No hints, allegations or things left unsaid

Afternoon Wednesday 19 September – Sunday 23 September

So we left our heroine… Oh wait…this is real life.

Get to my psych – a little early, all is good. How have you been he asks… Came out to mum I tell him – though I don’t think it should have been a surprise, I think I told him I was going to do it last appointment.

I read to him from my first blog – what, did you record it he asks. Nah, I rehearsed it several times before hand. We talk about me wanting to know how mum feels about my revelation.
He tells me I need to be more proactive to keep my stress down. Call her rather than waiting for her to call you, okay?

I work through my week from there describing my episodes on Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I explain about wanting needing to get changed as soon as I leave work and I ask him point blank – so what do you think is causing these episodes.

His answer is simple. It’s not what I expect. I never expect a psych to be so direct. You need to go fulltime.

Ummm…okay. We discuss it some more. You make arrangements to see your psychologist who does transition in the workplace.

Okay…I clarify what he says. I won’t hold him to it but I repeat back what he’s said. He rephrases. In your own head your ready to go fulltime but your holding yourself back.

I explain my fears – I don’t know if I pass well enough (he tells me I do and he’s not one to blow smoke up your ass); I worry about my voice (you don’t sound male to me); and something about my crappy makeup skills but I don’t remember his response.

More discussions about stuff…I don’t really remember. We wrap up – he goes off to write a receipt and medical certificate. He’s in his office. I start laughing. I come in and explain. I was worried my (very androgynous) handbag would fall apart before I went fulltime – I have plenty of other handbags – but the zips are failing on this one. Maybe it’s a sign he jokes.

Leaving I’m excited and petrified all at once. It’s going to happen. I’m going to go fulltime.

I head home and tell my partner. Don’t disagree with the psych’s assessment, she says, I’ve said you’re becoming more dysphoric. I stress out a little – to be expected I suppose, the next stage is just so public. So definite. When you’re out you’re out. Hard to detransition once it’s all public. Also tell her that means I need to contact my ‘other’ psych for transition in the workplace.

Next morning aim for an earlier train. Miss it. Damn. Meh – can call the other psych and leave a message. D’oh, she answers – wasn’t expecting that. We have a bit of a catch-up and I book an appointment for Monday morning. After telling my partner, things between us are tense over the rest of the day.

Friday – laser day. Have to remind myself not to shave having shaved the night before. My best friend picks me up at the train station (she lives closer to my laser tech). I try out my new anaesthetic cream… too runny. By the time I get to my appointment half of it has run down my face. Bad news: laser stings a little more than usual. Good news: laser tech tells me I only need spot treatments on upper and lower lip and chin. Yay. No dark hairs left on cheeks or neck. But this means electrolysis for each one of the white hairs that are left. Youch.

My best friend drives me home. We chat more about how I feel. My doubts and worries. You’ll be fine she tells me.

Saturday I don’t do much – feel unwell, sleep most of the afternoon. End up not being able to sleep that night. Get up and read/post to Reddit and finish my last blog.

Sunday: very tired. Go grocery shopping with my partner. My bag has died – strap has broken. Well it didn’t survive until going fulltime.

Because of my laser session I can’t shave until that night. Grrrr. I sit on the bed half naked wondering if going guy mode or unshaven girl mode will make me feel more dysphoric. Lesser of two evils: guy mode it is.

On the plus side of shopping I get a new androgynous bag. My purse barely fits as it’s a bit small, but I have a usable bag and it shouldn’t out me.

After shopping it’s time to get ready to go out. A trans friend is playing at the Espy and I’m going to go see her with another trans friend. Seems like just about all my friends outside of work are trans…probably true though.

So I pick up my friend and have a chat…laying down my doubts and worries to her. You pass just fine she tells me. I believe her. She also tells me that the hardest time is between deciding to go fulltime and actually doing it. Keep it as short as possible she tells me. I take note of that – always good to listen to those who come before you I reckon.

We end the night with a yummy vegetarian meal in Footscray talking about music and trans issues.

…and the heroine escapes the exploding temple… ah bugger, still real life.

Well they say truth real life is stranger than fiction.

