Remembering Trouble

Preface (edit):

The past few days have been hard.  I’m questioning my decisions, questioning my heart, questioning my status and state in life.  The only thing I’m not questioning is my transition.

In many ways I don’t know who I am anymore, only what I am striving to become.  But “what” is not “who”.

Now Vanessa is in serious trouble.  As a result my doubts have increased and my mood has turned dark.  It will pass, though it’s hard to see when.  In the meantime dark moods tend to reminisce about a dark past.

I am still a wreck.  My heart is still in pieces, bleeding pain into my life.  And I again I am trapped with nowhere to go and a sinking feeling I needed to be somewhere else yesterday.

Please keep all that in mind when reading the following from this morning:

 

Rebecca:

I remember being told you were leaving in the middle of the night.  This was somehow protecting James.  I agreed to leave instead and you stood there repeatedly telling me to get out.

A week later I had barely contacted you.  You insisted I come over so we could talk about finances.  I had asked for reasons to give you $300 per week.  What I got was an attack.  I barely said anything as you did most of the talking.

It started with, “You’re not going to like this.”

Then you proceeded to give me a list of fix-it items, insisting that I wrote them down.  I still have that list.  During this you repeatedly bashed me.  I still don’t remember the exact words, but I do know I asked you to please stop.  At that you backed down a bit.

I then started talking about week-to-week finances and you shut me down with a, “I don’t care” statement.  I was devastated, ready to burst into tears.  I held it as long as I could – just long enough to get in the car.  Then I cried my way back to my friends.  I cried hard and long that night.

The next day I was served with the restraining order.

A week later at court I was expertly turned into some evil jerk looking to destroy you and your son.  The order stayed in place.

With 1 exception I haven’t hurt anyone physically since I was 18.  And that 1 exception was not deliberate.  I was not trying to throw you into a wall.  I was trying to get you out of the way so I could escape.  If I had aimed a little I could have sent you to the stairs or straight down the hall.  But I was panicked.  I was livid.  I was in horrible pain on top of suffering horribly with dysphoria.

Meanwhile for years I suffered while standing with you, holding you up.  For years any time I needed help with my dysphoria I was verbally abused.  Just to say the word “transgender” in a conversation would result in a nice verbal lashing.  Any time I would go to the LGBT center I was questioned as if I was cheating.  I was made to feel uncomfortable for seeking help because you thought they were trying to convince me to transition.  I could not get comfortable around you but I tried.  Lord knows I tried.  Day after day I sat loving you, hoping you would reach out and help me.

But it never came.

Instead I got labeled a villain and kicked to the curb.

That still hurts.  It’s a wound that may never heal because it broke my heart so hard and so deeply.  I nearly died.  I was repeatedly ready to die, though I cannot take my own life.  You know, just lay down and not wake up.

That changed my life and the ripples are still rebounding off me.

As a result of the restraining order I lost the church.  My moral support was ripped from me.  I was set adrift and for a time (with help from other “christians”) I lost God entirely.

Do you know what really hurt?

Nobody was upset.  Nobody tried to bring me back to God.

Not 1 soul.

(Okay, I have to admit Rebecca did suggest I find another church with more accepting standards.  But there was no concern when she suggested it, almost as if she expected me to leave.)

Can you imagine the horror?  Can you imagine feeling cut off from God?  Can you imagine feeling like everything is being stripped from you?   My status, my home, my family, my happiness, my sanity, my love… gone.

All this was because I could not handle my dysphoria and could not find help.

And now my friends are having big troubles – the only people who cared and took me in.

Am I cursed?  I keep asking myself that and wondering what can be done.  Should I just drop off the map, go hide in some hole deep in some forest?  Everything in my life is rotting away or being stripped from me.

Is it any wonder my work performance shot up but has steadily dropped?

I’m torn and tattered.

I’m tired of the stress.

I’m tired.

I’m depressed.

My friend is lying in the other room sick and dying.

My wife will see me but encounters are a big stress unto themselves.

I’m tired.

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1 Saved Child

I’m only a few months into living my life full time.  Being me is so rewarding.  I can’t imagine how much more rewarding it would be to have transitioned when I was entering puberty… or 20… or 30.

I actually feel sorry for people who scream hate at us for expressing who we are.  They have such a narrow view of life.  And to think they fill it with hate.  How miserable they must be.  Oh, sure, they’ll claim joy or happiness now and then.  They will never reach the level of joy, peace and contentment we feel when we can finally take a breath and start being ourselves.

This little girl gets to do it correct.

I wish I were as lucky as Rebekah.  Nevertheless the sense of relief at her living a full life as herself brings me such joy.  1 less person living a hollow life.

