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Laura1951:
November 28, 2021

One Year Full-Time Anniversary:Part II

I've often compared our journeys to the Chinese proverb, "A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Step." That first step for all of us is coming out to ourselves. That's the biggest and hardest step of all. And yet, a thousand mile journey is only accomplished through a million plus steps. Some never get farther than that first step. Some begin the journey but then turn back. Through perseverance, though, most of us make it to the end. Personally, five years after that first step, i'm perhaps only half way to my destination, despite being full-time. Of course I'd love to wave a magic wand and cheat my way to the end, but life isn't like that. I've made great progress with both my physical and mental transitions, I see the road ahead, along with the steps I need to make, and I'm patient that if I keep walking forward, I'll arrive at my destination.

Welcome to the Trans Club
When you join the Trans Club, there are certain "givens" we all have to accept. There is no choice. It's in the contract.
1) You may be rejected by some or many of your family members or friends. That will be hurtful. Some will eventually understand; some will never.
2) Your transition is like a second puberty consisting of both physical as well as mental components. Those who rush their physical transition in hopes of quickly reaching the thousand mile mark will be sorely disappointed. The physical part is easy compared to the mental part which takes longer;
3) Don't expect to find a loving companion. Most men won't consider you a woman. Neither will most lesbians. If you find love, consider yourself blessed;
4) Every part of your transition takes time and patience. Whether it's the months or years it takes estrogen to transform your body, the months or years it takes to get consultations, wait in line for much longer for your surgery, or the self care required for recovery,  patience is required. Nothing can be rushed;
5) You're going to hate electrolysis, particularly the part where you'll need anywhere between 200 and 300 hours under the needle. Not shaving for two or more days before each session will drive you crazy with dysphoria. The sooner you begin, the better. If electrolysis isn't covered by your insurance, just know it's going to be very expensive. And yes, it's quite painful.
6) If or when you go full-time, expect to be clocked, stared at, gossiped about, and, sometimes, bullied. You deserve to exist so hold your head high.
7) Once you're out to a single person, you become a role-model for our community.  We're standing on the shoulders of those who came out before us, just as those after us will stand on ours. Don't mess it up for the next person.Hold your head high, regardless of the circumstances;
8 You will make new friends, and some people will surprise you. If you keep yourself open, say yes to invitations, or extend a hand to invite, you'll make a few new friends, perhaps even new best friends too. Cherish and nurture those new friendships because they'll sustain you during the tough times.

Best and Worst
May 15th was single best day of the past year. My tennis partner, Yeng, whom i'd only known for five weeks and who was quickly becoming a close friend, invited me to her party for her 39th birthday where only her best friends were attending. I floated home after 1am, having had the first real experience of being accepted as a woman and of being fully embraced by not just Yeng, but her close friends too. For several days, i walked on the clouds that evening created, so thankful for my blessing. Four days later, the floor dropped out from under me.

May 19th was the single worst day of the year. That's when the mean girls declared war. I'd become aware of them from the beginning of tryouts, but when Yeng and I made the team, that was a bridge too far. Having an "other" on team was unacceptable as they attempted to break up the team in order to form a new team in a different city. That's how badly they wanted to be away from me. The Mean Girls would lose the first battle, but i spent the majority of the summer in my bunker, feeling depressed. All i've tried to do this year is to exist. I've not interacted with the Mean Girls, nor returned any of their hatred. I simply turned my cheek and continued to live my life, which was an affront to them. To them, i'm an abomination. To this day, the skirmishes continue. While I do feel a fair amount of anxiety about how things will play out once the season resumes, that i have friends who look out for me and try to protect me is deeply humbling. There may be bullies, but i also have more friends now that ever before in my life.

Coming Out Is the Hardest Thing To Do
I admire those who are confident enough to come out to everyone before they even start HRT. I'm not that person. For years, i wore loose clothing, layers, and a binder to hide my breast growth, afraid some would notice and begin to ask questions. It took three years to come out to Person One and still i marvel that i had the courage that first time. It would be a year before i told anyone else, which started a snowball effect that led to Laura finally going public. I was never not afraid. Fear still follows me.

One of first six people i told, the first former work colleague to learn of my status, sent me an incredibly thoughtful reply that began, "First, let me just start by saying I love, accept, and support you in any form. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with me. It was deeply personal and I am honored you chose to share this story with me." Reading his message brought tears to my eyes knowing that perhaps i could survive this journey.  And i did. Over the next few months, i came out to a variety of friends as i marched closer to going full-time.

Part III tomorrow.

Onward.

