 7.5 months before my planned transition at the end of 2012, on New Year's Eve.

The solstice did catch up with me in 2012 in an unexpected way, but it was the winter solstice not the summer.  Events in my life just happened to line up for me to make my transition to living as myself (female) full time on December 21, 2012.

Of course this is ancient history by now, but 2012 was the last year of the Mayan calendar and the fabled "end of the world."  The last day was to be the winter solstice and on that day I emerged out of the void, floundering as I flopped onto land and timidly tried taking my first steps.

Embryonic and evolutionary, my transition in 2012 was like the waking of the dead.  Yes, I had declared myself dead not long after graduating from high school.  Several years before that I was overcome with a feeling of dread, a feeling that I was not going to live much longer.  Those feelings finally went away not long after starting HRT.  Life emerged from the void.

Truly my
 life began on the winter solstice. Was it a cool coincidence?  At any rate, the astronomical events of these solstices took on a very personal meaning that fateful year.

2014, this was the year I was to undergo my great physical change.  Hormones had changed my outlook and feelings inside while also making changes outside, but it was time for me to make the full transition from male to female.  Doctors would surgically (or magically) give me what I was supposed to have born with and take away (or change) what had been a source of discomfort for most of my life.

Predictably, I tried to schedule my GRS (gender reassignment surgery) for the summer solstice.  The closest date I could get was June 16th.  That would at least have me in the recovery center in Montreal on the summer solstice, having just gone through the change.  That didn't sound too bad, so I took the date and waited with grand anticipation.

Unfortunately, my father passed away just days before I was scheduled to depart for Canada and I had to cancel my surgery date.  The new date was set for September 24th, just three days after the autumnal equinox.  Yes, I felt the seasons change while in Montreal awaiting my surgery.  As summer turned to autumn I was simply enjoying the city and being with my loved ones, never once worrying or feeling nervous about my upcoming trip to the hospital.

Today, in 2015, the summer solstice falls on Father's Day.  It's been a little over a year since I lost my dad so the pain is still sort of fresh.  I don't even remember Father's Day last year, so it must have been really grief stricken. Today I visited him at the cemetery, thanking him again for being such a positive influence in my life and continuing to be with me in spirit, always.

Once again, the solstice is a day that carries great meaning into my life.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ask Not For Whom The Bell's Toll

It tolls for me!

Exactly 2 months ago I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy after noticing some strange things going on with my face the night before.  By the time I made it to the doctor on April 20th, it seemed like the whole left side of my face was frozen.

The appointment that day was with my new "hormone doctor," and just happened to fall within 24 hours of my first Bell's Palsy symptom.  She gave the diagnosis, some steroids for the palsy and my first prescriptions for injectable estrogen and progesterone.  Overall it was a good day, although I was scared the palsy would never go away.

Two weeks later I saw my "regular doctor" and he told me I had been on the Prednisone long enough.  After a couple of weeks on that steroid pill, both doctors agreed the best treatment was to let the disease run it's course.  He also predicted that the palsy would be gone in 2 months.  I feel like I am about 90% over it now so in two weeks there is a chance it will be totally gone, proving my doctor's prediction to be true.  Sometimes, even those "practicing" medicine get it right.

The last 2 months has been a real eye opener for me.  This is especially true of my left eye, which even now appears to be a little more open than my right. The eyelid muscles on my left side were one the things affected by this condition, as well as the muscles on that side that control my mouth movements.

The way this thing played out is that for two weeks the left side of my face was almost completely paralyzed and "drooping."  Then it started slowly getting better with a little bit of improvement noticed each week.

June 3, 2015
People now tell me they can't tell from looking me that anything is wrong, except maybe when I am tired and my right eye isn't as open as the left.  If I give a Big grin, the left side of my mouth won't stretch up as far as the right, but I do feel it is getting there.  The most aggravating symptom that is still lingering around to some degree, is that my eyes get tired or "bleary" if I read or have them active too long.

