Monday, August 12, 2013

Reader mail: Answer to a Reader's Question

Occasionally I get questions about my life from readers or from people whom I know in real life.  The following questions come from Jamie, whom I introduced HERE.

I'm always open to answering questions.  As long as they aren't X rated. 

So, here we go.  I use the random letter "L" to designate my drab name.

I wonder if Sophie acknowledges L?  Or do you like to keep them separate? 

Consider both parts as compromising the whole of the person who is Sophie.

Is it painful for Sophie to think of L and the duality that exists?  Additionally, as you say, both parts comprise of the whole of the person who is Sophie. When the transition happens, will both parts stop being so divided?

The short answer is YES, very painful.

The longer answer is this: 

Once I acknowledged my feminine side (back in late 2008) my masculine self began to erode.  Slightly at first, but steadily.  Like the tide taking a beach, grain by grain, wave by wave.  Just making that acknowledgement meant opening up something I'd kept deeply suppressed 25 years at that point. 

Both consciously and unconsciously, I built my life to hide the shameful fact of who I was deep down.  I learned to fight.  I outdrank everyone.  I became hyper aggressive.  This had the side effect of making me angry or depressed most of the time.  It also meant that I had ZERO self esteem, as I felt everyone could see through my "front" and see the hideous thing that I was inside.

I saw myself as a "rotting shell without a soul."  Actual words from a short story I wrote back in 1990.

This colored all my relationships with everyone, including my first fiancée and then my wife.  Even after getting married and finding a job that paid a livable wage, I still saw myself as a worthless freak.  Then, in 2003, I lost that job, and moved back to Pennsylvania unemployed, overweight, and in deep depression. 
Fast forward five years, when the feminine floodgates reopened. 

Once I acknowledged that the feminine side existed, I began to feel better about myself.  Then I started seeing a gender specialist.  And I began to make friends among the trans- community.  I wasn't alone.  I wasn't a solitary freak.  I researched the transgender phenomenon.  I learned, and the more I learned, the better I felt.  I was DIFFERENT, yes, but I always knew I was.  As I made more friends in the T-community, I learned what amazing courageous people they are.  I drew strength from that I searched my soul for the answers I sought.  Answers to basic questions:  Who AM I?  What am I?  What does this mean?

Eventually, through the help of friends and therapy, I looked deep within myself one drunken night.  I looked into the mirror at the motel room I'd rented for the night to change, and I asked myself "is this it? Am I just a guy wearing fake breasts makeup and a wig?  Or am I more?"

I wanted to cry, but I couldn't.  I'd been lying to everyone- friends, family, and most of all my Wife.  I felt horrible.  Within two weeks of that night,  I told my Wife about being TG.  And a weight was lifted from my shoulders.

I then examined my soul, unencumbered by the guilt of Lies.  And I came to the inescapable conclusion... I was a Woman.  My soul is female.  I stopped lying to Myself. 

And another weight was lifted.  Since then I've moved forward as a woman... knowing that one fact gave me a purpose I previously lacked.  In December, I started Hormone Replacement Therapy, which opened new worlds.  I could finally cry.  And wow, have I ever!

The more female I become, the less male I am.  Now I again see L as a shell- a membrane to be breached to give birth to the true person waiting beneath.  And its KNOWING that it will take time that hurts so much.  Every moment I am male is torture.  All the good parts that were L is still there... as Sophie.  Minus the anger, the need to hide.  As a woman, I have self-confidence.  I KNOW I matter- that I can make a difference in other people's lives.  I no longer live haunted by my past.

My friend Hayden made an observation to me a couple weeks ago.  He's seen me as male and female.  He observed that as a male I'm always scowling; that my standard facial expression is a frown with my bottom lip sticking out just a little bit, while as Sophie, I am always smiling or close to it.  "Ready with your rapid fire smile" were his exact words.

That sums it up perfectly. 

So that's the long winded answer.  The duality is VERY painful.  Its the built up agony of 42 years of knowing I was born in the wrong body, and knowing that I can solve it... but I have to wait.

Someday all there will be is Sophie.  All the lessons I've learned through my life will inform the woman I am becoming.  And the pain of the process will serve as a reminder to treasure each day... as I will have earned it.

1 comment:

  1. What you just described, they way you feel, the way you agonize: it's like listening to myself talk. It's like looking at myself in the mirror. I hope you progress "quickly" and are able to become your true self without too many delays.


    Emma Rose