Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's been a while. I have a job. I've been at it a week. The baby crawls everywhere, climbs stairs, cruises along things with abandon, and looks like a tiny version of my wife. My daughter has started preschool. She speaks to them in Mandarin and English, they speak back in English and Japanese and Mandarin. The end result is confused parents but a very happy 4 year old. My wife's volunteer/career projects continue to take-off like nothing I've ever seen before. As for myself, well, I will receive a paycheck tomorrow, and will soon be able to resume depilation. I don't really know when hormones will begin. Once my wife and I cross that bridge, I suppose.

I find, sometimes, that all I really need to be happy is to be able to spend time with my family, knowing that they love me as I am. More frequently, though, if I didn't have a surety of transition ahead, I'd go mad. Or close-up and lock myself away again -- which is much the same thing, really.

In all honesty, I'm brimming over with reflections and emotions, but most of them are private and don't concern the public world. Unfortunately, my journal site was a casualty of a catastrophic hard drive failure, sometime in the last couple of weeks. This leaves me ... frustrated, mostly, as the last thing I want to do when trying to articulate myself in text is to tinker with databases. Meh.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Still jobless, Baby sleeping better

Well, I sure am rotten at this regular-posting thing, don't I?

I'm kicking this job search thing into a much higher gear than I thought I was capable of. It's not the "50 to 100 a week" that the somewhat arrogantly entrepreneurial founder of Rapleaf endorses, but it's much better than I was doing. And no, despite initial attraction, this passionate language-design, open-source-contributing, distributed-IR veteran developer will not be applying for work there; Mr. Hoffman's selection techniques are really quite effective. Meh.

The downside, of course, to all this company-surfing and cover letter writing is the occasional brush with, as my spouse likes to say, SRSLY SKEEVY recruiter types -- the sort that latches-onto your résumé and won't stop representing you to companies until you issue a cease-and-desist letter. I understand that the world at large does not universally share my conception of professionalism, nor should I expect it to. This doesn't mean I have to like it, though. Why can't these people understand that I have good reasons for selecting specific companies -- benefits and HRC Corporate Equality Index scores being big ones -- that I do not intend either to justify or even to share? Seriously, people. "Skeevy" is right.

The good news is that I'm starting to get over some of my fear and loathing of interviews. Well, not really. I still hate them. But I'm dealing. I seem to be better at writing cover letters than I had expected, too, which is heartening. And now, back to the grueling self-promotion.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

me = very very very tired

So. Time to chatter to my diary about how I'm doing.

AGH.

Baby is not sleeping.

Correction: baby is sleeping. Baby is sleeping quite a lot, in fact. However, baby is not sleeping when I need him to be sleeping, namely between 2am and 6am. Well, okay; more accurately, he's not allowing me to sleep during those hours. He gets plenty of sleep.

General stress kept me from unwinding until, oh, 2:30 this morning. At which point, like clockwork, the little angel woke up, hungry. Long story short, we were up, we were down, we were up again, we tried the bassinet (he was having none of that), we tried co-sleeping (he loved it, but I couldn't fall asleep -- I haven't co-slept with an infant enough to really relax, much as I otherwise enjoyed it), and hey, look, it was 6am, time to remedicate and start another day. For the record, "we" refers to me and my baby; my dear wife was fortunate enough, this time, to remain asleep for nearly all of the drama.

So. I am physically incapable of staying angry at this child. He is an angel boy. He is beyond sweet-tempered -- he's just in a near-permanent good mood. And no, that's not just his parent's perspective; all who encounter him remark (generally in tones of disbelief) at his unshakably happy disposition. I shouted at him deliriously a couple of times around 6am when he refused to stop squealing happily and thumping the walls of his bassinet, but then picked him up and laid him down next to me, and when next I opened my eyes there was his tiny cherubic face beaming awe and delight into mine, clearly transfixed with wonder at being in mama's bed. What was I supposed to do in the face of that? I melted. And so I laughed it all off as best I could, remedicated, and went about waking-up [the rest of] my family.

