Saturday, February 24, 2018

How is Jules Really Doing?

Are the benefits worth the cost?  The question just sort of popped up out of nowhere, which is fairly commonplace for me.  I have a tendency of bringing things up out of left field, tossing them out there for the world to absorb, and then sort of sitting back and observing the ramifications.

I thought this question was much better than the one that most people ask me, 'but seriously, how is Jules really doing?'  I don't like the implications of that question.  Sort of like the person is saying, hey, I know Jules is lying when she says she is fine with you being on estrogen, so why don't you spill the beans and lay out the reality that she is super pissed at you and is about to leave you.  I suppose that I can't blame people and their ignorance... oh wait, sure I can!  For ignorance is no excuse, right?  Well for matters of the law at least.

This isn't really a matter of law though is it?  No, it is one of integrity, and love.  Integrity, because most of these people are implying that Jules has no problem with lying and deceiving anyone who asks about me being on estrogen.  Love, because that is why she really is okay with me being on estrogen.

I suppose that the only reason they are asking the question is because Jules is the one they can relate to, and they can not imagine themselves being in a similar position as her.  They think 'oh, she is being the good, quiet wife, who is sullenly accepting the dominance of her male, egocentric, mentally ill spouse, who is forcing her to swallow down an ugly reality.'  Okay, so maybe they are not quite so harsh, but still, the vast majority of them have that twinkle in their eye when they pose the question.  That twinkle that seems to imply, okay, cool, whatever you want to do, but I could not imagine what it would be like to be married to you.  Thus the words, the tone, the body language, all of it coalesces into an oft repeated statement, 'how is Jules really doing?'

Maybe their insistence, maybe my own insecurities, maybe just because I love turning things over and over in my head, poking, prodding, examining items from as many angles as I can, maybe that is why I asked Jules the question.  Maybe because I too am in a sense of disbelief; can my wife actually be as awesome and accepting as she actually is appearing to be?

So.... 'Are the benefits worth the cost?'

Jules paused for the briefest of moments, before saying, 'huh?'

'Are the benefits of me taking hormones worth the cost that has been paid.'

She wrinkled her nose, smiled, and said, 'well what are the costs?'

I had to laugh at the simplicity of her statement.  Yes indeed, what are the costs.  So, I laid them out for her.  1 - I am loosing muscle mass, and am beginning to struggle to bare the brunt of the physical labor I have so far required of myself.  2 - I may loose the ability to function sexually as I have done throughout our relationship (notice though that is not a cost I have had to face yet.)

Jules responded quickly, 'uh, yes.  I will take this peace and love any day over what we have been struggling with for the last 30 years.'

She had a point.  A really big point.  A fantastic point.

It's hard for others to imagine.  My sister probably can for she is possibly the only person outside of my wife and I that truly knows how rough Jules and I have had it.  It is really difficult to explain to outsiders how things have been for Jules and I.  Can I just say, it has not been enjoyable?  Is that enough?  Doubt it.

How about if I say, I have repeatedly pondered why in the heck she and I ever stayed together?  How about if I say that she and I probably fought, at a minimum of once a week, every week, for over 30 years?  Is that enough to understand?  How about if I say that she and I have mutually physically attacked each other as we have attempted to beat the living shit out of someone who we love and yet want to kill at the exact same time?  How about if I say that through sheer grit, and unwavering determination, that the longest we ever went without fighting, in over 30 years of being with each other, was a painful 7 months.  Which, by the way, ended in one of our most epic fights ever.

In many ways, the hardest part of explaining our relationship is attempting to understand why with all of the insanity that has been our lives, why in the world we ever have stayed together for as long as we have.  That truly is the mega question that most people silently ignore.  I think that people assume we are exaggerating.  I mean really, why would we put ourselves through all of this drama?

How about love?  For though we could never get along, we have loved each other.  And love is a funny thing.  A thing that many have never had the opportunity to appreciate.  Love is that thing that binds people together in the face of absurdity.  When you can't imagine being with someone for even one more moment, let alone another year, and you stay anyway.  Not because you are afraid.  Not because of threats of intimidation.  Not because of financial interests.  Not because of any logical reason, except for your singular commitment to another individual on this planet.

Why are we still together?  Love.  Why did we suffer through so many years of seeming unending torture imposed solely by ourselves?  Love.

I remember someone said to me, I will never change who I am or what I like for another person.  And my thought was, wow, you are going to live a lonely life.  For while our relationship has not ever been Brady Bunch perfect, and even though it was frequently an unhealthy thing that many would have recommended we quit, we could always see something within each other.  Some spark, some glimpse, some small kernel of the way we could live.  Even though my wife and I have been seemingly unloving throughout much of our relationship, we are both brave, and we both have hope.  Unending hope at times.

