Building My Ordinary World
Kind of a short blog post this week, I am quite sleep deprived. I hope that I can make it up with a mid-week post when my sleep is back to normal. I spent a great Saturday Night though Sunday afternoon with my biological family! However, that is not what I want to talk about today. OH! I wish a happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to you all! Let’s all celebrate how far we have come not only how far we have come, but also remember how far we have yet to go. In regards to fighting the rights of so very many people.
I had dinner with my mom last night. She kept saying something to me; it is almost as if she thought I did not believe it and she had to drill it into my head. “You are a strong person. I could never do what you are doing.” I know I am a strong person. However, you are too. This challenge is work I have to do. I would think if you were in my position, you would too.
I think that knowing what I know about being transgender knowing what I know about humans, knowing what I know about the difficulties involved. I reacted and acted in a way that is no stronger or weaker than any human with my condition would have reacted. However, just by the nature of having this condition you BECOME a strong person over time. We discussed that she could not possibly imagine what it would feel like to be uncomfortable with your birth assigned gender. In addition, I realized, I do not know what it is like to be comfortable with your physical gender. My body has always been something I have looked at with disgust and contempt. Sitting there last night, I had 99% come to the decision I needed to come to. However, now, after realizing what I have realized, there is no doubt. Hormones are the next step. There are no more questions that I feel need answered, there are no more doubts.
What has the removal of doubts let me do? Find a goal! What is the new goal? My goal, in the end, is not to be a woman. My goal is not to be comfortable with myself. My goal is not to be some kind of champion of transgender rights. My goal is not to tell my story. My goal is not grow breasts or wear woman’s clothing. Although I feel like those things will be stepping-stones, my goal is to be ordinary. I want an ordinary life. I want an ordinary marriage. I want an ordinary family. The only qualifying word I want in my life is “ordinary.” I do not want to be a gay man; I want to be an ordinary woman. The path forward has opened. This does not mean I do not want to be interesting. Ordinary people are interesting. This does not mean I do not want to talk about being transgender. This does not mean I am going to try to hide anything… In fact, it is much the opposite. I want to be one of the many ordinary people that do extraordinary acts.
I used to think my life was ordinary. I thought it was ordinary to be constantly wondering if you fit in with society. I thought it used to be ordinary to want to cause myself physical pain because I hated my body. I thought it was ordinary to filter everything I said and did, and even thought, thought he prism of “will the people around me find this as an acceptable action, statement, or thought?” This filter is what reparative therapy attempts to implement. I can’t be ordinary, I can’t speak my mind, I can’t live my life until I break the filter down. It is falling apart into pieces around me, but there is still some left. Until the filter is fully gone, I am not sure what an ordinary life means to me. I know what being ordinary means to everyone around me, that is more or less, what I have been trying to achieve for 28 years of my life. My 29th year was one of discovery. My 30th orbit around the sun is now one of change.
The first major change inside me is that self-esteem and self confidence are starting to build. I am starting to believe that “I am a strong person.” Two years ago, if you had said to me that I was a strong, good, happy, good looking, cute, capable, resourceful, smart, loving, sexy (added by request of my husband,) caring, tender, supporting, or logical person I would have blown you off. I would not have believed you. I would have said something like “oh, thanks” and not actually accepted the complement into my heart. That is slowly starting to change. I am starting, finally, to attach some of those words to myself. I am starting to finally accept compliments and just be happy about it. I think it is relatively normal to be able to believe that you are a good person. I would think most ordinary people think that they are a good person. I sure did not. In this day, I am a little more ordinary. I used to think that it was ordinary not consider yourself a good person. Coming out, realizing that I was a person living in, doubt, fear, and crisis corrected that error in thinking. As my self-esteem and self-confidence builds, I am a little more ordinary.