Dear Diary

In the interest of capturing some of the fog of reflection that's settled over me during my lengthy hiatus from employment, I'm now going to attempt to commit to at least one entry a day until such time as I either thoroughly exhaust my supply of novel insights or am once again gainfully employed. This ought to prove interesting.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

To what end?

Why is it that I write these posts, these public journal entries? It's not that they have an audience, or that I'm trying to reach anyone. I don't promote myself anywhere; this really can only be described as a diary with neither cover nor lock.

Something in Jenny Boylan's She's Not There helps me to an answer. Like the putative misguided participant in a creative writing workshop, my stories and remarks swell with angst and banal detail where they lack in charm and intrigue. Unlike the aspiring author, though, charm and intrigue -- the amusement and enlightenment of a reading audience -- are not my aims. I may someday feel like writing a memoir -- heaven knows, my family has given me enough lunatic excitement over the years to make a good read -- and at that juncture I shall commence the process of editing and selection. Until such time, however, I use this page as a means to clarity.

As so much of this course I've set is clouded and hidden, the more memory I maintain of whence I've come the better. I am, therefore, aiming to capture for myself moments of insight and of emotion. As a diarist, I'm documenting me whenever and wherever I become momentarily lucid. As a reader, I am hoping to come to a deeper and broader understanding of myself. For the present, any other uses really must remain secondary.

Aaand this still needs editing. Oh well. In due course.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

visiting the old home

Standing in the hallway for hours, looking at pictures in old photo albums, I notice things. I am so unhappy-looking, so serious, in these pictures. They date from eight to eighteen years of age.

There are a few exceptions. A few images from the end of my senior year of high school have smiles—what I remember of the time is that my future was an open book, full of the promise of adventure. I’d been accepted to a marvelous school, I had shaved my beard and begun to think more honestly about my gender. I had reason to be optimistic.

The other systematic exception is in pictures from my teens in which I am interacting with children. I am happy, there. I don’t look calculating. I don’t look reserved. I look like I feel genuine.

The only other time I have seen that genuine look is as a little child, in even earlier pictures, and only when I’m expressing excitement or distaste. When I’m calm … I look thoughtful. I look wistful. I don’t look present. I’m not there.

And then … then I see a picture of myself in a swimming pool, and there’s a stab of pain. I should have been in a one-piece, with narrower shoulders, a small but defined chest, a too-high forehead and longer limbs than I knew what to do with, spending a mid-teens summer vacation trying to come to terms with young womanhood in America in the early nineties. Instead, I’m in swim trunks, baffled and uncertain about developing chest and facial hair, completely failing to come to terms with an even more oppressed and confusing status.

I cry. All those years of isolation in rich company, gilded imprisonment in privilege. I never stopped trying to understand—not once—who and what I was, but I only rarely paused in my desperate flight from the answer. Transgender. Transsexual.

I cry because I remember the moment so well. I remember feeling, clearly, what I just wrote, above: every…single…thought. I don’t remember what I was thinking—the words, the meanings I attached to them, the boxes in my head into which I finally shoved them at a loss for options. I could probably reconstruct them, now, if I tried, but I have no desire to do so. I have options, now. I have words for these feelings. Loneliness, isolation, and fear. Heartache. Regret; longing. Grief. Deep wells of grief. Such sorrow, over what I feared to do, what I was too afraid to assert, to claim, to demand. Womanhood. My body. My name. Me.

It’s funny how in times of emotion, it’s just words—“womanhood”, “transgender”, “name”—that I fall back upon. It’s simple, powerful words—the right words, hard-won over many years—that are the foundation-stones of my redoubt. They are my spell, my name, my Polaris. I don’t so much write about these feelings or articulate them as—using an embarrassingly awkward analogy which I nevertheless cannot seem to shake—instead toss words onto a Pollock canvas and mutely ponder the wreckage. It paints a map, in adolescent, stuttering cadences, to authenticity.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

booooring / good news / whinyriffic

So. Attractive Job Prospect apparently wants me to go and visit them to interview some more, and is still interested. I appear to be unable to read these things. *sigh*.

Well, anyhow, thank goodness. The mechanics are charging us two paychecks. Feh. At least the baby had a wonderful time at daycare.

