They Beast

Last night, I had just returned home from a huge personal moment. I had regained the joy in singing before and with other people. I had sat in a room full of my trans and gender non conforming siblings and sung songs of unity, pride and defiance. So when I got home, after a joyful cry, I made a pizza and settled in to watch a documentary on the history of rock climbing in Yosemite. I love adventure sports. I have always found them enticing and inspiring. I got to thinking about my love of urban bicycling, of riding like a maniac and doing the things most people are afraid to do with a self assured ease. I began to think about penning a piece on the topic. I had in the past. Even had a blog on the subject. But then I turned to social media. I was reminded of the real struggle of my life. That of the drive to authenticity that has left me and so many like me vulnerable to a very real hate. This poem is a result of that tiny moment in my small life.

They Beast

 

I wanted to write about urban biking

I wanted to write about the thrill of traffic

From my perch on two spinning pedals

About adrenaline and danger

Taking massive risks

Pitting myself against one ton behemoths

And the petty laws of cis men put in place for my “safety”

About how I know better because

I measure heavy traffic’s motion in milliseconds

I, the they queen of derring-do

 

But then I woke up to the world around me

To my trans sisters who can’t ride a subway

Without being assaulted

Who can’t walk down the street

Without death threats

Hurled at their faces

 

I woke up to the days

When strangers tell me

That they hope I get raped

 

I woke up to the rage that boils in the world

And calls out for my enby sibling’s blood

The very real fact that there is no rest for their weary hearts

No port or potty in a storm

That they can call a safe haven

 

I woke up too to the fire that we are all filled with

That raises us up

And tells us we are good

 

Before I transitioned

I learned to ride my bike like a pro

Because I wanted to be killed in traffic

But I awoke to the reality

That I was letting the cis lords win

That I was throwing away

Every part of me

That my loved ones said was so special

 

I had to face the people

Who would try to kill me

Try to run me off the road

Who would curse my soul

And tell me it was their God’s will

That I burn for eternity

The very same God

Who had supposedly

Put me here

In this trans body

In this world

Where I don’t fit

Where my trans brothers

Are called “faggot” and “it”

 

What have we done but let our little lights shine?

 

When do I get to write about

The joy in just following a line

Through heavy traffic

Totally aware of my immediate world

At peace and pumping hard

On my tube steel steed

Where is my opus

On the power in me?

 

Damn it all if it isn’t in just living the risk

That is my bare existence

Knowing full well

That the next time I go to the store

And some cis lord sees a hint of

My symphony of genderless defiance

proof of my lie

My trick aimed at him

And his sexual interest

And decides it is my time to die

 

I do not need to race through traffic

I do not need to surf big waves

Or to climb huge walls untethered

Or to jump from those self same walls

 

For I am an abomination

A monster

That makes the cis lords crumble in fear

Because they are not strong enough

To face their own truths

For fear

Of the truth

That they,

Made in the image

Of the same deity as me,

Are my mirror

 

I still ride

Because I want to

I still make young cis men

Feel weak and unskilled

Because they know they can’t pass me

Or pass as me

And I revel in it

Because I am a they beast

An enby trans woman

 

I am too much an angel

To be dragged down to their earthly domain

They Beast

Danny

Oh Danny

You called me “she” when my back was turned

When I was trying

So very hard

To be the young man I thought I had to be

 

That day at work

When I saw you in your dress

And cute brown wig

That you usually only wore for your drag act

I thought you were so gorgeous

So very elegant, long and slender

Like a six three goddess crane, oozing femininity

I just had to tell you

And when I asked you why you didn’t dress that way

All the time

And you said

It was because you would get your ass kicked

I knew it was true

I knew it was true too

That if

I let myself free

They would try to kill me too

 

Oh Danny

I have often wondered

What became of you?

Are you still trapped in your man skin?

Or have you shed yours too?

Did they kill you Danny?

Did they beat the life from you?

Or did you survive?

Scars and all

To become the long

And elegant bird of grace

That you were always meant to be

 

If you made it, perhaps I will see you again

All these years later

You saw the girl in me when no one else could

You saw right through my mask of fears

You called me “she” when my back was turned

Our coworkers didn’t know why

You knew though

You knew too

Not to say it to me directly

That I was still too scared

You called me “she”

To my best guy friend though

And he told me Danny

All these years later

Now that I have let myself be

The trans woman that I am

 

Oh Danny

I hope I run into you someday

And we can talk about the bad old days

When girls like us

Had to hide in man costumes

Just to survive

And we can look ourselves over Danny

And remark on what beauties we have both become

 

Oh Danny

I hope life hasn’t been too hard on you

That it hasn’t left you sick and scarred

It nearly killed me Danny

I hid so damn long

I had always held out hope for you

The strength you showed

In being you

If only part time

I looked up to you Danny

 

Oh Danny

I know

I just know you can hear me

You called me “she”

You were the first person ever

To get my gender right

And I never had to ask you

We are girls of a special kind

And you knew your sister

As soon as I spoke

I can’t believe it has taken me so long

To say “thank you Danny”

 

Oh Danny

Do you remember?

Back then

The two of us

In our baggy men’s jeans and shirts

And big army boots

With our shaved heads

Our ridiculous man costumes

What fools we both looked

And damnit, if we didn’t both know it

Danny

Tomboy! A Declaration 

When I began gender transition, like many other folks, I assumed I wanted to be the opposite gender from the one assigned to me at birth. I had spent so long feeling trapped by everything male that escaping it was my paramount concern. I declared to all who knew me “I am a woman!” and began seeking the sage advice of the transexual people who had come before me. As I absorbed their stories and ideas I was struck by one concept in particular and found myself so bowled over by it that it became my only goal in transition. I was moving away from assumptions and toward authenticity. I was leaving my maleness behind and becoming me. My transition was about one word, one embodiment of gender that had always held me in its grasp, from the instant I first heard it at five or six years old. Tomboy. I was becoming my true self, a trans tomboy.

All my life up until not too long ago the world was busy telling me what boys don’t do. I was a person of don’ts. Hemmed in and dying on the inside, constantly checking my every second against the norm and endlessly correcting myself. I was exhausted, fed up and depressed. So I accepted and declared my trans nature and began to face the opposite chorus that told me what women don’t do. The world still told me “no” but my life was becoming “yes!” The people I had looked to all along, through all of my years, who seemed to have the best grasp on their identities were this multifaceted gang of cis women who called themselves “tomboys”. They expressed a wide variety of styles, gender expressions and activities. Some were simply less conventionality feminine and others were outright masculine and every combination of those two expressions. They were every sexuality too. They were asexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual and lesbian. The one common denominator was this deceleration of “no!” If there was a feminine or masculine role or expectation that agreed with them, they embraced it but if something didn’t fit, they rejected it. They were all so cool. I saw too that as a group they seemed to encompass the largest swath of women and girls.