Most of the time I forget that I have Bell's Palsy, to whatever extent I still have it.  Hopefully when I go to my regular doctor next month for a physical I will be completely over it.  Some people have residual symptoms that can last a long time or forever but if it looks like that's happening with me I am going to ask the doctor to send me to physical therapy or something to finish rejuvenating the muscles.
June 15, 2015

While this episode has caused the last couple of months to be more stressful than normal and (for the first few weeks anyway) limited my travel and social interaction, I have come away with a few positives.

One thing I learned, or relearned, is that beauty is fleeting.  We never know what can happen in any given moment to take our looks (or some aspect of our health) away.  This just adds to the list of reasons (which include a history of skin cancer) why I am thinking that facial surgery or other procedures might not be a good idea for me.

Another thing I learned is true empathy for those with any form of paralysis.  It is one thing to feel for someone having a problem, but quite another to have experienced that problem in one form or another.  Not being able to move an area of your body is downright scary.  During this episode I have heard from sooo many people who suffered with Bell's Palsy, or knew someone that had. Most had a complete recovery within weeks or months but a few have lingering symptoms and a very rare few never made any recovery at all.

One of the girls in my TBN group has Cerebral Palsy and will have to deal with issues similar to mine (and more) for life.  We related on this while discussing the difficulties of applying makeup to a numb area on the face, specifically the eyes. 

I just have to realize how blessed I am, how thankful I am for my blessings and how lucky I have been in making this recovery so quickly.  I don't know what other curves life will throw at me but I just can't take any of my blessings for granted.  None of us can.


A social media app's analysis of my current profile picture.  This picture was taken yesterday, June 19, 2015.
Exactly 2 months after the first symptoms of Bell's palsy appeared.

*A parting message for those of you who feel stuck, unable to move forward....

"You have to feel it deep inside and the desire to be free will burn as brightly as the midday sun. You have to yearn to be yourself as strongly as you'd desire a bottle of water after a dry day in the desert. Drink of it and once you have the taste of freedom there is no going back."

Tammy Matthews

Monday, June 8, 2015


My answer to trans pride and trans* is trans.shhh.

Short of stealth and easier to maintain for those of us that transition in place, trans.shhh is simply a philosophy in which you live your life like anyone else.  There's no need to talk about being trans, brag about it or be ashamed of it.  Some people inherently know and others you are close to you will tell at some point, but to the average person you meet on the street you wouldn't consider mentioning it.

It's simply a fact of life, like having one kidney.  If you have just one kidney you probably aren't going to go around telling everyone you meet you have one kidney or identify as a "one kidney woman."   There is no "one kidney pride."  You may devote time and effort to assuring that those with one kidney have all the rights and opportunities that anyone else has, but yet you realize it's a condition not an identity.
There is a community where people having only one kidney can meet each other (online or in person), discuss the inherent problems of the condition and perhaps develop friendships that go beyond the bond of having this condition.  There is no "one kidney flag."

The one kidney thing is just an example but this has pretty much been my philosophy since transitioning, and I coined the phrase trans.shhh to describe it.  It's not hiding, shunning people or creating another closet. 

Being trans isn't an identity to me.  I am trans because I identify as a woman and was born in a different body.  It's a part of me but the whole point of transition (at least for me) was to become on the outside what I identified as on the inside, not become the condition.

When someone posts something on my wall about trans issues I have to say shhh as I delete it, although I do post my blog (endless self promotion).   I have to shhh my mom sometimes when she wants to tell everybody my story.   It's not really a secret but it is something I prefer not to announce or talk openly about.   People will find out on a need to know basis.

Trans.shhh isn't based on passing.  If you don't think you pass, don't worry about it. Being trans still isn't something you have to announce to the world.   Women look all kind of ways and come in all shapes and sizes.  Do the best you can and try to blend as much as possible.  The in your face "trans pride" or chip on your shoulder attitude won't get you ahead in the real world.

Trans.shhh is simply my philosophy and I am probably the only one who subscribes to it, but if you see me somewhere please don't intentionally out me or I will have to shhh you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Finish Line

Everything has its time.  Unless its perpetual motion, with any process there is usually a beginning and an end.  You have a goal and you set off on a journey.  Fueled by a desire and a need that burns brighter than the midday sun, you do all the little things (and the big things) necessary to bring you closer to that goal.  The road behind you becomes longer than the road ahead.  Then one day you look up and notice that you are there.  In my transition from male to female, I have reached the Finish Line.

