Author Topic: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl  (Read 6650 times)

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Offline KathyLauren

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #200 on: May 20, 2018, 06:25:34 am »
I am so happy to hear about your great Mother's Day weekend!  It is so nice that you have reconnected positively with family.
2015-07-04 Awakening; 2015-11-15 Out to self; 2016-06-22 Out to wife; 2016-10-27 First time presenting in public; 2017-01-20 Started HRT!!; 2017-04-20 Out publicly, beginning full-time; 2017-07-10 Legal name change

Offline Steph2.0

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #201 on: May 20, 2018, 06:59:08 am »
Back around last Thanksgiving when there were worries that Cassie might not be accepted into her own family, we made the decision that she was going to be part of mine. She became a loved member, and shared holiday meals and other events with her new family.

And now she has two families! Fortunes change. Fears are unfounded. What a lucky girl she is!


 - Stephanie


Assigned male at birth 1958 * Began envying sister 1963 * Knew unquestioningly that I was female 1968 * Acted the male part for 50 years * Meltdown and first therapist session May 2017 * Began HRT 6/21/17 * Out to the world 10/13/17 * Name Change 12/11/2017 * GCS Consultation at Mt. Sinai 3/16/2018

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #202 on: May 22, 2018, 06:09:45 am »
Back around last Thanksgiving when there were worries that Cassie might not be accepted into her own family, we made the decision that she was going to be part of mine. She became a loved member, and shared holiday meals and other events with her new family.

And now she has two families! Fortunes change. Fears are unfounded. What a lucky girl she is!

Having been of a rather fatalistic mindset for most of my life, at the start of this journey, I was bracing myself for losing pretty much everything but my cats. What loss there has been seems to be more of a blessing in disguise, but I was willing to risk everything for a chance to have the happy life I was meant to have. Never could I have imagined that I'd get my family back but also be invited into another loving, accepting family.

There go those happy tears again.

Offline Steph2.0

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #203 on: May 22, 2018, 06:47:04 am »
Having been of a rather fatalistic mindset for most of my life, at the start of this journey, I was bracing myself for losing pretty much everything but my cats. What loss there has been seems to be more of a blessing in disguise, but I was willing to risk everything for a chance to have the happy life I was meant to have.

Ah. The “Plan for the worst, hope for the best” mentality. No matter how well things are going, after living it as a basic tenet of my life for fifty years, I still have a hard time thinking in any other terms.

But, “I have to admit it’s getting better, a little better every day...”

Quote
Never could I have imagined that I'd get my family back but also be invited into another loving, accepting family.

There go those happy tears again.

If we ever get everyone in one place, that’s gonna be one big group hug, and all centered on you. Time to switch to the “Plan for the best” mentality.


 - Stephanie


Assigned male at birth 1958 * Began envying sister 1963 * Knew unquestioningly that I was female 1968 * Acted the male part for 50 years * Meltdown and first therapist session May 2017 * Began HRT 6/21/17 * Out to the world 10/13/17 * Name Change 12/11/2017 * GCS Consultation at Mt. Sinai 3/16/2018

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #204 on: May 22, 2018, 09:20:48 am »
Ah. The “Plan for the worst, hope for the best” mentality. No matter how well things are going, after living it as a basic tenet of my life for fifty years, I still have a hard time thinking in any other terms.

But, “I have to admit it’s getting better, a little better every day...”

If we ever get everyone in one place, that’s gonna be one big group hug, and all centered on you. Time to switch to the “Plan for the best” mentality.

Oh, the attitude I had for a lot of years was more like, "Expect the worst. That way I'll never be disappointed." Over all those years, I had held this strange belief that the favorite pastime of the universe was to screw with me. Even with the slightest little things like trying to cash a check at the bank (back when people still did that). If the teller had to go and talk to someone else, it automatically meant, "Well, I'm not getting any money today."

I'm realizing just how awful it was, living that way. That's how I viewed the world back then. This seemingly endless avalanche of hardship of one form or another and for some reason, other people were so much better at dealing with it than me. Living that way gave rise to lots of suicidal thoughts, only the most dramatic of which I've shared so far.

