As I thought about writing the next post, all the lies and the destructive act of lying were always a key topic in telling the story of this incredible journey. I lied to my parents 50+ years ago. I lied to my wife and children. I lied to everybody over and over again. Tragically, I lied to myself, more than anyone else, trying to convince myself I was not transgender.
In the '80's or early '90's, there was a PBS special on transsexuals(the word transgender had not been used much then) that I watched (where was YouTube when I really needed it...), in it there were multiple trans women. Two of the subjects of the documentary I can still remember, one an ex-special force type and one a much more feminine kind of male. They both were transitioning male to female and were living as women through the "trial" period of their transition, awaiting approval for final gender corrective surgery. WPath (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) guidelines for transitioning stated you needed to live as your designated gender for at least a year before you could be approved for surgery. They fascinated me, you could be in the special forces and still have the feelings I had? There certainly were people who thought of me as a more feminine male, than a super macho male. Amazing and frightening at the same time. The show talked about the reaction of their families (mixed), the therapy needed (massive), the obstacles (again massive) basically everything it took then to transition. Additionally, the documentary discussed a "gender" test that could be given to determine what gender you really were. I was, to say the least, intrigued. At that time, there was no way to take the test without admitting to why I wanted to know. As the online world emerged, I searched for that test and finally found it in the early '90's. To be fair I found "a" test, I really have no idea if it was the test from the PBS show. Despite the dire warnings on the test, "Answer truthfully or your results will be unpredictable", I never did, I tried to make my answers give me the results I needed. I took it over and over, wanting it to tell me "you are a boy", "all male", "no doubts". That's not what it told me, the first few times it said "androgynous". Ugh, not what I wanted to see. Every once in a while, I'd come back to the test and try again. I'd manipulate my answers, get different results, but never the "you are a boy" I thought I wanted. Then one day it disappeared, I suspect the psychologist that created it either moved on from the university that was hosting it or she realized that it didn't give accurate results and removed it.
Typical for me, I lied on the test trying to manipulate the answers. Wanting the test to help clear my confusion was true, but I was lying to myself about what I wanted the results to be. I knew I was a girl; I wanted the answers to be inescapable, big flashing neon sign in pink "GIRL", "FEMALE". It would make the decision about "coming out" moot, what choice would I have?
I was visiting my daughter, Jane, a few days ago. When it was time to leave, she walked with me to the car, she said "Jaimie, it is so much easier to talk with you now you are out." I asked her "Why is it easier?". She told me that there was a veil of secrecy before that is gone now. This was stunning to me and not a little disappointing. I knew I was lying about some things and my family knew I was lying about something... My wife, Vanessa, when I told her about what Jane had said. She said "It's true" there was a veil of secrecy and it was getting worse and worse. I was starting to become the quintessential "grumpy old man" matching my favorite dwarf and coffee cup "grumpy". I was in the middle of the slo-motion crash. They didn't know why, they just saw me getting grumpier and grumpier, angrier and angrier, sadder and sadder.
I didn't notice the grumpiness; I just knew that my tricks to relieve the gender dysphoria were not working as well as they had. My makeup collection was growing. My alone time was growing, the time after Vanessa went to bed and before I went to bed was expanding. I bought a case of makeup wipes. I bought magnetic eyelash kit. The kind with the magnetic eyeliner and the lashes with tiny magnets. For the first time in my life I had put on false eyelashes successfully. It was great, I played with that kit for days, but it didn't work for long. I bought a large bottle of depilatory, used it on my privates, then higher and higher up my torso and lower and lower down my legs. After that shower I was hairless below my beard (well except my back that was still a hairy mess but I couldn't see that in the mirror), I bought a kit with six individual ear piercing guns, used two to pierce my ears while Vanessa had taken Rachel shopping (though I chickened out and removed the earrings when they were getting out of the car), I bought a body piercing kit, pierced my belly button (it did eventually fail to stick, but did last until late Nov).
In between the false eyelashes and the depilatory, I think, May of 2019, we had a court appearance for the custody of Rachel and Geoff. The kid's dad and his mother said some awful things about Mary, Vanessa and me. The end result of that day was Geoff going to live with his dad and Rachel staying with Mary. It was the most devastating thing I ever felt. I was angrier and sadder, and nothing was working anymore. Vanessa and I were unable to fulfill our promise to him of a Disney trip just him and us. Intellectually I knew all the decisions were best for all involved, but I cried on the phone with the Disney agent when I canceled the trip. Through that summer I had shaved legs and arm pits, a belly button piercing and was not feeling better. I had some things that made me feel a little feminine all the time, not just an hour or two a day. I had survived over 50 years doing those little feminine things sometimes, now full-time things like my pierced belly button and nearly hairless body weren't helping.
There I was, in Sept with shaved legs and a pierced belly button looking at an online pharmacy for estrogen. I was lost, out of tricks, scared and lonely. I thought 'FUCK!! what am I going to do?!?! I'll throw it all out, drive my tractor around the yard while smoking a cigar ...'
Yuck I hate cigars.