(9 Feb 17)
‘Tying Up Loose Ends’
I shall make some philosophical notes that I hope I present well to you.
There is no point re-inventing the wheel. Allow me to re-assemble various e-mails, correspondences, conversations, and communications that I shared with transsexual friends, acquaintances, and pen-pals discussing many of these same topics as you and I have been sharing at this site. This post will add details, further our understanding, and I hope will aid your transition and post-transition for the better.
Dear Reader, I have been at this since age 3 – that’s 1959. I know that is at least how far my memory goes because I have a recollection of ‘Romper Room’ teaching dates; my mind recalls seeing the month of December and the year of 1959 on the TV screen. It was likely early December because my visions do not include the presence of Christmas decorations in our home.
I found myself at the bad end of a misunderstanding last year during a discussion with another trans friend. She made a slip of the tongue referring to another trans friend in her ‘before’ persona. I followed suit not wanting to offend either my friend or her friend. Taking her cue, I at some point continued her identifying references as she introduced them, however, at some later point, she flipt and made reference to the other way. I got lost in my confusion – she took offense – I tried explaining the situation to little acceptance.
These errors in our conversation also included other people – people in her life and people in my life – as well as our own pasts. I apologised upsetting my friend for applying my concepts to their pasts.
Throughout my early years, I, too, was adamant in these circumstances as anyone probably is. Been there, done that. I know that I would have taken great outrage had anyone called me Nick, boy, man, male at prior years of my life. I felt that indignity myself – I was, at first, quite insistent about my self:
- I am a girl, woman, female
- I asserted to my family at age 8 that my name is Sharon.
- I abhorred any identification of my past as boy, man, male, and that dreaded name Nick..
I eventually began smoothing over my rough edges as I worked myself through my issues. Time allowed me to accept my past as it is; my birth-room doctors imposed upon me to play that male role til I corrected it. What I did when I was ‘male’ still counts as such and what I have been since female counts in that manner.
Here is my philosophy.
It is only fair and reasonable that I describe my ‘self’ accordingly when I refer to my ‘before’ life:
- I was born as a female, but was erroneously assigned to life as a male named Nickie
- I was a Boy Scout as Nick, a male
- I played Little League baseball as Nick, a male
- I attended elementary school, high school, and began college as Nick, a male
- I travelled to Europe and resided at Greece two years as high school student Nick, a male
- I was employed as Nick, a male
- I transitioned from Nick, a male, to Sharon, a female.
Therefore, when I refer to my prior self, it is accurate – at least for my opinion – to refer to me as Nick, boy, man, male rather than Sharon, girl, woman, female.
With my transition and life events, I can refer to that subsequent part of my past correctly as Sharon, girl, woman, female:
- I played on Team Tennis as Sharon, a female
- I played city league softball as Sharon, a female
- I attended college as Sharon, a female
- I was employed as Sharon, a female
- I retired and travelled to Asia as Sharon, a female.
Other people may not be so evenly inclined to make these same considerations depending upon where they are on their timeline and transition. You have my sincerest apologies for offending you wherever you are on your path to self-acceptance. I hope someday you will also smooth your rough edges and accept you as you experienced your ‘before’ life.
It seems my friends through my participation at 3rd Space support group comprehend their nuance. Kapung khaf to my 3rd Space friends.
Others comment about having and hiding their ‘stash’. I had no need to have that ‘stash’. I had free access to my sister’s wardrobe at any time of my choosing.
I lived a dichotomy in many ways.
While I lived with my mom and sister following our parents’ separation, divorce, and initial custody battle (I was still pre-school age through 1st Grade), when I went to play with the neighbourhood children playmates, frequently I would be wearing some article of Kathy’s clothes (Kathy and I wore the same size until 1978). Some articles of clothing they saw, some articles of clothing they did not see: a blouse, pants, dress, skirt, tights, undies. I recall some of the other kids teasing me about it but I did not know enough to care – ‘I’m a girl. I’m wearing what girls wear.’ I refused to accept others telling me that I was a ‘boy’. I AM a girl!