During my first year of transition I have walked in many people’s shoes. I began 2015 being seen and treated by the world as a man. I had a shaved head, stubble on my face and dark utilitarian clothing. I was addressed as “sir, man” and “bro”. Then I slowly discarded my male clothing and replaced it with women’s clothes, I began to let my head hair grow out and shaved my face clean. I was becoming a queer man in the world’s eyes and I received the abuse reserved for them. I became a “faggot” or I was called “sir” in the most sarcastic tones. I began hormone replacement therapy and electrolysis on my facial hair and my body began to shift with my ever more feminine presentation. To the world I became an open ended question. I was stared at, mocked openly, jaws hung open at me, double takes were taken and fingers pointed while faces laughed. The world had no words for me. As my body shifted again I became feminine enough in appearance that the world began to see a woman or maybe a man, a perverse deceiver, this brought an end to my male privilege and I was threatened on the street. Attempted physical assault was followed by demonization. I was told that I was going to “burn in hell”. Next came the absolute assumption that I was either a very butch woman or a trans man. I was called “bitch, homo, buddy” and “dyke”. The epithets had returned. A month or two later and the hateful began to see an object of desire, a woman for them to own. I was gawped at by men and they tried to coral me and my attention. I was “ma’am, miss” and “girl”. When I ignored the cat calls I was again just some “bitch”. I realized too that all of those stages of humanity I had passed through could fit under the umbrella of tomboy. Effeminate men, androgynous folks, butch women and trans folk of every stripe embodied this concept. The word tomboy was central to so many of the stories of the people I had found empathetic siblinghood with.

Eventually I was a woman to the world. And I found myself hemmed in by that too. My body had changed but the way I walk and talk was still basically the same. The clothes I put on when I turned my back on maleness were the same ones I was still wearing. I was loving being able to express my femininity and I was finally able to embrace my masculinity. Nail polish on calloused hands. Having it presumed that I was a cis woman irked me though. I had been through a lot in my life and I wanted the world to recognize that and celebrate it with me. So I began to head back to a more androgynous style of dress. I began to enjoy when someone called me “sir” and then “ma’am” in the same breath. I wanted to be that obstinate question mark, that tomboy. I decided too that my birth name was too important for me to relinquish. Publicly I am Chris Jen but legally, and privately, I am still Christopher. I never did have legal dysphoria. I have too little respect for authority to care how I am seen by those who believe they have power. I saw at that point too that not only was my gender expression tomboyish but my gender identity was trans tomboy and that until my gender marker on legal documents could be changed to reflect that (a T perhaps) it did not matter if the system saw me as M or F. It gave me power too, which is something I have never really had. Sure, I was once offered the power of a white athletic man, but that felt so wrong on me it was no privilege, it felt like a burden. Now in the world I am seen as a woman, perhaps a questionable woman but a woman nonetheless. When I need to use a debit card or show some form of identification I get to find out who is a bigot and who is not. The cool folks shorten Christopher down to Chris without me asking. Some folks enter into conversations about gender with me and I get to learn from them and they sometimes learn from me. The bigots call me “sir” and refuse to look at me or speak to me. I have successfully challenged their assumptions and disrupted their view of the world forever. I have created change.

To me that is what being a tomboy is all about. Yes, there are the two binary genders. The girly girls in their hobbling footwear, skimpy clothes, caked in makeup basking in their weakness. There are the macho men too. All stubble, dirt and funk. Reveling in their power and prowess, dominating all comers. Those are well and good. They are reference points for the rest of us, the bulk of humanity. They help us define and explain our endless variations, subtractions and combinations of gender identities and expressions. Cis, genderqueer and trans. Binary and non-binary. Those who say “this is what I am” or “also this” and those who prefer to say “this is what I am not” The multitudes of different bodies and minds that experience the world in a way that no one else can. The tomboys. 

Tomboy! A Declaration 

Today I Mourn

Today I mourn

Today I mourn my fallen siblings

Killed by the hate that kept them trapped

In a world not kind

To those whose genders come from beyond

What cruel folks call

“Normal human”

Today I mourn

For my trans siblings

Who failed to meet 

Cis comprehension 

Whose lives were taken

In acts of hate

Today I mourn trans siblings killed

By those with whom 

They tried to share

Their hearts, their love

Today I mourn 

Those trans siblings lost

To their own hands

And to a violence

Made by the hate 

Of a world

That refused to understand

And bullied them

‘Till they could not stand

Another night, another day

Of ceaseless senseless pain

Today I mourn

Today I mourn

Today I mourn 

But I will not forget

The light that my trans siblings brought 

To this, our world

Today I mourn

But take what strength I have

And battle on against that tide

Of fearful retribution 

With my fire

I will turn that tide

To a glowing mist 

Of kaleidoscopic and multitudinous glory

Of gender claimed

And fought so hard for

I will try to share

With all who’ll listen

My tale of struggle

That is not mine alone

This valiant struggle to set all

Whose  gender strays

From what’s expected 

Free at last

So that this list of the dead that grows

Each passing year

Will one day end

And all human lives can be lived

In freedom and in peace

So that all humanity 

Can live unchained 

In celebration of one another’s glory

Today I mourn

But I will not forget

To do my part

To fix this world

So that none shall mourn

Like this again

Today I mourn

Those lights who shined

But all too briefly 

Today I mourn

My trans siblings

Whose souls fell like autumn’s leaves 

Sinking to cover

The graves of the lost

Today I mourn

But my hope grows

Out of the pain

And into the light

Today I mourn

Today I mourn

Today I mourn

But I will not cease to fight

Today I mourn

And today I remember 

All of my siblings killed

Because they were transgender

Today I Mourn

Coming Out Day

IMG_5751

Hello friends! Today marks my first National Coming Out Day, I have been living my life openly as a trans woman for just around eight months. It was almost exactly eight months ago to the day that I reached self acceptance. My journal says that moment took from February 11-14.

That was a massive week for me. Finally accepting that I could not hide who I am any longer and beginning to work towards being able to like myself. A few weeks later I slowly told the folks around me my deepest truth and my life of the lie evaporated at last. I was free…

What have I gained? The world friends, I have gained the world. I can enjoy my existence again. I can love those around me unconditionally and without envy or personal discomfort. I can love myself. I can look in a mirror and instantly recognize the woman grinning like a twit as being me. I know, trust and inhabit my own body and mind in full now! I have gained the simple pleasures of knowing who I am and being happy in that.

If I have learned anything in these months of transition it is do not run from your fears. Do not hold your feelings in check, suppressed to the point that you have forgotten they were there. Face your fears, whatever they may be. If you don’t it may well kill you but it will certainly detract from your days. We have so few days, don’t we deserve to live them in full? My every moment was once a haunted mess. Now those moments are savored. Every human being deserves that.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness right?

The more folks that share with the world how they are not part of the assumed hetero-cis-normative standard the more actual lives will be saved and the richer the human experience will become. If you are LGBTQ, it is okay honey! You can be yourself. People will love you and you can have a life worth living. It is going to be good, trust me, trust yourself. If you are hetero and or cis then please think about the things you say, the narratives you embrace, the culture and standards you uphold. Make space in the world for those of us who haven’t had the good fortune to be born into a world designed for us. Once that space becomes commonplace it won’t be so potentially painful or dangerous to be LGBTQ, it will be so humdrum. The onus is on us all to change ourselves, our assumptions and our society to fit all good people. To judge them “…by the content of their character.” as one civil rights leader once hoped.
This is my first National Coming Out Day as a trans woman, but it will not be my last. Thank you again to everyone who has welcomed me. You have helped make this year what I had always hoped it could be.

And one more thing…TRANS PRIDE!!

Coming Out Day

Elements of a Walk: Part Two

image

Note: I had been writing this piece almost as it happened I stopped writing because I realized more and more that whatever it was that I was getting down in type was not about walking. I should mention too that this part has been written from the other side of transition.

So I was off to Newburyport on foot, a four day ninety plus mile journey. I had a nice enough walk to my hotel. My digestive trouble was persistent however and I had to stop several times over the twenty plus miles that made up my day. It was a beautiful early autumn day, crisp and blue and just faintly cool. But I felt stressed. Work was becoming exhausting. I didn’t think it was just the labor either, tiring though it was. I felt spent at the end of every day and at the end of every install. I loved the job and my coworkers but I always felt so apart, so forced. I got bland food from a grocery for dinner. Yogurt and an organic frozen mac and cheese. Heated the mac up in my motel room, they were very nice. My thoughts shifted from food and digestion to how tired and sore I was. Grit from the road stuck to me like glitter to glue.