Looking at pretty much all of my posts tagged "interviewing" or "grumbling", I am forced to conclude that it is impossible, at this point, even to pretend to an air of stoic grace. Honestly, I didn't know I could be this whiny at this age and stage. It's a little disheartening. And hey, there I go again.

Hey, wait, isn't this supposed to be a transition blog?

Images, Bodies, Memories

A comment, elsewhere, got me started thinking at length about self-image. I suppose you could say that this is what this blog is named after—the fact that I rarely, if ever, see myself when I look in a mirror; I see a familiar person, someone who "plays me on TV", actually. Except the "TV" is the waking world, and the casting really sucked.

Anyhow, I've been reflecting [hah; at my punniest when not even trying] on my feelings of detachment from the images of myself which I see in photographs. Something struck me—the pictures from my earliest childhood, after my memories began to crystallize, but only barely, don't suffer from this. The little boygirl I see in them is me. I remember the tableaux, I remember watching the camera, I remember the feel of my body, I was there. And I remember looking as I do in the photographs. That's not somebody else, standing where I stood.

What was it that took this from me? Yes, I'm trans. Yes, my brain has structures conditioned prenatally to be part of a female body. Never mind any of that. What I want to know is "what can I remember of this loss? What did it feel like?"

There are some curious sides to this. So, the pictures I've been contemplating most are a pair of me at 2½ years, snuggling with my favorite blanket. I've another picture taken at approximately the same time, showing me in our garden wearing a straw hat borrowed from my mother. I remember the blanket pictures being taken, and I do not remember the hat picture being taken. But I do remember the hat. And what I remember most strongly about the hat is this: it was gendered.

Certainly I didn't have that term for it, but the idea is quite precisely that. The hat was my mother's. It was a woman's hat. I liked it: it felt comfortable, in a way most clothing did not. But I knew, somehow, that getting to wear it out in the yard, there, was a special treat, not something to take for granted, because it was girl clothing, and I wore boy clothing. I regretted this, I remember that much, but there's no pain. And this is the same me I can recall being, there in the blanket pictures. I may have understood gendering of identities, but I'm still authentic, then; I'm still just me, and haven't yet been carved-up.

When did my face stop being mine?

I can remember, in kindergarten, I was terrified by a fairy tale story assigned to us for reading homework. In the tale, a savage dragon was terrorizing a kingdom, and a pair of knights and a squire of sorts had been tasked with eliminating the threat. The knights sought-out a powerful wizard for aid against the magical beast, and the wizard helpfully provided them with a potion that would transform them into dragons—operating, I suppose, on the theory that anything less would be unable to best the beast in combat. Unfortunately, the enchantment made dragons of them in mind, as well, and they joined the first dragon in harassing the populace. And that's all I can tell you of the story, as I could not bring myself to read any more. Something terrified me about the thought of losing oneself—losing one's sense of self—inside an unfamiliar body.

It was early in the school year, so I cannot have been much past my fifth birthday. This is the first memory I have of being insecure about my own identity. I know I puzzled over earlier photographs of myself, that year and the next few, and watched my face in the mirror as I changed expressions, trying to figure out just what this person—whom I seemed to be—looked like. I recall wondering what, and where, I was—where was my self? I wondered if there was a point somewhere inside my head, a tiny spot in my brain, that was "me", that looked-out through the eyes in my face, that controlled my limbs and fingers and mouth. I think the only given was that "I" was not this body which housed me. I was something different from it, somehow. I don't know if that's a normal perspective for a five-year-old. I sort of doubt it.

I'm presently stymied by lack of images. I have an album from birth to three years of age, but nothing else until nine—by which point there's only an awkward boy in the photographs, my erstwhile stand-in. My parents are moving, this month, but when they've settled and unpacked, I need to dig further and collect more images to consider.

Somewhere between two and five, perhaps later, something fell apart. Something in my head drew away from my form, rejecting it. I want to know what it felt like. I want to know what happened to Rachel. What did it feel like to be broken apart? Did it hurt? Did I even notice, at the time? Was there a trauma that shook me and forced me to examine things that were too delicate to withstand scrutiny? Did I just notice, one day, that something didn't feel right?