Nor am I not surprised that the teachers made no issue the times I used the girl’s room – not the boy’s room – at school – young as we were at that age (Kindergarten and 1st Grade); it did not get me in any trouble. Remember, being as a ‘boy’ and standing to pee was not happening whether I used the girl’s room or boy’s room. What did get me in trouble one day was when my 1st Grade girl friend and I amused ourselves in the girl’s room making toilet paper wads of wet toilet paper and throwing them at the walls and ceiling. Hey, maybe we were young scientists experimenting on the correct balance of water and toilet paper tissue to see what would stick, eh. I remember quite well the teacher catching us as if it is today (not 50-some years later) – I’m laughing my head off as I recall that event. If you could have been there! I’ll draw a picture it that helps: Sharon and friend – future scientists see what sticks.
But no way once my dad got custody and sent Kathy and me to Catholic school. Nuns would have none of me using the girl’s room beginning 2nd Grade. That had to end anyway as long as my family forced me to present to their world as a ‘boy’. At some point during my childhood, their reality of my incorrect assignment at birth banished me as a ‘boy’ though I otherwise would have preferred living as a girl (not happening while growing up under my dad’s roof).
I had no white shirt to wear to my Catholic ‘First Communion’. My paternal grandmother, residing with us, retrieved a white blouse from my sister’s room and put it on me. My dad threw quite a fit – I can see him now. I wore my sister’s white blouse at my First Communion – my dad conceding to it. It was okay when they dressed me yet not okay when I dressed me.
Later during my childhood, pre-teen, and early teen years that all resumed in my mixed up family. Circumstance restored my advantage by early 1967 (age 10 – 5th Grade). My paternal grandmother had been residing with us since 1963; she returned home to New Jersey leaving Kathy and me to ourselves. Some days we went ‘home’ to Aunt Pat and Uncle John after school on days when our dad attended post-graduate university.
Life got better by late 1969 (age 12, 7th Grade) through mid-1971 (age 14, 9th Grade). Kathy began residing under her mother’s primary custody early in my 7th Grade school year. She spent more time at our mother’s home a few miles away; she came for visitation on Saturdays. Yes, you know where this is going. Kathy kept clothes at our dad’s home. My dad continued attending graduate school during weekday evenings to earn his Master’s Degree. That left me at home – alone. My dad would not return home til after my bed-time – free reign til 10 pm left me to my practises. I changed into Kathy’s clothes right after school. I’d wear her clothes around home, walk through the neighbourhood with either Mincemeat or Slim, and pass businesses. If I wandered too far from home and had to ‘go’ well I went and no one challenged me using the girl’s room. I did not know if those neighbours who observed me recognised me as either Nick wearing Kathy’s clothes or if they thought I was Kathy.
I was always in a bit of minor fear when I ventured out as a girl during my childhood:
- the fear of a neighbour who saw me, yet wanting them to see me
- the fear a neighbour would tell my dad, yet wanting them to tell my dad.
My guess is that the neighbours did see me and did tell my dad which is why he usually came home angry, and yelled at me, and hit me – but he did not say why. Parents seem to know and learn about their children but don’t tell their details to their children – ever.
Although my hair was not long during 7th Grade and 8th Grade, April, a school class-mate, had hair shorter than mine and she styled it in a very feminine fashion. I learned to copy her style.
Of course some of that ended by age 14 (9th Grade). The Jesuit boys’ school had a code – short military hair cuts were strictly enforced. My hair length in that photograph of me in 9th Grade was considered ‘long’ by Jesuit school standards – within acceptable – but no longer than that or else I’d get written for it.
I had a fish aquarium that used ‘spun glass’ for filtration. I learned to fashion ‘spun glass’ into a wig. My neighbourhood ventures might have become complicated during 9th Grade but I could be myself – a girl – inside the comfort of home while doing my homework after school. It seems that helpt take my mind off my dilemma.
Later I experimented with breasts. I do not know how I got the idea other than it was based upon kid stuff – the water balloon. Unbeknownst to me at that time, it also matches medical procedure as I would later learn about breast implants (after all, they are a balloon filled with salt water). I learned to put one balloon inside another balloon in case of a leak. I filled the internal balloon to a reasonable size – I looked good with the appropriate size; they enabled me to fit Kathy’s bra size. Actually, I began a quasi-female puberty such that by 9th Grade I was developing my own ‘A’ breasts and no longer used those water balloons to fit into Kathy’s bras.