I looked at myself in the mirror and it took me the usual few beats to recognize myself. I took out my device and went to the asexual forums where I found a university psychology survey for a study on asexual men. I decided to take it, I wanted to do my part to add to the info on asexuals. When I finished I was feeling more like a man. There had been a whole section of questions about imagining one’s self as a woman. I thought that meant that was common among ace men. Back in the thread in the ace forum I posted the obligatory “done” and looked through the other participant’s posts. Many of them questioned what was up with the section that had made me feel normal. A female moderator explained that “some ace men aren’t, they are actually transgender…”

My heart collapsed. I sat and stared anxiety addled and immobile. I had crossed a line that I hoped I would never cross. I had allowed my transgender feelings to slip out into the world and back into my conscious life. When I had signed up for the ace forum I had never added a gender designation on my profile and had felt closest to the women and trans folk there. I had been struggling to identify with the men, going as far as stopping myself from even reading trans or femininely oriented threads. The men themselves had now made it clear that I was not one of them.

I decided to cross another line and searched online for quizzes that would tell me if I was transgender. I took a few. I took them all a few times. They all suggested the same basic thing “you experience discomfort in your assigned gender and may want to see a gender therapist”.

When I was a teenager, at the birth of the internet, I found out you could ask any questions you could think of of these things called search engines and they would come back with an answer. One day when my folks and brother were out I typed in “I feel like a boy/girl” it did some thinking and spat back “Chicks With Dicks”. Thus began my understanding that the world saw a disgusting anomaly that was only fit to be sexualized when it saw someone like me. It also began my transferring of my trans identity onto the women in this pornography that the world showed me in response to my confused query. I looked at trans porn regularly from then on. Always trying to sexualize what I saw but instead being fascinated by the beauty, courage and strength I saw in their faces. I envied those women above all others and I lived through them. I never looked at groups, just photos of individuals. In that hotel that night I looked at some more trans porn. I focused in on some of the women who had had sexual reassignment surgery. I looked at their pictures in chronological order and saw their naked prostrate forms morph into ever more feminine forms. When their male genitalia turned into female, everything just seamed right. Complete.

I was terrified but I was so scared that I felt dead inside. I stripped off for a rare shower, to rinse the road dust from me but to clean myself of where I had just allowed myself to go. I glanced at my naked body as I walked past a large hotel mirror. I saw a man, but just out of sight, when I looked at myself without bias, I saw a female form. I saw a body that had been forcibly restrained from becoming itself. I pulled a towel up around my chest and scuttled shame headed into the shower. I scrubbed deeply in the steam and thought about the next day and my destination. I sank back into my old denial tool…distraction.

The next day was great. The kind of day that distance walking is all about. It was only about seventeen miles and the weather was sunny-ish and partly overcast. A breeze-less cool autumn classic. The first part was down a massive hill into the valley where the Topsfield Fair had just been held and back up the equally huge hill on the other side. The next ten miles to Newburyport were down a straight and level road. I only encountered two people on my walk that day, two men. The first was an older white man headed into a restaurant who chatted with me pleasantly about the walking I was engaged in. He had seen his younger self in me and recognized my activity without having to inquire. His comparison made me uneasy. A few miles later a big white dude in a football team hat, dressed and presenting like a manly laborer passed me going the other way. I was nervous at his approach. As we got closer to one another he looked me hard in the eyes and gave me the man nod. I reciprocated and as we passed he muttered “…’sup brother?” I stammered back a “hello” as quickly as I could. I hated being called that and finally it hit just how much I hated it there on the road that day. It occurred to me too that I never said it to anyone, not even my male friends who said it to me.

The landscape was beautiful and I was drawn into it, half remembering the same fields rushing by my window in the back of my parent’s car thirty years before. I was headed back to all of my earliest memories. I was remembering not being a boy.

When I arrived at my hotel there was still quite a bit of day left so I went back out to walk around. I went over to my first church and saw where I had first seen my own blood. A shard of glass had gotten into my fingertip. My Dad had taken my hand, calmed me and brushed the glass out and away in one motion. I saw the street we had lived on, our house and my school. I thought back to first grade and my friends and all of our play there in Newburyport. I had only ever thought of myself as a kid, never a boy, just a child and on that nostalgic stroll this washed over me. I remembered school and day camp, how it was me and Katelyn, sometimes Andrew too and all the other girls. The boys always walked in another group. I remembered being called names and told “…no, boys don’t…” by angry little boys. I remembered learning that something was wrong, that I wasn’t what I was supposed to be.

So I got a bunch of greasy food, went back to my hotel to watch tv and tried to be happy about my little trip. The town was very pretty and much smaller than I had remembered. I posted on social media sites and tried to avoid the forums. I just didn’t want to think about it.

The rest of the trip back to Somerville was miserable and haunted. I had diarrhea the whole way back. My digestive discomfort continued through fall and into winter. I was spending much of that time at my Mom’s house in New Jersey. My time with her was my time away from the sexual world but the male world too. I was beginning to accept that. I had filled out another survey through the asexual forum in November and had put “agender” down instead of male. It felt really good and I was beginning to hope that I really was just no gender.

That Christmas Eve on the car ride home from a diner dinner with my Mom I had one of my occasional seizures. They had been happening since I was a teen but this was the first my Mom had witnessed. They were infrequent, once every year or so. I always got hot, queazy and panicky then I would black out and collapse coming to a few seconds later. Then I would feel ill for the next several hours or days. This time was no different. I had no name for what they were and until my Mom’s keen eye, no real description. I looked up the symptoms she described and they fit neatly into the atonic seizure mold.

On a whim I looked up another odd occurrence. My tongue will ache for no reason. The answer? A psychosomatic response to stress. It was suggested that the seizures could be brought on by stress too. My world was only hanging together by the thinnest of threads. I saw one last desperate hope. I would finally try to live on a sailboat. Just like my semi-cousin had once insisted I would never be man enough to do. I had been talking about the idea for years but felt too much like it was just a story I told the guys. My Granddad had had a boat when I was a kid, he was butch and in many respects I looked up to and in part emulated him. I could see that it might offer me time alone, relief. The fact that I get motion sickness with ease was not a concern. I figured if I could put it together I wouldn’t last long before tragedy struck and my pain would be over. As if to help me move forward I got an offer of a house sitting job through my boss, for his mother in law.

I did end up using that time to purchase a twenty eight foot sailboat from a man on Cape Cod. I was the only bid in an online auction. The strangest moments were in my trip to see the boat and meet the seller. I was in an uncomfortable daze the whole time. The seller and his father met me. They were both lumbering construction workers who kept reassuring me that “this is a working man’s boat”. I had nothing to say or questions to ask. It was the most awkward meeting of my life. I knew I shouldn’t be there but felt forced to be. I had to be this person right?

The bus ride back was painfully dim. When I got back to Porter Square I went to the grocery store’s hot food bar and loaded up on shitty food. I was going to eat my way into a coma. I had just spent three grand on a dream that wasn’t mine. I had backed myself into a corner, told everyone I knew. I was going to keep being the man they all expected. Except I didn’t feel like a man, at all. I had worn and shaved off my last winter beard. I was realizing that I felt better when I couldn’t see my male pattern baldness or my beard.