A couple of weeks after arriving home from my surgical adventure to Montreal, I received a letter from Dr. Pierre Brassard certifying that the surgery he performed had changed my anatomical sex from male to female.  The letter also stated that "Any designation on her birth record and all official documents as male are incorrect." 

The question was raised by one of the mother's at the recovery center, "After you have this surgery, are you still transgender?"  Well yes, it's just a medical fact that we will always be this way.  It will always be a part of you but, in my opinion, it doesn't have to be you.  It doesn't have to be as all consuming as it is during transition or as worrisome as it was before transition. 

This is one of the things I am dealing with now, how to transition away from transition?  Does this mean that the journey ends?  Of course not.  Does this mean that the transition has reached an endpoint?  Of course it does.  At least that's the way I look at it.

In my case, I've only been on hormones for three years.  Hormonal changes can take place over 5-10 or more years, so I do have more change to look forward there.  I don't plan on having any more surgeries as part of my transition. 

For me there was only one male to female surgery.  Sure, I may get breast implants at some point even though I don't have to.  If I ever have anything done to my face or body (and I haven't had any work done yet) it will likely be more to stave off the process of aging than for feminization.  Anything else I may have done will be typical of what other middle aged women might get, not as part of a transgender transition.

Some of this is just how you look at it, but perceptions do often change at this point in the journey.  It's a tough mental transition as you ask yourself, "Where do I go from here?" 

The truth is I Never wanted to be transgender.  I fought it as long as I could, then went through the transition.  Now, I'd like to put that label and all that goes with it in a drawer and lock it away in my deepest memories.  Like the haunting images of being in war.  It's just not that easy to lock such a huge part of your heart, soul and experience away.

So, now I have my birth certificate.  In the eyes of the state I am me.  All previous records have been sealed.  Having climbed my own Mt. Everest I guess I've reached that peaceful meadow on the other side.  I made it here quicker than I ever expected, but yet it took forever to get here. 

The morbid pain of the majority of my life flashes across the back side of my brain.  I stand on the wet ground watching the black clouds move away across the plain.  Yet I still hear thunder.  Is it growing closer?  Are more storms on the way?  As the journey continues, we will have to wait and see.

At the end of the rainbow, what I found in the pot of gold was sort of surprising.  It was simply being myself. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Another Crash ?

With all the health challenges I've had this year, I sometimes wonder if I am having a crash like the one I had a decade ago after another milestone birthday.

When I turned 40 I had a psychological and physical breakdown in which I started having panic attacks, terrible headaches and was convinced I had a brain tumor.  As a result of that crash I decided I had to start facing my issues instead of burying them inside.  I made a major leap of self acceptance, stopped my drug use, heavy alcohol abuse and started taking baby steps towards becoming myself (transition).  Soon I was out of the woods and on my way home.  Somewhere along the way I learned to love myself and actually care about the little things in life, like the promise of tomorrow.

This year is much different and not nearly so severe.  Still, there is something frightening about having things go wrong with your physical health, especially strange, unexplained things.  Psychologically, I'm better than I've ever been, so there is no crash there.  I have to believe that psychological strength will pull me through the physical ailments that have befallen me.  I know that I am going to be okay.  I actually want to be okay, and that makes all the difference.

When I break it down, this year's health "scares" are not so frightening after all.  I've dealt with granulation, which is a common and not so severe complication from GRS.  The granulation is finally gone but I still have a lingering feeling of slight pressure in my right labia when I do something like cross my legs tightly.  This was the area tested when I had an ultrasound a couple of months ago.  The surgeon thought I had a swollen gland and that it wasn't serious.  I guess my next step is to see a gynecologist and take the mystery out of it.  It was determined to be benign whatever it is. 

I've also experienced a cold this spring (heavens!) and now this mysterious (to me) Bell's Palsey.  This one is the most terrifying of all because it is a paralysis and it affects my face,  I have been pretty much laying low since I developed this palsy 18 days ago because it looks like something is wrong with me.  I am so fortunate that it is probably not going to be permanent and the paralysis wasn't caused by something like a stroke. 

