Several of the posts to A.F.C. and A.S.C. over the past couple of weeks seem to have pushed all the wrong (or right) buttons for me lately.
These include but are not limited to:
The issue of choosing a name was cause for pause; if I'm so friggin comfortable, why hide behind another name. Others here post with their real/male names? Ok, so maybe my comfort level isn't quite where I thought it was.
Then there is the magic elixir, an innocent enough post and one, which should be fun to discuss. My response was from the heart; find it and I'd take it in a second. The first time I've ever come out and said that I feel more like a woman than a man. Robie emailed me, pointing out that my response seemed quite serious. It was.
Ruthie's question set me off on another critique of society vs. the CDing community. I pointed out that sufficient over compensation can, in some instances, 'drown out' other overtly feminine traits. After posting this, I realized that at the start of college, I grew a moustache (check my bio for the events leading up to this wonderful time in my life) and, with the exception of my two year dressing spree (again, see my bio), have had one ever since.
Lately, I've started to doing little things to make myself feel more feminine. I've started wearing a thumb ring as well as other rings I have. My watch is a woman's, not so small as to attract undue attention, but definitely not a 'traditional' men's style. I also see my mannerisms becoming less 'manly'. Oh, by the way, I've also grown a beard for the first time in my life. Over compensation? Hmmm.
Finally, Maidelah's coming out post. With the exception of my wife and one incident with my father, and one other person, no one (other than those who frequent these NGs) knows of my secret. Well, no one that I know of. Funny thing about secrets, they have this nasty habit of eating away at you.
So, where is all this going? This past week, and this weekend in particular, have brought me to a new realization. Actually, it's more of a dilemma. For the last twenty years or so, I've done my best to be what I thought I was supposed to be; a good son and husband. But, as I look back, I feel that it has all been a facade I've been putting up.
In junior high and my first year of high school, joined the wrestling team; I mean, guys play sports, right? I had no interest in Baseball or Football, but felt I had to do something. No one ever knew that I thought that girls field hockey looked like fun.
In college, I pledged a fraternity; a definite 'guy' thing to do. Again, I felt a need to prove that I am a man. I don't know to whom, though. After college, I got married, assuming the role of husband and eventually father. Surly if there were any doubts as to my true disposition, they would be gone now.
There have been several times during my marriage that the wife and I have had 'heated' discussions about my CDing. She has asked me outright "Do you want to be a woman?" My answer has always been "No, of course not." I never felt right with that answer, but didn't want to lose my wife. She has made it clear that she doesn't want to be married to a woman. When I think back, my mind and mouth may have said "No" but my heart felt "Yes!"
I look back a growing up and can find no male role models with whom I identified not even my father. Hell, of the three of us, I look more like my mother, while my sister and brother look very much like my father. For as ling as I can remember, I have most closely associated with and felt most comfortable around women.
Again, I can't help but feel that I have been trying to convince everyone, including myself, that I am a man, no matter what. Only now, I am less and less convinced.
Contributing to this is the fact that I haven't really dressed in three years eight months, give or take a few days. Somehow, I don't thing putting on a dress and heals and running around for a while is going to help. My distress goes much deeper. I've said that my CDing is more a state of mind for me; I now think that I better understand what I've mean by this (hell, if I don't understand what I mean, who else will?) Dressing makes me feel better, but no matter what I am or am not wearing, my mental disposition remains, for the most part, unchanged.
Some of us dress because it's fun, and that's good. Some of us dress because of a need for self-expression, and that's also fine. There are those of us who dress because they want to live as women; it goes beyond self-expression. They like being men, buy want to live as women. Then there are those of us, sliding further down the end of the scale, who want to be women (I can't believe I just said this.)
Living as and being are very different, to me at least. I don't know that living as a woman would solve my dilemma. Somehow, I feel that it would still be a facade. The fact that I was born with the standard option package for a male child has never really phased me much. If anything, it has made my life a mess, getting in the way of how I feel and how I should be. I've never felt any closer to any one because I am a guy; my awareness of my difference from most other guys has only server to isolate me further.
So, I think I know what I want to do. It's how the hell do I go about doing it.
I brought up the subject of my CDing to the wife a few weeks ago, not a very productive discussion, so I let it drop. I can't even imagine a discussion along the lines of HRT and SRS (I fear that is where this is going.)
Add to all of this the complication that I have a three and a half year old daughter, with a second child due in March. I love my daughter very much and the thought of loosing her is numbing. I don't want to abandon my family or my responsibility as a parent. The simple fact is, I don't know what to do.
I've spent the last week on autopilot, so to speak. My sleep has been quite restless, as I bounce all this around inside my head. I've thought about just doing nothing and toughing it out. I fear that this will ultimately result in one less troubled soul taking up space on this planet. I need to talk to someone about this, but don't know who. A professional shrink would most likely be in order, but again, what do I tell my wife? I can see it now: "All of a sudden you need counseling? Why? Now what the hell is going on now?"
I am going to talk to the only post-op TS I know, just to get an understanding of the social aspect of life prior to and after. She is the other person who knows of my secret. I have also considered talking to my sister. She and I have become closer over the years and is the least likely to judge me any differently.
We put up our Christmas tree this weekend and I took my daughter skating. I put up a good front the whole time (I've gotten good at suffering in silence), but basically just felt sick the whole weekend. Why does this crap always seem to happen around the holidays? I think that it was inevitable that this day would come, but the timing really sucks!
Please excuse the length of this. I awoke at 4:00am today (not by choice) and was at work by 6:15am so as to get all this out. I want so badly to go outside and scream, or cry, or something, I don't know what.
The well adjusted me has blown a control rod, and I fear a meltdown is just a matter of time. I hope that those I care most about can avoid the fallout...
My follow-up the next day