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The Gypsy Has Landed…again

21 Nov

One year ago this week I officially began living full time. It has been an amazingly interesting year. It all began with my biggest purge ever in my history. Only this purge was unlike any that preceded it. All of my past purges involved throwing away all of my secret stash of women’s clothes, severe berating myself for being the way I was, followed by weeks of intense self-loathing and deeper than normal depression. But, the difference this last time was that I loaded all of my now no longer needed male clothes, shoes, etc into my car – two car loads in fact – and taking them all to my support group to pass them all along to my trans-men friends. You would have thought that Christmas came a month early. In a way it did. The guys were digging through t-shirts, sweaters, dress shirts, ties, shoes, suits, socks, polo shirts, belts and coats. Many of the trans-girls were gathered watching the joyfilled exchange with an enthusiasm that was palpable in the cold weather. It filled my heart with joy to see these guys and their partners walking around effectively buried under the piles of fashions that most would not have been able to afford otherwise. Hugs were profusely exchanged – once anyone had relieved themselves of their loads. The purge took two meetings and two car loads to complete. That was one of the most rewarding things that I had ever done to that point in my life. It made for a very symbolic beginning to my new life, where I would be forever after seen as a woman.

At the same time as this purge, I had made one of the most difficult and emotional moves of my life. After living 50 years with my mom in two states and four apartments, it was time to break the bonds and begin MY life. The two years prior to this move had been very difficult for both of us. I had come out to her in possibly the worst way. Because of my ineptness in handling the most important news of my life with the most important person of my life I created a rift in my relationship with my mom. The fear and apprehension that I felt in regards to talking to her about what I was feeling and had felt my whole life kept me from being able to talk to her. We very often were left with silence between us, tension, and even anger. If only I could turn the clock back and revisit that experience with the knowledge and understanding I have today. I am happy to say that things between mom and I are much improved, though the subject is still a hard one to express. :(

Within the past year I have lived in almost as many places as I had in those first 50 years of life and there are already plans forming for a next move. I have not only lived in three places, I have lived with three quite different women, two cats, and a dog, I have also had very different living environments. Do I have a favorite? Nope. While each was very different, each has been precious to me. My first housemate is a rather famous woman in the game design industry, a legend, as well as being a trans-woman. Her home was by far the most grand and luxurious abode I had ever lived in. I loved the feeling of living in an art museum/gallery with some of the most amazing fantasy paintings I have ever seen – and it was all original paintings. Perhaps most dear to me was the kitchen. As a culinarian I had free reign of this one room above all others. That kitchen afforded me the freedom to create, develop and evolve my culinary prowess. With a great deal of room for entertaining, the tools and equipment, and the encouragement to create my ‘fame’ in the kitchen had been borne. My reputation had been sealed when I was tasked with the creation of a special Valentine’s Day dinner for my housemate and her girlfriend (who is every bit a legend in the gaming industry). All of the stops were opened, the menu planned, vast provisions ($350) were procured and the three days of preparation ensued. Twenty one recipes and six courses later, my charges were fully satisfied and satiated. My pride and confidence soared after hearing the very, very lofty praise from someone who prides herself on dining in five-star and Michelin Star caliber restaurants. The offerings were rated near on par with the best she had ever had. Of course I deny being remotely close to that loftiness, but flattered beyond measure nonetheless. There have been a good many other chances to show off what I can do.

Housemate number two is an amazingly wonderful woman with a small two bedroom condo inside the perimeter. So, yeah, I got to be an ITP for a short few months. With my reputation well established, I got to do more cooking as well as house and puppy dog sitting during the times that she worked out of town. I was given my first experience with going to the pool in a women’s swimsuit. I had expected it to be more of an issue and make me more self-conscious than it did. It actually felt very natural and no one apparently batted an eyelash. Apparently, by this point in time I had become quite passable and able to generally slip through society as just one of the women. Not a particularly attractive woman, but just a woman. By that point in time I had dropped nearly 95 pounds from before transition and was down to near my ideal target weight. I’m still at the point of slowly creeping down the final few pounds to get where I want to be. My biggest goal before making the move to this second home was to downsize my possessions significantly. My goal was to leave with upwards of 75% less than I arrived at the first home with. While I did very good, I found that so much of what I own belongs to the kitchen and as such I was unable to justify parting with them. In the end I arrived in the much smaller living space with less than half what I left my old life with. Another 20+ percent had been relieved before heading off to abode number three. Sadly, my roommate was planning to move out of state for work and was given a move out date. I’m sad to no longer be sharing living space with her and spending time with her friends. But, I went into the arrangement knowing it was only temporary. I know that she and I will remain good friends from a distance.