We’ll do Monday in the next blog…

The big come down

Friday 14 Sep – early afternoon Wed 19 Sep

Friday… I don’t even know how to explain it. I woke up a little down. Maybe it was because the night before my mum suggested I shouldn’t come out to my brother until she got back from her holiday – at the beginning of November.

By the time I got in the shower I was a little depressed.

By the time I was half way through my shower I was having an anxiety attack accompanied by major depression and suicidal thoughts. Fuck. I’m having what has been termed an episode.

Fuck fuck fuck. It’s been months since I’ve had one of these.

Fuck fuck fuck. When I have them it worries the hell out of my partner, my best friend and to some degree me (depends how much they fuck me up – sometimes I just don’t care).

I didn’t know whether I wanted breakdown crying or hit my head against the shower wall. I barely keep it together long enough to finish my shower.

What to do? No way can I go to work. Probably wouldn’t make it through the day without breaking down. “What’s wrong?”, they’d ask. What I am I going to do out myself? Fuck no. Not going to work. No. Nope. Not gonna happen.

Okay so need to see my GP – I get an appointment at midday. I don’t want to be on my own till then. My partner is long gone to work… but I couldn’t tell her what was happening. She has a majorly busy day, I can’t burden her with this. I don’t need her fucking up something worrying about me.

My best friend, I’ll contact my best friend. She’s free. Thank the gods. “Can I come over? I’m not doing well” “Of course.”

Not really sure the 50 minute drive was a great idea – I nearly (emotionally) break down several times, but at the same time it keeps my mind occupied.

When I get there she lets me in, we go to the kitchen and she hugs me with one of her BIG hugs. I breakdown. I cry on her shoulder for five minutes, still not sure why I’m feeling down.

We start to figure it out and realise that everything over the past few weeks has caught up with me. Mum’s birthday, getting ready to come out to mum, actually coming out to mum.

The cry was quite cathartic. I feel kinda better. I sit with her in the bathroom as she gets ready to come with me to my doctor’s appointment. Comparing myself to her as she does her make-up I feel kinda ugly and plain . I’m not good at putting on make-up – I rarely wear it anymore. What’s the point, I probably just look stoopid. The fact that I don’t practice is beside the point – I feel stupid doing it, it doesn’t look good so I feel worse.

She does my nails for me. I figure I have three full days before it needs to come off – worth it for a change. Oops – time to go. My GP is completely understanding of what I’m going through, in particular with coming out to mum and writes me a certificate.

We head off to run an errand. My best friend hosts Alphabet Soup a social event for the Gender Diverse and Questioning people of Melbourne. Normally hosted by the Alphabet City Cafe, they’re on holiday at the moment – we need to know if they’ll be open the next week (or we may need to postpone/move Alphabet Soup for this month). Not only will they be open, but they are there and we get fed yummy cakey things. Yum. So it’s on. Great.

We do a little window shopping, stop for a coffee and head back to her place. Once there I have another cry, an anxiety attack and pass out on her couch. I sleep for three and half hours.

Problem was my partner did not know where I was, what had happened. Supposedly my friend had told her what was going on – I only know what she told me… and she tells me my partner is pissed for not telling her what was going on.

I head home… worried. I thought I did the right thing worrying about her and her work. I know in the past I have (wrongly, very wrongly) kept things from her but this is different. Isn’t it?!?

No it isn’t, in her eyes at least. Yet again I’ve kept things from her she says. Yet again my friends know more about what’s going on in my life and before she does. I try to explain – I was worried what was going on may have caused her difficulties at work. I can separate work and my personal life she tells me, let me make the decisions, let me know. I acknowledge I’m wrong, even if my reasons were right. We chat more and head to bed.

Saturday I go op-shopping with another trans friend and end up spending more on things for my partner on than me. Sunday I catch up with a girl who’s recently come out as trans – share my experiences and knowledge.

Monday – back to work. I feel a little down but okay. Tuesday I’m good, at least during the day, because that night Alphabet Soup is on. The night is good until I have have a serious anxiety attack – not good. One Friday, one tonight. Really not good. Couldn’t be worse though huh?