As winter faded into spring I was wearing shorts and brightly colored shirts too. I hadn’t allowed myself these things as much in the past because I associated them with where I wanted to be. They were still not right though, still felt like a costume. All of my men’s wear felt like a costume. I spent the season caught up and lost in the rhythm of work. Eat, sleep, wake up and work. I was staying with Nesto and Susan again but I never saw them. I was just a cog that did what other people wanted. I had no thoughts of my own worth sharing.

My other boss asked me to house sit for him too and I spent my time trying to deal with my worsening digestive situation. I realized things got worse when I ate dairy. For the first time in my life I did not have mac and cheese on my birthday. I was getting scared. The Fourth of July was pouring with rain but I decided to go on my customary twenty mile walk up the Minuteman Trail anyway. By the end I was so cold and sick that I was doubling over to vomit and shit.

A week or so later my duties as a house sitter fulfilled I headed to the Cape to the boatyard my boat was stored at. I had a gallon of paint for its bottom. I arrived too late though so I headed to my hotel. My digestive problems were getting bad. When I went out for food I had an accident. That had never happened before. Something was really wrong.

I spent the whole trip in the hotel. Most of the time I was watching television and getting stoned. The rest of the time I was looking at transgender porn, imagining myself as a woman and letting myself be openly girly with a tank top on and a towel for a skirt.

On my last day there I dropped the paint off with the boat yard and enlisted them in painting it. I went to the boat and clambered aboard. The day was grey and drizzling. I took photos of every piece of that boat. I sat in it and tried to feel happy but all I felt was apprehension and worry. I kept trying to resign myself to my fate but it was nearing impossible to act toward that end.

I returned to Boston and work. I was so stressed out. Everyone wanted to know about the boat, or my giant walks, it was painful to be me and I was collapsing fast. I was using the restroom a dozen times a day. Then one weekend that figure doubled and blood was added to the mix. I missed a week and a half of work eventually getting myself stable enough to go to the emergency room. They told me to make an appointment with my doctor but that I will probably be referred to a gastroenterologist. They said I most likely had an inflammatory bowel disease.

When I got home I looked them (bowel diseases) up. Sure enough, all the bowel disorders were stress reactive. I saw that I had to act. My first step was the ER. I had to make myself well and I was going to begin my second step by making the appointments to heal my bowel. I realized too that I would have to face my gender questions once and for all. I recuperated at my Mom’s for the rest of that August and just tried to calm myself. But every silent moment showed me again and again that I had to face the gender issues, they were my greatest source of stress.

With the help of a very bland diet I got myself well enough to return to work in September. The usual patterns happened and by the end of the month I was feeling worse for wear. I decided to take another trip to the Cape. To visit my boat. I never went near it. I stayed hotel bound and ticked all the boxes I had on the last trip. I spent the last few days sober. I realized that coming to hotels to get my girl time was never going to be enough.

Back in Boston, three more weeks of being a manly man at work. I was starting to feel tired all the time. I was exhausted and my envy of the women around me was palpable. I found myself exclaiming to myself that I was “tired of this” and I told other people that I felt like I wouldn’t be working there much longer.

In the next break I was house sitting for my boss again. I decided to sign up for a manly competition. I was going to run my first marathon. I even bought the gear and went running a couple times. It felt like an empty and lame gesture. I did it as a last ditch “make me a man” effort and I knew it. When I was buying the gear from an online retailer I spent way more time glancing at the women’s stuff. I wished so deeply that what I had just bought was women’s stuff.

That house sit was drawing to a close so I decided to use that moment. I looked hard at my body and at the bodies of trans women and I saw that at the very least they seemed more right than me. I watched some documentaries about trans folk and heard about lives just like mine. I looked up surgeries to have male genitalia removed with no sex change. It wasn’t quite right and I learned that you still need to take a hormone of some kind. The male bodies minus genitals still didn’t seem right. Then I read a couple accounts by transsexuals who had had castrations. They all talked about how much calmer they felt, how much more at peace.

I had enjoyed my first Thanksgiving alone and I did have something to be thankful for. I had fully accepted that I was not male. I had also resolved to face transition at the other end of winter when I would be house sitting for my other boss’ mother in law again.

The intervening months were slow and peaceful. I didn’t know what lay ahead but I was glad that I was going to face it. I spent Christmas with my folks and we had a wonderful time. January I was back at work and it was the same as ever. I found myself muttering that I wanted to “be Chris again…” During that month my careless self disregard got my face caught between a scissor lift and the top of a door. Gave myself a black eye.

My brother came to town for a day too. The spring before he had come through with his daughter and we had a good time being grownups together. This time it was just the two of us and we did a circuit around downtown Boston. He saw some sites he loved in his youth, marveled at what had changed. It was a warm and hearty deep winter walk. When we got back to where his car was parked we had a big hug. I felt like such a kid around my little brother. I had for a while. I wanted to tell him how I felt. I had always wanted to tell him, but I was still just so scared.

When I got to the house sit I spent the first week trying to avoid the issues. Then I started watching and reading. I didn’t need porn anymore. I had my sexuality wrapped up in a neat little bow. I knew this was my gender I was concerned with, the essential part of me that I had yet to fully experience, my aching void, I knew I had to face who I was. I watched documentaries and heard about lives like mine. Post transition these folks talked about being comfortable in who they were. I saw non binary folks for the first time. Realized that I didn’t have to be girly to be trans. I read about all the glory of transition and realized that I might just want all of it. There were no roads back to where I had been for me anymore. There was a marvelous road ahead though. The best part was that on that road I would get to become my true self.

Note: At this point I reached the biggest leap in my journey. I accepted myself as transgender and I decided to move ahead with transition in all respects. The rest of this piece is made up of selections from the transition journal I began to keep shortly thereafter.

I reached self acceptance February 11-14 2015

The end of week one or so…

February 19, 2015

So, as you know, I have come to terms with the fact that I am not a man and that I will never be a real woman physically. But I am a woman. A very unique kind of woman with membership in a select sisterhood. I have elected to move toward having something like the body I have always wanted. But what woman gets to chose her body? I will be going through my second puberty to be reborn in a year or two as a fully blossomed virgin trans woman!

Ever since coming to terms with being asexual I have been confronting this more and more. I tried to make the agender thing work too, but it would be just another pose. All I have ever wanted to be is a woman, more so, the woman I know so well and have neglected for so long. So, a week ago, I went shopping online and got an outfit. A frilly coral jogging tank and a cute purple and grey skirt, as well as undergarments. When they arrived just two days later, I ran into them. And they fit so well, and I looked so pretty! It felt so right and I saw how happy I could be, and I liked the person I saw in the mirror. I went selfie crazy for a few days.

I had also gotten my lady’s EMT pants out of storage. I knew I needed to do something to femme up my half inch long, bald patch afflicted hair situation. So, on Valentines evening, as the snow floated down I scurried out to the shops. I went grocery shopping first, to have a wander and calm myself. Then I went over to the pharmacy and up to the women’s stuff. But, on the advice of someone at a transgender forum I have joined for support I went in playing the part of the dutiful boyfriend with a list in my hand. I looked all focussed, with earbuds in and at marching speed I shot around the room. I first picked out a pair of reading glasses, very hastily. A wide rectangular frame of thin black wire, very cute and smart. Then I grabbed a pack of headbands to cover my bald patch. I got a black, grey, turquoise, purple and navy with tiny white polka dots set. Then, I grabbed razors and shave gel, there was a young woman stocking the shelf so I just barged past, all butch, grunting “excuse me” and grabbed ’em. I had researched ahead of time so I knew what to get. The guy at the register looked at me funny but we had a nice chat. I can win anyone over with my charm!