I want to know.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

more than 140 chars of banal

Today's accomplishments:
  1. I shipped the baby off to daycare for his first time EVAR
  2. I surrendered our car to the mechanics (who will undoubtedly charge us about a paycheck)
  3. I will shortly begin prostituting myself to recruiters. Yay me.
It might be fair to clarify #3: I don't have any official feedback from the Potential Employer of Great Desirability, but things look highly doubtful. This is demoralizing, but hey, might as well get used to it. So I'm not spending the days with the baby anymore, at least until I've secured employment (and then, well, not then either). I miss him. I'm sure he's having a marvelous time, and I know his sister is having the best day at daycare ever. Moreover, I've got complete freedom from his amazing powers of distraction for the entire afternoon.

It's still crummy. I miss my sweet baby. God, I'm such a mother hen.

Meanwhile, in what appears to be an attempt to procrastinate and avoid contacting recruiters, I'm getting all literate and stuff, tweeting, catching-up on blogs, all that nonsense. In an IM exchange with my wife, I came up with this:
[me] am drinking San Benedetto "Naturale" water.
[me] they were out of San Pellegrino "What I Normally Drink For Sparkly Waterz" water.
[me] and it turns-out that "Naturale" is San Benedettese not for "is an acceptably overpriced, attractively-bottled, Italian sparkling water beverage product for consumption when our local beverage purveyor's San Pellegrino supply has been terminally depleted," as I had originally surmised, but rather for "totally flat, non-sparkling water thing without bubbles or fizz. or carbonation. of any sort."
[me] boooo.
From the above, of course, you can deduce primarily that, when unemployed, I become much more whiny and infatuated with my own [attempts at] wit. I need a job.

Monday, April 6, 2009

So. I'm interviewing for a senior engineering position with a major multinational, one that has super-dreamy benefits, trans-friendliness, cool co-workers, interesting work, great location: in short, a whole can o' aw3sum. I'm also a basket case over this. There's a lot of panic, there's a lot of "what if I blow it all?" ... there's a lot of second-guessing, a lot of internal drama, and a lot of time to kill as I move from stage to stage in the process. I guess this is all normal. That doesn't really help, though.

Friday, April 3, 2009

AUUUUUUUGHH

I hate interviewing.

Here's an interesting observation: The baby just lunged at my chest and barfed all over the pajamas I happen to still be wearing at 6:30pm. And you know what first springs to mind?

I think I like wearing sour baby barf more than I like interviewing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pop Finds Pop Nutritious? Orly? Yarly.

Okay, I have to admit, there's a little part of me that is probably just wondering where youth went and how long I can cling. Of course, as I've always said, I turned 30 at age 12, and will probably remain 30 for the next 20 years at least (I'm 31). My personal perception of time has always been a little wonky, and I suspect that things are only going to get worse in transition.

But, so help me, I'm weirdly enraptured by the dance clubbing scene. The DJs (Tiesto, Oakenfield), the new performer-starlets (Katy Perry, Lady GaGa, and the like), and the veteran acts who against the odds keep hurtling themselves forward while being hungrily devoured by the others (Madonna, Tori Amos, and Peter Gabriel all come to mind), there's so much performance and production art -- some of it absurdly rich and noteworthy, some of it gallingly puerile -- being generated. I can't help but want in. It's peculiar, really, as it's so completely not the sort of thing I've ever participated in; my personal practice of "performance art" has pretty much always been extremely cerebral and traditional.

Actually, that does provoke a few suppositions. I have always been self-effacing in performance. I think authenticity has been exceptionally difficult for me, as Rachel has been crushed-away and silent for the last two decades. To perform authentically, to be present and genuine, has been crazy hard. I'd compare it to trying to walk on a half-thawed river: the first couple of steps seem steady, but then the "ground" wobbles and shivers, and as arms windmill everything shatters and I'm gone -- swept away downstream. And even if I manage to dance across through some sudden, superhuman dexterity, I'm shaken and unnerved, chilled, and the space I've crossed is a broken, slushy mess. That's what comes of pretending so hard to be what we aren't that we forget we aren't; burned bridges and scorched earth.

