They Can’t All Be Wins

Non-descript boatneck tee from the women’s section at Kohl’s.
Leggings.
Ballet flats.

My son didn’t even notice anything different. I was taking him back to his Mom after a long weekend together. But it was different. It was the first time out of the house in all women’s clothes.

It barely even counts, honestly. It’s well past sundown, raining, and I wouldn’t even have to get out of the car when I got to the store parking lot where we meet, halfway between our respective houses.

But it kinda counted. Because I was out of the house in clothes I didn’t hate. I was out of the house in MY clothes. I was out of the house as me.

As an aside, I took my daily diuretic late today. Usually I take it mid-morning and it keeps me back and forth to the restroom for a good 4 hours. But, I planned for this. I went before I left. Easy-peasey. Until I got there. And I had to pee*. And I suddenly realized that I was about to have to cross a milestone I was NOT prepared to cross. I was on the phone with my rock in these matters. She assured me I wouldn’t get clocked. She assured me even if I did, no one is going to call me out on it.

But I didn’t believe that strongly enough. I didn’t think I had worked myself up to this. It’s too soon for this step (“They all seem too soon”, she said), yeah I might be getting better with makeup but I’m not wearing any and my shape isn’t fooling anyone, just no no no.

I can’t.

But I can’t go in the men’s room, either. Not like this. Not when I’m this close to being me.

So I held it. Until I got home. One milestone at a time, thankyouverymuch.

 

 
*(“It was less easy and more pee-sy” says my ever-present support. She’s silly.)

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And with that, I’m out

Last night I leapt my final hurdle.

I came out to my “ex” wife (we’re technically still married because we just never bothered to shell out the money to address it).

I was so nervous. I was sure it would be horrible. I was sure she would be angry, hurt, deny my validity, any number of horrible outcomes.

I may have an issue with catastrophizing just a bit.

She was amazing. She listened as I stumbled through the mini-speech I had prepared, and she nodded and kept her facial expressions positive.

“I don’t love you”, she said, “so I don’t care. But you’re my friend, and our son’s parent, and so I care about you.”

We discussed practical matters- she wants to do some research and wrap her head around it, decide together how to talk to our son.

“I can’t say I suspected, because it never occurred to me, but I guess now that I know I can kinda see that it makes sense. But I’m glad that you are taking control of your life’s happiness, and I’m proud of you. Give me a hug.”

She’s not a hug type of person.

I have nothing to hide from anymore. I have no secret to keep. I am out of the closet.

Change of Plans

I can’t pretend so much anymore.

It feels worse every day. I understand dysphoria a lot better now than I thought I did. I don’t know how people do this for years. But I can’t do it any longer. I’m not going full-on full time, but I’m not going out of my way to hide anymore. I’m comfortable presenting as female to andro, and by the end of the year, that’s what I will be all the time. The past few weeks, moving quicker through this, I feel so alive. So me. So authentic. I can’t go back into that shell.

My Poor Dad . . .

Moving into the apartment at my parent’s house because of my health brought a few issues with it, not the least of which was I would either have to go deeper into the closet or come out to most of the rest of my family. My mother knew, and she was the one who told my Dad for me. He was fine with it, to the extent that he understands it, which he doesn’t.

But he’s trying.

But it’s so funny.

The other day I threw laundry in the wash. It was mostly panties, camis, a few night gowns . . . pretty much all “girly” stuff. My mother is the only other woman in our household, and my tastes (especially in my undergarments) are way more frilly/lacy/racy than hers. There’s a gentle knock on my door, and it’s my father. He’s mostly stopped calling me old childhood pet names like “butch” since I’ve been out to him, but sometimes he forgets himself and self-corrects mid-syllable.

“Hey, bu . . . , uh, Was that your laundry? I put it in the dryer but I didn’t start it because I know you don’t like the heat setting I use and I didn’t want to . . . ”

“Oh, yeah, it is, sorry. I totally forgot, thanks. I’ll finish it.”

“Oh, it’s OK, no problem, I just wasn’t sure if it was yours, because it . . . . um . . . . I just wasn’t sure.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen my father blush before.

So, today, after getting off the phone with my brother after yet another conversation that makes me question our genetic connection, I jokingly stuck my head in my parents’ room to tell my Mom, “Your son is a moron.”

“Which one?”, she asked with a smirk.

“Well, it turns out you only have one.”

“Oh, yeah! Sorry, that’s true, isn’t it?”

 

I think my father squeaked. Gotta love him, he’s trying so hard, but the 1950s machismo is still strong in him hahaha

Accidental Affirmation and Every Day Low Prices . . .

The first time, I didn’t think I had heard him correctly. He was just a customer walking by, excusing himself bc he didn’t see me there on the mobility scooter.