The worst part about all these events this year is the cumulative effect they have had on my daily outlook.  While I am still generally very positive, I've had moments when my mood has been lowered or I have been irritable.  The absolute worst has been a couple of (fleeting) moments where the thought crept in (for one second) that I was going to die. 

This dark feeling of impending doom was a near constant with me between my teenage years and not that long ago.  In fact, as I have reported here it was only when I started taking hormones that the black feeling of dread left me.  So, I know that the pull of death I felt, romantically at times, was either hormonal or psychological but some of it would revolve around physical elements.  Or at least blowing physical problems out of proportion.  That's the only thing I have to fight this year (just a little bit) putting everything into perspective. 

I realize how lucky I am to have my (generally) good health and I am super blessed to finally have all the pieces falling together so that I can enjoy it.  I now have a sense of what paralysis feels like and I can really sympathize with anyone that has to deal with it on any part of their body.  Its a scary feeling and when it's on your face, something that can make you very self conscious around others.


Update 5-5-2015

I went to see my "regular' doctor this week.  He took me off the prendisone, which I was on for two weeks, and predicted the Bell's Palsy would resolve itself.  In fact, his exact prediction was that it would be 75% gone in a month and completely gone in 2 months.  I don't know if he said that mainly to make me feel better or based that prediction on the typical experience of someone with this disease.  He also mentioned that the latest information on Bell's Palsy has it related to chicken pox, sort of like Shingles in that respect.

I have been able to regain a small amount of control of the affected muscles on the left side of my face.  Not enough to smile yet, but the face doesn't look as "droopy" and I can make small movements there.  I won't go back to the doctor until the first of July, when I'm going back for a full physical. 

This is also the doctor that started me out on hormones back in 2012.  I hadn't seen him a year so I told him about my surgery and getting my birth certificate changes, the last piece of the puzzle.  He had helped me get all my other documents changed by writing the necessary letters and he smiled when I told him I had finished changing everything that could be changed. 

"You are 100% female now," he said.  I'd have to qualify that by saying "as much as I can possibly be."  But yes, it does feel great to finally be the person on the outside that I am on the outside, and be accepted for being myself.  I'm just a little sick right now and will be relieved when I can be a completely healthy woman.  I'm not going to crash this time.  There's way too much to live for now!

The more life challenges me
The higher I will rise to overcome life's challenges.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Seven Months

Seven months ago and one week ago today,I was up early in my room in the Centre Metropolitain de Chirurgie, the hospital owned and run by Dr. Pierre Brassard in Montreal, Quebec, Canada .  I didn't have breakfast that morning as I was patiently (not really nervously) awaiting my surgery later that morning.  I was finally going to my gender reassignment surgery (GRS) that would (physically at least) complete my journey from male to female.

Out of three surgeries that day mine was to be the last.  Another girl named Ava went first and she was to have her trachea shaved as well as GRS.  About 9:30 AM they came for my roommate Samantha and as the nurses walked her upstairs to the operating room I found myself alone for a few minutes.  Soon Mama and Mitchell would arrive to keep me company until my turn to ride up the elevator.

The feelings I was experiencing were similar to those I've had in the morning before going to work at a new job.  Not exactly sure what to expect and just wanting to get it over with.  I never experienced any moments of doubt from the minute I scheduled this surgery, nor any great apprehension.  It was just something that had to be done, something I desperately wanted done, so I was just going to follow fate and let Drs. Brassard and Bellanger take care of business.  My job was easy.  I just had to lay there and take a nap.

The months since seem to have gone by slowly, maybe because I have generally not been as active as I was before surgery.  The first 5.5 months involved some degree of pain and daily bleeding during dilation from the granulation complication I developed, which has now completely cleared up as I reported in my last update.  In the last few weeks I have become more active physically as I try to lose the extra pounds put on during recovery.  Almost everyone gains weight after this surgery and I was lucky mine wasn't too severe.

