Susan's Place Transgender Resources

Blogs => Member Blogs => Topic started by: Laura1951 on July 08, 2020, 03:48:39 pm

Title: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 08, 2020, 03:48:39 pm
Apparently, having a Master's degree still means you can be stupid. OK, uninformed.

Until now, I had no idea people were writing about their lives here in the Blog section. I should have caught on earlier, given that Danielle has been writing here forever. LOL

So, I'll be using this section to share the minutiae that doesn't fit within other areas of this site. I'll continue writing about my HRT in the HRT section, my FSS in the FFS section, and my major questions in the MTF section.

And here it goes.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 08, 2020, 04:22:03 pm
Below I've linked to the the major threads I've created

My HRT Journal (https://www.susans.org/forums/index.php/topic,249946.0.html)
Currently, I post once a month on the anniversary of starting HRT. My avatar is updated each month as well.

 My FFS Journey (https://www.susans.org/forums/index.php/topic,249678.0.html)
Posted less frequently, my FFS is currently postponed due to COVID. As conditions change, my FFS journey will be chronicled here

 Should I Stay or Should I Go? (https://www.susans.org/forums/index.php/topic,253442.0.html)
The difficult decision to pick up stakes and move to a new city, including advice from different perspectives.

 Is Facebook Outing Me? (https://www.susans.org/forums/index.php/topic,253042.0.html)
What happens when Facebook’s algorithms connect your dead name and new name’s profiles. A cautionary tale.
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: davina61 on July 08, 2020, 04:38:05 pm
Welcome to the life and times page!!!
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 08, 2020, 06:54:06 pm
I want to chronicle something that’s been haunting me the past few weeks, if not the last six months, and while I really don’t want anyone to respond to this post, I simply need to put this pain down in text.

Since retirement six years ago, and the subsequent explosion of my second marriage and the following, three-year divorce process, my favorite hobbies have been playing tennis, flying, and reading, pretty much in that order. I’m not a particularly good player, average at best, but for someone with ADD who has difficulty making friends, it provides me both the exercise I need and the social contact my soul thrives for. I really do like and value the people I’m with. One of women I regularly play with was the first person I’ve come out to a year ago.

Since late December, I’ve experienced a variety of physical problems (knee and back pain) that have cut back on my tennis playing as I navigated the physical therapy to get better. Getting old is a bitch, but I’ve had knee pain before and I know the steps to reduce the swelling and eliminate the pain. It always takes a few weeks without stressing my knee, which means little or no tennis, but you gotta do what you gotta do.It’s frustrating though.

I really enjoy the people I’m privileged to play with, particularly since they’re all much better players. They never say, but I always know, that I’m the weakest player in a foursome. That hasn’t really mattered to me until recently as I’ve been dealing with pain recovery while still trying to play. The feelings that I’ve been disappointing the people I care about have grown quite rapidly, and hearing some of their comments, whether serious or not, about missing shots I should have gotten, has been a tipping point.

Finally, 10 days ago, I decided I really needed take a few weeks off from playing to give my knee time to heal. At the same time, my feelings that don’t belong with these better players have grown stronger. They do quite well without me, and in the 10 days past, I’ve not heard from them.

Emotionally, the past 10 days have been difficult and I’ve cried more times that I’d like. I’m not a person who reaches out when in pain, so I’m suffering this alone. My days have been filled with regular chores, reading, and Netflix. I don’t know if I’ll ever return to tennis though. I’m not sure if I can handle disappointing people I care about, so drifting off and away is how I’m handling this right now. That’s one of the reasons I created the “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Thread. Having sisters here to talk to helps.

And so, there’s my situation. Please don’t reply.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Northern Star Girl on July 08, 2020, 07:01:25 pm
@Laura1951
Dear Laura:
As you might already know from reading many of my postings and comments around the Forums I always make the suggestion to members that keeping a journal is good therapy.   Not only with our own journal/Blog threads but also I always recommend keeping a more private and personal "old-school" Pen&Paper journal at home.   

I keep personal journal at my home which is full of colorful doodling, sometimes illegible and hurried writing, snapshot photos, notes about doctors appointments, my romantic endeavors, my coming out trials and tribulations, and other writings about those that I am friends with, those that accept me, those that do not accept me, and my issues with my non-accepting parents and family, etc, etc.
 
I find that it is definitely very good personal therapy to write out my feelings and venting...  and ponder my situations in my journal.  Just writing out these things can help me to sort out my priorities and to find ways to help positively solve my issues.

I am so very glad to see that you have now started your own BLOG/journal here on the Forums.
When you report good news we will all rejoice with you and be happy for you... and when you write not-so-good news we will lend you our ears to listen and our shoulders for you to lean on.   We are your biggest fans and we are always rooting for your success and happiness.

My home journals (I have several now) are not in any kind of a fancy book and not with a clever cover...  mine are rather plain 3 ring notebooks that allows for adding pages and inserting lots of notes and scribbles and some  photos too.   
Whatever works for you is important, after-all it is YOUR JOURNAL to do with what you want.

I often find myself leafing through some of the past entrees of my BLOG/journal postings here on the Forums and my personal journals that I keep at home and will sit and read it for hours on a cold rainy night sitting in my comfy chair sometimes with a smile and laughter, sometimes with satisfaction with my decisions,  and sometimes with tears in my eyes.