My third move and what likely is going to establish me as a gypsy came just a few weeks ago. I am back in distant outerlands of the Atlanta area. As one of my dearest friends calls anything that is OTP (outside the perimeter), I am living in Egypt. Other people call it Duluth, GA. My latest roommate is an old friend of mine. She has known me since well before I knew I was a transwoman. She also has the lofty distinction of being the first person – after my therapist – that I had come out to. She has been my mentor for the half dozen years I have known her and an inspiration to be sure.

What future holds for this gypsy?

My immediate plans involve acquiring work to gain income to actually do things. I am hoping that fates allow that I will be able to move to Tennessee in early 2013 to be closer to my special friends and to secure a job that provides transgender inclusive insurance benefits. It seems that will be the only practical way that I will be able to undergo my much needed surgery. For my friends that would left behind in Atlanta, fear not, there is a bus that I will be able to take from there to here on a regular basis so that I can maintain connections to this place. Assuming that my plans to gain said employment in TN works out, then I would expect that 2013 will see my being able to secure that critical step in my transition. I am finally motivated in a way I have not been in far too long. Happiness would prevail in my life once that goal is met. Beyond that I will be left with just simply living my life in a way that would be not entirely different than presently. The other BIG goal for my life is to finally find someone that I call my girlfriend. While relationships are something that, right now, seem to be overly complicated things, I am sorely craving a close, intimate relationship with someone who can accept me in my current form and would desperately crave the future I envision for myself. Will such a thing happen? Can it happen? Since I have never been in a relationship in my life, I can not imagine how it could come to pass. But, I still want it more than anything, save that one thing.

This brings about a question that I have been wrestling with for some time.

Should I add a donate to my transition fund function to this blog? Would people actually donate? Please post your thoughts in the comments section. I am sincere in asking this question.

Thank you all who support me and read my blog. I love you all.

 
 

SCCWS

25 Sep

I believe most people who have attended the Southern Comfort Conference at least once has experienced this condition. Known as Southern Comfort Conference Withdrawal Syndrome (SCCWS), this affliction often presents with tears of joy and sadness, euphoric highs and depressing loneliness, introspection, retrospection, dreams, hopes for the future, craving for the next SCC, a profound feeling of having been a part of something special, something deeply profound, and many other side effects.

For those of you who may be reading this, I am not referencing a conference that is related to the brand of whiskey. I refer to the largest transgender conference in the world that takes place in Atlanta every September. I have just attended my fourth SCC this past weekend and while the withdrawal has taken on a different form for me this year, I have been feeling its effects nonetheless. This is the first year I have not driven away from the hotel in tears, sad that it is over and that my many new friends are headed off in multiple directions. No, this year I did not drive home. I got a ride from a dear friend. It is also the first year I didn’t just say goodbye to everyone in the lobby of the hotel and leave straight away, alone. No, this year I went out to breakfast with two wonderful friends, one new, one not so much new. It was nice to have the decompression time with someone. It is also the first time I didn’t have to head home and just dive straight back into life, in the Matrix. This year I came home, had a chance to sit down and talk to my roommate for a while before going to bed early in the afternoon. I slept like a baby for how many hours?

 
 

Happy Third [Re]Birthday…

24 Aug

It is strange to me to think back three years to when I first launched this site. At the time I was excited to be starting on this quest towards the self-discovery of who this person is who had been hiding behind the impregnable fortress that I had erected within myself. At that point in time, I remember being scared of what the future may hold for me. There was a nervous anticipation. I knew that my life could either become really great and amazing, or the complete polar opposite. I knew at that point in time that stepping out of that door and being swept up by that road, I would be leaving everything I had done to protect myself behind, unpacked. I could have easily become one of the hundreds of persons that are killed every year for simply identifying as transgender. I could easily have ended up homeless, thrown out of my own apartment that I had shared with my mom since moving here to GA. I knew that I could easily have been disowned and rejected by my family, left to go through my life alone. I also knew that there was a high chance that I might lose all of my friends. I knew that, given my propensity for contemplating suicide, I could very easily have become one of those statistical 42% of trans persons that chooses to end their own life rather than face the hatred.

