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Guest Adiv

Two days ago, this would have been a very different post.

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Guest Adiv

These last few weeks I've been having a really hard time. A lot of little things just happened all at once and it started getting really hard to just do basic functions. I work two different jobs and was doing poor work at the both of them, spending more time trying to just keep my composure over doing any work. Getting dressed was hard; I'd just stare at my closet and freeze. Pick out the one of four shirts I can wear because I have to dress a certain way for that work. I couldn't go out and do anything. I went with Youngest Brother to get a haircut on Friday and I couldn't do it. Ended up just waiting while he got his and almost had a breakdown in the place. And then in the car on the way home. And throughout the rest of the weekend.

It was an all-time low for me, the first I've really had in years. I don't seriously contemplate suicide anymore. Or rather, I didn't, until last Friday.

Everything was just so hard. I went back to the haircut place on Sunday--all I wanted was a stupid haircut, and I couldn't even do that. I told the guy I didn't even care what he did, as long as it was short and I could wear it in for work. And he kept talking about how I needed to feel pretty with my style, find the thing that made me feel cute and sexy and all these things I don't want to be. And I'm just sitting in the chair trying to shrink smaller and smaller and...at least the guy was nice about it. He just gave me a trim, neatened up what I had and told me to come back Tuesday if I didn't like it, and he'd give me a different cut. So now I have a medium-short style and I don't dislike it but I don't love it either and I was so terrified of what might happen if he tried something else and it's just hair. It grows back. But sent me into another practical panic attack.

No appetite, and not eating even when I tried to. Barely exercising, and yes, part of it is the time factor but the rest...isn't. Blew up at Youngest Brother for a stupid thing that yes, was his fault and I had every right to get mad, but not to that extent, especially not since we're actually getting along for the first time in our lives. Tried to put the raw energy to use and clean up my room a bit, go through some things and I ended up taking garbage bags to my closet to fill with stuff to donate and that just resulted in my collapsing in another stupid fit, because once I got rid of the things I didn't want to wear, I barely had any clothes left. Reverted back to the high school mentality I had when I couldn't do anything so I just wore two colors.

Black and grey, every single day, for almost four years. The same six shirts, the same five bottoms, every day. For almost. Four. Years. Because I couldn't do it. I couldn't make the decisions of trying to define myself by wearing clothing, so I erased the option altogether. And it was such an unhappy time of not fitting in and not being right and always being just this slight of an outsider looking in even with my friends. They saw me as me, but also as someone I wasn't, and I never got why until it clicked in abnormal psychology class, when we saw a documentary on a transwoman. And then it made sense. Or it did after I read everything I could find then. And dreaming about it and thinking about it constantly, and wondering if maybe that was the reason for this, that, those problems. wanting to bring it up and then shoving it right back down. Actually broaching the subject with my parents every once in a while and then immediately hiding and taking it back, explaining it away as being wrong, I just wanted the happiness those people seem to have, I was wishing for being comfortable in my own skin the way, after transitioning, most of them seemed to be.

Last year, when I finally decided to stop running away from the idea I was transgender was the most terrifying and thrilling time of my life. I could fix it. Something was wrong and I could make it better. But I was scared of the change, the uncertainty that would come with the change. And, of course, all the doubts that resurfaced over and over again because of it. I don't know what I want 100%, so I don't want it enough. I just want to be strong and I'm annoyed that my body isn't built for that, not that I really want to be male. If females and males were equal in all things, I'd be perfectly happen as a girl. It's society, not biology. It's just another phase that you've latched onto while looking for a solution to being less miserable. You don't know what you want 100%, so you don't want it enough.

Months of agonizing. In between going to therapy and trying to get out all these stupid feelings about the conflicts, the people, my life, what I want, how I'm not a 'typical' male (like my brothers, I'm not a big into team sports; like my sister, I'm a fan of musicals), family, obligations, surgery, hormones, a future...

For the first time in my life, I could picture myself growing old. Having a family, or at least a partner. Looking at a long-term future, not just a short one.

And then I went abroad for a month and came back and things got busy and there didn't seem to be time to go to therapy or group and I'd started thinking more about gender equality and my role in it. I figured that maybe I was wrong, or at least, that I could cope. I could live as me, and a girl, and just be me and that would be fine. I was me first, gender second, and the Sister was sick and I was getting along with the Brother, and my parents were happy and seemed to have put my Talk about the issue out of their minds and were happy with me. I was their daughter, doing what I could to help out at home. The stories everyone has heard or been part of.

I really hate using the word daughter in reference to myself.