Ummm. No. It could be a lot worse. It did get a lot worse. Remember Friday morning? Well yeah something of a repeat the next morning. Not as bad… but almost. I breakdown in the shower again. I spend minutes looking at the veins in my wrists. This is not good. These depressive feelings are overidding my anti-depressants, that really can’t be good. Fortunately my partner is home to keep me on track and I have my psych appointment that afternoon.

My psych appointment: a thought comes to me, I just can’t go in guy mode. More specifically as soon as I’m out of work I want to get out of guy mode. I need to take change of clothes with me. I need to ask my psych why am I stressed out; why am I more depressed; why are my anxiety attacks are more frequent, worse; why am I getting more dysphoric?

I get through the day and head to my psych appointment… but that’s for my next post.

Coming Out as Trans or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my Mum

Okey-dokey. So it’s done. My dear friends, fellow Redditors, bloggers and interested parties as about 12:30 AEST 11 September 2012 – I’m out to my mum!

The weird part of it all was the lead up and preparation was more stressful than actually doing it. For example, it was mum’s 60th at the start of the month, so for the weeks/months leading up to it coming out was a no-no: couldn’t spoil her birthday. Also, she was planning to go away for 2 months after her birthday… leaving me a week to come out to her (fortunately it ended up being two weeks, phew).

So her birthday party was scary enough for me – I was worried the whole night people would figure me out (4.5 months hormones, family and friends I haven’t seen in 6 months to several years might have seen a real difference). The night went well (including her enjoying her party): several comments on how soft my skin is and I learnt afterwards people had mentioned how much younger I looked than my younger brother. The best comment was how good I looked for my gluten free diet (I’m gluten intolerant) and how this person (an uncle) would consider a gluten free diet too to look that good. Darling, it ain’t the diet…

So back to the actual event. Last week I’d rang mum (again stressing before hand) and made arrangements to have lunch with her yesterday. All was cool – she didn’t find this unusual or anything, even though I think me taking a day off just to have lunch with her is out of character and unusual.

In the meantime my partner and my friends had been helping me get together an information pack for mum so she’d have additional information to read. This was good, kept me focussed from my stressing out (my friends and people who follow me on Reddit and Twitter know of my propensity for anxiety attacks). Happy to share the contents of the pack – just get in contact with me.

However once the pack was finished – back to stressing. Saturday I was stressing big time, ended up visiting my best friend who’s also trans to talk and for general support. We did something I’d recommend to anyone getting ready to come out (whether G, L, B or T) – practice what you are going to say.

So Sunday I’m stressing again… My partner keeps telling me that mum will be okay with it all, she may or may not be great at the time but should come around.

Monday – ugh. At least I have work to keep my mind busy. Granted before and after work plenty of time to stress. As I’m leaving and telling my work friends see you Wednesday they’re all saying enjoy your day off. If they only knew.

That night I ended up calling my best friend (again) and seeing if she’d come over Tuesday morning – to keep me calm and on track. She agreed (such big hugs to her).

Tuesday morning, still stressing. My friend keeps me on the level and we run through the coming out speech a few more times. I’d changed it a little having read the coming out letter another friend had given her mum. I liked the way she put some things.

A spanner in the works… Mum calls about 10:30 and suggests she’d come over to my place and we’d have lunch locally. Arrggghhh. I’d planned to do it at her place, you know in case she didn’t take it well she wouldn’t have to go anywhere. No, no we’ll go somewhere near your place. Phew. Crisis averted.

Another coffee. Another pep talk from my friend. Time to go. Soooo nervous. Still I take the highway, I crank on the stereo what has been one of my rocks during the last few months – Against Me! The Rolling Stone article about Laura came out just under a month after I had my breakdown and started my transition. Listening to her music especially when you really get some of the veiled references is comforting. So I’m playing Total Clarity. One section of the song “Total Clarity” has kept me going in all of my transition:

“Will everyone, you ever meet or love be just a relationship be based on a false presumption?”

So I start with that song on my drive and each song follows one after another. Then I reach “Violence” and it gets to:

“You’ve been keeping secrets and these kinds of lies have consequences. So many possibilities for this to all end badly, it’s almost guaranteed.”

I didn’t need to hear this on the way to see mum to share my secret. I skip some tracks – get back to “Total Clarity” and play it over and over until I get there.