I knew all of those scenarios were possible and in all respects likely. Likely because so many in this community live with these issues. But, I was optimistic. I had and continue to have a very positive outlook for my future. Three years ago, I could only see a guy looking back through the mirror at myself. It didn’t matter what I wore – and back then there was little that I wore that I considered even remotely flattering on me. I have learned a great deal in 3 years. I felt a fool at times. I made some very serious fashion faux paxs. But, that wasn’t going to stop me. I made attempts early on to look like what I thought I was supposed to look like. I did the wigs. I did the breast forms. I did body shapers. I did whatever I could to show something outwardly feminine. It took me a bit to realize that it wasn’t how I looked on the outside, but how I felt and was on the inside. That was an amazing turning point for me. I walked away from the costume pieces, the things that created something that sort of looked like a female version of myself. While I presented more often as androgynous as I could – I was still living full time as a guy because living with my mom, I could not transition – not openly at any rate. As I got out more I became more comfortable with myself, I became less concerned about what people ‘thought’ about me. Once I stopped caring if they were staring, if they knew I was ‘one of those’, if they even cared, then the staring and clocking and other paranoias stopped. Do they still look? I don’t know. I don’t care.

As I am now more than two years into taking Spironolactone (anti-androgen, aka, testosterone blocker) and more than a year taking estrogen, there have been many profound changes in my appearance. I have not only lost a lot of weight, my looks have dramatically changed as well. I am also much healthier than I was three years ago. My presentation – how I look, how I wear my hair, how I talk, how I walk, sit, stand, eat, drink, laugh, smile, cry and every other part of who I am – is so much more feminine. I am just simply a woman. I am openly accepted as such and I walk through my life as any other woman does. I just simply have a birth defect, a malformation down yonder. One day that too will be fixed.

One of the biggest changes that I have seen in recent months is the fact that I can now look in the mirror and see a woman. More than that, I can see a fairly attractive woman in the mirror. That means the world to me. There are still times that I see him peering out of the eyes, or some remnant of his personae in my actions. I do still have to edit myself and measure myself against a strict regimen. I have not forgotten where I had come from, what I have lived and experienced. I don’t want to lose that part of me. I know that may seem strange to some of my friends, but that guy was me for forty-seven years and that is still me. I am the sum of my experiences and while it is a fairly complex equation it seems to add up to something pretty substantial.

My major accomplishments to date:

Began therapy June 2009
First appointment with hair stylist as Deanna September 2009
First time out of the house fully dressed (overly dressed) as Deanna September 29, 2009 (my birthday – 47 years young)
Started taking anti-androgens August 2010
Attended SCC2010, spending three days around the clock as Deanna for the first time ever (preview of full time) September 2010
Legal name change May 2011
Started estrogen June 2011
Third time attending SCC – getting to be an pro at this September 2011
Moved out and started living full time November 2011
Finally get ears pierced July 2012

I’m sure I have overlooked a few things, but it is nice to look back and see just how far I have come. Life is indeed grand these days.

Well…What’s Next?

What is next? SCC 2012 is right around the corner, just a few weeks away and I am volunteering to be a Big Sister this year. That means if there are any first-timers that need a bit of help getting into the grove of the SCC experience, then they can call on me to lend a hand. After my first experience with SCC in 2009 and the fear that I felt and the loneliness and the anxiety and spending the better part of that day cowering and crying in the ladies room, I don’t want anyone to feel that way if I can help it.

I am also hoping to further expand my activist role, working to promote education and understanding wherever I can. I want to help everyone to understand that being trans is not a perversion or unnatural or evil, it is just another facet of the jewel that is called life.

LOVE! Will I find love? Is there someone out there who will win my heart over and make me fall head over heels for her? Yes, there have been a few that have already done so. I think the better question is; is there someone out there whose heart I can steal, who will fall head over heels in love with me? God I hope the answer is yes. I hope she is not far away and is able to look past my inexperience with relationships and have a willingness to maybe make the first move. At this stage of the game, I’ve become rather timid of the idea of asking someone out – though I’m sure I will do so again.