And for a few days it was fine. Then the little things started happening again and building up. Being called Ma'am in Taekwondo, or in stores, or Miss, or even having to use my name, talking to people while I walked the dogs and being self-conscious of my voice, being all too aware of how I change the way I talk on the phone while at work, or when I get nervous. Everything was just a little punch to the gut and then the stomach aches just got worse and worse until they were crippling, the loss of appetite, the lack of desire to work out even while I cringed at the muscle I was going to lose, because that strength was pretty much all I had, for all that it would never compare to what I wanted.

Caught myself looking at guys more. Noticing them to the point that I never noticed people. They were what I couldn't be. Just walking to the store next to me, talking to a friend or on the phone or by themselves, wearing normal clothes, having whatever build they had.

Envy isn't just an ugly thing. It hurts. The stomach aches got worse. So did the turn of my thoughts.

I went online to support groups with the intention of actually participating for the first time ever. I found Laura's playground back in high school too, one of the first places I was able to get information while looking. I couldn't manage registering for a forum post, but it was three in the morning and I was just so upset I stuck my head in the crisis chat hoping to talk about...something. They just made me feel worse, because I got the same, well-meant advice over and over; therapy is a good place to start, just be yourself, you know who you are.

But I didn't.

After I caught myself staring blankly at my computer screen at work yesterday morning and figuring out ways I could disappear, I finally went outside and called my therapist. Set up an appointment for after work and felt awful until I finally got there.

The more we talked, the more I realized what I was doing to myself. It was everything I'd read about; people doing their best to bury their feelings, live their lives, move away from the idea. Along with also realizing that, well, if it was just the equality thing bothering me, then it shouldn't bother me so much when I'm addressed as a ma'am or miss. I shouldn't be gritting my teeth when I'm introduced as the Cameragal at my other job. It shouldn't be so hard to dress nicely. It shouldn't hurt so much when my siblings call me their sister.

If I were only envying strength, I'd be looking wistfully at female athletes, not male ones. If I were only gunning for gender equality, I'd be wishing for awesome female characters, not angry I can't live up to the males. If I were only wanting the happiness other people find when they transition, I'd be able to look for it in other places too.

I respect and admire female athletes. But I don't want to look like them. And I am all for gender equality. I want awesome female leads and great female characters and a woman heroes who know who they are and how strong and beautiful and capable they are. But I want to support them, not be them. I used to want to be that female hero, because I figured it would be good enough. Almost there but not quite is still almost there, yeah? Except that would be doing everyone a disservice. A big part of being a female hero is the sexuality that goes with the gender. Regardless of what she does with it or how she portrays herself, the sexiness is inherent to her being a hero. Or attractiveness, to replace sexy. Whatever. It's part of who she is. I'm not getting the point I want to across probably, but the bottom line is that a real, strong female hero should be comfortable with herself. She should love herself and her body and what she can do with it. I might reach a point where I love what my body can do (and I've gotten pretty strong training on my own and I'm proud of what I'm capable of) but I would never love my body and how I present with it. That's important.

The bottom line, I guess, is that these last few months made me sick. Sicker than I've been in a long time. With myself, my thoughts, what I was and wasn't doing. Sick of stagnating, of breaking down and ceasing to function and hating myself the whole time.

My therapist and I talked a lot about where I was, where I wanted to be, the struggles. I'd been seeing him since last year and then dropped off the face of the earth for two and a half months. And calling him up pretty much in half a panic, then arriving late after a long work day still in my...clothes for work. Kept my coat on.

He says that whenever I feel ready, he's willing to write the letters to doctors to begin hormone therapy. That he'll write me a letter of referral for top surgery. That here are the forms for getting a name change, he can help me fill then out and turn them in. The name change can be my first step, and then in college that can be the first thing, in roll call, introducing myself to people. I'm starting at a new university in the fall and the idea of attending classes as I am now made me strongly reconsider going. And yet, as a guy, I'm excited about it. I've never been excited about school.

From the beginning I'd been asking my therapist his opinion an outsider on if he felt I really needed these changes, or if I was hiding from something else. I asked again, like I did before, if he felt that this was right. That I wasn't one of those people he would try to talk out of pursuing this path, or didn't feel I was ready yet, or at all. He said that he thinks it's time to start, if I do. That I'm dying a bit each day, each time someone uses the wrong word or says the wrong thing, each time I have to go out in the morning dressed the wrong way. I agree. I'm killing myself by not pursuing this. Or I will, in the end. I'm 22, which isn't very old, but when I was ten and struggling and hating and not able to get across why, I fully expected to be dead by 25 or do it myself. 25 didn't come fast enough, so I attempted at 12. I've done a lot to get past those feelings, and until recently, I thought I'd succeeded.