NOTE:  I was pleased to also see that you were very successful with
including URL Links to some of your created threads... nicely done.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts....  I will be eagerly following your postings.
Hugs and best wishes to you....
Danielle
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 09, 2020, 07:24:27 pm
The following two posts could have been made in the Coming Out section, but I'm adding them here instead because they are highly personal.

Four years after Laura appeared to me and her therapist and one year after coming out to a close friend, I reached out this morning to someone I knew in my former work life. I had written the coming out letter more than a month earlier, bu it took some time to gather the nerve to send it. Coming out is difficult so starting with the low hanging fruit is never a bad strategy. It helped that my friend was gay and that he and his partner had moved from my city north more the 10 years ago. We still kept in touch and would connect at conferences a few times a year, but I've been thrilled to see both his academic and professional growth, as well as his amazing family.

Below is the letter I sent to him. I'll share his response in the following post.

Dear XXX,

Congratulations on earning your doctorate, XXX. I never cease to be impressed, and happy, when I read your FB posts and see your family in action.

I wrote this more than a month ago, but it’s taken time and courage to send it. In the spirit of Pride month, I wanted to reach out to two friends from my former work life to share something deeply personal and hope it is received with acceptance, empathy, and discretion.

Basically, I’m transgender.

This isn’t something I’ve chosen since I’m well aware of the pain and rejection many in the trans community face, as well as murder from those who are somewhat threatened by us. The level of discrimination against us seems to be increasing during the Trump administration, which doesn’t help with our dysphoria. As this point, I’ve only come out to two of my post-retirement friends and was relieved by their love and acceptance.  I’ve held this close to the vest, though, because most trans are rejected wholly, or at least in part, by their family and friends. It’s not uncommon for us to pick up and move to a new city to establish our new identity. I’m considering this option as well, given that the Human Rights Campaign gave <my city> a D- in LGBT rights. Being trans does uproot us in so many ways.

I suspected I was trans when I was 12 and dressed for a year before stopping out of shame. I had no idea there were others like me, so I buried this for the next 50 years. Four years ago, during a year I spent in therapy after my second marriage imploded, I came out to myself and to my therapist. I felt both relieved and scared at the same time.
During the following three years, I started and stopped hormone treatment at least five times, quitting out of fear of the future and purging more sets of clothes than I care to admit. Still, even when I tried to return to life as man full time, Laura (my chosen name) would peer back out after a few weeks. In the end, I accepted that I couldn’t deny my identity, so finally I began, in earnest, HRT (hormone replacement therapy) nine months ago. I had been scheduled for facial feminization surgery (FFS) last month, but COVID has postponed that until next fall or winter. FFS won’t make me a woman but for most of us, it reduces some of the effects testosterone has had on our faces. I may face a difficult decision about how I’ll live my life depending upon how successful FFS is.

Passing is the hurdle we must leap over if we want to blend into society. While some trans women throw caution to the wind and go full-time, regardless of their ability to pass, being an introvert forces me onto another path where I have plenty of company.

I am deeply in the closet, XXX, and unsure if I’ll be able to live full time at some point. For me, outing myself can only be possible if I pass and then I’m still anxious about whether I should still hide this from my family and friends from my former life. Many trans women experience the same dilemma. Currently, I live my life as a man when I’m outside but I’m Laura when inside or on occasional trips to other cities. I’m expecting to begin excursions to the coast or SF as Laura more often beginning later this summer or fall. Beginning with trans-friendly places as well as trans support groups like River City Gems will probably be the next steps into this new world I’ve embraced, but fear of rejection from my neighbors, family and friends continues to shape my view of the future, though. Still, I’m resolute about the path I’m on, so I felt the need at this point to share my story with you.

I'd appreciate your discretion.
Sincerely,
Laura, aka <deadname>
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 09, 2020, 07:27:52 pm
This afternoon, my friend wrote back in a letter I couldn't finish the first time because of tears of happiness. Below is his response.

Laura,
Thank you so much for your email. In true IT-head fashion it took me a second because I didn't recognize the name and wondered how Google's althoriums had figured out I had a doctorate and spammed me. :-)

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. You have been one of the biggest mentors in my career and have always found you to be a wise and inspiring educator and human. That will never change and if anything grew a little deeper today. Second, I know how liberating these emails can be. While our journeys are very different I can only imagine that each coming out experience while both nerve-racking is also somewhat freeing like it was for me. I know when I was coming out it was kind of like I couldn't stop telling people even though I was also saying, "don't let anyone know." The ability to just be yourself with someone is exceptionally liberating.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support you on your journey. I would say, step one is definitely to get out of <city name>. We left 12 years ago now and have never left back. The level of ignorance in that community is stifling. No place is perfect and there are certainly some wonderful people in <city name>, but there definitely better options for LGBTQ+ folks. About 30 minutes ago I went to my neighborhood Target and about 5 minutes into the store realized I had a giant pride t-shirt on when this older grandma told me she loved my shirt and wondered where I got it. I am pretty sure I would not have had the same reaction at the <city name> Target.

As an educator I imagine, like me, much of your hope for the future comes through hearing about and working with kids. If you run out of things to read I attached a copy of my dissertation. I don't know if you already know this, but I focused on understanding the school evaluation and selection process of 12 LGBTQ+ students at my school. Their stories were so inspiring. If you read anything read the participant vignettes and findings. You will really hear their voices there.

Take care and please keep in touch. When COVID is somewhat over I have a wonderful school for you to come visit.

Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: davina61 on July 10, 2020, 02:45:01 am
Thats nice, you have a very good friend there. When folk are true friends they accept no matter  what.
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 10, 2020, 07:43:46 am
Thats nice, you have a very good friend there. When folk are true friends they accept no matter  what.
So true, @Davina. While I was a bit worried about outing myself, I felt blessed with his support. One new day at a time.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 22, 2020, 10:15:54 am
I’ve been pondering about the two paths outlined in my Stay or Go (https://www.susans.org/forums/index.php/topic,253442.0.html)  thread. One path would allow me to stay in my current city, in a house and neighborhood I love, and an alternate path that would take me to a city about an hour north which is much more LGBT friendly. This is certainly a difficult decision, so I’m giving myself enough time to explore both paths.

Staying would mean several things, including coming out to my neighborhood, as I’d be leaving the house more often, if not all the time, as Laura. Taking this path, were I to go full-time, would impact, and possibly remove playing tennis at the club I belong to. My best friend, the first person I came out to and a fellow player, believes that while some people at the club will be accepting, the women will largely be critical and will tend to talk behind back. Can I handle playing as Laura when I’ve played as <dead name> with these same people for many years? Can I handle being rejected by my fellow players? Will I have to stay <dead name> when playing tennis, while being Laura the rest of the time? Can I handle running into one of my tennis friends at the store when I’m Laura and they’re unaware of my transition?

All good questions, but ones I need to ponder if I want to stay. To explore this path, I’m taking @SarahC’s advice to come out to a few people at a time to test the waters. This will allow me  to take the temperature of fellow players about whether I can stay. I’ve asked my best friend for her advice about which low having fruit to start with.

Path Two would require me to sell my house and rentals and move to a more accepting city an hour away. I’ve begun to investigate this path as well, looking at current sales and new construction. I plan to drive up there today to check out a new house that has potential. I’ve also put one of my rentals on the market to free up cash for a sizable down payment, should I take this path. Important questions to consider: How will I feel about joining a new tennis club in my new city, where the tennis pro there previously was the pro at my local club? Can I make new friends as Laura? How will my new neighbors adjust/react to Laura? Will I be able to pass and blend in? My best friend questions whether I won’t pass. She thinks I look fine now and with FFS, I could hopefully reach a tipping point in my confidence about my appearance.

I won’t make a final decision for several months and might wait until after my FFS. Time, and reactions, will tell.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Northern Star Girl on July 22, 2020, 01:40:45 pm
@Laura1951
Dear Laura:
So sorry for my longish reply but I felt that your situation that you described required a reply from me that was more that just a few words.

Very serious and very difficult personal decisions that you are pondering regarding how you are going to continue in your transition journey.

Obviously staying where you are now, simplifies a few things but much complicates other matters as you described.

I am aware that you had the patience and tenacity to have read all of my journal blogs and followed may path as I became full time and relocated to where I am now.   Please know that in a small very conservative town here in Alaska, full of loggers, fishermen, outdoors men, etc....  that this is not a LBBTQ friendy place by any means.   

I know it was a wise decision that I made that instead of moving up here and immediately bloldly announcing, Hi, I'm Danielle, a transgender woman (which would have went over like a lead balloon) I made a point to be seen only as a woman that was starting a small self-employed business.  I was fortunate that I was able to pass full-time without FFS or Voice Surgery.   Also I made a clean break from my old accounting job in a mid-size company the day before I decided to become full-time.  I had some contacts in an accounting CPA forum that I was involved in and found that one of the members was retiring from his business and was looking for someone to move up there to establish and replace his closing tax prep, financial planning and CPA business.   I have never been married, no children, none of those considerations and nothing holding me back.   I know that for some of our members that have those encumbrances that the decision to pick up and move is much more complicated, involved and serious considerations that have to be carefully thought about.

As you know, after a few months more than a year I was finally clocked by my Dental Hygienist, it was then I decided to make make the announcement myself about my "secret" past ... instead of the possibly vile and acerbic gossip that could have gone on if I didn't take charge of my situation.   Because I had established myself for more than a year as a business woman and was involved in civic activities and social circles... it came out much better than I ever thought.   Tied in with that is that I do not shove my transgender status in anyone' face... I dress and speak conservatively and respectfully.  The big gauntlet I was able to navigate several months before I was clocked by my Dental Hygienist that cemented my self-confidence and self-assurance as a woman was with my Gym-Gals group (of which my Dental Hygienist is in that 6 woman group with me) in the women's locker room and showers...  obviously a nerve wracking experience for any transgender person.

OH, by the way, there are no Tennis Clubs up here, but I am involved in my Gym-gals group with 5 other local women, also a Book Club with mostly women and a few men.

I wish that I had words of wisdom for you to assist you with your difficult decision that you so aptly detailed on this thread of yours.   
The final parting words that I wish to say it that you think carefully, consider all the possible relationship and financial considerations.... and don't jump into anything quickly.... slowly and carefully is my advice.

HUGS and best wishes to you. 
Danielle


I’ve been pondering about the two paths outlined in my Stay or Go (https://www.susans.org/forums/index.php/topic,253442.0.html)  thread. One path would allow me to stay in my current city, in a house and neighborhood I love, and an alternate path that would take me to a city about an hour north which is much more LGBT friendly. This is certainly a difficult decision, so I’m giving myself enough time to explore both paths.