The audacious, show off, glamorous performer in me needs her skin to fit right but she’s bustin’ to be set free. I also bought some music. Two Bikini Kill records, 7 Year Bitch, Janis Joplin and Lunachicks. I put them in a playlist with L7, PP and M and some Velvet Underground and Nico. I wanted to start learning to sound more feminine. Then I found out that that’s what other ladies do. The idea is to cloak myself in womanhood and soak up and practice. This is the childhood. This is where I am a little girl learning how to be a woman, beginning to become socialized as a woman. And you know what? I have remembered sexual fantasies of sex with men, but with me in the right body. I have thought about the crushes I have gotten on men, or squishes or whatever. Remembered the fascination with the beauty in men’s faces and bodies. I’m not sure yet but I may be demi hetero aromantic or who knows what. As I said in a thread on the trans forum, I’m all confuzzled. But I’ll explore that in due time. I won’t fuck anyone whilst there are man bits between my legs.

And yes, orchiectomy, penectomy and vaginoplasty are part of my future. Those are three procedures I have always wanted. Also, electrolysis, possible hair transplants and vocal chord/adams apple shaving.

I have decided to sell the macho pose that is the Dark Star. With that money, and whatever else I can get this spring, I will get stable, in a roommate situation and pay off my bills so I can get a loan for any procedures I want that insurance won’t cover.

P.S., my insurance covers most of what I need done! Deval Patrick is a very sweet man!

I have already spent a couple hundred dollars on a new wardrobe. Some of which is still on its way as of now. I’m broke but it is worth it. I have been mostly in the right clothes for the better part of this week. I feel marvelous! Oh, and I need to get my teeth fixed, more money. I finally found what was worth it, me…I’m worth it!

So, I have shaved all the man hair off me but for my arms. The shaving was great! The first time I have been comfortable walking around in my underwear ever. I have thrown my boxers away! And my body is lookin’ better. Hormones should get rid of a lot of the hair. As well as re grow some head hair! I feel more womanly by the day, but that makes the dysphoria more acute. I got really down about my beard a few times. That could be gone and I could have tits by July! I have been making appointments with therapists. I have one with one with no trans experience and feelers out to another who does have trans experience. I am also joining a real world support group I found in Waltham.

The better shrink just emailed me back. I think things are in motion! I am so excited! I am terrified too but there is no turning back. I can’t live with the self loathing and dysphoria anymore.

I have thought about changing my name to Kris Kellam Scott.

February 26, 2015

So, still dressing fully at home and letting more and more slip when I’m out and about in man mode. Just yesterday I was riding my bike over to an LGBT focused medical facility, wearing a pink baseball cap and got honked and waved at by some smiling men in a van. I thought I was being mocked but some of the ladies from the trans forum think I was being hit on! I was also in my EMT pants but my shoes and jacket are still the same old things.

Anyway, I met with the trans health advocate at the LGBT clinic. A lovely woman who gave me some amazing news, that I can get hormones without therapy. I have become a patient of theirs and will have my first appointment March 18.

I only got out the door because I had talked myself into going to the trans club in Waltham the night before. I left late and got so lost that I missed the whole thing but getting myself out the door was the big step.

Talking to the health advocate was the first I had ever said anything out loud in real life. I felt so calm afterwards but before she came to get me in the waiting area I was hyperventilating and trying not to have a full on panic attack.

I hung out with Nesto and Susan last night too and it was killing me not to be saying anything to them. I may have to just come out to them now. If they will let me I think I’d like to be a full roommate of theirs again and be paying rent. Their place would be a great place to begin my transition in earnest. If the friendship doesn’t break under the weight of this all. I sure hope I don’t lose them as friends, they mean so much to me.

Oh, and I shaved my hands and arms. I really am reaching a point where I don’t care what people are going to think of me as I start to morph into true form. Fuck ’em! The dysphoria can be fought with changes, so my happiness comes first.

I canceled my appointment with the wrong therapist. My new provider has, among all their trans experienced staff, all the therapists I’ll need. The person I need to talk to is out until Tuesday next week so I’ll call her then.

I was noting, not too many minutes ago, the difference between this year at the house sit and last year. Last year I was fighting the urge to get high, this year I found pot to be a hindrance to my experience. Last year I was depressed and anxious, watching too much tv, trying to buy that damn boat, sleeping a ton, gorging on bad food. This year, the tube is off half the time, I’m looking after myself. Wearing deodorant and showering almost every day! I find I actually care about myself. Last year too I was having to fight back the urge to get drunk, that isn’t even on my mind right now. I don’t feel like there is anything wrong with me that hormones and surgery can’t fix and that my mind is perfect, there is nothing wrong with who I am as a person.

Just made myself laugh and cry typing that!

It really is amazing, every time I read another trans woman’s life story or watch a timeline video, I can’t help but relate, our lives have run so many parallel courses. There is no doubt in my mind that I will come out of this happy and self confident at last.

I remembered a very early childhood memory too. Me and Katelyn over at her house when I was oh, 5 or 6. Her Mom was on the phone while we were having a snack in the kitchen. I overheard her Mom say “oh Katie just has one of her little friends over, you know my Katie she’s a little tomboy ” I turned to Katelyn and said “that’s what I am, a tomboy!” To which she responded, “yup”. Solved that riddle once and for all. Makes me wonder about when I was younger with my other girlfriend in kindergarten, wish I could recall her name. She was the one the teachers caught me with playing I’ll show you mine if you show me yours in the closet. I wonder if that was the first sign that I knew my body was wrong.

My life has finally taken an upswing and I am fairly giddy. I haven’t even thought of suicide since acceptance. It only came to mind now as something to mention that is gone, not as a troubling undercurrent of a sad life.

Reading the bio of the founder of the trans forum, was the most recent trans correlation. Early awareness of difference from the cis kids. Confusion with the boys, jealousy of the girls. Isolation growing into depression with the onset of puberty. Anger and acting out, the whole nine.

This is the reason I didn’t want to know before, because it all makes it so clear that I am female.

I AM A WOMAN! I AM A WOMAN!

So, I might even be lucky enough to be budding by my next birthday! I have also priced some laser hair removal but it sounds like my beard may get softer and thinner after a couple months of hormones so, I don’t know when but I’ll make my appointments in the next couple months. I have checked out a doctor out of NY who has had good results with voice feminizations. Seven grand to have my chords done and have my Adam’s apple shaved down. Gotta save up and make that appointment. I may have to do the legal name and gender changing by the fall and perhaps even go full time. My body is less and less a man with each day that passes. This trip down to Jersey really will be my last as a male. So weird….
It feels so good to be letting all of this out. I can’t wait to let out more and more…

February 28, 2015

I keep having terrible drops thanks to dysphoria, it hits me about my face and hairline. My body looks ok, shaved down it is more feminine. The breast-less chest and man bits between my legs bum me out but they are mostly hidden during the day. When I look in the mirror clothed my body does look fabulous, especially if my arms are covered up. I just see my beard, leathery skin, big neck, Adam’s apple and male pattern baldness and it just makes me want to cry. Sometimes it does, sometimes the darkness comes and grabs me. I haven’t contemplated suicide but I have had flashes that come with that ugly voice. Maybe I should consider facial feminization surgery.

Mostly I have been having a very good day, today I went out in my pink cap again and I wore my new women’s trail running shoes. No women looked at me in that way they used to. At the very least they seem to be ignoring me now instead of trying to flirt.

