Our second essay in this series is from another Scottish girl. Karen is a non-transitioner....someone who should transition but fights it daily. I might add that Karen is someone I lean on for support, since our missions are similar.
Karen has two blogs.
Carry On Karen and SHOUTING DOWN THE WELL.
If you wish to contact Karen, send me an email and I'll forward it to her. tiresias-at-hushmail-dot-com.
You can also meet our bloggers on the T-Central Facebook page. See the link at the bottom of this page,
When Calie asked me to do a piece for the T-Central series based around (not) transitioning, I have to say I felt very honoured.
But what to write on?
I'm one of those who choose to try not to transition, to hold back and be what we appear to be. Finally, I couldn't work out what single subject to waffle on about so this piece is made up of a few shorter subjects.
Will I ever...?
Will I ever make the decision to transition?
Yes. I decide to transition several times a day when the girl fog is bad, but I always seem to make one more decision not to transition, than to transition, though.
No, really I do.
Yesterday we were travelling and by the end of the day I was at the second of the three options of the apolcalypse, having been fluttering between all three all day.
What are the three options I hear you say - well they are of course not to transition, to transition or the third darker way which hits so many of us as a final and easy way out of the torture.
So on some days, when it is really bad, I'm screaming inside of myself, trying to keep the thought away. On those days I'm ready to 'cut it off' and go where my sub concious tells me I should be.
But, and it is a big but, I have a fabulous wife who I love to death and two cracking kids. Why would I want to put them through hell, potential ridicule and literally tear their world apart?
At some earlier points, I would have included the arguements about good job / house etc etc, but on reflection these are not so relevant. Sure if I transitioned our whole world would probably change financially [although there are some girls around the area who have transitioned in similar jobs to mine I am led to believe], but by the same token, some big financial crash could do the same easily enough, and we are pretty lucky to have gotten through the recent crash relatively unscathed.
The important point is not only would I be deprived of them, but they would also be deprived of me and the 'normal' stable family structure we are in.
Now, I know that if we were to separate under other more 'acceptable' situations, such as 'mere' adulterous behaviour [!!] or just to grow apart, the end result would be fairly similar, but the key point is I absolutely love these people. My wife is my soul mate, my rock and the one who has saved my sanity in the last year or so by the power of her pure love for me. I cannot do anything to harm them. I even struggle to pull sticking plasters off them if required. That is how soft I am.
So, while I love them, and they remain loving me, I'm going to fight the desire to transition. One day it might get me, but it won't be from a lack of trying.
Stand up and be counted
One subject that has been exercising me latterly is the invisibility of trans people. They remain hidden in their physical shells for years, before bursting, all beads and heels so to speak [for MTFs anyway], into the sunlight for a few months, or maybe a year or so, until they reach that basic level of passability where they are no longer obvious.
I believe this sudden transient behaviour is partially to due to the general perception of trans people and helps in some ways to reinforce it. I remember reading a piece by a prominent British trans woman who pointed out that until we stand up and become visible, both pre and post transition, we participate in our own oppression. Until we become a visible part of society, our experience will never be understood.
So, should those of us who have not yet transitioned or those of us who resist, stand up, if the situation demanded it, and be honest and brave enough to say - "yes I am trans"? I really do not think 90% of the population appreciate the burden we carry at times and most would regard this as a lifestyle choice, and a sort of sexual deviancy.
I bet few know of the mental turmoil we have, the aches and cramps, anxiety attacks and depressions we go through and huge sense of being just plain wrong somehow. If they did know would they think of us any better? Well, that is not for me to say but, given that most mental illnesses are regarded with suspicion, I think we would have a hard challenge regardless. But gradually if some of us stand up and make our voices heard, slowly things may change and people may start to realize that we all fight this and transition only happens when the pain is unbearable, when there are fewer reasons to stay than to go, and the remaining options are too dark to contemplate.
As far as us influencing any debate amongst the general public about transgenderism we have to be in it to win it as the saying goes.
So what do I experience?
I have a post it note on my PC at work that says INTBAW.
Stands for I Need To Be A Woman.
It's not there to remind me, it's there because I scribble it down many times a day as a way of getting the thought out my head. It's the thought that meets me on waking, if not before, lurks behind my shoulder all day and, given the slightest nudge, screams at me and beats me up physically.
To be fair it's not constant. Recently I've managed to bury it deep under conscious thought for 5 months or so. But, like a pool of water fed by a stream, it will always burst it's banks and wash away those barriers we have built.
But, it is also the isolation of having a condition that cannot speak it's name, which I guess is fairly closely linked to my point above about participating in our own oppression. More than anything I generally feel stuck at a place where no route offers a satisfactory way forward. Some Faustian version of hell where every choice damns you regardless. Stay as I am and accept the very real pains and mental turmoil; transition and lose my family and structure; or just lose everything. No way works, so for now I stay as I am, try to express the woman within as best I can (which is getting quite pressing right now tbh) and try to protect those I love from it.
Overall to me it has always seemed like a mental illness but one where the body and outward expression is wrong and the mind is correct, but primarily mental all the same.
Odd stuff really.....
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