Another of those moments that I'm really not proud of but it did happen was one night back when I was 19 or 20. I was driving my dad's car and my mom was with me. She was berating me over some...I don't know, thing I either did or didn't do - I can't remember. It was probably something trivial but I was very sensitive, for reasons that have only recently become apparent. At one point, I snapped. I stomped on the gas and passed the 3 cars that were in front of us. Still rapidly accelerating, I looked over at her and said, "If you don't shut up right now, I'll kill us both!"

That had been simmering for a while and certainly wouldn't be the last outburst but probably was the most terrifying for her. Only now can I appreciate that and is one of the many reasons I told her just how sorry I was, given the way I treated her over those years. I'm disturbed by just thinking about that night.

I have to apologize for taking this thread around a corner into a rather dark place but this is just where my memory went at this particular moment. It's good to let some of this stuff out from time to time. Especially so since, after all those years, there's a lot of healing yet to be done.

Please don't take this as a reflection of my general mood today - actually, it's been a really good morning so far. I got up this morning, earlier than I planned, but went with it anyway. I did a little yoga, had some coffee and a healthy breakfast, chatted online for a bit, and got myself looking reasonably fabulous for work today.

I agree with you Steph, we should try to get everyone together for a big group hug but not centered on me. We all deserve a huge hug for everything we've been through in our individual lives and how much we've held each other up in the times when one of us stumbles or falls down (or lands on top of a refrigerator - I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one).

Going forward into our individual brave new worlds, we'll need all the love and support we can get and I, for one, am finally able to not only accept that fact, but welcome it.

Hugs to all of you!

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #205 on: June 01, 2018, 02:16:52 pm »
A strangely validated feeling.

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday - nothing transition-related. This was for thyroid issues. I hadn't seen this particular doctor before, so there was the usual questionnaire to run through.

Unlike my primary doctor, for whom I am the first trans patient, this one at least was familiar with the concept. When he reached the sections asking "When was your last period/Have you been pregnant before", he filled in with "Patient is transgender".

Awesome, right?

Apparently, on some of the other data fields, there was a dropdown box with various gender options. Among the common ones, there were a couple for trans - MTF or FTM. The odd thing was when he got to that point and looked over at me, he wasn't sure which to choose. He asked, "Male-to-female or....?"

I suppose I should feel validated, in a strange roundabout way.

Unfortunately, since I haven't had my name legally changed, my original name is all over the official records though, they have "Cassandra" as my preferred name and the gender is listed as Female, so there's that.

Still, it was a bit...I don't know if surreal is the best term for how I felt at that moment, but it's the best one I can dredge up right now.




Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #206 on: June 08, 2018, 10:45:16 pm »
Medical Miss-Adventures

In the seemingly never-ending parade of doctor visits, on my way to work this morning, I had to drop off a CD of ultrasound imagery for analysis. As per usual, my original name is all over, well, everything. Half-jokingly and half-not, I told Steph that I was going to dress especially for that occasion. I was going to make sure that they understand just what the "F" on my driver's license stands for: Fierce, Feisty, Fabulous Female.

Upon stepping through the doors to the imaging company, I had to resist the urge to just stare slack-jawed at the sheer number of people packed into the waiting area. As I got up to the reception desk and was asked for my name, I said "<DEADNAME>. I'm here to drop off my ultrasound CD"
She looked at the name printed on the CD, looked at me and asked, "This is yours?"

"Yes," I replied, trying to conceal the mild exasperation in my voice at having to go through this yet again.

A puzzled look crossed her face as she queried, "Is there a story behind that?"

Being somewhat late for work and unable to come up with an amusing rejoinder, I ripped the curtain away from my aforementioned exasperation and stated flatly, "The Lake County court system is dragging their feet in getting this fixed. If you have a field where you can note a 'preferred name', I'd rather be called 'Cassandra'"

Apparently sensing my frustration, she said "Cassandra. Okay. The only place I can put that down is in the 'Notes' field but I'll make sure they understand. Also," she paused momentarily while looking at her computer screen, "it looks like at least your gender is marked as 'Female'."