Monday, March 30, 2009

tweetish

I think -- at least until I'm once again gainfully employed and no longer filling weekday afternoons with baby urp, naps, clicking on things and cursing iTunes (SO. MUCH. H8.) (I still love my iPhone, though) -- that perhaps Rachel should get a twitter account. Because, you see, pretty much everything I think of to post, during the daytime, is one-liner tidbits of context-setting banality. nice-ish, and necessary, but kinda tedious to build an interesting blog out of.

Of course, that's even sillier, really, when one considers that I'd have, oh, zero followers. Oh well.

Getting things done?

Well, let's see. I just finished securing a developer key for my XO, and am about to set-up an Xubuntu image for it. I also just replied to a nice lady from A Very Large And Attractive Company about securing employment therein. Technically, following-up on that lead was "the one thing I wanted to accomplish" yesterday. Better late than never, I suppose.

I'm not entirely certain why, but modern electro-pop-trance-dance music has been quite intricately bound-up in my memory of this past year of transition preparation (pre-transition? transition preamble? I wish I had a more precise and descriptive phrase ...). Nothing much more to say, there, right now, but it bears saying.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Now what?

My wife and daughter are sweeping leaves in the side yard, after scraping-out the silted-up drainage grooves in our lean-to of a garage. A cold, sunny San Francisco spring day is drawing to a close, and the beautiful, sleeping 4-month old boy on my lap has prevented me from effecting the merest hint of dinner preparations. When the yard workers come in from their labors demanding a meal, boy am I ever gonna catch it.

Oh well. They'll just wake-up my excuse :)

I had this tiny (well, 16lbs.; not so tiny, really, any more) marvel with me at a therapy session a couple of days ago, and I found myself saying to him, as I gazed with wonder into his eyes, "can you believe that when I learned you'd be coming, I almost lost my mind?" Then I teared-up and held him for a good long while, as he grumbled sleepily. It was such a shock, how unimaginably distant that person seems.

I've been thinking a lot, lately, about what I would like to accomplish with this blog. To date, I don't think I have much of anything in the way of readership, beyond one kind comment, and I'll admit that's something I would like to change. I have a private journal for when I simply must articulate something in text that's not for public consumption, and I do make use of it. Even still, I want to share this: I want to share the experiences I'm having with people who can appreciate them.

I don't think I'm at a point where it's feasible, in the next year or so, to get to an IFGE event or Southern Comfort, which would allow for some networking and friendship-founding. This is frustrating.

Also frustrating is the sudden re-entrance of the four-year-old onto the scene, screaming bloody murder about a previously confiscated Hello Kitty charm (US$1 out of a capsule machine). When it's being used to forcibly enlarge the infant's nostrils in the back seat, the toy goes away. The sense of this, sadly, is lost on her. Argh.

... and now, with the two laborers respectively cajoled and released off to the bathroom for a much-needed shower, I've entirely forgotten what on earth I was saying. Oh, yes, what I want to accomplish here, and not being able to network in person. Hm. Well, the short, short version is "I don't really know what I'm trying to accomplish, just yet -- can you tell? I seem to just be writing whenever talking is desired but unavailable." Anyhow. I suppose it's time to rejoin this blissful tide of banality (and continue to beat my head against the brick wall of a determined, overtired preschooler's ire). Perhaps I'll edit this post into something more coherent, later.

Bonding

(at the end of January, 2009)

A fair amount of time has passed since last I wrote -- either here or elsewhere. A fair amount of life has occurred.

My son. My son is here.

He was born, beautiful, marvelous, late in November, and began changing lives.

Amazing tiny marvel in my arms, I often find that I can do little more than coo and murmur and smile as I struggle to salvage enough scraps of my eroded literacy to satisfactorily describe the delight and awe that keep flooding through me.

I am beginning and planning a transition; I am dicing with a vindictive fire, and playing in deadly earnest with my world in the ante; I am sleep deprived and impatient and fearful and resolute.