Staying would mean several things, including coming out to my neighborhood, as I’d be leaving the house more often, if not all the time, as Laura. Taking this path, were I to go full-time, would impact, and possibly remove playing tennis at the club I belong to. My best friend, the first person I came out to and a fellow player, believes that while some people at the club will be accepting, the women will largely be critical and will tend to talk behind back. Can I handle playing as Laura when I’ve played as <dead name> with these same people for many years? Can I handle being rejected by my fellow players? Will I have to stay <dead name> when playing tennis, while being Laura the rest of the time? Can I handle running into one of my tennis friends at the store when I’m Laura and they’re unaware of my transition?

All good questions, but ones I need to ponder if I want to stay. To explore this path, I’m taking @SarahC’s advice to come out to a few people at a time to test the waters. This will allow me  to take the temperature of fellow players about whether I can stay. I’ve asked my best friend for her advice about which low having fruit to start with.

Path Two would require me to sell my house and rentals and move to a more accepting city an hour away. I’ve begun to investigate this path as well, looking at current sales and new construction. I plan to drive up there today to check out a new house that has potential. I’ve also put one of my rentals on the market to free up cash for a sizable down payment, should I take this path. Important questions to consider: How will I feel about joining a new tennis club in my new city, where the tennis pro there previously was the pro at my local club? Can I make new friends as Laura? How will my new neighbors adjust/react to Laura? Will I be able to pass and blend in? My best friend questions whether I won’t pass. She thinks I look fine now and with FFS, I could hopefully reach a tipping point in my confidence about my appearance.

I won’t make a final decision for several months and might wait until after my FFS. Time, and reactions, will tell.

Laura

Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 22, 2020, 08:47:57 pm
Getting a réponse from @Danielle is like finding you have one more oatmeal raisin cookie that you’ve forgotten about.
It’s a welcome surprise.

The last few weeks I've become more aware of the emotional effects HRT has had on me. Always somewhat sensitive, I've found myself shedding a few tears when something touches me deeply, as Danielle's response to my post did today. I know how busy she is, even though tax season is finally over, so I do appreciate the time and effort she took to write a long, supportive response. I'm currently reading Catlyn Jenner's book and plan to drive an hour north to look at some new home construction in another hour or so.

In the afternoon, I drove an hour north to a bustling suburb to tour a model home I’ve scoped out online. I was not disappointed. In fact, touring the home only made me feel more comfortable with a possible decision to move north. Yes, there are still a variety of factors to consider: friends, a wonderful current house and neighborhood, and my tennis friends, so I’ll be taking a few months to weigh both path one and path two. In the meantime, I’ve comforted that the development I’m interested in won’t be sold out for another year. I have time, should I wish to build the model I’m in love with.

(https://i.imgur.com/cCMmsmj.jpg)   |  (https://i.imgur.com/Yu56kNd.jpg)

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 23, 2020, 07:37:35 pm
Received a post card, addressed to <deadname>, from a local OG/GYN who was advertising her services.

Boy, perhaps this HRT thing is working better than I thought.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: davina61 on July 24, 2020, 02:32:10 am
sneaks upon you dear!!
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 27, 2020, 11:11:07 pm
Sometime in the near future, I’ll reach a fork in the road where I’ll have to decide whether to stay in my current location or move to a new city, an hour north of here. I’ve scoped out a new house I’d build in a nice development, but so many variables cloud the path to the fork.

Everything is dependent on how I feel after my FFS, which had been scheduled for June 16th. Had COVID not reared its ugly head, I’d be mostly recovered now and ready to judge whether I’d pass sufficiently to be Laura 24/7. That elective surgeries still seem to be on hold, I’ve no idea when this life-changing event will happen. October? December? March? It’s almost too much to bear. Stay here and tough out 24/7 knowing I’ll certainly be rejected by many tennis club members, or cut all ties and start over as Laura in a new city?  Stay and be Laura part time, remaining <deadname> when playing tennis? I know from others here that once the 24/7 itch happens, being just part time becomes increasingly painful.

Adding difficulty is knowing the longer I wait to make the call, the less likely that the development I’ve chosen will have houses left to sell. Yes, there are always more developments, but the house I’ve found is the best choice at a price point I’m happy with. Houses in this new community are much more expensive than in my current city, so I’d be scaling down to 1800sf. The floor plan is wonderfully open and I know I’d be happy living there.

Still, leaving behind a city where I’ve spent nearly 2/3 of my life is a tough call and the FFS delays are making my decision all the more difficult.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 29, 2020, 10:50:47 pm
Coming Out

Today, I've reached out, via email, to a woman who is part of a foursome I play tennis with every Friday. Person One, the first person I came out to, is a member of this foursome. I've used most of the text from my coming out letter above, but I've added a personalized opening that comes just before I tell her I'm transgender. I'll update when hear back from her.


Dear Person Four,

I have wanted to share something with you after playing tennis, but know you’re fairly busy with work so I’m taking the easy way out. Of course, Person One thinks I should tell you in person, but this takes some time to express.

For the past few months, I’ve been debating whether I need to move to <new city> in order to be myself, a decision I’ll make around December. I’ve already scouted a great house in a new subdivision and since construction hasn’t started, I have some time to decide. I’d rather stay in <current city>, though, where my friends and plane are. Having moved here in 1976, I love my house, my yard, and my neighbors.