However, good also, brings bad. As I start thinking of myself more confidently. As I start attaching these positive adjectives to myself, I am also becoming much more sensitive to criticism. Being open, being true to yourself, being unfiltered also makes you vulnerable. When you say something you believe, instead of something you think someone else around you believes, and it people around you criticize it. It hurts. It hurts pretty deeply. It is a feeling I have not felt for many years. As I regain emotions and feelings. As I build confidence, unfiltered thoughts come out and people “attack” them. I know attacking is not the intent, but it sure feels like it sometimes. When I was younger, I dealt with bullying by refusing to internalize their comments. The strategy was just to ignore all criticisms. That was easier than telling the difference between positive criticism and just plain bullying. I created a system where my actual opinions and believes were NEVER being judged. That caused me to begin to be waver in those opinions, and therefore myself. I broke myself down, to keep myself safe. That is not ordinary.
That situation where I am just starting to think of myself positively and I am sensitive again to criticism has put me in a very awkward position. I am going to have some very bad ideas about things over the next couple of months, know that they are ideas/experiments. I may have my hair brushed a certain way, and it looks like crap. Please do not attack it for a day. It will change. I will notice. I am going back to where I was stuck emotionally for so many years… 6th grade. My development, in many ways, was stuck there, frozen right as puberty was beginning. That is when I started to shut down. Now that my emotions are starting back up and I am becoming vulnerable and open again… I am a sixth grader again. However, the important part is this: in other ways, I am past sixth grade. I have a husband to support me. I have friends that are older and more mature; I have family that can see me as an independent person and not feel the needs to protect me as much. This will help me grow much faster than a normal sixth grader. I will experiment and try certain things I missed, just as a normal sixth grader would. Some days, they are going to be bad choices, sometimes they are going to be good. Please, complement the good. Please, do not attack the bad (unless it becomes recurrent) then I clearly do not get it. I am going to be very vulnerable for the next couple of months. However, that is ordinary for a sixth grader.
My life will be more ordinary. I am starting to find things that I thought were ordinary that are not. Looking jealously across a school dance at the girls in their pretty dresses and wanting to wear one… That is not quite ordinary for a teenage boy. I saw that is nothing but the world taunting me. However, I thought that was normal. I cannot change my inner feelings. I cannot change my heart. I cannot change the way I think. I can change my body. I can change how society looks at me. For years, I tried to modify and change who I was inside to meet the needs of society’s definition of what I should be; that was not ordinary. I tried to filter everything I said and did to become a person that society accepted as ordinary. I tried to blend into the background and hide. That did not work. That caused me great mental and emotional distress. That was not ordinary.
A sixth grader growing up to find out who they are; that is ordinary. Therefore, my growth begins from one of the worst years of my life. I have decided that if all go well medically I will begin puberty again. However, it will be the right one this time. The next step in transition is to begin blocking the testosterone in my body and building in estrogen. Let Hormone Replacement Therapy Begin!
At one point, I thought I had an ordinary world around me. Then, it collapsed around me. It collapsed when I realized it was not my ordinary world. It was someone weird, someone I did not know, someone that I had created to avoid getting hurt. I had survived though avoidance. Those feelings piled up, into a giant mass… Then it all fell down. I had built a mountain of avoidance and hiding. My mind decided that was it. It was going to stop hiding it decided it was going to stop avoiding. It was going to teach me how to survive in a healthy way. Thus, this process started. I am strong but this is work that needs I need to do. I had no choice. I cannot be healthy any other way. I can have my ordinary world.
I’m finding something interesting… A link between my story, and a story type common in fiction. I see myself right now facing early tests, collecting allies and… thank god not finding any enemies.
I will be happy. I will be strong. I will be pretty. I will be self-confident. I will finally have self-esteem. I will be the person I want to be! It is not all going to be sunshine and roses though. It will be tough. I will get hurt. I will cry. I will be sad. I will be emotional… That is an ordinary person. I want to be a person I can believe in. I want to be true to myself. I want to be a person that I can love. I will build around me the ordinary world I always wanted.
Here is a song by Duran Duran that I absolutely love. I thought I had already accomplished the goals outlined in the song, but I was wrong. This time: I will do it for real.