So, one point to re-telling my youth exploits, is that until you start developing ‘up top’ you may desire to experiment with your appearance – such as artificial external breast forms – or a water balloon. Some M-F have great development while others barely grow past an ‘A’ following many years on ERT. You won’t know until your endocrinologist places you on ERT. My development, already began as ‘A’ my first year, proceeded to ‘C’ by the beginning of year three.
This also serves as a brief summary prelude how we got to Greece.
I had one close call when my dad came home early – about 4 pm or so. AGH! I did not see him until he was getting out of the car; I made a mad dash to my bedroom, closed my door, and did quite the quick-change. He told me that his school let out early where he was the math teacher so he came home for supper before going to his evening college classes.
I still suspect that he suspected something more than 40 years later. That’s one factor that led to our infamous, early-February 1971 explosion later that night. Within days of that battle, he came home, announced that he spent time at the university job boards, and found several leads to apply to overseas American schools. I always recall with relief that the American international school at Kabul, Afghanistan, did not hire him as it did the father of a Catholic school class-mate a year or two earlier. Close call, indeed!
I completed an 11th Grade ‘Psychology’ class. It really hurt then (1973) – still hurts now.
I travelled from home at Maggana to the Pinewood campus at Pylaia for quarter-end reviews and exams for a couple weeks and to socialise with class-mates my age. My Third Quarter review and exams was that week when my ‘Psychology’ class was studying transsexuals and transvestites. I posted this earlier (‘Been to Hollywood, Been to Redwood, Been to Pescadero’). I sat in utter disbelief and silence the way the teacher mal-portrayed transsexualism as a ‘perversion’ and as ‘child molesters’. I cried about it when I found an opportunity to be alone so no one could see me and ask why I was upset. I am NOT a ‘pervert’! I am NOT a ‘child molester’! This was a violation committed upon my self. It is my dad who was the child molester by proxy (maybe someday I’ll elaborate his direct connection to the Catholic Church’s paederast priest scandal – it makes my skin crawl).
Psychologiy coursework educates as well as counsells; I completed approximately 30 college semester credits in various psychology courses. These classes awaken our mind. The education these courses provide separate people. You became separated from your family because you became better self-aware than your parents, siblings, wife who likely reject you for your awakening. ‘Trying to be the male everyone expected’ – nope, you awake to become your own woman only you could expect and only your close family and friends who accept you could expect – a multiple whammy against those against you – your awareness, your female-hood, your refusal to be as they ‘expected’ but as you ‘expected’.
Similarly, those college psychology courses separated me from my family as I awoke to family domestic abuse. I no longer allowed them to make me their literal and figurative punching bag. Thus their rejection began full steam ahead.
‘I was fake and I knew it’ – thus you awaken when your family would rather have that ‘fake’ you – that ‘fake’ male predecessor who was itself an inherent fake. You tried to be honest even in your fake male predecessor.
I experience times when I have no thought that I was once ‘male’ and went through my ordeal. That may sound incredible to you now; I expect there will come your own time when you will awake one morning and not think of your past for that day, that week, that month, that year, or longer. I have so little concept of what it was like as a male +30 years ago. I told Melissa, one of my recent counsellors, that I could not be male any more than she could be. She agreed to my point. I wanted to put it all behind me.
Now I am seeing trans children coming out and accepted by their family – personally at trans support group meetings, reading web-sites of trans children completing transition at ages younger than when I legally began at age 18 – asking myself where was my family when I was their age. Puberty blockers and hormones for children’s applications today were withheld from trans children during my time. I felt a tinge of jealousy at first – hitting upon my regret that I could not do better. Then proudly I became excited. Cheering. We of the 1970s era owe our success to those of the 1950s. If it had not been for we predecessors from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, then there would have been no generations of the 1980s, 1990s, and since then.
There was little 1960s to speak of in the USA. That was a dark interim when there were few or no legal access or operations in the USA. GCS / SRS was ruled criminal mutilation – doctors and surgeons could be prosecuted and imprisoned and the patients could be sent to indefinite involuntary lock-up at the mental ward. An incredible concept from today’s perspective. It was why I had to be carefull what I said and to whom I said it when I began my transition in 1974 now that I was an adult and faced those serious adult realities.
