Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Will I ever be the girl I long to be?

How many of us have asked ourselves that question? Most of us, I would imagine. Sooner or later all of us have to face the reality of our situations, and sadly, sometimes that reality is heartbreaking. The answer comes back to us, and it is............no.

For some of us, it is as though life has conspired against us. Deep in our hearts, we knew we weren't really boys, even when we were small. Oh, maybe we couldn't articulate it way back then, and if anyone asked us, we would say, "Oh yes! Of course we are boys!", but we knew! Deep down inside, we knew! There was just something about us, that was intrinsically different from every other boy we knew. We couldn't exactly put our finger on it, but we knew it had something to do with our dissatisfaction of having to live within the gender constraints imposed upon us. I still recall sleeping in my mother's red high heels, that for whatever reason she left sitting on my windowsill. I saw them sitting there when I went to bed, and I couldn't even think about going to sleep, until I had then on my own feet. I remember tiptoeing over to the window to get them. I didn't even try walking in them. I just carried them back to bed with me, and under the covers I slipped them on my little bare feet. They felt sooo wonderful! Like nothing I had ever felt before, and I wore them like a security blanket for the rest of the night! I wonder, how many real little boys would ever have done that?

We continued to grow up trying to think we were boys, but because we couldn't relate to other boys on a fundamental level, it made it hard to be one of them, but we had to be one of them, because no other alternative was allowed. We tried, but no matter how hard we tried, and God knows how hard we did try, ultimately we always failed. Our failings weren't glaring. We didn't stand out like sore thumbs. There may actually have been moments of masculine success, where we managed to put it all together just right. Like the time I struck out the side, three innings in a row as a little league pitcher, or later, when I joined the Army and became a soldier, and a squad leader in Vietnam, or later still, when I became an industrial electrician, in the all male maintenance crew of a large international chemical corporation, and eventually someone who planned the projects all of those men had to work on. But some how it never felt right. Some how I never felt like I fit in with all of those men, and God love them, while some of them were terrible brutes and buggers, many of them were nice decent men, but no matter how much I liked them, or how hard I tried to relate to them, I always felt a fundamental divide between us.

I wanted to live my life as a woman! I couldn't tell anyone, but I wanted it desperately! I wanted it so bad, but this was long before the internet, and at a time when knowledge of what to do, was the privilege of the few. Even the shrink I finally succumbed to seeing, because I couldn't stop crying, and who told me I was the first patient he had seen in his fourteen years of practice, that he truly believed was transsexual, couldn't advise me what to do. He wanted me to return for a fourth visit, but after I had revealed all to him, and he had no solutions for me, I saw no point in going back to him. I told him from the beginning, I wasn't interested in any long term psychotherapy. I knew who I was, and just needed help getting there. Gender therapy was obviously something that Richmond hadn't discovered at the time. Hard to believe, considering the population of the metropolitan area was close to a million people by then, but Richmond has always lagged behind Atlanta and Charlotte, when it came to modernity among the southeastern states.

Not knowing what else to do, I resigned my self to living with my gender dysphoria, and I tired to make the best of my life as I could. Relationships with women were totally eliminated. I just couldn't bare falling in love with another woman, only to be rejected by her, once she realized I wasn't really a man. I had been through that horrible pain three times before, and I was afraid a fourth time would be the end of me. So I immersed myself in my work. I thought if I took on more responsibility at work, I would could overcome my feelings of worthlessness. I applied for the position of project planner, and because of my seniority, I was chosen for the training. I breezed through the training, and after my test I was told by the training manager, that I received the highest score of anyone who ever went through he training before me. I went on to my planning assignments, with a false sense of confidence, buoyed by my test scores and subsequent compliments, however once I was assigned to a crew, I found out how little they cared about my qualifications, and how much they resented the fact that I wasn't one of the guys. Being one of the guys, meant going along to get along, something I just couldn't do. Men expect you to break the rules for them, but women are different. Women are rule followers, unless of course the rules are fundamentally unfair to begin with. Men don't care whether rules are fair or not, they only seek advantage, wherever they can. I just couldn't do that for them, so when I planned a project, I expected them to carry out my plans the way I laid them out, as best as they could. They never did. I would meticulously plan a project, and purchase all of the necessary fundamental materials, and they wouldn't use half of them, deciding on their own to take every shortcut imaginable, to get the job over with as fast as they could, so the could go back to sitting around, microwaving popcorn and chewing the fat. The job that had held so much promise for me, turned out to be just another big disappointment.