I'm going to start seriously looking for names again. The one I've been using I picked years ago, partially for the androgyny of it that made it safe. But the more I've used it, the more I don't think it's the name for me, in part because of the androgyny. I want to be recognized as a gender and have people know it from the name first. I don't want questions. Questions are what have been hurting so much.

The most difficult part now, I think, is other opinions shaking my resolve. It's what got me to backtrack before. Which is what got me to where I was a week ago, trying to drive from place to place without running off the road. I want to move forward, not back. And doing different things, experiencing different things as me. Just with a basic body that matches.

Long story short, I don't really know what's going to happen now. All I do know is that what I'm doing currently, even though I'm working and exercising and planning on finishing college and, get this, generally succeeding in life, isn't working. So something is wrong. I'm hoping to start a path that will begin fixing it for real, this time.

This isn't the desperate cry for help it was a few days ago, but everything is still there. I admit to being worried. Last year, during my therapy sessions I'd already reached the point of wanting to transition, I was excited for those letters, I'd already picked a name. But there was so much doubt of what would happen, the changes and the uncertainties in the changes, that I convinced myself I was wrong. Again. And then this happened. Part of me wants this more than ever, and the other part is worried that the minute I start taking the physical steps, all the doubts will resurface and maybe I'll be able to cope longer this time, and then it'll be a year later again and again and again...I regretted not pursuing this more seriously at sixteen, when I learned it was actually a thing. And then for each year after.

Happiness can come later for me. At this point, I'm simply aiming for less miserable.

I just. Well. I don't know. Upset and jumbled, things sound wishy-washy, still coming down from everything that happened between my most recent talk with my therapist, and the last talk I had before that.

Thank you for reading.

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JJ

So many of us hit that wall eventually. Do or die time. Literally. For me it was about 6 months after realizing what the thoughts and feelings and secrets I had hidden for so may decades meant. Finding out-and the euphoria it brought because my life made sense at last and I could at least talk about this long held secret-lasted me awhile. But I knew for me it came too late. I was older than any FTM who transitioned I have ever been able to find. I was over 320 lbs and in failing health. Been bed ridden for three years and no longer able to stand long enough to even cook for myself. And I live in one of the most socially and religiously conservative areas in the country-the rural Southern mountains. Stuck 60 years ago culturally. A dangerous place to transition and my family could be at risk. It made no sense to me to change from a broken dying woman's life to a broken dying man's life when it also put those I love at risk. Then I hit that wall. And for some reason, by some miracle, chose to try my best to change all of that -except where I live. I really had nothing to lose. Everyone who knew or saw me was prepared for my death. I was too. What did I have to lose then?

The result has been beyond my wildest hopes and dreams. I am now underweight and need to build back up but I hike for hours through my beloved forest every day. (I had so mourned before when I realized I would never be able to even walk down the road there again ). I am seen as a man everywhere I go and in spite of non trans related challenges that are the the worst I have ever known as an adult I am happy. My family has not had any incidents and people-rednecks and fundamentalists most are too-have been amazingly nice and supportive. More accepting now than ever before. It has been worth all the fear and work and frustration. Worth it beyond my ability to express.

So I am glad you have decided to do what you must as well. And hope that for you it is as incredible as it has been for me. it really is a whole new life-and you will have a long time to enjoy it.

All the best to you. BTW there will probably be some hard days and some dark days. We have all felt them and will be here if you need to vent or share or support.

Also Welcome to the Playground! We will be happy to share our opinions and experiences with you. Please feel free to post as much as you want in any forum whether asking questions, expressing opinions or sharing experiences. We are a PG-13 moderated site. You will have access to the PM system and profiles after 5 posts.

If you have not already done so, please read the "Terms and Conditions" page, the link to it can be found near the lower right of most any Forum page. Due to the special nature of Laura's it isn't the standard T & C but something you really need to read to make it easier for everyone. Thanks.

Johnny

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Guest Adiv

Don't worry, I read everything before even signing up. I hope I posted in the right place; that was something I wasn't sure about.

Thanks for sharing your story. It's really amazing that you were able to have that sort of turn around.

I'm expecting a lot of hard times, dark things, because I know this will be one of the hardest things I'll ever do. it's why I keep trying to not do it. But you're right in that I've reached this point where if I don't well, that's it.

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JJ

A lot of people would probably like to welcome you if you would like to do an introduction post. Sometimes people don't read in this forum because it can trigger them or they don't feel they can handle the situations that sometimes arrise in the forum.

