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Looking Back at 2015

The year 2015 will be a pretty important year for me in numerous respects. A lot happened and I learned a lot along the way. 2015 was the first year I lived as myself full time. My legal paperwork was done in September 2014 and I was full time thereafter, no looking back.

In January of 2015, I decided to make things happen and stop waiting for them to happen. I have one life to live and I decided I wasn’t sacrificing that life for my spouse’s retirement, especially since she no longer plans to be with me. So I cashed out one of my IRAs and put that money to work.

In February I scurried about getting paperwork submitted for my passport, which I paid extra for “express” handling and I got it just a few weeks later. My name, photo, and a nice big “F” in the gender box made me smile. March became a waiting game, basically waiting for April, and also further realigning myself at work as my colleagues continued to become accustomed to my new presentation.

I underwent FFS in April with Dr. Cardenas, in Guadalajara, Mexico, where I also met the amazing Anne Kelley. We shared a particularly powerful moment during both our recoveries that was bonding, and was a revelation. It was about Anne so if people want to know the details, they should ask her, but for me it was emotionally powerful to see someone coming to terms with themselves in such a beautiful and loving manner.

May was recovery. Let me tell you right now that FFS was far worse and harder in terms of recovery than my GCS, which came later in 2015. FFS was so worth it, but it was a bear in terms of recovery for the first few weeks. I’m happy with my appearance though and I’ve gotten compliments on it, and most importantly, it helped me to stop seeing “him” in the mirror anymore.

June was more waiting and continued recover. Friends and I began planning for Ren Fest in November. We always try to plan several months in advance to give people time to plan for a specific weekend. There were also details to complete, medical tests and exams before my GCS surgery, all of which had to be submitted to Dr. Chettawut’s staff in Bangkok before I even left.

July came and a good friend, Ashley Wilson headed to Thailand ahead of me by about two weeks. I did get to see her while I was there later, before she flew back to the US. And after seeing her, it was my turn. I awoke from GCS and really wasn’t in much pain at all, mainly just uncomfortable. They kept me pretty well controlled with pain meds and such. And my dear, dear friend, Julie Jeznach, had traveled to Thailand with me and was there to visit while I was in the hospital and to help me with my recovery for the three weeks afterwards. We had a lot of fun for the month we were there. I over stressed myself once, got scolded for it, then spent a day and a half recovering from it. Fortunately, no permanent damage. And I learned the tedium and the joys of dilating! And yet we saw things, ate fascinating food, met people, and Julie got to see the Tiger Temple!

In mid-August we flew back home. It seemed almost surreal, Julie and I going our separate ways. I also know that Thailand had been good for Julie too. Good food, regular exercise, walking (for us both as little as I could do) all contributed to Bangkok being a positive experience for us. But then it was over. I rested another week then returned to work while working from home. Working from home was a blessing. As circumstances turned out, and as the changes on our team at work developed, it would arise that I wouldn’t need to actually go back into the office until some time in January, 2016. The rest of 2015 was 100% from home, which gave me time to adapt to my dilation schedule, take breaks as needed, etc. Often my work day the rest of the year went past 6 pm, but that included time for breaks and medical necessities throughout the day as well.

September and October were much the same, except the reminder and the ongoing lesson that I don’t really have family anymore.  I know there are some who might disagree, but being ignored, having things said behind your back, pretending you don’t exist on important family days (birthdays and holiday), does not constitute “love” except in some sort of deranged “religious” mind. I won’t comment further about that except that their behavior reveals a lot more about them than it does about anything else.

Out of that comes a lesson, for me at least. We’re repeatedly told to remove toxic people from our lives. I subscribe to that idea, but implementing it in practice is complicated and is often a process, not a single decision. It’s a process because our hearts don’t always listen to what our heads tell us, and vice-versa. In this case, my head knows I don’t have family and I need to let go and treat them like I treated my father, someone to whom I was biologically related but who are anything except family, based on their behavior. But the heart takes time to let go, often not wanting to accept what the mind otherwise knows to be true.

The last few years have been that process for me and I think I hit rock bottom and was finally able to put this behind me in December of 2015. And no, there was no danger of self harm, just a great sadness and listlessness as my heart realized what my mind has been telling me for a number of years now – you have no blood family.

I also began an online dating experiment in autumn of 2015, and discovered that clearly stating that I am a post-op transgender woman, up front, is a sure way to not get responses from anyone except thoughtless men, who in turn blocked me when they did find out, or from identity thieves, whom I seem to be getting better at identifying, especially since some of them are so pathetic. Out of nearly 400 messages received thus far, only 4 read my profile and realized I was trans, and only 2 of those were really interested in some sort of friendship or relationship. Unfortunately, both of them were very far away and both they and I were looking for someone closer.