I discussed with Melissa, who is young and recently attended a support group meeting, how we transsexuals did not change, it is the medical community that changed to our way. Note that transsexualism is no longer labelled an illness or disability. Yeh, Denise, my transsexual mentor whom I met briefly in 1974, was told she could collect Social Security disability as a transsexual – first as a pre-op and then post-op during her time in the 1960s (she had to go to Mexico for her operations and feared involuntary commitment when she returned home). Nowadays, if a transsexual went to SSA and applied for permanent disability, their application would be summarily denied on the grounds that there is no disability. Quite a reversal during the past four decades.
I have been out of the dating scene for so long – last dates were around 1994 / 1995. I worked my job at the State of Arizona, then my second career at the community TV station, as well as continuing to enroll in college classes. Dating just had little time in all that, not to mention how I was so not dating since my disco days; awh, those ‘dates’ with Kathy Q and Virginia were not ‘dates’ to me, they were friendships. Likewise, Debbie at Utah.
It came to be that I got myself into a Lesbian relationship with Carol (‘CJ’), an accounting class-mate. Our professor randomly put students into work groups of three or four – we got placed together and we learned about each other and our commonality (e.g., she was in radio, I was in both radio and TV). We developed a friendship. CJ let me visit with her at her radio station; I made a video of my work at the Tucson TV station. CJ took charge, so to speak (the ‘male’ role?). She took me to dinners, we did other things, and, well, skipping past an intimacy, that lasted for about six to eight months. We were both in our late-30s. That being my first Lesbian relationship, I lacked the experience that I should have had if I had been female / Lesbian throughout my life. Instead, she was more mature in her position while I was new, insecure, and unaware of my self – kinda like an experimenting teenager rather than a confident adult.
Jai and Mike are friends from the TV studio. I was never ‘out’ – always female and accepted that way. Jai and I have been friends since at least 1990; Mike and I since mid-1990s. I crewed both their TV shows (director, camera, audio, CG; whatever it took at a small community station).
So here I am, more than 20 years later looking at a possible ‘date’ experience for the first time in all these intervening years. It came to my realisation that Mike may want more than what I want though at times I feel feelings for him. I honestly don’t know because I do not know those signs gained from expected experiences – what I lack. At 60 years old, I should have more than four decades of dating experiences, not spotty experiences and teenage perspective as a grown adult. AGH!!!
Well, this will certainly be something to discuss with my counsellor next time.
My other friend, Jai, is quite chipper. She apparently beat a second cancer. She had been quite grumpy and crotchety the past few years since this second bout hit. Her chemo took much of her hair and she lost some teeth to its effects. Now she is improved. She is not sluggish. She is enthused that her hair came back. She talked better and with an improved outlook on life.
Jai talks of her LGBT friends, but I’m not in that circle. Is it because she does not choose me to, or maybe she considers I might not be accepting of LGBT? What a hoot if the latter.
Mike does not mention any LGBT in his conversation. Is he like my other ‘friend’ Clint, a high school friend who developed into a ‘best friend’ relationship, who chose me as his ‘Best Man’ at his wedding, then collapsed into violence against me when I told him my story?
I recall that I worked the audio board and was Assistant Director for a transgender show about 15 years ago. It was amazing. In my mind I kept thinking someone from that group will recognise me in some way and ‘out’ me, whether deliberately or accidentally. Did not happen. No one from the group questioned me nor did anyone at the studio ask any questions of me. This was all a relief in that sense that these other people (the guests, the TV studio personnel) considered me female and not transsexual ‘passing’. There’s that nuance again that makes me feel good – that I crossed from being transsexual to being female according to Stanford guidelines.
So it all goes down as not being relevant to say anything; in today’s parlance – TMI. If no one is in a sexual relationship, there is no point saying anything after all these years. If asked, I will not deny my past; in fact it would be a relief to end the suspence. My past is such ‘ancient’ history and my time as an adult ‘male’ was quite fleeting.
As to that sexual aspect, is there a point to disclose? I have been female for all but those few early years of my adult life. I have little concept of my ‘before’ life. I have nothing around the house that immediately documents my meager ‘male’ past. As I mentioned, there can be days, weeks, months, years that I do not have that realisation that I was male. Even my medical appointments can totally overlook this fact – the doctor simply takes everything as female and I notice that when it comes to those questions (LMP, G&P) that we gloss over sex change. You may come to that one day when you recognise that you have forgotten that you were once ‘male’. It can be a weird feeling when that sliver reminds you of your past.
More new questions for the counsellor.
Thank you for coming.
Thank you for reading.
Please come again soon.