“‘Scuse me, ma’am”, without even really looking up. I don’t think that counts.

When the lady at the service desk said it, I was sure she was going to correct herself. When I replied, I figured she’d apologize. She didn’t. OK, so, she’s just going to fix it as we continue to interact. She didn’t. Throughout the long interaction as she tracked down my internet pickup order that wasn’t technically there yet, and ran it through the system so I could officially accept delivery, she said it 7 times. I counted, you see. Because by the third time it really dawned on me what was going on, and I was in a really big moment, with Laura, the kind older lady at the WalMart service desk.

This wasn’t one of those common events, that used to bother me and then later in life amuse me, where I’d get what I thought was mis-gendered, often in drive-thrus or on the phone. There was no awkward apology and shift back to “sir” this time.

A manager was putting up Christmas sale signs. “Already?”, I lamented at her.  “Oh, yes, ma’am. Can you believe it?”

The cashier “Ma’am”‘ed me 4 times during our conversation about her sick 2 year old and my now 8 year old who was born 3 months premature in danger of the same things she was facing. She called herself a single mom and said “You know what I mean!”. Not exactly, honey, but thank you.

The cashier who came to help me with my bags and offered to take them out to the car- “No thanks, but if you grab me a cart I can leave this scooter inside and walk them out myself.” . . .

“Yes ma’am, of course!”

The 3rd cashier came running after me with a bag that the previous one missed when loading the cart for me.

“Ma’am! Ma’am!”, she shouted.

I knew she was talking to me. Boy clothes and no makeup obviously, not even having yet attempted to be “me” outside the safety and confines of my own home . . . .

She was talking to me.

Not so fast, girl . . .

I had gotten to the point where I thought, “Huh, my dysphoria is never going to be all that bad. I can handle this. Dang, what a lucky break compared to some other people.”

Pfffft, silly Kelli.

It hit me a few days ago; I had to get dressed to go out. I had spent days in a row not needing to leave, lounging around in comfy skirts or leggings and t-shirts. I put on one of my typical male shirts, just like always, and got ready to head to the grocery store. But it felt wrong. So wrong. It felt ugly and gross, it felt hard and scratchy. It felt foreign. And, it felt bad.

I ended up not going out that day, thankfully. But I made a decision. I need some andro tops I can wear out with jeans. I need to *feel* feminine but still not look like I’m outing myself. Not yet, anyway. I’m not hiding from that point in time anymore, but there are metaphoric water fowl that need to be properly aligned in respective straight lines first.

So, why am I writing this up now, days later? Because today I have to go out. But, I’m going out to go shopping. I’m meeting one of my dearest friends and I think she’s just as excited as I am. The shirt I will put on right after I publish this post, staring at me now from across the room, might be the last one. The last time I feel like I’m putting on a shell. The last time I feel like I’m ashamed. The last time I go totally into hiding in public.

The me I thought I was, the me I had to pretend to be- he’s going away. Sometimes I use the wrong pronouns for myself in conversation; it always puts my girlfriend off balance for a second. She says, “I don’t really know him. I know you.”

 

No offense meant, but . . .

I’m not a very politically correct transgender woman. I had a hard time connecting with most of the trans people I met in the Reddit forums when I started seeking out information for my impending journey. They mostly seemed young, thin, and fairly liberal leaning in their politics. They worry a lot about offense and hurt feelings.

And I get it. A lifetime of little micro-aggressions is like being bit by mosquitoes perpetually for your whole life- one bite is nothing, but the psychological toll of never-ending bites is just excruciating. I *totally* get that.

But that sort of thing makes me defiant. It makes me want to take on every mosquito out there, as well as the blackflies and the chiggers and the yellowjackets and the scorpions and spiders and and and I’ve probably taken this analogy too far. But the point is, my response is to fight. Yes, I recognize that I might have the inclination and ability to do that because I *didn’t* have so many mosquito bites, but I don’t think that matters, because I’m not telling people to ignore their mosquitos. I’m saying I want to kill EVERYONE’s mosquitos and if you can help, rock on with your self and get the fuck in here. If you can’t, take a knee. We got this.

It’s why I LOVE that T-word slur people throw at us. I revel in it. Yes, that one. NO, I’m not gonna say it here because it *does* upset some people, but for me it’s a badge of honor. It’s taking what they try to insult me with and throwing it back in their faces. I own it. I strut in it. I take it as a mantle to represent every other woman who was cut down by it. Fuck you, fuck your silly words. I’m stronger than your words.

I’ve been doing more hiding than fighting until recently. I had some good excuses, maybe some of them even valid. But while my gender is not what I used to think it was, my spirit and character remain unchanged. I’m just way more fucking fabulous now.