Take hope, bravery, and a willingness to change, combine it with an unrelenting desire to grow, stir it all together in a bald faced emotional rawness, then cook it in brutally honest no holds barred communication - well then you have what Jules and I have.  Which is an amazingly rich definition of what love can be.

But none of this really explains what has happened since I have begun taking the right hormones for my system.  And that is what this post is supposed to be about, isn't it?  Well, yeah, but you seriously have to have a better grasp of what the previous 30+ years have been like for us and our relationship.  It's all about context people!  If you don't understand the context, then the answer is irrelevant!

So how is Jules really doing?  How about amazingly.  How about better than she has been the entire time that we have been together.   We are together still, yes even with me being on female hormones, because of love.  Because of the commitment to love that we both strive for.  Because of all of the fights.  Because of all of the kisses.  Because of all the heartache.  Because of all the memories.  Because of all of the crying.  Because of all the laughter.  Because love is a commitment.  I choose to love this person, for who they are, where they are, and fortunately for me, she feels the same.

No explanation can ever suffice to others who could not imagine a reality they don't exist within.  Many people have a marriage of convenience, and if it no longer serves their purposes, they will move on, searching for a happiness that they may never find.

What has me being on estrogen brought to our lives?  A full richness of experience that can never be fully explained to any outsider.

I know that all relationships are not worth saving.  I know that many relationships should rightfully end.  I know that love cannot conquer all.  I know that within the transgender experience there exists lots of moving pieces and parts that most of us struggle to fully comprehend and describe.  I know that many relationships will never survive transition related events.

But I have hope.  And hope is a powerful thing.

Love you!

Love yourselves!

Believe you can, and you may just end up impressing even yourself!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Outfit - My Usual State

Jeans -Levi:Denizen @ Target
Shoes - New Balance (Arishi) - @ Amazon - @ Famous Footwear
Hat - @ Amazon

Here you see me in my more natural state.  I thought it would be good to finally post up something from how I actually look in a more day to day appearance.  This was inspired by two elements 1 - somebody mentioned to me that they don't ever go out because they don't pass, 2 - I haven't been posting many outfit posts recently because I have not been going "all out" lately. 

Okay so first point - here is a closeup up transgender me:

Is it obvious that I am not attempting to pass?  Now I fully understand that within the transgender spectrum, passing is an important thing, not actually to the people that they are passing to, but rather to the people that are attempting to pass.  So..... I totally get it when we are talking about the people who need to view themselves as who they know they are.  It truly is an amaze-balls experience to finally see yourself as how you know you have always expected to see yourself.  If that makes any sense!  Ha!

But.... if one's concern for passing is for fear of reprisal due to reveal of one's transgender status, then I want to be the one who gently nudges you to seeing the possibility that one can exist in this world as a transgender human.  A human that others see as a transgender human.  For this is personally how I normally appear in, oh, about, 99.9% of my life. 

I will admit that I have figured out how to take a pretty darn nice photo.  But really, that photo is just a small moment in time.  A carefully crafted moment.  The right lighting.  The right angle.  The right lighting.  The right camera.  The right lighting.  The right wig.  The right ligh...... okay, enough already!  Argh!  Point being is that in any given month, before starting HRT, I would normally only dress with a wig and makeup, maybe once or twice in a month.  Now it is even less.  But dressing in some sort of mixed gender presentation, oh well, yeah, that occurs the entire rest of my life.  That happens when I am working in my yard, going hunting, working at my job, going to the grocery store, living my life.

Not passing, is my life. 

I may very well pass when I give it a go.  It is still not 100%.  Certainly not when you actually speak to me.  But honestly passing is irrelevant.  I know how hard that is to understand when you don't have any personal experience with that, but it is what I experience.  Maybe someone can take something from my experience and give it a whirl! 

It's hard.  I get it.  I really do.  Which brings me to point 2.  I have not posted many outfit posts lately because I have not been going all out.  The wigs have been super annoying lately, and so has makeup.  That has not really inspired me to take photos of myself!  Because for me, I do not in any way see anything even remotely feminine in them.  But I'm trying to come to grips with some of my own personal issues, so.... here you go, you get to see the most common form that I take!  Ha! Like a shape shifter or some such shit!  Hahahahahaha!

Keep in mind online realities - these are reflections of real life, and reflections are often distorted.  Not wrong, just a bit different.

Live life.  Observe reality. 

Love you!

Love yourself!

Love hot pink!!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Openly Transgender

I’ve been having some odd conversations as of late.  