Now I am hit by this Bell's Paley which is again slowing me down and keeping me close to home.  It's not related to my surgery or my transition and I believe that this too will pass, hopefully soon.  I will tell you something though.  My mindset now that I am post op is better than it has ever been.  I'm experiencing a peace of mind and confidence in life that I really didn't think was possible.  This mental rejuvenation will hopefully help me deal with any setbacks that life throws at me as well as allow me to maximize the experience of the rest of my life. 

I think not enough is said today about the psychological benefits of GRS for many trans people. The dark cloud I felt hovering over me all these years was partially hormonal, as I came to fully understand when I killed the testosterone and added female hormones, but it was largely based on having the wrong genitals.  This phenomenon is not as widely discussed a it used to be but it is the reason that SRS (GRS) was developed and has been such a successful tool in gender transition.  This surgery is rightly credited with saving lives by clearing the mind and aligning the body with the brain.

I believe that transition in general saved my life, but now that I have post op awhile I can see that the surgery is instrumental in creating an inner peace that allows me to feel complete.  It is a sense of relief and joy.  Now I feel totally comfortable with myself, a feeling I'd never experienced before.  Now I can experience life the way it should be, unfortunately only for the last half of it or so.  That's ok because I finally feel normal.


Yes, mentally this surgery is having a huge positive effect on me.  Physically, I am now coming into my own as a woman.  Recovery does take a year or so and I am not all the way there yet, but I feel like my long period is over and this is a relief. 

My schedule has just gone from two dilation a day to one.  Something else I am doing when I am in the mood and have time, is doing much longer dilations.  I may dilate for an hour or so even though the schedule only calls for a total of twenty minutes, 5 with the smaller and 15 with the largest dilator. Yes, I've found ways to make dilating enjoyable now now that the pain is gone.  If I need to because of time restraints, I will stick to the schedule and be done in less than half an hour.  Reaching the point where dilations no longer dominate life's schedule is nice, but it is a still a vital part of recovery.

Without getting too personal, I will say that I am finally getting to the point I can enjoy a normal sex life as a woman for the first time.  I am very fortunate to have a loving partner I can experience this with and I believe having a strong emotional connection makes all the difference in experiencing love and not just sex.

One thing that most people facing this surgery are concerned about is the ability to have orgasms after the operation.  I've alluded to it before, as I experienced my first orgasm 61 days post op, but at this point I have to say that this aspect of my life is much, much better than it has ever been.  I am sort of amazed that I can achieve this sensation so easily, so many times and often so intensely.  I am very satisfied with my ability to be satisfied.

My surgical scars have been problematic, as I do scar easily and redness shows on my fair skin, but they are now starting to fade away.  Dr. Brassard said that it takes a year for scars to fade and the aesthetics to fully express themselves.  I believe with me it will take every bit of that year but right now things are starting to look really good.  I have been told by someone special that my vagina not only looks and feels like the real thing, it is the real thing.

It feels great to be as real as I can be.  It feels great to be myself and I needed that.  That's all anyone can ever ask for isn't it?  Most people take being themselves for granted but for those few of us (trans people being a prime example) who do not feel comfortable within themselves, life is too much of a struggle and unnecessarily difficult. 

Physical and (more importantly?) mental changes from hormones make a huge difference.  Living as yourself and not hiding who you are makes it possible to feel some normalcy and comfort in everyday life, although in many cases it can open up its own can of worms in how others react to you.  Surgery, especially GRS, is a very personal part of the journey and is the icing on the cake for many of us.  I'm glad to be able to share my journey with you appreciate all the love and support I have received along the way.

I just want each and every one of you know that I am pulling for You!  Whatever it is in life that you need to be, know that it is possible.  Allow yourself to believe in yourself and never let go of that belief. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Pharmacy

I suppose that the pharmacy is one area I haven't handled my transition as well as I could have.  Or have I?  All I know is my interactions there, in a pursuit to acquire pharmaceutical hormones, have developed rather organically.

When I first got my prescriptions for hormones (on May 15, 2012) I decided to drop them off at the suburban Walmart pharmacy.  That was the first pharmacy I passed on the way into town from my doctor's office in the Raleigh area.  This is the newer, cleaner, less crowded Walmart and I enjoy shopping there more than the one in the city of Rocky Mount.  I admit that part of the reason I went there was I felt there would be less chance of running into someone I knew.