One of the biggest things I am working on and will continue to work at is accepting and loving myself as myself. I have spent nearly my entire life feeling like I just had no self worth, that nothing I did mattered or was cared for or had any value. I don’t know if some/most/all/any of that has to do with my upbringing. I have almost no memories of my youth. Some wonder if I had experienced some trauma or abuse to not remember. I don’t know. I have no memories that seem to tie to anything like that, but I tend to think that it was all self-imposed. I knew from an early age that there was something drastically wrong with me and that I could not share it with another living soul. It was that bad. So, I think I just judged myself so harshly and had written myself off from having anything worthwhile. I have almost always blended my passion for someone with my heartless self deprecation. I would express my feelings openly and would always follow it up with a list of reasons why she should say no, I’m going to move to another planet tomorrow and not leave any forwarding address – you are just a freak. I’m working around that. I have gone maybe a month without the self flagellation. And that is a huge step for me.

The very next thing for me is sending this post off into the wild blue/black yonder (it is after 11pm and dark outside). Then I’m going to get myself some ice water, brush my teeth and get to bed. Yeah, I know, sounds like I’m getting my Twitter on. Naw, I’m just tired and want to go to bed. Here’s to the next three years. Lets see where we go.

 
 

Choices? Do we have them?

09 Aug

I just, this morning, replied to a post on a Facebook page devoted to Marriage Equality. The author of the post asked about the ever popular conflict between whether being LGBTQ was a choice, a lifestyle or not. I’m sure we have all heard the question or the assumptions before. I felt, after all that has happened for me and around me, these past few weeks, that I needed to honestly address the question. Not just for the sake of others, but for myself as well. I hope that my answer goes some way towards helping someone understand the question and the subject more clearly than before. I know for me, the introspection, looking into myself and evaluating things has always been of great benefit. Never more so than once I started being true and honest with myself about who I am.

Yes, I was born a transsexual lesbian female

I have finally come to the point where I am not only comfortable making that statement, but I am PROUD to announce it to the world. To paraphrase what Popeye used to say, I am what I am and I am trans/lesbian/female/human. Okay, a little less melodic than he said it, but a whole lot more meaningful (to me).

I would love for any of the few of you who come here to read what I post (both of you), I would love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the questions below? For those who know me personally – especially the me that has emerged from my forty-some-year slumber in the cocoon that I built around myself to protect me from the world and moreso to protect the world from me – you know that I am passionate about learning about people. I truly love learning about you all and how you live your lives, how you think, what you think about different topics. I have very rarely gotten any comments on this blog, which makes me feel all alone, though I know you read it. So, please hit the comment button and post your thoughts, your feelings, your insights. I don’t care if you contradict everything I wrote, I just hope you do so respectfully. I enjoy learning. I love you all.

Was I born gay (LGBTQ)?

I was born in 1961 as the third and final child to heterosexual, conservative Christian parents (First Reformed Presbyterian Church of Cambridge, MA). The moment I was brought into the world, the doctor declared me to be a BOY!

As I grew up I was expected to be and do as a boy. If I had ever done anything that was representative of being a girl I was corrected. I grew up with all of the classic signs of having Aspergers Syndrome, at least from what I have been told and from what little fragments of memory I have been able to piece together of my life. I was always very shy and withdrawn. I was always very analytical. I always felt out of place with everyone. I could never identify as/with boys. They always seemed like a foreign species to me (they still do). What they did, how they acted, how they spoke, and how they played did not fit into my instinctual demeanor. I did, however, easily understand every aspect of how I perceived girls to feel, think, act, and play. Only, I had been told by the all-knowing adults that I was not a girl, I was a boy. I had little choice but to believe them. The evidence was always there. Girls tended (in the 60′s) to have longer hair than boys. I had short hair. Girls tended to wear pretty dresses and other clothes, jewelry, accessories – they were far more stylish. I wore boring, ugly, uncomfortable, utilitarian boy clothes. Girls tended to be more animated in their interactions, telling stories, and their general demeanor. I was usually level headed, unemotional, sad, melancholy, confused, silent, and uncoordinated. The evidence was seemingly overwhelming. Regardless of how much I envied the girls. Regardless of how deeply I longed to be able to play with the girls that I so identified with. Regardless of how badly I wanted to dress in nice pretty clothes like the girls. I was a “boy”. Growing up in a very conservative household where love was either non existent or just never expressed and shared (I don’t know if it was because it was evil?) I have no memory of any real relationship with my parents or my siblings (brother and sister). Being secretly transgender (which I would only discover 47 years into my life) and exhibiting all of the classic signs of Aspergers – which many trans-women seem to exhibit and which some in the mental health world believe may be more the result of the conflicts that take place within ourselves and manifest in many of the same socially awkward ways as AS – I grew up feeling mind numbingly isolated from the world and the people around me. For most of my life I was incapable of knowing how to socialize, I was incapable of feeling or expressing any emotions other than self-hatred, misery, depression and anger.