The resentment between me and the rest of the men was so great, that it actually began to amplify my GID. I was clean shaven at the time, and had been plucking eyebrows for a few years. My hair was also long. It was obvious to me, that whenever I had to meet with an engineer, a manager, a vendor, or one or more of of the men doing the job, they were uncomfortable being around me. This of course made me uncomfortable. Even though I've never been gay, I strongly suspected homophobia, especially since one guy told me point bank that I looked like a woman. I knew that regardless of my resources, which were sparse to begin with, I would never be able transition on that job.

I grew my beard out. I hated doing it. I hadn't worn a beard in over ten years, but it did seem to quell most of the absurd and irrational homophobia that many of the guys were feeling. It didn't however, seem to increase their respect for me as a man. I kept the beard, and hobbled through the rest of my career, until I reached retirement two years ago. In the mean time, my dysphoria, and the stress of my job caused me to take a lackadaisical attitude toward life in general, and I allowed my weight to balloon to 304 lbs. I didn't care, not until about three years before I retired, and I almost passed out at work a few times! When at my mother's one night, she checked my blood pressure. It was 185/95! That scared the living hell out of me! I was afraid I was going to die from a stroke, so I went to the doctor and found out I had developed type II diabetes. It was a wake up call, and I realized that important lifestyle changes were in order. I began to watch what I ate, and began a regular aerobic exercise program. I lost around eighty pounds, and got my blood sugar and BP back to normal.

For the last five years I have been able to keep it that way, but since I retired two years go, I also realized that I just couldn't keep up the full time masquerade. I'm 61 years old now, and my dream of being a beautiful young woman is long gone. I will never fully transition, but I refuse to give up on the beautiful young girl that still lives inside of me. She wanted nothing more than to be free, and she has suffered so much. I just love her so, and I feel so goddamn guilty for not being able to set he free. Now that I'm retired I want to give her every opportunity she can, to freely express herself. And why wouldn't I? I am her, and she is me.

Tonight I read Jenny's blog. I love Jenny! She is such a beautiful sweet honest woman! She wrote about her consultation with those who would be doing her GRS. They told her of three options: no surgery, cosmetic surgery, or full GRS. She wondered about option #2, since she wasn't aware of it. Basically it involved the creation of a clitoris and labia, but no vagina. At first she said she wanted full GRS, but later began to think about the advantages of option #2. You can read her thoughts here , but it brought home to me the importance of realizing that we don't have to all follow the yellow brick road, all the way to OZ! We are all women in our minds, regardless of what our bodies look like. We can take it as far, or as little as we like. It's all up to each of us to make that decision for our selves. Whatever that decision, it is imperative that we all support each other in it.

I'm so happy that this late in my life I have finally been able to make contact with like minded sisters, regardless of their current status, or final destination. I am an agnostic, so I don't profess to know who, or what God is, or even if God exists, but if he/she/it does, then surely God is far more magnificent than the petty sectarian creation that most religions worship. In the 60's, for the first time in my life I heard the phrase, that "God is Love! " I like that, and if that's the case, then God loves all of you, for certainly he/she/it knows the pain you have had to live with, and the suffering you have been through.

God love you!
Melissa XX


Leslie Ann said...

That was quite beautiful, Melissa. It's not a "lifestyle" for the faint of heart, is it? So glad you corrected your health so you'd get a chance to live the life you dreamed of.