I thanked her, wished her a good day, and walked to the door, noting the sidelong glances I seemed to be getting from the other (mostly older) women in the reception/waiting area. Minutes later, I was back at the helm of The Marauder and heading off to work.

There's really no lesson or great revelation here but it's a nice little affirmation that people are believing more of what their eyes and ears tell them, rather than some bothersome official paperwork.

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #207 on: June 08, 2018, 11:06:16 pm »
From Millstone to Milestone

I've got great news!

Today was a happy Friday indeed! After my little errand this morning, I got in to work and saw that there was a new message on my Gmail account. It was from my attorney and contained two PDF documents and only two words in the body of the message:

"Congratulations Cassandra."

"Wait, what? What does that mean? Did I finally get my court date?"

I opened first one PDF and then the other to see if one might offer an explanation. 

At the bottom of the second one, I spied this paragraph:

My breath caught in short gasps as I fell back into my desk chair, one hand half-covering my mouth. Try as I might, I couldn't form a complete thought, let alone a complete sentence. For nearly half a minute, I sat there trying to get my breathing under control as a flood of emotions washed over me and the tears started.

The day finally came! I hadn't gotten my court date. They skipped over that part and went straight to the signed court order!

As of yesterday when that paper was signed, I am officially Cassandra Elizabeth Bradley.

After all this time! All the wondering, the worrying, and the fear that I had somehow gotten something wrong and they just weren't telling me about it. At one point, I had wondered if someone hadn't taken some kind of offense at the prospect of someone giving up such an unmistakably masculine name and all that goes along with it. The immeasurable joy that filled my heart at that moment is one I'll never forget. This millstone of a name I've been dragging around with me everywhere I went, is no more.

Needless to say, after a moment or two to recover, I shut my office door and rung up Steph to give her the good news. We both had a tearful moment during that call, with mutual promises to celebrate this Saturday when we get together.

I'm home now and exhausted both emotionally and physically but what a day it's been! Though the milestones have been slower in coming to me, they seem to be getting bigger. Today's milestone was huge!

Offline Steph2.0

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Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #208 on: June 09, 2018, 12:22:33 am »
And now I can finally unleash what’s been building up inside me all day.

Ahem...

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Stephanie
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 11:40:34 pm by Steph2.0 »


Assigned male at birth 1958 * Began envying sister 1963 * Knew unquestioningly that I was female 1968 * Acted the male part for 50 years * Meltdown and first therapist session May 2017 * Began HRT 6/21/17 * Out to the world 10/13/17 * Name Change 12/11/2017 * GCS Consultation at Mt. Sinai 3/16/2018

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #209 on: June 09, 2018, 07:58:14 am »
A cry of pain or a cheap shot?

On the exact day that the judge signed my order making my name change official in the eyes of the State, my wife had posted this to her Instagram feed. Yesterday, not long after I received the email from my attorney with a PDF copy of the official order, I looked at pending new stuff in Instagram and saw this.

I'm not sure just how to take this, to be honest. I do feel a little bit hurt by it and my first reaction was to post a reply with the important line from the court order which I posted previously. She did not and still does not know that I've gotten my court order yet. As someone I once regarded as my best friend, she would have been at the top of my list to share such happy news. As it stands now, especially after seeing her post, I'm still hesitant to post anything about it where she can see.

I've shared the news with most of my friends already and the stark realization that she's no longer on that list...well, it hurts a bit. After so many years of being so closely linked to someone, both emotionally and in life in general, it's not an easy thing to separate without pain. Though, instead of a slow, methodical cutting of ties, this was more of a sharp yank, creating a jagged tear in the fabric of life.
 

Posted the exact day of my name change

I don't know if that's exactly how she meant this or if she even thought of it this way when she posted it, but what's done is done. I could be spiteful about it and give a salty reply but I've said this over and over again: I'm trying to be a better person...no, I am a better person and I'm better than that.