Memories

In times of grief the first thing we turn to are our memories.  We look back and remember a time of happiness, of friends and family, of inclusion.  And then we look at what we have now and lament the losses.

I happened upon old photos on Facebook this morning.  So many people are gone.  So many good memories lost to time, with only a few snapshots of the events.

I remember living in Huntington Beach, CA.  The temperature was never above 85, never below 50.  Rebecca and I took daily walks with the dog. (Peanut?)  My weight was the lowest in the 10 years before and since.  Life had challenges but life was good.

I remember driving with James and Rebecca up to Lake Tahoe.  We took the 395 – the back road, up through Nevada.  We stopped at an inn and ate a wonderful breakfast just South of Carson City.

I remember the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  What an amazing place!  And the massive viewing room with a seamless 40-foot long, 15 foot tall glass window looking into an enormous aquarium.
I remember staying at that World Mark room.  It was a small townhouse right on the bay.

I remember when James was born.  I remember watching them weigh him, do all the usual newborn tests.  Then holding him.  This precious tiny thing was a piece of me.

I have to say, James has always been a really good kid.  I really wish I could be there now just so he had 1 less stress in his life.

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I am Christian

The only passage I see myself possibly breaking is Deuteronomy 22:5:

A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.

-NIV

Luke 10:27 tells us we are more than the body.  We also have a mind, heart and soul.  (If those weren’t separate then God would not have included them.)

But what am I?  Sure, my flesh is male.  But my mind and heart are decidedly female.  (I don’t think my soul has a gender.)

So how does Deuteronomy 22:5 apply?  Clearly I am a man dressing as a woman.  But I am also a woman dressing as a woman.  Is the flesh more important than mind and heart?

No matter how I dress, I’ll effectively be cross-dressing.

Okay.  So that’s a wash.  I am still a sinner regardless.  I must pray forgiveness.

What’s next?

 

Aftermath

Wow!

God is Good!

I made the announcement feeling more nervous than I’ve ever felt in my life.  It wasn’t verbatim but I followed my speech.

They gave me a round of applause.

Wow!

So many are here to support me!  Chuck gave me a big hug.  A few people nodded and a few just moved along.  But… wow!  Just wow!

And here’s Tim (IT) shaking my hand and offering his support.

PRAISE GOD!

Big Day

I come out at work tomorrow morning, 10:00 am ET.  And shortly thereafter I will be making the announcement with the rest of my programming team.

We’re called the “BusWare team.”  BusWare is the app that runs on buses; operates all the bells, whistles and lights; and monitors a bunch of things like engine performance, and passengers coming and going.  It’s a HUGE project with thousands upon thousands of files.  I’m proud to be a team member.

I figure the speech will go something like this:

Hello.  I’ve called you all here.  No, really.  I arranged this meeting.  Don’t worry.  It’ll be quick.

(Take a breath.)
For as long as I can remember I have suffered from a condition that constantly puts me under tremendous stress.  I have finally reached a point where I can’t deny it or hold it back any longer.

I am transgender.  (Wait for a few seconds.)

My body is as you see but my mind has always been female.  Thus the constant stress of looking one way and feeling another.

Last October I started my transition.  That means I am actively working to change my body to be as female as I can possibly make it.  I hope the changes are starting to show.

If you are willing, please call me Rachael.  But I will not take offense to Bob.

Questions?  (Answer if any are asked.)

If anyone ever wants to talk privately, please feel free to grab me.  It takes a lot to upset me and I’m very willing to share what I know.

If any of this upsets you, please feel free to get Ziad and/or HR involved.  They all know what’s going on.

Well, that’s it.

Thanks for your time.

Maybe I should get a “Hello, my name is…” sticker and slap it on my chest for the rest of the day.

After tomorrow the only person in my life hopefully oblivious to my transition is James.

 

 

Life’s Little Turns

Ever wonder what would happen if you woke up a different person?  In a very real sense that is what I am doing.  I have spent over 30 years keeping a large chunk of myself stuffed into a tiny box, hoping the box holds forever.  It didn’t.  About a year ago the box broke and in December 2016 it shattered far beyond repair.

So who am I?

I am a girl.
I am a creature of the night.  **

There’s never been any doubt of those facts – at least not for me.  What I have learned is…

I am submissive.  I love letting others make decisions.  I’m usually so easy-going that I rarely need to pick something thing over another.  That’s not to say I can’t decide, only that I have no problem letting others decide for me.

**Edit: This is not the same as “evil.”  I think and work best after dark.  Some call it “night owl.”  But today I call it “creature of the night” so my friends have a reference to draw closer.  From this I can show them God’s love through example.