But each time I hear him draw a sweet little breath, each glimpse I catch of his tiny feet, I wonder what fear is. I kiss his downy hair and everything is happening as it should and must. As I cradle him and he stares at me, I table the dice and let the ****** burn.

For it's a drug, and I'm hopelessly addicted. I love this child. I, Rachel love this child. There is no burden of years of earnest, striving quasi-fatherhood to reconcile, no nomenclature to set aside. I accept myself from the beginning as both his father and his mother, and I understand myself as his mother. Whereas precisely six months ago, the idea of being father to my son terrified me, today in my heart I am his mother, and his Daddy, and I know he knows who I am, and I am at peace.

Sure, it's a thorny peace, with a high-energy 4-year-old, an exhausted-and-confused co-parent, a frustrating day job, and precious few full nights of sleep. But those are my beloved family who love me, and that is my life, and I cannot and would not change things.

Okay, maybe my daughter could be a little less bouncy after 8pm.

...

(2 months later)

I had this tiny (well, 16lbs.; not so tiny, really, any more) marvel with me at a therapy session a couple of days ago, and I found myself saying to him, as I gazed with wonder into his eyes, "can you believe that when I learned you'd be coming, I very nearly lost my mind?" Then I teared-up and held him for a good long while, as he grumbled sleepily. It was such a shock, how unimaginably distant that person seems.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Whistling in the dark!

On the whole, I'm struck by how sweepingly gnostic the process of transition is. Dreadfully little seems to be intellectually communicatable - we seem to reinvent wheels with excruciating regularity.

Perhaps we would be better-off with a collection of koans. Something similar to the AI Koans is what first comes to mind, although they're perhaps a little too narrow and strictly humorous. Still, really, who doesn't need a little more humor injected into this process, hmm?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Feeling a bit chatty

Things my daughter and I did this weekend:

  • I introduced her to TMBG. Win.
  • She found a pair of shears and shortened her [own] bangs.
  • She continued, and took several of her bangs clean off.
  • She continued, and took off most of her side locks.
  • She came out to see us, engendering shock and mildly hysterical laughter.
  • I took her to get the rest of her hair cut. She is now me at age 4. Different plumbing, of course, and wearing considerably more pink. It’s moderately disturbing.

Kinda cute, though. I really need to get my parents' old photo albums from the 80s scanned so that I can do some comparative photo spreads.

Not yet time to buy the 4-year-old headphones, no.

I introduced both children to They Might Be Giants, this weekend. Oh, dear lord, it's all over. I have never - ever - seen my children dance like that. Oh, fine, okay, the boy's only four months old, and I made him dance, but he LOVED it. And little girl of inexhaustible energy sang herself to sleep tonight with "Mammal" from Apollo 18. And couldn't stop busting-out with "SPAAIIIDAHHH ... He's our HERO ... AWWWWWwwwwww ...". Which, okay, was actually seriously disturbing a couple of times, especially in public.

I do sorta want to try to get her into some Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel, or maybe just Paul Simon, but it may be a lost cause. I'll settle for these Johns Most Eclectic, for now; it's a perfectly good start.

And, in closing, I have rediscovered tonight how much I really really enjoy Tears for Fears, even the annoying stuff. [brief rant deleted because hey, pointless negativity isn't really relevant, now, is it?] Ayup.

That is all.

No, really. It's great to be back writing to the disinterested Googlebots, and all, but it's Monday already. Oh, wait, I don't have a job to go to. Huh. Kingdom of Loathing time? Hmm.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

BlogHer

I really, really have to wonder: what sort of representation do trans women have at BlogHer? Anyone? Beuller? I mean -- and I'm not being dismissive here -- MommyBloggers have carved-out a niche, there, and are a similarly genre-fied subgroup of "obligate" bloggers. Why should transition blogs be necessarily so much different? The lifecycle is rather similar, and I'm hardly the first to observe how transition is an awful lot like giving birth to oneself, right down to the hormonal confusion, betrayal by one's body, and periods of excruciating physical pain in a medicalized setting. Why shouldn't we trans women fill-out a similar niche?

And hey, those of us with small children can do double duty! I can already see the session title: TransMommyBlogging As A Radical Act ...