Laura

Laura1951:
November 29, 2021

One Year Full-Time Anniversary: Part III

Mean Girls
The city I live in has two tennis facilities. The one I've belonged to for 20+ years has 11 courts, a pool and a large workout area and the other facility is at a posh country club. Both have ladies interleague teams. For as long as I've played, both as <deadname> and as Laura, I've heard stories about the Mean Girls on our club's interleague team. The only thing that changes each year is who the mean girls are picking on, so while i could take my bullying personally, in some ways i'm the victim de jour. 

Why do Mean Girls exist? Well, given my city's D- score from the Human Rights Campaign, you can see that my city leans conservative. Many of the women who play during the daytime are stay-at-home wives whose husbands have lucrative salaries, hence a feeling of entitlement and superiority by some. I often refer to them using one of lyrics "..the ladies who lunch" from the Stephen Sondheim musical, Company. Not all of them are mean. My captain who lives in a very nice house around the corner from me may be a conservative, but she lives her values and that means treating everyone with respect. She's been both incredibly supportive and protective of me. I do count her friendship as one of my blessings.

The Mean Girls were there before i arrived and they'll still be there after I leave. However, there's a particular nastiness regarding their comments and behavior towards me. I don't know if any of them have friends or family who are LGBT, but if they did, i'd think they'd be a little more understanding. I am, though, the only transgender person they've ever known and what with all the GOP laws attacking our participation in sports, use of bathrooms, or even accessing care, I'm the local transperson to express their displeasure or disgust.

Interleague is currently on a winter break. After our schedule resumes in early January, the battles will continue. The Mean Girls are on a winning streak and the recent decision of the Board not to punish them only empowers their bullying. My friends and protectors have urged me to keep my head down and to not give my bullies reason to complain. While i'll be careful, i fully expect their meanness to continue and for them to use any excuse to file grievances against me. it's easy to see why so many other women left Interclub and refuse to return, Person One included.


Am I Brave or Am I Delusional?
A year ago, I pondered this question as i tried to gather the courage to become Laura full-time. Was I brave for making such a bold step forward or was I being delusional for thinking everything was going to turn out fine?  I've always been a planner so that when i do take a risk, i've done my homework and preparation ahead of time. The great adage, "With great risk often comes great reward" is true, but planning only goes so far. Unknown are the unseen or unexpected obstacles. I can control myself and my actions, but so much this past year as been random.

When you're trans, fear tracks you constantly, even when you're trying to be brave and hold you head up high. You wonder if you're being delusional that you could successfully transition, be fully accepted, and live a completely new life, free from consequences or harm. And yet, we make that bold decision, the great leap forward, because we feel we have no choice. I had no choice. I had locked Laura in a box for 50 years and once she got out, even though i tried many times to stuff her back into it, she wouldn't/couldn't stay hidden. She wanted to breath, to express herself, and to experience the life she'd dreamed of for decades; She may have been delusional, but it didn't matter. Becoming Laura was, in a way, necessary for her survival.

Part IV which will be published Wednesday will include my experience at Wednesday's Interclub Luncheon. Oh,this will be interesting.

Onward.

Laura

Northern Star Girl:
@Laura1951
Dear Laura:
While I have been following your threads, updates, and postings around the various topics and sub-forums since you joined Susan's Place about a month over 2 years ago in 2019, it has been very nice to read your comprehensive summaries...
... all the details in one place!!!    :)

Keep the updates coming on your multi-part treatise "One Year Full-Time Anniversary"

HUGS, and more HUGS,   
Danielle

Laura1951:

--- Quote from: Northern Star Girl on November 29, 2021, 11:33:31 am ---
While I have been following your threads, updates, and postings around the various topics and sub-forums since you joined Susan's Place about a month over 2 years ago in 2019, it has been very nice to read your comprehensive summaries...
... all the details in one place!!!    :)

Keep the updates coming on your multi-part treatise "One Year Full-Time Anniversary"

HUGS, and more HUGS,   
Danielle

--- End quote ---

You're very sweet, @Danielle, so I value that you follow me and my journey. Your own journey  and your constant support and advice have been so welcome. I appreciate the community that Susan created and you and the other admins nurture.