The best way I can describe myself that day, going to the doctor's office and dropping off my prescriptions, was androgynous.  I didn't think I was ready for prime time yet without the aid of a wig and makeup but I wanted to be real at my new doctor's office.  I did wear casual female clothes, jeans and t shirt, and maybe a little lip gloss and brow liner.  I'd been growing my hair almost 6 months and had my ears pierced already, so this was a look that might make some wonder....

Yes, I was on a high when I got home that evening around dinner time.  I asked my spouse Joan if she wanted to go out to dinner with me at a little Mexican place we enjoyed frequenting in Nashville.  We weren't getting along well then but she said sure, so I thought I would try a little something different with my presentation.

I'd never been out with her presenting fully female (she had wanted no part of it) but that night I thought I'd push the envelope a bit.  I changed into a little nicer clothes, fluffed my hair up for as feminine look as possible, put on some bigger earrings, a bra, a little more makeup and off we went. 

She didn't balk at my look, which I viewed as progress of sorts.  I was nervous being out like that for a couple of reasons.  First, it wasn't my best look at that time by any means.  I could be more "passable" if I spent more time with makeup and wore a wig.  I could also be recognized more easily by people who could know me or my parents, and this is a look that people who didn't know I was transitioning just wouldn't understand.  Though I was 80% out of it by then, I was still an active local real estate agent at that time.

I wasn't transitioning to hide, not anymore, so off we went.  The suburban Nashville Walmart is where I had dropped off my prescriptions and the Mexican restaurant is maybe a mile away.  I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions before we went to dinner.  I don't recall Joan going in with me.

When we got to the restaurant I wondered if anyone who worked there would recognize me as we had been there a few times before.  On the way in a man held the door for both Joan and I.  She looked at me a little differently over that dinner, I guess for good reason, and I could feel our relationship slipping yet farther away from (quasi) marriage and more towards one of pure friendship. 

I enjoyed that dinner and remember it well.  We were both in good moods and we had good conversation.  I seem to remember going to the ladies room and thinking that was a bold but liberating move.

When we got home I took my first hormones and the medical stage of my transition was off and running.  Joan knew everything at that point but was nonchalant about the hormones.  I think she feared what they would do and knew they were just another nail in the coffin of our marriage, but she didn't pay much attention to it.  When I had very emotional bouts over the next few weeks she would sort of walk away from me, not offering comfort. 


The first prescriptions I got were in my original legal name.  I suppose this made it much easier at the pharmacy because this was what was on my driver's license and insurance card.  So I picked up estrogen and spironolcatone prescriptions under the name Thomas Matthews. 

The next time I saw my doctor and got refills he asked me what name to use.  I must have said Tammy because that's what was on the prescriptions.  I never really explained that to the pharmacist or the customer service reps.  I looked more like Tammy by then (without the help of wig and makeup), a couple months after picking up my initial prescriptions, and the refills started coming back with the name Tammy Thomas Matthews on them.  I would ask for prescriptions for Tammy Matthews and the clerks addressed me as Tammy.

Over the seven months between the time I began hormones and went full time I probably went to the pharmacy in various stages of presentation, but never in a fully "male mode."  I do remember a few times I was due for electrolysis and had to go in with a couple of days of hair growth, during the stage when that was a problem. 

So there were some pretty awkward moments at the pharmacy along the way.  Actually I never experienced awkwardness from anyone else, just in the way that I felt.  When I went full time and began to present fully as myself every minute of every day, life became much less awkward.

There is an in between stage during transition, if we don't mask it.  I guess I felt it first at the pharmacy first because of my name incongruity as well as the fact that I was listed as male and picking up female hormones.   When I got my name legally changed and insurance cards changed I felt more at ease at the pharmacy, but no one there ever treated me in a way to make me feel uneasy. 

What got me thinking about this was being at the pharmacy this week and seeing one of the same clerks I've dealt with since I started.  She's always extremely nice but I feel that she's privy to a little secret the people in line behind me do not know.  She gives me a little smile.  I guess it's our little secret.

