Friday, May 11, 2012

The future is mine to choose

So where do I go from here?  For the first time on this path I feel like the future is mine to choose.  For a little more then a year now it felt more like E was choosing my path forward.  My body and mind were going to go where the E wanted to take them.  Now it feels like the future is where I decide to go.

I do have some big decisions to make and I just wanted to spend some time talking them out.

FFS, the one I worried the most about two years ago.  I was certain I'd never pass without it, but here I am two years later passing every day.  Now I am not so certain what to do about this one.  I'm almost certain I'll get the trachea shave as every time I look in the mirror it pops out like a sore thumb and more then any other part it bugs me.  I'm also thinking of a nose job.  I think the nose is still Rick's nose and I'd like Dana to get her own.  I think both of these things are worth the pain and cost.

SRS, 'The big one'.  This IS the big one.  I know there are a lot of us who see this as the whole point of transitioning.  Physically changing your body to match your gender.  And, I totally get that but I'm not sure it's right for me.

First, let me say I'm a big chicken, pain is not my thing and I don't do well even thinking about it.  Even blood work is an issue!

Then there's M.  It's not that M would have an issue with it.  It's not that she would miss it. (Well she might, but I'll let her talk about that...) We'll still have fun either way.  We'll still live our lifes together with or without it.  But I don't have to explain anything with her.  She knows who I am and how I got here.  It's not like I'm going to go on a date and have to explain the extra bits.  I imagine I'll go the rest of my life only having to explain the bits to a few nurses and a doctor or two.

I know this completes the transition, but I'm treated as a woman every where I go.  I'm sure a few people figure it out along the way but even the ones that do still treat me as a woman.  And those that do figure it out, aren't looking up my skirt to confirm their suspicions.  M treats me as her partner, K as her best friend, and the boys still see me as Dad!  So what does SRS accomplish for me?

When I look at this in terms of cost and reward, what does the money, and the pain of SRS get me?  For me I don't think it's the right answer.  So that means I'll have to get an O instead.  I can't stay on this level of E and S forever.  The risks are too high and the cost will add up.  So I'll opt for an O.

Then there's the issue of stealth.  I'm also aware most of us transition into a stealth or semi stealth mode.  Where only a few close friends or partners know of our past.  But even here things aren't so clear cut for me.  First, I own my own business.  A huge advantage because I am the HR department and I really only had one person to clear my transition with.  But, there are families relying on me for their income.  I can't just disappear.   I can't just quit my job, sell my house and move on to anther city where no one knows my name.  My employees, customers, and coworkers all know my past.  Every city I travel to, every TV station I visit, hears the news of that past long before I get there.  My neighbors, my friends, the people in Safeway all know me and know that past.

Changing any of that is not possible.  I can't just get a new job.  I can't move to a new city.  I won't leave my friends in a cloud of smoke.  There are too many people counting on me showing up tomorrow and none of them care if I show up as Dana, in fact some would be disappointed if I did go back to being Rick,

Everyone in my life, everyone who is going to be in my life will know of my past.  It's going to be this way for a while, a few years at least.

So that's my path next year.  I'll go for the trachea shave, I'll get an 'O', skip the SRS, and live my life with my past in the picture.  I'll hope for the best and tell my last brother the news.  I'll wake up every day as a woman and live the day as she is supposed too.  I'll honor my responsibilities to my family, my employees, and my customers.  I'll work and live as Dana and be happier then Rick ever thought possible.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Since this is a journal of my path through this transition, I thought I'd give a quick update of my journey so far.

Where I'm at now :

First and foremost I'm no longer worried about where this will all lead to.  I have a pretty good idea where the path goes from here and I'm excited to get there now. 

M and I are happy, very happy.  She's retired now and spends her time chasing me throughout the country as I go about my travels. 

Work is good, busier then ever.  Everyone I work with has accepted me and supports me where ever I go.  It was just a year ago I'd worry about how every new city would react to me.  But now I hardly even broach the subject.  My transition is certainly not a secret and I still get the occasional question but it's with respect and with an open mind. 

Everyone, but one, in my life has been told and just about everyone has been OK with it all.  The only person I have not told is my little brother.  I've pushed this off because he lives across the country from me and has some very strict religious views that I'm worried would prevent him from understanding.

I pass reasonably well. I'm sure people can figure it out if they try.  But, for the most part no one is looking so no one sees anything out of place.  I'm ma'am every where I go and I haven't heard a 'Sir' or a 'Rick' in forever now.  Friends and coworkers still slip up and miss a pronoun or two every once in awhile but it's not done maliciously so we just let it go.  They know it slip, and I know it's just a slip, so why make a big deal about it.  

My transition itself is still in progress, E has done wonders to my mind and my body.  But as work has taken me all over the country over the last six months, my laser treatments have not kept up.  I need to get that back on track.  I still need to get my trachea shave scheduled, and I need to find the time to start working on the big one.  Yup, that big one.

Where I was :

I still look back on my transition and I'm astonished on how little I've lost.  So many others in our community have lost so much, yet I have lost so little.  A friend, maybe two, has drifted away, but the ones that stayed are closer then before.  Our family is intact and stronger then ever.

Before the E, every morning was hard.  How do I get out of bed and face the day?   I haven't struggled with that since I started taking E.  My mood swings are back to normal, and M seems very happy about this.  The everyday gloom of my life before E is completely gone.  I'm starting to have a hard time remembering that load and the burden the struggles added to my life.

I was so worried about where this transition would take me and who and what I would become, and now those worries seem so distant and without cause.

Where I'm going :

I'm moving forward slowly but with direction.  The drive that pushed me my entire life to do more, and live more as Dana has suddenly come to a halt.

Before E, I would continually push the envelope of what Dana could do.  I'd push M to her breaking point, push the limits of society and those around me to and past acceptable.  Always taking what I was given and then asking for more.

But now that drive has stopped.  For the first time in my life as I look around and see where I'm at, see how the world sees me, feel how I'm treated, and see how I treat myself, I am happy.