One of them was with my neighbor, who is approximately 65-70 and a retired teacher.  She and I have a funny relationship together.  Mostly we see each other while walking our dogs at 5 in the morning in the pitch black along our small backcountry road that people drive way too fast on.  I think we earned each other’s respect when she and I banded together and took care of most of our neighbor’s estate when nobody else would, including those who stood to inherit the estate, who was not either of us!  

Anywho…. In regards to me, and how I live, ya know, that whole transgender thang, right?  Well I have no idea if she has ever seen me fully dressed as a woman in real life, but she has certainly seen me dressed in full girl clothes and clearly visible breasts, cause ya know, that’s me.  

So, she’s seen me, but I had not had the official talk with her until very recently, like say maybe about 3 months ago.  And if you don’t know - the official talk - is when I use very specific language, like transgender, estrogen, doctors, therapy, blah, blah, blah!  I don’t know what prompted the initial official talk, but one day I just said what the heck and had the talk.  Since then, nothing in our relationship has changed.  She has continued talking to me and treating me in the same respect as she had prior.

Okay, so the odd part of this story is supposed to be the odd conversation right?  

She and I were both doing our regular thing when we see each other, walking our dogs.  Only it wasn’t super early in the morning, but more like 7 or so.  We stood and chatted for a bit when she asked why I was up so early on a weekend when I could finally sleep in instead of going to work.

I hesitated only briefly, so that it was only really noticed by me, and then explained that I had a therapy appointment.  Which then prompted a side of the road conversation about me going to therapy, taking estrogen, and being openly transgender, and how it was all going.  

I know I live in California and pretty much everyone thinks this entire state is nothing but liberal hippies who eat granola and surf all day and they all accept everyone regardless of who they are, but I’ll tell ya what, that is certainly not the case.  It is much more that way in the main cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, but if you basically go away from the coast, California is a much different place.  And I live in that place.

So, my neighbor and I are hanging out on the road, across from one of the many small family cattle rancher’s places.  Our retrievers are hanging at our feet being pet as the rancher’s border collies are yipping at us from their kennels.  Occasional trucks go zooming down the road, and we all stop and wave.  It is small town USA, where apparently everyone knows everyone, and I am chatting it up with a woman who does indeed know just about everyone that drives by.  And furthermore, I am openly talking to her about things that I never thought I would ever do, let alone ever tell somebody about.  Unbelievable.  

Really the unbelievable aspect is that I am openly talking to this woman about being transgender.  Not because of where we live and the arguable amount of conservatism within my area - did I mention many people still have pro-Trump signs up in their yards?  No?  Hmm?  Yeah.  Anywho - having the conversation within such an area was not the odd part, the truly odd part was that I was having this conversation at all, with anybody, and especially so with this partial acquaintance, my neighbor.  Admittedly she is frequently a mother figure to me, which again makes it a bit more odd.  Odd piled on top of odd.

To grow up knowing I could never tell anybody this deep seated nasty little secret and then to be openly discussing it with this woman was more than just a bit surreal.  I keep mentioning this “openly” aspect and that is because a part of me still feels as though this is a “nasty secret” that if I am going to talk about it, it should be in some small, dank, dark, dimly lit room, with the door shut and locked.  Then maybe, possibly, I might be conned into releasing my shocking truth.

But no.  There I was.  A bright sunny morning, my dog at my side, my neighbor in front of me, and I’m chatting away about being transgender the same way one might talk about how since the rains have come it’s going to be time soon to haul out the spray and begin killing weeds.  Odd.  

Oh and yeah, a few interesting tidbits came from that conversation.  One - she was super surprised to find that I have no intentions of transitioning to living full time as a female.  That one set her back a bit, it was obvious that was something she had never considered.  Two - she mentioned that since finding out that I am taking estrogen she has done some research on people who have de-transitioned.  I tried explaining to her the depths to which many of us suffer, while in hiding, and after coming out.  And how many people struggle with transition due to extreme lack of support from anybody.  Three - I told her of this blog, - Hiya, are you out there reading this?  Ha!  Four - She asked if I had made goals with my therapist and how I was progressing in meeting those goals.

The goal part of that conversation reminded me to check in on my goals.  Which by the way, my therapist and I reviewed, and it turns out, I had actually met all of my goals at that point.  My therapist then gave me a homework assignment of coming up with new goals.  One of which is something I feel really weird about, and I actually intended to write this post about that.  But, ha!  I successfully avoided talking about it!  Ha-Ha.  Maybe in the future you will hear of my new therapy goals, but that is not this day folks!

Love you!

Love yourself!

Seriously, love yourself enough to be open about who you are with those who are in your life, yes even if _________ .