In the first paragraph here I alluded to the fact that perhaps I haven't handled my transition at the pharmacy as well as I should have.  What I am thinking is that perhaps I should change to a new pharmacy where they don't know my history and sort of start over.  I'm considering that but I believe I have gotten medication from all the drug stores here in the area at one time or another.  Because my social security number hasn't changed I think that would cause me to have to a name change at those other pharmacies.  So we are back to square one.


We change a lot during transition.  We evolve in our presentation, name changes at some point, the medications cause noticeable changes.  Some have surgeries that cause an abrupt, sometimes dramatic change.  I have wondered if pharmacists look for any of that and put two and two together knowing the effects of the meds they fill and the situation that causes us to have the prescriptions.

I've heard some of my friends describe being asked by pharmacists why they are taking estrogen.  Some will go in presenting female one month and male the next month.  It can be an interesting dynamic.  I'd love for you to share your own experiences with going to the pharmacy during transition in the comments section below.  People starting out do benefit from hearing my experiences and your experiences.  Some of them can be a little disconcerting and some can be comical.

Once again, thanks for reading my blog and thanks for sharing.  Please don't forget to take your medications.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Being Bruce Isn't Easy

"Being Bruce isn't easy."

In Bruce Jenner's highly promoted interview with Dianne Sawyer, he revealed to the world what was hardly a secret anymore.  Amid the buzz of years of rumors reaching a crescendo with the recent 2 hour prime time special, Bruce has revealed the secret that has tormented him since childhood.  Indeed it has tormented her for so long, as Bruce revealed he is a woman.

Once known as "The World's Greatest Athlete" for his overpowering gold medal performance in the rigorous decathlon event of Montreal's 1976 Olympics, Bruce Jenner is in the spotlight once again and coming back with a message.  If the World's Greatest Athlete can be transgender, anyone can be transgender.  If Bruce Jenner can be the nation's hero in 1976, he can have the respect and acceptance of the world in 2015. 

"Being Bruce isn't easy,"  he says.  I can relate to those words all too well.  Bruce is saying it's been extremely difficult to be this person that he has had to be all these years.  Now he can't take it anymore and he has to be himself.  Bruce says that he has the soul of a woman.  That she is part of him and he just can't hold her back anymore.

I am one of the people that remembers Bruce in the Olympics, winning the nation's heart along with the gold.  But after that he became obscure to most of us until he reemerged in the reality television show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," with his role as Kris Jenner's husband.  This is a role that I have observed him in over the last few years, as a fan of the show.

As Bruce revealed in the interview, he had the real story inside him all this time.  While the show launched the celebrity careers of Kim, her sisters and the rest of the Kardashians, Bruce slid into the mundane role of an everyday parent.  Driving the kids around, giving fatherly advice and often being made to look a little foolish or taken for granted, Bruce usually comes across as the straight guy in a show that mixes "real life" comedy and drama.

Indeed, Bruce has been playing a role all of his life.  "Being Bruce isn't easy."  Now that he has come out as transgender woman, at age 65, Bruce will finally get to be himself.  Yes, herself is the correct terminology, but in this interview Bruce preferred to use the name he was born with and the male pronouns that go with it.  Soon, she will reemerge for all the world to see.

This was Bruce's last hoorah, his big goodbye.  The first episode of this year's "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" also came across across as a goodbye to viewers.  That episode featured Bruce leaving the family home in Old Town Calabasas (west of Bevelry Hills), moving to an oceanfront cottage in Malibu and setting up life on his own.  Memories from 23 years with the Kardashians, scenes with the children (including his children from two previous marriages) and his evolving relationship with Kris were shown.  Bruce was moving on and tears were shed.

Now we are poised for a new reality show that will presumably deal with Bruce's transition from male to female.  He states that he doesn't feel he is trapped in a woman's body but does indeed have a woman's soul.  Trans people are not all the same but we do share the same core feelings and experiences, although we may express them differently in words or how we live our lives.  I believe all transgender people can relate to at least parts of his story.  Hopefully Jenner's celebrity status and new role in the spotlight will allow others to relate to it as well.