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa
I feel like I have had a lovely chance to get to know you that much better than before. I really feel for you and the stuggles you have had to live through over the years and I sense your loneliness now. (not just from reading this post)If you lived just over the tree line from me I would come over to your place and give you a big hug right now! Thank you for sharing what you have in this post. I hope that even though you spend alot of time in your house alone you can be free and find happiness as the person you have always wanted to be. Sending you lots of love.


chrissie said...

Never heard of that second option before, Melissa. Sound sliie it saves a whole lot of hassle, too..

But yes, I do know of some girls who have found a half-way house and been very happy without GRS, and there's no rulebook that says on is less trans if one takes that step.

ps, longer email on its way, honey!

Sophie said...

Hi Melissa. I'm seeing an awful lot of coincidences here between your life and mine so let me see if I can give you a nickel's worth of two cents. Not that it really has anything to do with the price of tea in China, but I spent a previous life as an electrician also. I was a marine electrician which would be very similar to an industrial electrician I suppose. My work environment moving around a lot more would be the big difference there. It was also a very male workplace, but I had the benefit of a lot of positional authority to back me up.

I need to get you down my way for a weekend so you can visit the other TS support group I belong to. It's a MUCH different mix of girls compared to the one in Richmond and it would let you see some very different attitudes and experiences. In particular, a good friend of mine there is a non-hormone taking, non-op woman. I'm not suggesting that as a way to go for anyone, but it is good to know someone who is happily living their life that way. You could follow me down from Richmond after the Friday group and head back home Sunday.

Will I ever be the girl I long to be? Well, if the girl I want to be is 20, wears a size zero and has long blonde hair then the answer unfortunately is no. And I do not have to like that fact, just accept it and move on with my life. But if the girl I want to be is in her mid-50's, she can deal with the skeletal structure she's grown into and she is looking forward to whatever is going on with the rest of her life, then yes, I can be her. Not only can, but I am actively moving forward in that direction.

I have a lot of regrets in my life, many things I would do differently. But the past is static and already written in the book of life. The pen is now writing in the present and the plot for future is in a rough outline. And I am the author.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I love the group of friends I have on blogger.
Everyone speaks so honestly of there thoughts, worries, experiances and dreams.
It seems like we are all connected and I would like to thank you Melissa for being so honest in your blogs.
I have to say I would have never guessed you were ever anywhere near 300 lbs from your photograph.
You look like a beautiful woman who is nowhere near 60!


Jenny.J said...

Awe Melissa,
I adore reading your entries on here, I could waffle on about many things but just don't have the time to put them down on here, reading this last entry of yours made me really emotional and tearful, its easy to forget how Ladies like you have struggled before the internet came about, everything you referred to rang true with myself, you know men and rules, trying to be macho and fit in, hiding our secret, forming relationships only to let our partners and ourselves down. I'd just like to say though that at 61 your not too old to make a new life and many friends as the true you, how far you want to go, well only you know, but you look fab, have a lovely personality that shines through on your blog, you can have many years enjoying your retirement as Melissa, I have no idea about your finances, but maybe you could find out where events are taking place and maybe drive over the day before and stay in a hotel and get ready the following day, you just seem so isolated sometimes, I know its a long trip to the groups, but if you could arrange to meet some friends its worth far more than a few hours on the net, have a mingle and get out there girl, you'll be so popular i just know it, don't look back with regret, look forward and live for now. I do hope I'm not being pushy, I just care thats all. xx

Amy K. said...

Melissa, thank you for the sad yet fascinating tale
of you! Paragraphs two and three are a dead-on for my early life... as well, I suspect, for many of your readers.

You are the expert on you, and what you need and desire. That said, 61 is not at all too late. I personally know many women who have transitioned at around your age, and older. If it's worth it to you, go for it! And hey, I think you look great! Many trans women need FFS in order to look like you do in your pictures. It's fine if you don't WANT to transition, or have GRS, what-have-you... but never say you CAN'T do it. You can do whatever you set your mind to. :)

Naukishtae said...