I reach out to you because you were there for me last year when my last relationship blew up, and while it was my decision, I never told you the true reason I broke up with her. I was so appreciative you gave the gift of time and I’d like to think we’re friends. After we talked last summer, Person One and I got close after I shared my breakup story with her. It was that July when she was the first person I’ve told this to. You’re the fourth. She thinks club members, particularly women, will reject me outright and gossip behind my back, which is the primary reason I’m thinking of moving. I hope this is received with acceptance, empathy, and discretion.

Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 29, 2020, 11:14:05 pm
Response from Person Four (female)

Oh my dear friend, I am so extremely touched that you feel safe to tell me this!!  Honestly, this information didn't make me react in any other way aside from feeling love for you, my dear friend.  I want to hug you so tight!!!!  I can feel your fear and pain in your email.  Quite frankly, I am very saddened because this tells me that you haven't ever been truly happy all of these years.  Oh, <deadname>, I have so many thoughts and feelings running through me and I'm trying to email you on my phone right now since I'm not home.  I wanted to respond to you as soon as I read this because I don't want you to be worrying about how I am going to respond. 

I will continue this tomorrow when I am at my computer, but just know that there is nothing you could tell me that would make me love you less.  Unless, of course, you told me you murdered someone.  That might throw a wrench in our relationship.  LOL!!

You have nothing to worry about.....this information is safe with me.

I love you!!!!!



A journey of a thousand miles is made up of many individual steps. Today I have tears of happiness knowing another friend accepts me as I am.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Northern Star Girl on July 30, 2020, 01:19:14 am
@Laura1951
Dear Laura:
WOW-Whee....  that was a wonderful and certainly very affirming response from "Person 4"
I had "tears of joy" reading not only the response you received from her but also reading your very well put-together original email to her.

You conclusion is right-on so I am quoting it here.

Quote
A journey of a thousand miles is made up of many individual steps. Today I have tears of happiness knowing another friend accepts me as I am.

I am so very happy  for you..... and I am very glad that you shared this email exchange with all of us that follow your blog/thread.

Many HUGS and Best Wishes as you continue on.
Danielle
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 30, 2020, 08:31:49 am
@Danielle

I appreciate and value your kindness and encouragement, Danielle. This journey has been scary from the start, as it is for many/most of us. Susan's has been such a valuable support network to learn more about myself and share my journey and questions. I still feel somewhat at the beginning of my journey, but I know progress is made one step at a time.

Thank you for being an inspirational role model.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on July 31, 2020, 12:52:14 pm
Friday morning, I have a regular doubles group that's been together at least five years. Persons One and Four are part of this group. When Person Four arrived, she gave me a big hug, told me she loved me, and said that she cried when she read my coming out letter. I'm so thankful for her acceptance.

The fourth person in our foursome is a great guy and he'll be Person Five next week. One at a time.

When I got home, Person One, who is away this weekend celebrating her anniversary, texted to ask how things went between Person Four and me. I shared what I've told you and let her know that it's ok for them to talk about me. I do trust this group and if I'm going to stay in this city, I'll need support of the people I play with. Of course, these are the low hanging fruit, but I'm celebrating this victor.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on August 12, 2020, 10:39:34 am
Today's Wednesday and already it's been a momentous week. A call from Kaiser Monday offering me a FFS surgery date next week has set off a series of dominoes, tasks both medically and personally to ready before the operation: transportation to and from the Bay Area, care of my cat while I'm away, multiple tests, and shopping for post-op supplies.

One positive outcome from this surprise is that I'll now have more data to make my decision about whether to stay in my current city or move an hour north where I can begin to live 24/7 as Laura. My self questions and your wonderful replies, which are guiding me, may be found on my Stay or Go thread.

Deciding to pull up stakes and build a new house an hour north from here is a complex decision with a variety of decision points, not all easily made. Timing is also a factor. The main factor to move depends on how I feel when I look in the mirror after FFS. If I feel I can blend into the crowd, I'll feel more confident about moving and I know I'll need to wait at least two months after FFS to have an idea how my appearance has changed.

Onward.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: davina61 on August 12, 2020, 11:07:50 am
Good news dear, hope you get the logistics sorted. May it all go well XXX
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on August 15, 2020, 03:36:31 pm
Today I feel blessed, not because FFS is three days away, but because I came out to one more tennis friend today and, like the other two of our Friday foursome, was accepting. Below is his reply.

Thanks for reaching out.  I know that couldn't have been easy for you.  My niece was in limbo with being transgender, so we are aware of the acceptance hurdles a person has to go through.  In the end, it starts and finishes with you.  Once you believe in your truth path, true friends and family will cling to that confidence and become the fabric around you.  Sure, there will be conflicts as some are more sensitive to change than others, but confidence will build your foundation.  There might be people that don't know you might talk behind your back or directly at you, but to deflect it and stand proud begins with the confidence you have in yourself.  It might be easier said than done, but rejection or disapproval is what everyone faces to one degree or another, so try not to fear it.  instead let it build your character.  As mentioned earlier, it finishes with you, It sounds like you've been dealing with fear of acceptance for over 50 years. Most are lucky to have lived that long and you have been in the shadows of your true self during that time.  If anything, you've earned the right to say, "Enough's enough" and its time to feel good about yourself.

We didn't become friends because you were a man, so no need to fear the friendship is weakened because you are going to be a woman.  Deflect the negative and accept the positive and life will be better than you think.  Hope the procedure helps.  It's understandable if you decide to move, but move because you want to, not because its a reaction to fear.