I actually joined Susan's five years ago originally, but deleted my profile during one of my purges. Obviously a mistake because Laura wasn't going to disappear. I enjoy writing here and on my various threads and for me, this is a way of giving back. We're all standing on the shoulders of giants, so when we're visible representatives, we're creating shoulders for the next wave.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Laura

Laura1951:
December 1, 2021

One Year Full-Time Anniversary: Part IV


Needles, Knives, and Drugs, Oh My!!!
Most of us will acquire two to three surgery's during our journey, each with their own requirements, wait times, and recovery. Willing to give Estrogen its best shot to grow my breasts, i was lucky to schedule my FFS consult just a month before i stopped E and purged my wardrobe for the last time. That consultation started the needed one year plus wait time for the surgery, so that when Laura finally gathered the courage to restart HRT for the final time, 26 months ago, I was still in the queue for surgery. COVID reeked havoc on Kaiser's surgery schedule, but i was lucky when Kaiser called offering a cancellation in mid-August, 2020. With just one week to get ready, the majority of my time was spent preparing for this momentous surgery. I didn't have much time to worry. As it turned out, FFS, despite offering subtle results, gave me sufficient confidence for Laura to finally appear in public on September 30th, Person One's birthday.

One year ago, i received permission from Kaiser for both BA and GCS. My long-term plan, though was to give E a bit more time before visiting the boob fairy, but to begin genital electrolysis immediately because of the estimated one year it would take to complete the work. Almost immediately, though, i realized that the dysphoria i had about my facial hair was far greater than my need for GCS, so i shifted gears to focus solely on facial electrolysis and to delay bottom surgery preparation until after my face was completed. Of course that means that any potential GCS will have to wait roughly three years. I'm ok with that.

Electrolysis: Needles, Pain & Time
For me, one of the most critical and important parts of my transition was ridding Laura of her facial hair, a task i had begun five years ago, quitting  a few months into it, unhappy with my local technician. Once Kaiser granted approval to restart electrolysis, i found a wonderful technician, who was also transgender. However, her shop was located in the Bay Area, so each Tuesday morning, i leave the house at 5:30am for the 90 minute to two hour drive, depending on commute traffic. To date, I've completed just 78 hours of electrolysis, with perhaps another 150 hours ahead of me. Hair removal is time consuming and while i wish i had completed it prior to going full-time, at least i'm well into the journey.  Each two hours promises to be lightly to extremely painful, depending on the area. There are times each Tuesday that this feels like cruel and unusual punishment. Still, I look forward to each session because while progress is slow, the results are visible two hours later. This part of the journey is just as important as every other facet of my transition and like waiting for E to deliver the boob fairy, time is an important ingredient.

Ladies Interclub Luncheon
During Interleague season, our three home teams take turns hosting several Play Days where all three teams get together to play each other in a social format. Twice a year, we meet together in a formal luncheon. However, after the disaster that was my first play day and after the full-on war by the Mean Girls last month, i was feeling too scared to attend today's brunch. Part of me wanted to attend to be around my team and to meet the players on the other two teams in hopes of melting the ice. Still, i was feeling so afraid of attending, knowing that many of the women hate me, considering me not worthy because I'm trans.

Several times during the past few weeks, my captain has texted to encourage me to attend. As i thought about her encouragement and my fear, i remembered an earlier time when i conquered fear. Most of us are afraid of heights, as am I. However, as a theatre major in college participating on the lighting crew, i had to meet my fear head on. Now, to place the lighting instruments on the batten (the horizontal pole above the stage), the batten is lowered to eye level so we can just connect the instruments in the correct locations and run the wiring. However, to focus the lights, the batten is raised to performance level and to access the lights, we climb 15 feet up either a cherry picker or an A-frame ladder that has a vertical extension to reach the correct height.  As part of the crew, i had no choice but to climb up to perform my duties. What i learned that first time is that if you trust your ladder, then it's much easier to not be afraid. If i ever needed to conquer a fear, i needed to meet it head on. Remembering this story helped convince me to make the gamble to attend today's brunch.

No Risk. No Reward. I am blessed. When I arrived at the event center, roughly 10 of the 30 women had arrived and were chatting in groups. My captain, seen below in a picture with me, served as greeter and host. One of my teammates grabbed my arm and led me to a chair next to her, so i could feel more comfortable. As everyone continued arriving, we were all taking pictures, chatting in small groups, and enjoying a little alcohol. Roughly 25 of the 30 members attended and fortunately my primary bully wasn't there. 

The food was light and the conversation fun, greatly diminishing the fear i had felt. I didn't talk to everyone, but i was able to chat with a few new people who aren't on our team. No one stared or frowned. Oh, i'm certain people talked about me later, but then that's been happening from the start. What matters to me is doing my best to be friendly, listening carefully to people's stories, and being a good role model. In all, i'm so glad my captain continued to urge me to attend, and that i took the risk to participate.

.

Onward.

Laura

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