The best part of everything is that last night I went over to Nesto and Susan’s house. I came out to them and had a real taste of what the future may hold. I felt calm, at peace almost comfortable in my skin. Not only did they offer words of support and friendship, Nesto called me his sister! They also want me to come move in with them. Susan is going to ask her parents in a few days or whatever and work out a price for rent. So I will have a stable and safe place to transition and an address where I can get mail and stop fibbing to the government. She even seemed excited to take me on as a female friend. She said she doesn’t get to talk girl stuff with her sisters and is hoping to get to do so with me. I can ask her about my feelings toward men etc. she also is excited to get to watch the transformation happen. I think this may make me closer to her and now I’m kind of excited to tell Adrian, perhaps she will really start seeing me as a friend in full at last. The three of us talked and talked about it all for hours, almost three. It was amazing to get to let it all out.

I know that I will never be a cis woman, a natal, natural woman and that I will always have some element of mannishness to me. But I do so need that element to be the minority, for most of me to be the beautiful woman I feel I still have a chance to be. I can’t and won’t hide my past because I am so tired of the life of the lie but I need to be more me! I want to be a good, authentic human being!

I am seriously considering chucking out more of my man clothes and just going androgynous to a greater degree. The less I see of that alien me, the better. Two and a half weeks until I meet my PCP. The facility web site said she’ll be able to prescribe hormones, I think. I need change to start occurring. On Tuesday I will call the mental health facilitator, she was out of the office when I called, and get set up with a therapist there. I may call the trans health advocate too, just to make sure I have made the right appointment.

Tomorrow, to cheer myself up a bit, I’m going over to the thrift store to find some pants and maybe tops to sift in and help me feel more fem at work. It will feel good I think to buy what I want, in public. Especially from the place I purchased stuff subconsciously from in the past.

Thank gosh for this diary, I was feeling pretty down when I started typing, I feel a bit better now.

Not only am I over a year and a half or two from gender confirmation surgery, but I’m half a year (perhaps less) from boobs and my existing head hair is still less than an inch in length. I have no idea how long laser hair removal will take but when I have time I’m gonna go talk to a place in Cambridge that I scoped out. Start that ball rolling. Next week, after Monday as I have to work.

I don’t want to go too fem at work until I have come out and I want Mom and Dad to know in person. Jack will be a new parent again, maybe tomorrow, maybe right now! Who knows? I really don’t want to spoil that moment but I do want to come out so badly. Once my close friends and family know I can social media the rest and then I can be as femmed up as I want at work.

Ok. I think the darkness has subsided. I know I felt this before, for so many sad years, but back then thanks to denial it was nameless. Now that I am more aware and know that I can find peace and experience that peace, the dysphoria is more acute. More intense and immediate. When it hits, it hits hard. I’d call Mom tonight but I know I’d let something slip, plus I think I’m low on minutes. I should check.

When and how do I tell Jack and his wife? Video chat or a phone call at the end of March?
It is about an hour since the last entry and I feel much better. Took out my flashlight and looked at my forward bald patch. All the follicles are still there in the form of tiny little baby hairs. The very hairs that trans woman had mentioned in her video. I have what is necessary to regrow my hair. I am still a ways away but, there is hope. A very reasonable hope, all I need is the right hormones and maybe an extra drug or two. Anti androgens should prevent further loss and estrogen alone may restore my hairline. Heck, if it is deemed medically necessary by my therapist, when I get one, FFS could be covered by insurance too.

Stay positive, have patience. You are a beautiful, vibrant woman. And no woman went through puberty in a day. This will take time. You may be the “man in a dress” for a bit, but fuck the world, be happy.

Maybe I will call Mom tonight…

March 6, 2015

So, I have had a big week, or couple of days. I have been dressing more and more comfortably. I did go to the thrift store. I spent an hour or so picking out pants, in the women’s section because workwear was bare. I even tried the stuff on. I got two pairs of pants that I might be able to swing at work and a pair of skinny jeans. I also bought this great plaid blouse in ace pride colors. Nobody hassled me either and the clerk was very friendly, seemed odd when she saw my card but…that could mean I was passing! I love a good shopping day and this was the best ever!

When I go see Nesto and Susan I am fully dressed, only sporting my coat to go over there. Last night Susan and I bonded a bit, she really wants to be in on helping me and getting to do the stuff she doesn’t get to do with her sisters. Not just girlie stuff but hiking etc. too. My friendship with her is deepening, becoming richer.

Last night she got home and found me and Nesto hanging out, she then said that she had gotten some makeup but had some extra stuff. She thought of me and offered it. Some mascara and eyeliner. I said no at first, old self denier, and went for a pee. When I came back I asked if the offer still stood, she said of course! Now I have crossed that line too. She told me how to get it off my face too and I got that stuff on the way home. Next payday I may go get more. I have received a tip about tinted moisturizer…

From Mom!

I couldn’t stand the wait anymore, I needed to tell them and stop living a lie! The lie is the thing that is killing me the worst! Jack sent me an email in response to one I had sent him asking about the baby and Ruth. So I relayed the message to Mom and she said that Dad was at her house today. So I sent an email asking them to take a call from me together. They agreed. I called and told them everything…

I have their full love and support! Of course!

Not only that, Mom is thrilled to have a daughter at last, to not be the only woman. She corrected Dad for calling us guys “neither of us are guys”, has been giving me tips on makeup, referred to me as a woman and even asked for a recent pic so that the bearded man in her contact list would go away! She said she was a bit shocked but that now she knows, she sees it.

Heck, even Dad, when we were discussing manly sport and competition, brought up the little kid on the soccer field chasing butterflies! He was so man though, Mom and I got into talking and he left to go work on the car! We talked away all my phone minutes and all my fears. Two plus hours, if I had had a full 300 I think we would have talked those up too.

I am a very lucky woman.

Ok, I just decided to email Jack and ask him to video chat with me. It is ok to be selfish when it is this important… Right? I might run it by Mom first. Or should I just email him? I don’t know but everything I do makes me happier…

Ooh, did I mention that in two weeks time I now have an appointment for hormone readiness assessment with my trans health advocate? I could be on hormone replacement therapy by the end of this month or early next month. As a friend from the trans forum put it “your in the montage now”! My PCP will refer me to a therapist.

There may be only a month of the man named Kellam left on the face of this planet.

I’m going to have coffee with Adrian on Tuesday and I think I’m going to try to contact Craig this weekend.

Later this coming week, post payday, I’m going to go make a laser appointment to start getting this damn beard zapped away at last.

Then, the week after, my appointments. Another week and I’ll be down in Jersey.

Yeah, I have got to tell Jack before this goes any further… He deserves the truth at last.

March 12, 2015

Another heck of a good week! I did get in contact with Jack but ended up having to tell him by email. I spilled it all in one long letter, he came back with a few brief manly words. The most important were that he loves and supports his big sister.

So I went over to see Craig and Alice and talked to them for hours. Their roommates filtered in and out and I never hid, I just kept talking. They are excited for me and Craig even said congratulations! Alice wants to take me shopping and show me a thing or two about makeup.

A day or two later I had a flat on my bike. When I went out to get it I took off my headband and floppy sweater and covered up in the big grey hoodie. I felt so lousy when I got back inside. After fixing my tire I decided to just go out as I am comfortable, and did, in flats!

I have since strode around on one of the first warm days at the end of this winter with zero lie clothing, only truth! I was feeling so good.

Oh, also told Adrian and she was almost blasé about the whole thing. We talked there in the café for hours. She offered me a room in her new condo! She also gave me the name of a queer tattooist and wants to take me to her hairdresser when the time comes!