Should I start calling you Laura now?  And were did Elliott come from?  Isn't a surname change harder to file?


And so, as the countdown to FFS gets shorter, I have one more thing to be thankful for.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Northern Star Girl on August 15, 2020, 08:08:54 pm
@Laura1951
Dear Laura:
A wonderful and terrific report!!!!!

Thank you for sharing.   I and the rest of your followers are so very happy for you!!!
It's great to have supportive friends.

Again, thank you for sharing your good report... please continue to keep us all updated.

HUGS,   
Danielle
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on September 04, 2020, 01:08:42 pm
Another step forward today.

This morning, I gathered the nerve to tell one of my neighbors that' I'm transgender. Using advice from @MichelleA and @AllieSF, I gave the Reader's Digest version of my story, including the part where I'm considering moving depending on reactions to my coming out. I'm blessed that she totally accepted me and urged me not to move. I have tears in my eyes. She also asked about what I preferred to be called and I filled her in.

Both neighbors had been talking in the street when I got home from shopping, and one neighbor's eight-year old son was with them. I didn't want to confess in from of him, preferring to give the parent the power to educate at her convenience. I'll tell her next time she's out alone.

So, in a few weeks when my face is healed from FFS, Laura will begin appearing part-time outside.

It's a good day.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Northern Star Girl on September 06, 2020, 09:13:44 pm
@Laura1951
Dear Laura

Thank you posting your latest update.  I am wishing you well with your "coming out" announcement to your neighbors.  Please continue to keep me and the rest of your followers updated as you feel comfortable doing... and next, a special announcement for your followers.... 
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

I am wishing you a VERY
        HAPPY BIRTHDAY
       :icon_birthday:  :icon_birthday:  :icon_birthday:

Wishing you happiness and enjoy your special day.
??? Hmm, CAKE ???  Candles ???  Gifts ???  Friends ???  Family ???


***NOTE:  On your September 7th birthday be certain to check your profile for a special surprise! :)

Best wishes,
Danielle
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: davina61 on September 07, 2020, 01:27:57 pm
Happy birthday Laura ,enjoy  XXX
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on September 07, 2020, 05:45:45 pm
Thank you @Davina61 and @Danielle for the birthday wishes and for your encouragement. One step at a time.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on September 14, 2020, 10:16:35 am
Fear.

That’s what has largely determined the timeline of my transition. I marvel at those who, once they come out to themselves, march right into HRT and, within 18 months, are living full-time. I wish that was me, but...

Fear.

I tend to compare my transition to a children’s story I used to read to my son, “Leo the Late Bloomer.” In the picture book, Leo, a young tiger, is behind his friends in speaking, writing, and nearly everything else. His father is concerned about his delayed development but his mom is not. She knows that everyone blooms when they are ready. Eventually and after further panic by his father, Leo does bloom, proving that not everyone develops at the same rate.

I’m Leo.

Fear has driven me, or more precisely, held me back. It took three years of taking one step forward followed by one step back before my need to transition was greater than my fear. By that point, I’d told two people about Laura. The first, which I call Person One, was a regular doubles partner who I had confided in previously. Having developed trust, I went the extra mile and revealed Laura. That she was, and continues to be, supportive is one of the reasons I was able to push fear back a bit. Oh, fear is still there, but now that I’ve taken many steps forward, I’m finding that it’s easier to take additional steps. It’s like, “Hey, I’m already three miles down the road. It’s easier to take another step forward than walk all the way back.”

Each time something good happens with my transition makes it easier to move forward. Telling the rest of my doubles group, and receiving their love back, empowered me to tell my neighbors. Acceptance by my neighbors will give me some confidence to step outside as Laura.

Yes, fear still drives me. While I may be gathering the confidence to be Laura around the people I know, whether I get to be Laura part-time or full-time is dependent, at least to me, on how well I can pass, or should I say, blend in, once the results of my FFS become apparent. One month after my FFS, there’s still some swelling and bruising, so I know I must wait at least another month before Laura’s new face will be revealed.

Onward.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Northern Star Girl on September 14, 2020, 12:02:04 pm
@Laura1951
Dear Laura:
Thank you for sharing your latest post regarding "Fear"
Please understand that when fear and doubt are not excessive.... fear is our mechanism for our own personal and mental safety, but if gone unchecked it can be very crippling to our development and to our life plans.

A favorite quote of mine is:

     “FEAR has two meanings:

      Forget Everything And Run.

      Face Everything And Rise.”


I am looking forward to reading your future postings and sharings regarding your life and transition journey... 

HUGS and more HUGS,
Danielle
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on September 14, 2020, 12:50:43 pm
A favorite quote of mine is:

     “FEAR has two meanings:

      Forget Everything And Run.

      Face Everything And Rise.”


@Danielle

Your responses to my posts always bring a smile and some hope. I DO appreciate that, even during your busy days, you find time to peer into our lives and shine a light.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on October 02, 2020, 05:36:55 pm
One Year

In a few days, I’ll celebrate one year on HRT, which seems amazing to me given that fear had me starting and stopping HRT repeatedly the prior three years. That I’ve been able to stay on this path and make steady progress forward is a testament to the support I’ve felt from my friends and the Susan’s community. I must say that I feel incredibly lucky and, as they say, when luck knocks at your door, let it in.