Thanks for reading those T & C.

For all we often talk about how hard transition is-and it does have it's challenges-there are also many highs and bright spots.

The first time someone close up called me Sir will be a special memory till the day I die. Walking into the men's room still kind of validates me-though that was one of the really hard parts of transition for me and I only finally did it out of pure desperation. It was that or have an accident. :) Nobody in the crowded bathroom that day even glanced twice at me. And the day you look in the mirror and a man looks back-a face you really feel belongs to you at long last...all of that makes transition as amazing as it is challenging. And when at last you feel like you are a man in body and mind with just a couple of anatomical irregularities! Indescribable, but for me worth living and dieing for.

I think for FTMs the greatest challenge actually turns out to be having people see or understand what we are trying to say. I am not a Butch lesbian-no problem with someone who is but it just plain isn't me-and I know some people misread me as that at one point. Then there was a point when people stressed Mam as if to reassure me that no matter how I was dressed they understood I was female. We have no real way to send a clear message because women do dress and look masculine all the time. We can't put on makeup or any particular items of clothing -even binding just can be seen as being naturally flat chested. No way to enhance our presentation except attitude and physical condition. That makes it a real challenge.

Another painful part of transition was seeing men interact subtly with one another in a different way than they did with me. It felt like being excluded the boys clubs when I was a kid. I was excluded from the "women's club" before I was accepted into the 'men's club" in public. There was a time when it seemed I would never belong anywhere. And that it had lasted forever -and then one day it all changed and it felt like overnight. The mental changes -which I think are more important than any physical ones-were slow but sure and left me steadily more and more adjusted to myself and my life. More free and happy than I ever knew I could be.

Sure transition is hard-but nowhere near as hard as living trans and not transitioned. And the high points and rewards are just so great.

I have never regretted transitioning-not for one single breath. I never will. Instead I give thanks every day -often many times a day-that I was able to do this.I hope it is so for you as well.

Johnny

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Guest Risu

Adiv...

I'd like to give you a *WELCOME HUG*!!! and extend my love and support your way. Your story sounds so much like mine, and as Johnny said yes, it was a bit difficult to read. I know your suffering so well and it really hurts me to think someone else is stuck there.

I think Johnny hit the nail on the head. This sounds like "Do or Die" time and it sounds like you've been there for a while. All I can say is that things really do get better. Transition is hard and sometimes we need to be prepared to lose everything... our family, our jobs, our home, everything.

However, this is not always true and it doesn't always happen anymore. Sometimes love and support will come from the people you least expect it to. Often times we don't lose as much as we thought we would and we gain so much more by being able to be our true self with our family. It will be rough on you and your family, but it does get better in time.

Transition can be scary, terrifying even... Taking the first step can be the hardest... but you just keep taking your baby steps one after another until you're walking and pretty soon you're looking forward to it and you actually have a chance to enjoy this journey. In my experience, as hard and as painful as it's been it has been completely worth it. Anything I lost I didn't need, and I have gained so much within myself and my life, true friends, true love and I know now who of my family really loved me, loved me unconditionally.

Times are changing and things are getting better. Whatever you decide there is hope out there and we will be here for you.

Please make yourself comfortable and look around the forums at your leisure. There is a wealth of stories and information here.

*Hugs* yes again,

~Jade.

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Guest Adiv

Thank you for the welcome, Jade. And yeah, to both you and Johnny, I didn't know if this was such a good thing to post in introductions. It's sort of long and ramble-y and mostly upsetting. Just sort of hard to find the words to talk about this with other people after spending so long in just my own head. I've been reading a lot of stories and here had just...mostly wanting.

I'm not quite out of the depression yet, in part because of how much it took me to get back into it, but at least things are brighter now and I'm not having panic attacks every three minutes over stupid, tiny things.

I think now that I'm less freaked out about everything, trying to go on my way into a good place, I could manage a proper introduction instead of a feelings-and-backstory spew. Even though I'm scared about the transition, thinking about it makes me feel optimistic about the future, instead of dreading it. That means something, I think.

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Michelle 2010

Hi Adiv...

welcome to Laura's. I think you have arrived at the right place :)

I have no Idea what your future holds... But then I have no idea what mine holds either. But I do know I didn't want to go to my grave pretending I was someone I am not. I'm glad I confronted my demons and I believe if you are open to change, and can manage uncertainty without becoming too fearful, you will be glad you are on this path too. My rewards include living a life without secrets and a life without shame in which I can use my experiences to help others... Not a bad place to be, eh?

Best wishes

Michelle

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