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