Okay, so I can dream, can't I? But really, I do wonder. Maybe I should just go this year and see. Hrm.

Socks

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written. I’ve had my hands full with living. A newborn in the household is probably all the excuse I really need, but there’s also been the experience of, after nearly nine years with a company, being laid-off. Whee. Why didn’t I do that last one three years ago and get it over with? Oh well.

Many things have come together and begun to make sense. Many more questions have opened-up. A few things have fallen-apart entirely. I suppose this is all normal, really, for any such suite of colossal life changes, but that fails to lessen the impact. There has been no time, no energy, and too little sleep. There have been no mute crises to voice, no burning questions to articulate, so there have been no words. And so there has been no writing. Only living, getting through each day alive and awake, and talking. So much talking!

It’s marvelous to be able to speak freely to my wife, now. Challenging, too, but no less of a marvel. Closing the yawning breach from six months of silently growing apart is hard, and I had begun to wonder if for us it might be impossible. I’m glad it’s not.

But now … now I’m beginning to feel the need to capture thoughts, again. I’m beginning to unfold, and I’m finding all manner of interesting details lost within the creases.

It’s dreadfully tempting to draw-out the paper metaphor a little: I’ve always had a peculiar philological love for the word ‘palimpsest’, and so it delights me to find it so apt. Certainly in most aspects transition (for me) is a process of completing the last chapters of Part I, then beginning Part II. Yet there are numerous ways in which it feels rather as if I am rubbing-out the older, irrelevant text in order to reinscribe this dirty, worn — yet irreplaceable and thus priceless — vellum with these sacred verses, newly translated from their cryptic forms of antiquity.

Hah. I wonder how many transitioning transsexuals have come upon that particular analogy, before, and thought themselves ever so clever. Ah, well. I’ve given up striving for novelty (or so I like to claim); to comport myself with grace is my remaining hope. And if I really mean that, perhaps I should get a little less enraptured of my own florid prose, hmm? As if.

But really, wasn’t I posting to capture a few thoughts that might otherwise float off and be forgotten? Wasn’t there some fragment of an idea that needed articulation, maybe a little exposition? Oh, yes, that’s it:

I wonder if, some years hence, I’ll note the birth of my son — and the coincidental internal transformations, as I began to pare and revise my wardrobe and care so much more about my deportment — as the point at which I ceased to lose socks.

Seriously. I haven’t lost a sock in the laundry since then. It’s a little bit creepy. Do the mad, vestokleptic demons that inhabit our washing machine also suffer from severe transphobia? Have I somehow miraculously exorcised them? I don’t think so. I’m still losing my son’s socks, left and right, so there must be some other mechanism at work. Go figure.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


In separate news, while doing some financial planning worksheets the other day, and tackling the difficult issues of how the expenses of transition would impact our already overtaxed budget, my spouse gave me a quiet, perhaps even unintentional gift of confidence and commitment. We were touchy from discussing finances, and skittish from discussing transition; I posited a rough, large sum as what we'd need to save to complete the medical and legal necessities of transition. She thought briefly, then, with a concerned tone, asked if that figure included money for fertility treatments.

At the time, I was just startled, and confirmed that yes, that was in there, I'd kept it in mind, which seemed to satisfy her. Every time I recall the exchange, though, I am more and more moved.

Some transitioning spouses may be blessed with self-actualized, openly bisexual partners, for whom transition in no way equates to the potential extinguishing of romance and attraction. Not so, I. Instead, we have other gifts.

This post was going to be a voice for the turmoil that's been engulfing my inner world, of late, as transition becomes ever more real -- as hair removal progresses and I begin voice work and as my name and internal image begin to recenter. But, somehow, I couldn't begin without acknowledging that I am no longer the woman I was before that marvelous birth at the end of November, and, as I have already observed, such acknowledgments have a way of warming and softening the sternest demeanor.

Perhaps tomorrow I can avoid reflecting on my therapeutic infant long enough to experience and vent some frustrations ... but it's true, I'm addicted: I can't go long without my fix.

And, honestly, I can't presently imagine anyone faulting me.