Offline Anne Blake

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #210 on: June 09, 2018, 09:22:11 am »
Hi Cassandra,

Congratulations on the new (the only name that I have known you by) name! I am surprised that you didn't fall out of your chair completely when you opened that email. Now on to getting the papers changed, ssi, drivers license, passport.... Just wait until you are holding or using your new documents. Congratulations again!

Tia Anne

Offline davina61

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #211 on: June 09, 2018, 02:44:29 pm »
 Great isn't it, just got my bank card at last, not much left for me to change but had a letter from Docs saying they needed a letter from me saying I wanted my name changed , but it was me that asked them!!!!!!WTF . Anyway well done with name change
a long time coming (out) HRT 12 2017


Offline Jayne01

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #212 on: June 09, 2018, 05:35:11 pm »
Congratulations on your name change becoming official. What a great milestone for you to celebrate.

Jayne



Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #213 on: June 09, 2018, 11:33:58 pm »
Congratulations on the new (the only name that I have known you by) name! I am surprised that you didn't fall out of your chair completely when you opened that email. Now on to getting the papers changed, ssi, drivers license, passport.... Just wait until you are holding or using your new documents. Congratulations again!

Well to be honest, I almost did!

I've been waiting for this for so long, it almost feels unreal. It's as though it was just a dream but I know it happened. Every time I look at that document, I know it's real. In my journal posts, I always replaced my birth name with the placeholder "<DEADNAME>" but now that that name only exists on paper, it has no further power over my life.

You're right though. There is a lot of work yet to be done. Steph told me to be prepared to "out" myself every time I get each thing changed. The thing is, I already have to out myself every time I pay my water bill, go into a club, use my annual pass for Universal, go to the doctor, sign my timesheet.

I will say one thing, the "WTF?" reactions I've gotten from medical people of late have been pretty funny.

Still, I just want to get through this part and get on with life as a normal human being. At least the hardest part is done. Now, everyone I talk to will have no option other than to make the change I humbly ask them to make. Of course, I have a rather busy week ahead of me, so I'll have to sneak off to places I need to go during my lunch hours or any other time I can find a free moment.

I'm so glad to finally be recognized legally as "me"!

Offline KathyLauren

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #214 on: June 10, 2018, 06:37:07 am »
Congratulations on your name becoming official!  That is a huge step forward.  Being able to put your real name on your identification means less misgendering and less 'splaining.

In the months between going full-time and getting my driver's license changed, I lived in fear of getting stopped by the cops and asked for my license.  Not that I was doing anything wrong, but I just didn't want to have to deal with the questions and explanations.  Fortunately, I never was stopped then.  I've been stopped two or three times since I got my new license (I'm not a lawbreaker; they do a lot of random vehicle checks around here.) and I've had no trouble at all.
2015-07-04 Awakening; 2015-11-15 Out to self; 2016-06-22 Out to wife; 2016-10-27 First time presenting in public; 2017-01-20 Started HRT!!; 2017-04-20 Out publicly, beginning full-time; 2017-07-10 Legal name change

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #215 on: June 10, 2018, 11:35:35 am »
Congratulations on your name becoming official!  That is a huge step forward.  Being able to put your real name on your identification means less misgendering and less 'splaining.

In the months between going full-time and getting my driver's license changed, I lived in fear of getting stopped by the cops and asked for my license.  Not that I was doing anything wrong, but I just didn't want to have to deal with the questions and explanations.  Fortunately, I never was stopped then.  I've been stopped two or three times since I got my new license (I'm not a lawbreaker; they do a lot of random vehicle checks around here.) and I've had no trouble at all.

Thank you, Kathy!

I guess it's been so long since I went full-time that I'd gotten somewhat used to all that. Not that it made each instance of "outing" myself any less painful. A more apt description would be like living with the dysphoria for all those years. It was always there but only flared up periodically.

I managed to be a good girl through most of the past year that I've been full-time - at least until my birthday when my license expired. It took a lot of digging to find all the paperwork the DMV wanted for me to renew my license. Prepared for yet another "outing", I went to the DMV office and did the deed though, as a bit of a consolation, I presented them with the letter from my HRT doc in order to get my gender marker changed. That and my current license has the first drivers license picture I've actually been happy with! I hope they'll let me keep it!


Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #216 on: June 14, 2018, 07:56:59 pm »
Feeling a little down tonight.

The day at work was a very sedentary one, soaked in an excessive amount of coffee, but reasonably productive.

I think the catalyst for this sad feeling that still yet lingers was a print of a painting I saw in one of the ladies' rooms at work, just as I was getting ready to leave.


Sympathy
Briton Riviere
\

It's entitled "Sympathy". When I looked at it on my way out, a thought struck me. It made me think of a close friend and her dog. She had so wanted to have a buddy who would snuggle up with her in the good times and bad, much like the little girl in the painting. Instead, what she got has been a perpetual work in progress with nary a tender moment to be had.

The more I thought about that painting, the more it got stuck in my head and the more I just wanted to cry. By the time I had gotten in my car, the dam had burst but subsided after a minute or two. Now that I'm home and writing this, I'm crying again but I wanted to get this out before heading to bed. I'm not really sure why.

I'm tired, my defenses are down, and I've got an early day ahead of me tomorrow.

Offline SassyCassie

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Re: Cassandra's Tale - The Making of a Brave New Girl
« Reply #217 on: Yesterday at 10:38:37 pm »
Being out and going out

Long before we got married, there was one point in the relationship between myself and my wife, in which she expressed to me one of her fears. She was almost in tears, worrying that since she was the first girlfriend I had ever had, that I would want to go and explore other options, relationship-wise. I didn't, of course, having always found the concept of dating to be completely foreign to me. The bodily urges that would normally drive such pursuits were, understandably yet hopelessly, cross-wired.

The fact that she and I had gotten together in the first place was something I tried for so long to understand. I had apparently by pure dumb luck, fulfilled that particular part of the male role foisted upon us by our society and now was expected to, what? Procreate? Have the requisite house in the suburbs with 2.5 children? Have an eventual retirement looking like the investment fund ads where the elderly couple walks barefoot down the beach together, still holding hands?

The latter was something I could not even fathom as a possibility, seeing as I was in my late-twenties and thinking that I probably wouldn't be around much longer.

The former, I could not bear even as a possibility. The thought of creating another young human who would have to grow up in the same hell that I did, just made me shut down entirely on the very idea. At the time, the mental state I was in could be described simply in terms of varying levels of sad and/or angry. There was no place in there for love, whether it be the love for a companion, a pet, or one's child. I could fake all that well enough.  By then, I had had plenty of practice, but the more I interacted with people, the more likely the mask would slip.

I can't say I had no feelings of affection back then but they were so mercurial as to seem like they couldn't possibly be real. Still, it was a comfortable place in which to live. Compromises were made. Some separation occurred over the years but we were always drawn back together for that mutual, practically loveless (at least emanating from my side of the relationship), comfort of being.

It was not to last and here I stand, more free than I have ever been in my adult life, and am ready to do some exploring. I may have expressed this before at one time or another, but I'm still unsure as to where my actual, true preferences are going to align. I'm pretty sure I'm not into women (no offense, ladies!), other than as friends and/or part of my tribe. As bland as this may sound, I have a feeling I might end up just being a plain-Jane, heterosexual woman, when all's said and done.

I don't think that's a bad thing, any more than folks who occupy many of the other points along the spectrum. I may not get it, as far as understanding their preferences is concerned, but that's okay. If I'm happy, why can't other folks find their own happiness?

What I don't want to do is just jump right into the first relationship that presents itself and just say, "This is it - this is what I need and I don't have to explore any further." I've done that in so many other aspects of my life that I'm too old to make these choices without some thought and deep introspection. Relationships being the complex things that they are, will be one of my greatest challenges, and a little bit scary.

I think, from an HRT perspective, I can say that I've moved from my "second puberty" into early adulthood. I've been learning how to sort through all of the new, scary, and wondrous emotions and am getting to the point where I can be honest with myself and others without the fear that alternately drove me and held me back over all those years.

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