It’s been a momentous year and while I’m not totally thrilled with my breast development, I have much for which to be thankful. I’ve come out to eight people so far, the first being during the summer of 2019. Her support and encouragement was one reason I restarted this journey last October. (A separate, One-Year on HRT story will be posted next week.) This summer, I came out to three more tennis friends, all whom I play doubles with on Friday mornings, and two neighbors. (I figured that if Laura was going to start making appearances outside, my neighbors, most whom have children, should know.

Everyone I’ve told has been incredibly kind and accepting. Several told me they had trans relatives.

Laura has mostly been an indoor creature though, but being so accepted and loved by my friends helped nudge me outside, once two weeks ago for my FFS follow-up and twice this week. On Wednesday, my good friend, who was the first to learn about Laura, had her 41st birthday and while Laura had plans to fly her to Half Moon Bay for lunch, the weather and smoke from CA’s fires forced a cancellation. Instead, we drove to a nearby town, went shopping, and had lunch together, my first time as Laura in a restaurant. We had a ball, although I did notice that several people “clocked” me. It was easy to spot, but their direct looks were of short duration and weren’t repeated again during lunch. That people can be respectful helps maintain and grow my confidence about being out as Laura. My friend reminded me that the more confident I am of myself as Laura, the less people will be able to clock me or upset me if they do.

Today, Friday, the remainder of my close tennis friends met Laura for the first time, as we played doubles. Their love and support, as they got used to calling me Laura, made me feel SO comfortable and at ease. Two courts away was another couple who normally play singles every Friday. During our doubles match, I kept noticing stares from the woman’s husband; While it was obvious that he had he clocked me, it didn’t keep me from enjoying being Laura, but it still bothered me. When I told my friends about the stares, they reminded me that self-confidence will allow me to stop caring about stares. BTW, in trying on Laura’s tennis clothes yesterday, I noticed that she has more tennis outfits than <deadname>. Not just that, I also realized that I wanted MORE outfits. LOL

From here forward, Laura will play with our regular tennis group on Fridays, while <deadname> will play other days. Our Friday group doesn’t play at our tennis club, making this an easy opportunity to not be outed by other members. Being out and about as Laura is an important part of my transition and while it took a long time to reach this point, I’m feeling the desire to go out more…. I'm not ready for the general tennis community to know about her yet. From other postings on Susan’s, I know this is fairly normal. Would I love to be FT some day? Certainly, but I’ll continue moving at my pace while HRT keeps working its magic and swelling from my FFS continues to go down.

FFS was another milestone during the past year and all my hopes and progress are noted on my FFS thread.

We all stand on the shoulders of giants: those MTF who have come before us, our community at Susan’s, and the people who we surround ourselves with. I wouldn’t be at this point in my transition without them. My thousand mile transition journey began four years ago and until a year ago, I had only taken a few steps. Now, I feel as if I’m miles down the road. Yes, I have many miles to go, but having moved this far forward makes it easier to continue to the journey.

Onward.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Northern Star Girl on October 02, 2020, 05:45:30 pm
@Laura1951
Dear Laura:
I love your update.
Based on what you have been posting on your journal blog thread ... I think that your plan is a good one...
      “One step at a time”
I am rooting for your success and happiness as you continue going forward toward your goals.

HUGS and my best wishes for you.
DANIELLE

Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on October 02, 2020, 09:00:07 pm
@Laura1951
Dear Laura:
I love your update.
Based on what you have been posting on your journal blog thread ... I think that your plan is a good one...
      “One step at a time”
I am rooting for your success and happiness as you continue going forward toward your goals.

HUGS and my best wishes for you.
DANIELLE
@Danielle
You're a sweetheart, Danielle. Part of my confidence comes from you and your encouragement. Since I love writing, I'll be continuing to post updates in the future. I've a long way to go in my journey, but I also realize how important it is to support those who have just arrived and are looking for kindness.

thank you.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on October 14, 2020, 05:14:17 pm
BA and GCS

I had a nice talk with Kaiser's Multi-specialty Transitions (MST) representative today. (More of a concierge than a therapist.) This was in response to my conversations with my MST doctor during the one-year HRT check-up. We had a nice talk about what I've been up to the past two years since our last conversation and how I'm progressing with my transition. This consultation was to provide me information and appointments for a future BA and GCS. Eventually, I'll start separate threads for them in the appropriate areas, but here is what I've learned.

First, the timeline from saying I want it and getting it are much shorter than with FFS. With BA, since both cis- and trans women get BA's, there are many more surgeons who perform the surgery, including one in my city. This certainly would make things easier. Because of this, once I'm certain HRT has finished working its magic, in about 12-16 months, I can start the BA process, which has about a six-month wait time.

As for GCS, the timeline is mostly determined by my ability to complete genital cleaning. Gone are the days when you had to be full-time for a year. Instead, once I'm certain genital clearing is complete, there's about a four-month wait. Not bad. In the meantime, I've started the pre-GCS work including scheduling an online class about the surgery and an online appointment with their nurse.

All is good.

Onward.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on October 14, 2020, 05:30:06 pm
Pre Outing

As Buffalo Springfield said, "There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear."

Last weekend, two separate people (whom <deadname> knows but whom don't know about Laura) approached two different friends about changes they've seen in me. The natives are getting suspicious. Well, it's partially my fault because I continue to wear earrings and the FFS results are probably more noticeable than I thought.