November was fun, with time at Ren Fest spent with my friend Elizabeth and myself both dressed up in garish costumes. But I think I want to modify mine more for next year. Maybe replace the heavy leather shoulder pauldrons with fur ones and a few other changes. There were also minor outings, manicure and pedicure, buying some new clothes, and otherwise enjoying myself.

November blended into December, and for the most part, I ignored the Christmas season. Dwelling on it too much was painful. And my mind and heart had to work that out in their own way, as I described earlier.

2015 ended and I was in a sense, relieved. It was over. Time marches on and 2016 is before us. I’m hoping to carve out time for at least one trip this year, perhaps back to Memphis. And maybe, if I can financially swing it, a trip elsewhere. We’ll see.

Choosing to be myself has had a cost, a saddening cost but one which I would still pay, because the alternative was no longer being able to live with myself. Despite rejection from those I’ve loved and to whom I’ve literally given my heart, my life, and even my finances for over thirty years, I still would make the same choice. My choice was to live and I am content with that choice, despite the costs.

Of Nerve Endings, and Random Sensations, Coupled Against Unlikely Future Probabilities.

When I came out to my spouse in 2012, I knew the risks. Part of me held to some silly vain stupid hope that my marriage could be salvaged. Part of me wanted to believe that she and I, we, were better than that. I should have known better. I shouldn’t have even given the tiniest spark to such vain hopes. I didn’t choose to end that marriage. She did, no matter what she claims to the contrary. She’s the one that laid down the ultimatum of “transition, and we’re done”.

But I saw this exactly like I saw my fight against cancer in 1996. I had a great medical team, therapists, doctors, endocrinologists, and they all agreed that my health and well being were best served by transitioning. So with great reluctance I began that process, and I spent two months crying myself to sleep in 2012, grieving for my marriage. There’s lots I could say that I learned here about how others felt about me, but I don’t want to focus on such negatives, so I won’t.

Throughout my transition, up to now, this point, after having had GCS, I’ve been celibate and not actively looking at the dating community at all. I am aware that there is an entire fetish subculture that chases pre-op and non-op trans women as “chicks with dicks”. If you don’t like that phrase, it’s the ugly reality of how our society views pre-op and non-op trans women. It’s ugly. The woman is viewed as a “thing” and she’s used as a thing. The complete epitome of male sexual objectification of women occurs in the trans “chaser” community and how they treat those women.

For that reason alone, I stayed out of the dating pool. And because I was technically still married. It’s just a marriage of tax convenience but this too will end soon enough. But now GCS is done. And things are changing. I’m still a long ways off from being a responsive sexual partner to someone, but the nerves are beginning to wake up.

And wake up, do they! Random firings all over the place. An electric shock sensation that would make me leap out of bed except certain sutures are pretty sore at the moment. Random neural firings just all over the place.

Of course, then there’s dilation too. I’m not very far along on this yet but already I’m discovering that certain sensations are pleasant, that they even make me wonder what certain experiences would ultimately be like.

And that leads to day dreams. I suppose many women, trans or not, dream of finding Mr. Right (and some of finding Ms. Right). I admit to such thoughts, such dreams. But I also admit to the cold reality that trans acceptance among those my age, late 50s give or take a few years, is pathetically, horribly low. And that’s where day dreams snap back to reality. Within all probability, my remaining years will be spent alone, fending off dates from men who want nothing but sex, with almost zero chance of finding that person who wants a relationship, a friendship, a sexual intimacy, all together with a person with whom they could spend the rest of their life.

Could it happen? Yes, the odds are not zero. But will it? The odds are not good and I know this. It crosses my mind every single day. And I knew this going into transition and still chose transition, because the alternative was to die.

When people say trans people have a “choice”, it’s not much of a choice when the choice is between finally being yourself or dying. Yet I know people who would have preferred I had killed myself. Unfortunately for them, I chose life, even if that turns out to be a life alone.

In the meanwhile, I have close friends, supportive friends. Two of my three children accept me and want me involved more in their lives. I have nieces, nephews, a sister-in-law all who support me and eagerly want to see me again. It’s been a few too many years since I was back to Ohio.

What I plan to do is live my life. I’ll be open to that day that Mr. Right walks into my life but I won’t pine away wondering if or when he ever will. If it happens, good. And if not? Someone lost a chance to find out how much this trans woman could value a life partner.

The odds aren’t good but if I don’t play the game, I can never win, right?