Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Coming out. Again. And again. And again.

The weird thing is this: When I came out to my parents as an impossibly young 20-something I naively thought they'd have realized it. I thought they'd have guessed. And I knew it would be a big deal but I didn't know how big it would be. In addition, I never said, Oh, I'm gay or I'm a lesbian or bisexual or any words like that. I said, "I have a girlfriend." Which was true. I did. Let's just say I didn't do it well and it didn't come out. Now, I face coming out to them all over again. And guess what? I'm embarrassed to admit it. I am. But I'm scared. Scared in a little kid being rejected kind of way. But I'm not a little kid. I'm an adult. And I'm not embarrassed. I'm not ashamed. At least I tell myself this. I don't want to go into all the details in this blog, but I will say I've imagined every possible outcome. It helps me to deal with outcomes by anticipating them.

So here are some answers. No, I'm not transitioning, myself. No, it does not mean I'm straight. Yes, I still love R. Yes, I realize that the whole changing names thing is difficult. Yes, it's hard on me. And no, it doesn't mean anything will change. Well, everything will change. But this is the thing that I have to continually remind myself: R is no different. He has always been a man. He's just been a man trapped in a woman's body. If there's one thing I'm learning most during this transition, it's that he is a he. No doubt. And he has never had a moment of doubt that he's doing the right thing by making his body match his insides. That actually makes me feel good. Because I don't think I could handle it if he had doubts too. I've thought of not coming out. I mean, why do they have to know? If family circumstances were different -- if we didn't see each other very much, if I didn't have a large family and most of all, if I didn't care, I'd not say anything. But I care. I care so much. I care to the bottom of my core. I love them and I want to be close. And I pray (even though I don't pray), I pray that this does not harm our relationship. We need each other.

Photo by courtesy of hagit, http://www.flickr.com/photos/52886895@N00/ via Flickr

Friday, January 25, 2013


Photo courtesy of vanderwal on Flickr
So you try it. Try to get through a whole day without using a personal pronoun for the person you love. You think it's easy, right? I mean, who hard can it be to say, this person over here will have the Caesar for dinner. R has suggested this. While he's still not passing, we're in this never/never land, this in-between state. He's a he, but he's still presenting as a she. I'm getting to be OK with this. And I think he's OK because in his head, he's already a man. Has always been a man, (that's the point, right?) but his body is changing to match what's in his head. So it makes sense for him to want me to call him a he. And yet, it's awkward. Right? It's confusing in my brain. Because inside my little head, he is kind of still a she, even though he's never really been a she. See? If I complete that sentence any more, it will be as twisty as my thoughts. But the hard part is some people still know him as a she and some people still perceive him as a she. So if I say he, I get a funny look or a look of flat out confusion. And I get a dirty look from R. So do I really want to explain to the flight attendant that oh, he's transitioning? No. Do I need to? No. Do I feel compelled? Kind of. Kind of . Do I care? No. I don't care. I only care what R thinks. It's just confusing. Sometimes, even I find myself referring to a friend and inside my brain, the thought zips through: is that a girl or a boy? Gender. Gender. Gender.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Climb on a back that's strong

His back. When I wrap my arms around him, he's more substantial, harder, firmer. That's the first change I noticed. It was subtle and yet it wasn't. Just two weeks ago, I think. I digested the change with my hands, my arms, my body: this feels good. I liked the warmth of it, the solidity, like his new muscles and cells were filling a space that had been waiting for them. Like his body was beginning to assume its rightful place. Then my head came and as usual... Well, you know my head. It rushes into thoughts: boom, boom, boom. Flips through them. Oh my god. Shit. Holy Shit. Wait. This is really fucking happening? My girlfriend is really becoming a man? Holy crap. I mean, this is no longer simply an intellectual exercise of expectations and hypotheticals. This is suddenly concrete. Next up: hair, voice. Evidence of gender. Evidence of maleness. And then, I quiet my mind and I see that in R, masculinity seems to be discovering its rightful place, nestling in and planting its flag. It belongs. Every day I see more changes. Now he wears it on his face. I can't quite tell what it is, a broadening of features maybe. It's probably his forehead widening. He is changing before my eyes. It scares me. And there's something else, a start of what might pass for acceptance? Right now, with him laying beside me, gently breathing, ruffling through his magazine and quieting for a night of sleep, he seems calm. More peaceful than I've ever known him. Maybe it won't last (what moment ever lasts?) but in this one still moment I can imagine a different road ahead. Not so much a smooth one, as one that says, take me. Take me. I am what is right.

Photo by Fonzie's cousin courtesy of Flickr

Friday, January 18, 2013

A moment of panic

Just got back from seeing R's surgeon. I feel numb. just numb.. I know S said that I shouldn't be processing this stuff with R. It's too much. It's not fair to him, to process the negative. Which is why I don't want to post everything. Which is why I waited to post this. (I wrote it a few days ago but now I'm posting because it feels more important to me to be completely honest with my process. Not sure why that's true. But it feels that way.)

So his process is making me constantly reassess everything.. .Like how together are we? Who is he? Who is this person I'm with? One of the very basic things about being in relationship is being with a boy or being with a girl. And this very basic thing is changing. And it's hard. It's fucking hard. I so want to be that kind, understanding person who smoothly accepts every step, who is gracious and understanding and enlightened. But I just feel fragile and faulty, like a broken machine that can't be fixed. Last night I was watching Jodie Foster and thought, wow, would she stay with her partner if her female partner became a guy? Would I?

The more real this gets, well, the more real it gets. It's all so strange. It's surreal. It's like they're taking the person I know and changing her into something and someone else. Today in the waiting room I thought for the first time, maybe this won't happen. Maybe I won't just stick by him. Maybe I'm just not a big enough person. And then I wondered, when he emerges, who will he be? Who will I be? I know we're more than our gender. But in our world, our culture, it so defines who we are.

Photo by by nickwheeleroz via Flickr