So, the question, was I born transgender, was I born a transsexual female? I can not see any way that I was not. I was certainly not taught that I could be a girl if I wanted to be. So, yes, there is not a speck of doubt in my mind that I was most absolutely born a girl in a boys body.

As for being a lesbian? For as long as I have had any manner of attraction to people in my life, that attraction has always been reserved for girls/women/females. I have had to think about whether I could be attracted to men as a way to “test” who I was. Through my life being overwhelmed with the need, desire, and comfort to wear women’s clothing and trying to find some source of information that defined that need, all I could find from early psychological definitions was that I was a gay male that dressed as a girl in order to satisfy my sexual urges (referred to as autogynephilia). Was I secretly a gay man? No matter how hard I tried to contort that idea, I failed miserably. The only way in which I could ever possibly see myself with a man was in a few fantasies/dreams where I was a woman, with all of the appropriate physical characteristics and being penetrated by a man. That image has only ever appeared twice in my memory. The scenario, in both cases, rapidly devolved into the man actually being a woman. The notion of a man has never had the least bit of an attraction to me. Since I have already established that I have always been female, and have only ever had attractions for females, that would indicate to me that I was born a lesbian. Although by definition of many Christian conservatives and even many in the LGB community, I am still seen as being male, so that makes me heterosexual. While I may still have an abnormal growth between my legs, I am in every other way female. I see myself in every way – save one – as a lesbian trans-woman. The key definitive flaw to the lesbian argument is that in 50 years I have never had a relationship with anyone. I did date a girl (who asked me out) for less than a month when I was 42. She broke up with me because she believed me to be gay. So, there you go, further proof that I am born a lesbian. ;)

As for the question of choice?

Do I have a choice to be gay or trans? We all have choices. We all are faced with thousands of choices every day. Do I want to eat breakfast? What do I want? We need food to survive, so eating is a necessity. I can choose to skip breakfast because I am busy posting on Facebook. I am denying a need. Ghandi practiced hunger strikes in his quest for peace. We can deny things that are inherently part of who we are. However, denying those things have repercussions. Going without food long enough results in starvation. Starving oneself of the need for love, denying who you are for too long has many psychological ramifications. For me, I repressed my need to live as a woman for 47 years. The ramifications I suffered were misery, loneliness, isolation, self hared, depression. I battled continually with the urge to end my life for more than 36 years. I was consumed with thoughts, as frequently as a dozen or more times a day, every single day, of how I could kill myself, how badly I wanted to be dead so that I would no longer have the feelings that I had. Yes, I could and did choose to not act on the need to be a transsexual lesbian woman. Have I paid a price for that choice? My God yes! Do heterosexual, non-trans people, have a choice to practice the “lifestyle” of being gay or trans? Of course. Do some people try it? I’m sure they do. I have heard stories of people who had either convinced themselves, or been convinced by others, that they were trans and they had undergone the process of transition, choosing to fight through the feelings of uncertainty, physical and emotional conflict under the assumption that it would just “take time to adjust to the hormonal changes”. Those choices are often at least as severe, if not more tragic, than the “choice” of someone who is definitively trans not transitioning. That to me is further proof that being trans and working to correct the physical and hormonal conflict is a very clear indicator that I am most absolutely trans.

A person can deny to act on being who they are, but you cannot thrive as a human by doing so.

I sincerely hope that this will help someone understand what the differences are between choice and being true to oneself. Being a Christian is a choice and a lifestyle. Being a Democrat is a choice and a lifestyle. Being an autobody mechanic is a choice and a lifestyle. Being straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, or androgyne is an aspect of who you are as a human and as a person, it is in no way a lifestyle. How you choose to present yourself and your personality to the world is part of the amazingly complex and beautiful thing known as life.

Be who you are and most of all be happy that you are different than every other human on this little blue/green marble. Peace and Love to everyone.

Thank you for reading and for commenting,
Deanna <3

 
 
 
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