Monday, 23 July 2012

Musing...





Over the last month I have been in contact with Lisa on the other side of the world by herself going through the final step in her transformation. Lisa was the first to seek me out once I started my blogging, we had both long been using the net to explore the trans world and where we should plot ourselves in that universe. 
As inwardly convinced of who we should have been we each could not quite believe that the change would be possible for us. It had not stopped us starting to make physical changes which could not be reversed but would at least lessen the anguish of living out a less than satisfactory existence perceived as the wrong gender. We had each panicked at the thought of loosing a head of hair while horrified at the luxuriant growth everywhere we did not want it to grow! Neither of us has rushed into this process and are still online long after waves of others have appeared, changed and moved on hopefully to live the lives they dreamed of.
The net has saved many lives, not so much a safety net as a scramble net allowing us the means to climb out of the depths on misery and despair many of us lived through. The net really has helped spread the word and made our condition better known and understood allowing easier access to help. During her time away Lisa has seen legions of late teen and early twenties girls arriving with supportive family members to be set on a path to a complete life nature had tried to denigh them. I have to admit that I do experience an occasional wave of regret wash over me shaking me to the core. Looking back on lost chances is not something I am wont to do but it is inevitable that occasionally something will crop up to remind us that help was hard to come by or actively refused even a short while ago let alone the decades ago many of us first realised that our problems could be rectified if only logic rather than prejudice could rule the health practitioners.
What a ride it has been. Net world has changed so much it is hard to think back and remember all that has happened and changed. Initially it was an open and happy place with everyone open and trying to help each other, sites went up collating information to allow informed examination of your own situation and what you might have to do to rectify it. Decades of trawling libraries starting in my university library in the early 70’s had landed very little information, and then often out of date or just plainly wrong! I resisted linking our home computer to the net for several years knowing full well what I would do given half a chance. That lid to Pandora’s box was so enticing to open… I am not sure that someone searching for the first time would find it quite so warm and welcoming as it has been, then again not as cold and unwelcoming as it was a while ago with people arguing about who was more worthy of being here!
So many of us felt open hearted enough to start a blog and share our experiences taking much of the fear out of the scary concept of transition for those who might follow. I wanted to know how was my testosterone poisoned, tall, hairy body ever going to transition into a voluptuous flawless beauty? Not as it turned out! Well I could dream... What it did transform into still amazes me.
Transition throws us all into the same lifeboat
As I think about cleaning up my subscriptions list yet again I realise many who once seemed so close in their time here have already become hazy memories, several waves have come and finished their journey whist I plodded on wondering if my turn would ever come to finish the physical transformation. 
So many blogs started with enthusiasm and hope only to falter and dry up or vanish without warning, what has happened to those souls? Did they find their way and move on to a new life or did they find the going harder than they could cope with, we shall never know. 
Many stop somewhere along the way when their lives become comfortable in the new role and we never hear wether they finish the course or not. Even more suddenly stop when they cross the notional finishing line of surgery, this I find  more understandable now just having reached that point, the internal noise of transition leaves you calm with time and desire to enjoy the new life which has become open to you. I would have liked to have read more blogs which continued into that new life, reporting on issues which others may have to deal with, transition does not suddenly stop post op! You will be stuck with me posting for a good while yet to show how I move forward with my new freedom.
Others sadly did not make it and have died on the way, some never knowing the joy of completion others after too short a time to be themselves. Several friends of friends ended their lives by their own hand only reminding us how high the suicide rate still is for those with our problems and the difficulties much of society still puts in our way in the forms of discrimination in employment and general acceptance. Many others lost support of close family through fear of what society might think of them being associated with a transsexual...!
Nearly six months on from my operation, life is better than I ever hoped it would be. It is not exciting, little special happens day to day, just the ordinary life it always should have been. How do you explain to people what waking up and being able to think “this is me” when almost everyone else on this planet has done that since day one, whilst we have woken every day thinking “this is not me”! 
Finally I look in the mirror and am happy at who and what I see...