Parking on the lawn I take a minute. I don’t feel as stressed as I thought I should be. I knock, she answers,
I enter and plan to give her a hug. I figure this would be an indicator – something out of character. Instead it’s her hugging me first.

So we chat about stuff, the iPad my brother got her for her birthday – I set it up properly… Yay for being geeky. I can’t actually remember what else we spoke about for around 45 minutes until she said, “Well I’m hungry, why don’t we go to lunch?”

This was the moment weeks has been building too. I had no nerves, no reservations about being trans, yet I hesitated. Yet I knew now was the time. “Mum… there’s something we need to talk about before we go to lunch. You want to sit down?”

[paraphrasing because I don't remember exactly what I said]

“Ever since I can remember I’ve had an issue with something about me. It’s caused me pain, sadness, anger, depression and self loathing about my body, about how I sound, behave and act. It’s kept me from forming close relationships with people in case they found out.

“So finally in 2009 I started doing something about my issues. Since then I’ve seen two psychologists who’ve confirmed the same thing. In April this year my issues caused me to have a breakdown.

“The psychs confirmed the same thing, they both diagnosed my with Gender Identity Disorder. Mum, I’m transgendered.”

She took it well. There were a few tears on her side.I explained about being on hormones, getting laser hair removal. She asked some questions about how my partner was taking it. How long I’d know (kindergarten). She asked if I was sure – I explained that I knew my dysphoria would have killed me in the next few years if I hadn’t done this. She asked if I was transsexual, I explained yes, but I didn’t like the term and used transgender in preference. Mum asked if I’d chosen a name – questioning if it was the female version of my male name, no: Meagan.

She told me that she would always love me and that life is short and people need to do whatever makes them happy (and she meant it).

I told her that I’d organised the mum of another transgirl to speak to if she needed to and I’d prepared an information pack for her.

We went through the pack together with me explaining the different books and print outs. She amusingly said, “With this much reading looks like I won’t have much of a holiday.” I explained it was there if she needed it. I wasn’t expecting or requiring her to read it all. The pack even included a copy of the Rolling Stone magazine with Laura Jane Grace’s coming out story. Between the music and her story I owe that girl a lot.

I offered mum the opportunity to speak to a friend or someone of she wanted or needed to – asking her just to be discrete – I clarified it was a decision I had to make about when I was ready to out myself to family, etc.

Unexpectedly she sad she was okay with things. I even offered her the details of my two psychs. She claimed (and seemed) to be okay.

Mum recognised the problem of coming out to my brother. To date I’d only tried to worry about coming out to her, but I did indicate I had serious concerns and expected it wouldn’t go well. She too thought my brother may have issues and put the information pack in the back of her car to stop him finding it.

After a bit more chatting including stating that she felt confident about my decision with the assessment of two psychs, and a few more questions such as how far I intended to go with transition (full time), am I planning SRS (still not sure), do you have many clothes (only a double closet worth – and then some). She finally said, “Well I’m hungry do you still want to go to lunch?” It was a good sign for me, she was (at least for the moment) okay with the news.

There was one point she made that I found interesting, that she felt that the lack of closeness between us had been something she’d done as a parent. I explained that it was instead about keeping the distance so no one could see my secret.

We had lunch, Yum Cha, and she came back to my place to meet my best friend (who had been waiting there to pick me up in case I fell apart and couldn’t drive myself home). I was worried the contrast between me early-ish in transition against a friend who’s been in transition for 2.5 years/fulltime for 8.5 months might have been too much, too confronting. Mum said she didn’t know when she’d get the chance to meet some of my friends so wanted to come. I think mum was cool with it all.

Mum highlighted on several occasions over the afternoon that she had indicated that she could talk the talk (being initially supportive) but would have to see if she could walk the walk (keep up the support).

After mum left my friend and I went shopping. I wanted a new charm for my bracelet to mark my coming out – had a boy mode fail in the jewellers and got a yin yang charm signifying the transition of my relationship with mum.

So it’s been 28 hours since I came out to her and about 23 since I last spoke to her… Time will only tell where my relationship with her will go from here.

Meagan