The first, a woman who is the doubles partner of Person One (the first person whom I told about Laura) in our club interleague. She's noticed the changes and wondered if I was trans. My good friend remained silent, preferring to respect my privacy. I had discussed with her (person one) several months ago whether to tell her partner, but because the partner is fairly conservative, she wasn't sure if it was the right time. However, she sensed that now may be the right time to tell her, since she seems to have figured it out. I've texted her, asking her to call me so I can unfold my story with her. I've not heard back, but I'll update when she does.

The second person who asked questions, this time to the male member of our Friday doubles group, is actually the person whose tennis ball hit my nose last Saturday. We've known each other for many years, although because he is very conservative politically, I've not shared Laura's story. My male friend thinks he might be receptive.

Still, this is moving forward much faster than I intended. I've just begun appearing as Laura around my friends and while I know I want to be Laura more often, I'm not ready for the world to know. I may not have a choice though.

I have a timeline and I'm making good progress. I hate to think that other people are going to control/force Laura to come out sooner than she'd like.

(Oh, and I know that I'm not the first to have this problem. Susan's is full of stories about timelines that exploded when people either figured it out or who were betrayed with others outed them.)

Onward.

Laura

Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Oldandcreaky on October 19, 2020, 11:41:48 am
Laura, I've thought a lot about gossip and betrayal versus confiding and intimacy. Intimacy is the slow, equitable, consensual exchange of information. Divulgence by divulgence, two people become linked by mutual trust.

Gossip mimics intimacy in one way, for there's an exchange of intimate information, but there's no consent and only one person is possibly imperiled, the target of the gossip, rather than the gossipers who risk nothing as one does when one confides personal information.

My point is that gossip is evil. It is the penetration of intimate social space with no consent and when it starts, it never stops. It sounds like it's started, so you might want to advance your timeline to retain a mote of control.
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on October 19, 2020, 07:18:43 pm
Laura, I've thought a lot about gossip and betrayal versus confiding and intimacy. Intimacy is the slow, equitable, consensual exchange of information. Divulgence by divulgence, two people become linked by mutual trust.

Gossip mimics intimacy in one way, for there's an exchange of intimate information, but there's no consent and only one person is possibly imperiled, the target of the gossip, rather than the gossipers who risk nothing as one does when one confides personal information.

My point is that gossip is evil. It is the penetration of intimate social space with no consent and when it starts, it never stops. It sounds like it's started, so you might want to advance your timeline to retain a mote of control.
@OldAndCreaky
A few months ago, when Person One told me that she was fearful of how I would be treated by some members of our tennis club, I started the thread "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and discovered some great advice. Using that, I found a great new housing development north of me while coming out to a few more people here. I was hoping that by slowly coming out, I could build a foundation of friends who supported my transition.

Now that the timeline seems to have blown up, I'm glad I have two options. I may have no choice but to come out to everyone and let the chips fall, but given that I'm fairly thin skinned, I worry about the back stabbing and gossip. I know it will happen and I worry about surviving in that atmosphere; Easy to see why Danielle moved to Alaska to start over.

The person who had asked Person One about me never responded to my texts. She suspects I'm trans but Person One, who is a wonderful friend, stayed silent. Last Wednesday I texted that person, asking her to call me. The next day, after I'd gotten no response, I texted her reminding her of the conversation, confessing that she was correct, and begging her to call me so I could share my story and gain her secrecy. she texted back that she'd call. She never did though.

So, it's out there and uncontrolled. She may stay silent. She may not. The careful path I was carving out seems to be disintegrating. Now, I'm thinking of arriving at the tennis club, with my foursome (who all know about Laura) and playing as Laura. It will be a shock to most there, but at least I'll be controlling what happens (for that day at least).

Does it scare me? Certainly.

Laura
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Oldandcreaky on October 19, 2020, 08:01:54 pm
Person One is a friend, a real mensch.

I fear the person who wouldn't call is talking about you rather than with you. I hope I'm wrong, but it's so tempting to sell your safety and autonomy and choice for attention here and there.

Laura, another reason I read your threads is because you write well. If you ever read "A Movable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway, there's a scene in the book where Ernest thinks of F. Scott Fitzgerald as a flake and then Hemingway reads "The Great Gatsby" and all is forgiven. Good writing can sway me too.
Title: Re: One New Life to Live
Post by: Laura1951 on October 19, 2020, 09:09:06 pm
@OldAndCreaky

Person One is a wonderful friend whom I trust. Because of that, she was the first person to meet Laura in public just a few weeks ago.

You are too kind about your comments. Thank you. I appreciate knowing that someone else enjoys my writing

The funny thing, though, is that, having ADD, I never understood writing in K-12. The structure completely confused me and my essays were embarrassing. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school, when my English teacher asked us to keep a journal, that I discovered I could enjoy writing. Along they way, my writing voice began to be formed as well.

Still, I didn’t become a writer until I began teaching and participated in UC Berkeley’s Bay Area Writing Project, which teaches teachers how to teach writing. Not only did I become a much better teacher, I found an organizational structure that allowed me to begin loving writing. My voice, in turn, matured as well.

Around the same time (the early 80s), I became heavily involved in technology. The simple act of writing with a word processor changed my writing as well. Gone were the days when my thoughts would disappear halfway through handwriting an essay. Now I could write at the speed of my thinking. The ability to edit my work, as I’m doing right now in Evernote, made a difference too.

So, thank you.

Laura