Many are criticizing Bruce for using his status to be so vocal about coming out.  He is privileged, he is wealthy and he is a celebrity so how can he possibly relate to the struggles so many trans people face?  He doesn't have to worry about finding a job, housing, the acceptance of his family or paying for a transition that can often be very expensive, they complain. 

Such is life.  Some people struggle with the basics while others do not.  Having the full acceptance of a large number of family members is unusual as well, both for transgender children and parents.  All of his 10 children accept his transition and embrace her, as Bruce describes "his female side."  His celebrity status will hopefully bring more awareness and acceptance to this often obscure and troubled community. 

This should bring more attention to all of our struggles as well.  For all the glory, fame and fortune that the world knows him for, it is certain that Bruce has led a life of inner pain.  I have to believe that by this major revelation, being able to live life as herself out in the open and this transition will allow Bruce to find happiness and peace. 

Indeed, one can see the peace now in Bruce's eyes.  Some of it I am sure is the hormones, as they bring a calm to the brain of a transgender person.  The interview highlighted the recently confirmed fact that gender is indeed located in the brain.  Having the wrong sex hormones coursing through the brain can cause conflict, confusion and utter torment.  Almost all of us have felt this pain and its obvious Bruce has as well.  "Being Bruce isn't easy."

During the Interview a child psychologist spoke to the fact that if treatment or intervention is not present in a trans person's life by the teen years to at latest the mid 20's there is usually a crisis developing that can become catastrophic.  Many will commit suicide, turn to drugs, heavy alcohol or other self destructive behavior.  At best, a life of miserable hiding (sometimes from oneself as well as others) enfolds whether one lives in isolation or buries themselves in the obligations of family, work etc.

The psychologist also spoke to the fact that some transgender people can turn that inner struggle to outer success by pushing themselves to greatness in some area.  This is something that has always fascinated me about many of my trans brothers and sisters and Bruce is a shining example of this phenomenon.  Not only did he embrace pursuits characteristic of the most macho male, (which is common as many trans women enter the military or male dominated careers) he excelled at the highest level in one of the most demanding sports known to man.

Not as well known as professional sports, Olympic sports often provide the highest test of the skilled athlete.  The decathlon consists of 10 track and field events and is a grueling competition of the most highly trained athletes.  It also involves multitasking.  Bruce crushed his competitors and took a victory lap after the last event while the other athletes writhed on the ground in pain.  On the podium, accepting his prestigious award, Bruce celebrated with an empty anguish behind his eyes.

The struggle, the torment, focused inner pain into outer victory.  "Being Bruce isn't easy."  Now a smile meekly comes across his face as Bruce somewhat timidly explains his journey to the national television audience.  In that smile comes a relief.  Not only to be rid of this secret and experience this incredible journey but to be put in the position to share it with the world. 

How will his journey unfold?  What will his name for her be?  There has already been hormone treatment and facial surgery, but what other steps will Bruce take in transition?  He mentions Khloe Kardashian (not his biological daughter) as the only one of his children to express any real misgivings about this change, but she is also the one that told him if he is going to live the life of a woman, to be a woman, he needs to "have a vajayjay" as she puts it. 

He speaks of wanting to quietly have SRS, or gender reassignment surgery.   Having this surgery will likely make his transition more socially acceptable and hopefully will bring him another level of inner peace that simply living as herself may not.  Indeed, for many of us this surgical step brings a tremendous sense of relief and a feeling of completion not possible without it.

Like so many other trans people, Bruce still struggles with sexuality and sexual preference even while finally admitting and embracing his gender identity.  He says that for now he is asexual and is only attracted to females.  No matter, he has to follow his heart on matters of the heart as well as all other aspects of this transition, as this is a very personal and individualized process.  The only difference is in this case it is going to be a very public transition, one that will come with own reality show.

We all hope it will be tastefully done.  I hope the world, especially those not informed or in touch with transgender issues, is watching.  Stay tuned!

Once again, I am pulling for Bruce Jenner.

This is a link to The interview with Bruce Jenner