5 comments:

  1. When I started my transition Caroline I hadn't given any thought to surfing the Net looking for answers. That was probably either due to naivety or simply disinterest some might say. In fact I didn't trawl the Net for information as I got it all through personal contact with other trans-folk. The only time I used the Internet was to make bookings for my flights and my treatment in Thailand. Had I not that personal contact I am pretty sure I'd have done more on the Net. How much more difficult it was for those who needed information long before the advent of the Internet. Many have used the Net to further their needs and exchange information with their peers as you say but then stop that interaction once they have had their operations, probably because they want to now live in stealth or because they don't feel the need to continue dwelling over what has passed. Others will remain on the scene to give advice like mother hens looking after their chicks and some will even become activists for trans-rights, if they were'nt already. Each of us has a chosen path of course and for me that is not to major on my past or on issues surrounding trans-matters but I remain in contact with a few of 'my kind' nevertheless. Mostly I discuss life issues in general on my blog these days, after all they are more of interest now than events which changed my life so many years ago. I think that as we progress further and further down the line from transition it all becomes a blur and we simply get on with our lives in the gender we are. It is so very sad that many fall along the way in their struggle to be themselves because of the circumstances they find themselves in. More could be done and should be done to help those whose lives are a misery because of their dysphoria. That I am afraid I would have to leave in the hands of activists and professionals but I am always open to helping those I meet on a more personal level, either in person or through the media that is the Internet, if I am able. Yes Caroline, it is a sorry affair sometimes but we each must plod on regardless and do what we can, when we can and if we can. I am glad that you and I can look in the mirror and be happy with what we see there.

    Shirley Anne xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Damn Blogger. Just wrote a reply and it disappeared!!
    Here we go again.

    Yay for Skype!! Thanks for the chats. It helped relieve some of the boredom.

    I found the internet a great source of information when coming to terms with who I am and finding a way forward to help both my family and I transition together.

    It also enabled me to meet some wonderful women (including you!!) who have become friends.

    I found the number of young women who were in Thailand with parents quite inspiring when I was there. In total there were 7 under 24 from UK, Ireland, Canada, US, Australia, Sweden and Germany.

    It seems that acceptance and understanding is growing all over.

    I was in quite a unique position as I was between the ages of the parents and daughters and as such I could relate to them all.

    As a parent myself I understood just how worried the mums were and I was able to offer words of encouragement and some hugs prior to surgery. They were much more worried than their daughters about what would happen.
    You could see the relief in them as the surgery was complete and the recovery process gained momentum.

    I have met some really special people over there. Both those who had the surgery and those who had come with them.

    With regard to continuing blogging I am not sure I will.
    Since going full time my motivation on that front has diminished. Besides now I wouldn’t have much interesting to post!! ;-)

    I will leave my blogs on line for the moment though.

    Speak soon. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can see one's point of letting the blogging stuff go after crossing over. I, on the other hand, had already crossed before I began blogging, and I hope I have shown others what a life could be and happen as we continue to live it to the fullest.

    I try to share the fun we have on our travel around our country, the places and people we have met. And our involvement in advocating for the acceptance us all of us is Good work indeed. Kay and I volunteered at the Episcopal Church's Integrity Booth during the Triennial General Convention; our work with PFLAG and speaking to classes at the University.
    Life for us is never boring and there are so many new possibilities on the horizon.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a joyus and sad post in equal measure. I just hope those lost souls are alive and thriving.

    My own entry into the world of blogging started as a form of therapy, and it worked as I discovered the real me lurking just below the surface. Now, I post mainly to help others, I hope, and to keep my story going to my long hoped for conclusion.

    When I reach a point when I feel that I have little to contribute either of interest or help to others, then I will stop. Meantime the story goes on.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Caroline, this was a very, very emotional post for me, which actually brought me to tears.

    As you know, I try very hard to fight transitioning, but I'm also very bitter in that I was just born in the wrong generation and born to parents who would have disowned me had I transitioned. For that reason, I harbor deep resentment of my parents and just feel no love for them whatsoever.

    I wish I was one of the bloggers who has faded away following a successful transition. But, I'm not, and I'll probably be doing the occasional blog post for many years to come.

    Calie xxx

    ReplyDelete

Many thanks to all who ever joined in the conversation and to those who took the time to follow my zig zag to a new life..

I can be contacted on the email found on my profile page.