Dear Melissa.. your words resinated with me deeply.. I knew at a very early age that I was in the wrong body.. my adoptive mother thought it was cute to see me dressed in her clothes.. sleeping in her slip.. I just could not be pals with them, men.. couldn't talk like they did.. didn't play sports .. I always disliked men for most of the same reasons you did.. you knew some that were, you said OK.. I rarelly have.. I find them bloated with testostrone.. sorry I think most of them are #$%&*&*.. I don't like or trust most straight men.. we just to not think alike..

I always loved women.. wanted to be with them.. wanted to be one of them.. the term lesbian in descise (sp) really does fit me.. I am married for the second time, so I guess I have the best of both worlds.. I am one of the few men that belong to the Butch Femme Social cIub.. I keep my sanity buy reading a lot of lesbian fiction.. I can live in the books that I read.. lesbian authors write the way I think.. I always used books to escape.. physical, emotional and sexual abuse.. all of your friends here have given wonderful advice, and care so much about you.. It's so easy to care about you...

No matter what you ever say, you are just too beautiful to be 61.. you are a lovely woman.. and your words are so well spoken.. sorry Melissa, you are who you are no matter to what degree you wish to continue.. You are truly someone I wish I could know better in this life..

Naukishtae OXOXO

Calie said...

What have you done to me, Melissa? I got up this morning, for my half hour of blog reading prior to work, and told myself this was "Melissa Day". Time to catch up on what M has been up to.

I read this beautiful post and then I see the link to Jenny's blog and immediately go over there. Now, I've run out of time and now I've added another blog to my ever growing reading list.

But, I will be back!!!

As far as this post goes, it is always so interesting to see how many of our lives are so much the same. In many ways, my story is so similar to yours. The project management thing really resonated. For me, I have always been so good at designing and planning the project but so bad at actually relating to the workers at the job site. The times when I have felt most female are not when dressed or with other women, but when I have been on job sites. This may be hard for others to understand but I have a sense you can relate to what I am saying.

Calie xxx

Anonymous said...

Regarding the title of your blog...no, I do think you will ever be the girl you wanted to be. Reality can be a bitch, wouldn't you agree. Having the mind of a woman can be painful in so many ways. We dream about our deepest desires and feelings, while our male side tells us those dreams will never become reality. Even SRS cannot make us the woman we dreamed of...that innocent young teen...that mother of a loving husband's children. I often feel great sadness over some of those things I have missed out on.

On the other hand, I have to seek out the positive aspects of my life. Even though I have been forced to live it as a male, I have learned to love and appreciate every moment I get to present my female life and heart to the world. Therein lies the rub...we just have to make the best of a bad situation. Having a positive attitude can often be challenging, but it is so often the only answer. We all have to set the priorities in our lives...then we have to live with our choices. There are times in our lives when our priorities change...then our lives need to change to accommodate them. I've been asking myself those questions lately and so far I have been able to live with my circumstances. However, I leave my options open...I know you do the same. Good luck...don't worry, be happy. :)Suzi

Louise Connolly said...

if you want 'it' bad enough even now its not to late, motivation and need is the clue

a friend of mine in the uk has just transitioned at about 68, she's now 71, had the op, nose job, boob job, adams apple next, lives in stealth mode in a new community, goes to church, apparently has a fab time..

I know she would recommend it to anybody, i've not taken her advice 100% yet.. maybe only 4%.. lol

xxx L

Two Auntees said...

Dear Melissa,
I to will say that 61 is not too old to transition. I transitioned at 58 and am now 63, I live in a medium size south ga town and am really out. Not a ripple in sight and am an activist when I can. I agree with Jenny J. take every chance you can to make personal contacts and enjoy the day.

Anonymous said...

rip cuz.