She also put it in my head that coming out at the CCA should not be a problem. Apparently there have been a half dozen trans folk in different stages of transition there over the last decade! So I e-mailed HR the next day and have been offered so much support. If Ted is back next Monday I am going to talk to him and Shun so I can tell everyone else and finally be out of the damn closet! I’ll discuss with them how to tell the crew, I think a mass email will do.

I am definitely going to be Chris Kellam Scott. Perhaps a hyphen? Chris Kellam-Scott…hmmm me likey! Also thought about Chris Jamie Kellam-Scott…

Well, there is a big week ahead. The last one of winter and perhaps my last as a physical male. Tomorrow is pay day and I have a few things to buy. Some clothes methinks. But also maybe getting my ears pierced. Or maybe making a laser hair removal appointment to start decimating my beard. I also need to get my records from Cambridge to send to My new doctor. Wednesday I meet my new PCP. On Tuesday I may try to go to trans club again, or maybe Saturday, or both?! Next Thursday is when their support group meets and I definitely want to join that.

And the first day of spring you ask? What shall I do that day? Why I will meet again with Simone, my trans health advocate and she will assess my readiness for HRT. I believe we will be filling out my informed consent form. And there is a chance that I will walk out with my prescription in hand! Or maybe have to wait… But all signs point to the first option, I’m just trying not to get too excited but I may go to sleep on the first day of spring with the right hormones in my body and the wrong ones fading away!

I have begun experiencing loneliness for the first time since I was a kid. I had long felt so resigned to my fate that I accepted it and called it solitude. It was the closest to peace as I could come. Now I just want to run out and hug the world!

My life has begun anew and I am a very happy woman!

Friday, March, 13, 2015

Bought some pot from Ralph and had the fastest , easiest coming out yet. This just gets better and better. I then got stoned and had a talk with Kellam. I told him it was ok to go. I thanked him for trying so very hard. He’s gone. I’m me again. Chris Scott. “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” by PP and M is playing as I type. It is very apt. It was a little sad, but it was good to see him go.

I also had shaving day, face, hands, legs. And sliced up my legs to the tune of “Frequent Mutilations” by The Slits. While thinking about how I need to stop casually injuring myself. I think testosterone is what makes me rush all the time. I can’t hack it. I need my hormones to be corrected.

Anyway, gonna finish my joint, and go get an enema (Dr. Troy’s idea of a joke) [note: Dr. Troy is my gastroenterologist, by this point I had had a colonoscopy and been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The morning of my colonoscopy was the last time I wore men’s underwear] and go see Nesto probably.

10:45 pm

Just got back from Nesto and Susan’s. Nesto started the night calling me “man” but by the end of the night he was calling me Chris. He changed my name in his phone after I mentioned Ralph had. Susan called me Chris first, she said Kellam and then corrected herself and said Chris.

And I talked to Mom last night, I forgot to mention. She might give me some of her jewelry as well as some of the family jewelry. I am honored. No longer is she mad that someone had been playing in her things. Now she is inviting me to share them with her.

I have such a strong feeling of coming home. I can’t wait to see her and Dad.

Saturday, March 21, 2015 9:04 am

As I sit here on the second day of a New England spring the snow is falling again. Everything is grey and white, the trees are budding but winter is still the prevailing mood. I met Sandy, my nurse practitioner PCP she was really sweet, I just told her my story for an hour while another young woman typed. They knew what they were looking for, they just kept me talking. That’s what yesterday was like, the first day of spring. Cold and grey but the wind, the brutal Boston winds of earlier in the week were gone. I met with Simone, my trans health advocate, the first person I ever spoke to about all this, way back at the other end of this month. On the way there I was in a daze, I had an emotional and nervous morning, full of crying fits. Worrying that I wouldn’t get the go ahead that I’d be stuck forever. In the waiting area I told myself the advice the ladies on the trans forum gave me. “Be confident in who you are, and be honest” But Simone was awesome, she used the same tack as Sandy, just got me to talk. At the end she gave me the consent forms for my next appointment. She said that on her end, so long as my other labs (Sandy is reviewing my labs from last fall, she also took some blood to check a specific hormone level) come back clean I should be given the go ahead for full dose HRT to start in the next couple weeks. The medical team Sandy and her supervising Dr. Paul and Simone will confer on Thursday, they will email me by Friday. Then an appointment will be made for a week or so in the future, I’ll go in and we’ll discuss drugs and dosages and I have to remember to ask about fintaseride, get this hair of mine coming back! But that day is when the prescriptions will be called in, the pharmacy is in the building.

Simone said I could expect to be budding, breast wise, in two months, so I will have breasts for my birthday! My beard could be gone by then too. Maybe that should be a goal, full time by July. When she was telling me the effects of estrogen, especially some of the permanent ones, all I felt was a peaceful calm. I had no words or response other than relaxed peaceful hoping.

Oh, so I started this week with a bang too. The week before, I contacted HR at work and told them my situation. Got her full support. Next, this past Monday, I told Shun and Ted face to face, got their support. Told all my coworkers by email and started getting touching emails, mostly from the women. Next I told everyone else via social media. And the waves of support flooded in.

It was an emotional couple of days. Our old registrar Jackie emailed me, Siobahn told her. Word is spreading. Lesbians are exclaiming, “I knew it!” All the women in my life are letting me in. As I was leaving the clinic yesterday this older hippy woman complemented my pink hat in the elevator, and we had a lovely chat about spring. Jackie invited me to call her for coffee! I have to take her up on it. It is like Mom observed, the tension of me being a man is gone so the women now understand me better. My feminine behavior and social skills make sense to them.

Reading posts on Susan’s about how men act and how to move in a feminine way. I realized just how bad I was at being a man. The only thing about the way I walked that was masculine was the keeping of my hands in fists, to keep my wrists from turning up. And that was wrong anyway. The way I get treated on the phone, the way folks interact with me on the street, the way I greet friends, the way I manage people at work, the way I work with others, everything is female. Looking at myself in the mirror I can see the ghost of Kellam and I saw that he did indeed walk and sit and act like a girl. All these scars and the short hair and dirt just put on a good show of manliness. Looking in the mirror now, I can’t really picture him as being me, as he never was. He seems a distant memory, like someone I used to know. I know that not a lot has actually changed with my body yet, just different hair lengths and some nail polish. But I feel like… Me, I almost wrote “different person” but that is not quite it. I feel like Chris, and she is me, and Kellam or Christopher James, he…he was this character, invented by the world’s perception and my creativity. An alien masquerade, but he’s gone.

All the barriers are breaking down. The chains are rusted through and crumbling. The world greets me anew.

March 30, 2015, 12:30pm

When Mom picked me up last Wednesday I had the best hug I have had in too long. And thus began what has been a very good visit so far. I did not hear from Simone on Friday so on Saturday morning I sent her a query email. The tension and worry began to take over. Being with Mom was the only real help. She gave me a pair of sleeping pants that don’t fit her! They are very comfy and not too girly! I really am my mother’s daughter.

Well, Simone did get back to me on Sunday…I was cleared for HRT! Not long after that Dad told me that he could see how much happier I am already. I don’t think he knows quite what he feels about all this but he sees the positive change, that’s enough. We all watched the season opener of Call the Midwife on PBS and it got me thinking. I don’t think I have the mettle to become a midwife but I might be called to the path of the doula. I have always wondered what my role in the bringing of new life might be and the offering of emotional and material support to other women in that process might just be the very thing. Mom and I sat up last night talking for three hours about that and other things. She said she would be very proud if I did go that way. I do feel almost called. Mom said she wouldn’t push me but she felt it was a very good idea for me.

When I expressed doubt about my credentials for such an undertaking Mom scoffed. She related to me what it was like for her to bring me into this world. It was a parallel instantly relatable to the process of transition I have been in. Down to the smallest emotional details. I need to explore the world of the doula in greater detail.

This morning I called the LGBT clinic and made my appointment with Sandy…for tomorrow at 4 pm! This is my last day as a fully male bodied person! It is almost over! And I will get to go down to Wyckoff and help Dad move a mattress or two, bring some furniture down some stairs and shave his cat of its dreads. One last time to remind him that I may not be his son but I am his daughter and we can still share the way we always have.

This will be a very good week!

Sunday, April 5, 2015
Easter Sunday

Monday was odd. In the afternoon I put on my EMT pants and Gorey shirt to go help Dad do some chores. The main one was swapping his broken old mattress for an older but less broken one at Uncle Bill’s house. Under his mattress were the plywood sheets from my old bunk bed that I shared with Jack. I found all these painful scrawlings on them from back when I ran and hid. I also could not find Mom’s bell bottoms that I had worn then. When we left Dad barely said goodbye. He and Bill just sat there emotionless. It was eerie leaving Wyckoff, I had hoped for a homecoming, instead I felt like I was leaving behind all the pain and fear that had nearly killed me, back when and so many times since. Mom and I went to a craft store and bought stuff for a dress she was making. I found some peace in that.

Tuesday was amazing. Mom and I set off from Jersey at around 11 am. She had planned on 10 but Mom being Mom we dithered until just before 11 and then she started to get ready. The thing that took the longest was her first truly sweet action of the day. She was trying to put on a pair of earrings, they had belonged to her mother. Mom had bought one duplicate to replace a lost one. My Great Grandfather on Mom’s Mom’s side had bought them for my Great Grandmother. It was such a beautiful gesture I could not fault her for delaying our departure. I also couldn’t help but laugh when she couldn’t get them in. She had damaged her holes a few days prior. She eventually got a pair with the tree of life on them in. Symbolic enough.

I was so tense on the ride up, worried that I had made a mistake, that the day was not to be what I wanted it to be. That my wait was far from over. I slept, fretted and could not eat. We got to Boston in plenty of time. Parked in the star market across from where my rehearsal space had been a decade ago. It was a construction site now. Mom was going into a a coffee shop to wait. I walked nervously down the street to The clinic and skipped up the stairs to primary care. I was very early and would have to wait.

Not long after a very loud trans woman, a Latina by her own admission, came in and made noise all over the place. It irked my anxious nerves at first but then her exuberance calmed me. I turned to the transwhatevers thread on the asexual forum where someone had posted that it was the International Trans Day of Visibility, that let me know that nothing could go wrong. I had seen the Latina before and I envied her casual self confidence. Eventually I was called to an exam room where I waited some more. Then Sandy came in and went over everything with me. She then sent my scripts down to the pharmacy.

I walked down those stairs in a nervous anticipatory daze of disbelief. I put in for my meds and was told that I would have to wait. I asked the pharmacist guy where the bathrooms were and he gave me man directions that I couldn’t follow. As I turned confused to see where he was pointing a super tall trans woman appeared from nowhere and told me right where to go.

When I got back from my pee break I waited a few more minutes. The guy pharmacist switched with a woman and she called my name. I tripped out the doors back onto Boylston with my meds in my pocket. A warm ray of sun shone on my face through the cold New England spring clouds. I found Mom in her car, the coffee shop had had no chairs, and we drove back out of Boston. In the heavy rush hour traffic I took my first doses of testosterone blocker and estrogen.

It was all so simple, and felt so perfect. The estrogen melted under my tongue and rushed giddily into my body, like it was home. And that is how I felt. As the traffic cleared I laughed and cried. I knew I would never feel wrong again, that it would all be good from then on. Going home felt like going home. I didn’t need to walk or ride a bike. I just needed to be me and be with my Mom. I finally had my homecoming.

Elements of a Walk: Part Two

Dreamland Transitioner

I am no dream analyst but there is no denying the power of our subconscious life. For years and years my trans identity was lost in mine. It was the battlefield of my gender identity struggles. I don’t remember most of the dreams of my childhood. The first one that stayed locked in my memory was the first of a series of reoccurring nightmares that began in my early teens. In it I was a lost soul trying to find my place in the world without a sense of gender. The action of the dreams was from my point of view, I never saw my own body. Men with the paraphernalia of sports and manual labor were shouting down women of all kinds and threatening me. They slowly worked with their tools to build an increasingly huge ball of stone, scrap metal, wood and earth and they rolled it at me. It advanced at a creeping pace until it seemed to dwarf the men who made it. It then accelerated at an alarming rate and rushed at me. I awoke in sweaty terror just as it was about to crush me.

I had that dream again and again for years, until I came close to ending my life in my mid teens. I had realized I was female, or at the very least, not male. I had also learned of the surgeries and hormone treatments that could help me become more me. But society told me I was evil for being me. So as my late teens rolled in I began to choke back my reality. I began to deny who I am and my dream life reflected that. I began to run. I was always running. Away from some unknown horror but I was also aware that I had nowhere to run to. My existence in that dreamscape was one of fear, confusion and a profound sense of loss.

Back in waking life I was a twenty something alcoholic playing the role of a heterosexual man in a long term relationship, living with my loving girlfriend. She was a wonderful companion who brought a lot of joy and light to my life. Back in the shadows of my subconscious I was no longer running. Instead I often found myself imprisoned in the military, concentration camps and in jails. I had become decidedly male but painfully so. I was also being forced to harm others. I am a peaceful person and I live by the golden rule so these dreams sickened me. But they would not relent.

In the light of day I had reached my 30’s and was miserable, a suicidal alcoholic. My girlfriend had left me to seek the joy she deserved. My reality was little more than a shaky facade held up by what little of my true self I was still able to express. Booze held the rest in place and turned my subconscious into an unconscious. When I fell to bed at night and passed out I went into peaceful oblivion, never dreaming, waking from the nothing every morning in aching pain. I did my best to get through the day. Without my addictions I was nothing.

Luckily that finally occurred to me and I began to care about myself. I began to hope. So I started in on sobriety and headed out on a quest to know my true self. My dreams began to reflect this new path. I often found myself as a group or more often, a pair of people. Trapped in some horrid situation full of pain. The pair were each of the binary genders. As the dreams moved forward I saw possibilities for escape and I would rush towards them. As the escape escalated captors would pursue me. Usually male, armed with weapons, tools and sporting equipment they lashed out. The male part of me would sacrifice himself so that my female self could escape. I was running in my dreams again, but running from a very clear danger. I still didn’t know where I was headed but I knew it had to be better than where I had been. Anything would be.

Then, in my life here in this world, I had found what I needed to to accept myself in toto at last. I returned to the long forgotten aimless dreams of my childhood. I was genderless or female in them and they seemed to be little more than silly frivolity.

In dayland I was on hormone replacement therapy and had told my social world the truth about me. I had begun transition in full, at long long last. I was beginning to feel like me. That was the biggest thing, becoming ME. I felt so full and true.

That brings this part of my story up to the present day. My dreams have become about all the other stuff of life. All the normal human concerns of work, family, passions and etcetera. Who am I in my dreams now? I am me, and I am comfortably aware of being a trans woman in my dreams. I can sense my gender but it fits seamlessly into my world and does not dominate my concerns. That is my only hope for the future, for my waking life and for my dreams. I just want to live my life and let gender be in the background. I know who I am, so I am now free to dream about passions, work, idle pursuits, friends and family. I no longer collapse exhausted at the end of every day, wracked with tensions. I drift away into to dreamland with the cozy warmth of a soul at peace.

Dreamland Transitioner