Neva

A few months ago something happened to me that I haven’t talked much about. To make a long and drawn out story short, I found my birth mother. Throughout my entire life, I have always had this curiosity to know about her, which is probably normal for all children who were adopted. I started looking from time to time on social media for names that sounded familiar from my adoption file, and finally I found a match that just so happened to be my older half brother. I added him on Facebook but never made an outreach because I wasn’t positive we were related.

I wanted to know more about my history before the adoption, but once I started transitioning I considered this something that could never happen. For one, I felt like nobody would believe me, and secondly, if she did believe me, how would she respond? Would I even want to know? I knew I wasn’t placed for adoption out of love, it was a rocky start and I was already informed that I was removed by the state. With that information in hand, I wasn’t sure if she could be accepting of who I am. Up until this point I have been accepted by most people in my life and have had positive experiences with people in my family. My adoptive family have been so supportive, I had a fear that if I were to ever find my birth mother, she would pass judgement and possible hatred onto me, and although I have so many positive supports, this type of pain would cut me deep.

They day I found her was actually the day she passed away. My half brother, who I had no clue was actually related to me at the time, posted something about his mother passing away and when he used her name everything clicked for me. I had found him a year prior to this status, and little did I know I had a direct connection to my birth mother that entire time. When I finally realized this, I was upset because I felt I had missed an opportunity. Unfortunately she passed away and there was no funeral.

Through all of his though, I have gained biological family. I have a cousin and a half brother who keep in touch with me now. I was worried they wouldn’t believe my story as well or what they would be put off by who I am, but to my surprise they were not. They accepted me immediately and were very open about answering all of my questions. They have asked to meet, and I don’t think I am ready yet, but this may change soon.

I can’t believe the irony of finding my birth mother on her death day, but I view it as a sign that it was never meant to be. I sleep well knowing that I have contact with my biological family now, and that they want what’s best for me, as they always have. I was even able to see a picture of my birth mother and me as a baby. The whole experience was very moving, scary, and brought me a sense of closure. I realized I need to stop assuming people will react negatively to me and take chances, or else I might miss opportunities of a lifetime, such as this one. Rest in Peace Neva, you brought me life, and this life is one for the books!

Fear of Failure

I have come to a realization over the past few weeks that has really upset me but also motivated me. I’ve realized that I have very little confidence in myself. In the past I was a pretty good athlete without working too incredibly hard and that brought me confidence. Once I stopped playing sports, I stopped taking care of myself but I had other things preoccupying my time. I was in college and spending time with my friends and wasn’t very focused on myself. Once I came out, my attention was aimed towards my changes and all of the learning and growing that comes from that time in a trans man’s life. Now that I’m basically post transition, I have circled back around and started focusing on myself and my body again.

Without sports, I feel like I’m missing something, and I’ve been depressed for a while about my current state of physical being. In January I started running and working out at the gym, and I started feeling great. I completed 2 of the 3 races that I set a goal to complete, I lost weight, and I started feeling confidence but it soon faded. I still feel like I’m missing something. Because I want to find that missing link, I decided to sign up for an on-ramp session at a crossfit gym near my house scheduled for tomorrow.

I spent all weekend thinking about it. At first I was excited because it’s something that will push me harder than I have ever been pushed, but as time went on a sense of dread and anxiety fell over me. I wasn’t excited anymore, instead I started thinking of reasons why I should quit before I even started. This morning I woke up bummed out. I came to terms with the fact that I’m a quitter. I was never a quitter before, so why is this happening now? It all boils down to my confidence. Why am I so scared? Clearly it’s a fear of failure. My logic was, “why start things when I could fail, I’m chill just the way I am.” Well this is stupid, and I’m honestly embarrassed that I even think this way. The way I see myself has changed and I’m unhappy with it.

I spent this entire day trying to process this loser attitude. It took literally saying the words out loud, ” I don’t think I’ll be good enough compared to the other men there.” I’ve already started comparing myself to others, something that I have tried to stop doing. I feel like I’m not fit enough, not big enough, not strong enough, not motivated enough, and not good enough to compare to these men. How pitiful. I’m scared to start something new and be the worst at it, and I’m scared that I will never match up to other people there. This attitude has absolutely spread to other aspects of my life. This thought process has ruined many chances to explore relationships (friendly and romantic) with others. I don’t feel smart enough or good enough to do well in grad school. I don’t advocate for myself in any way, outside of transition related matters.

It’s a hard pill to swallow and I feel weaker mentally than I ever have. I’m so cripplingly anxious about working on myself and working on my discipline that I feel miserable. This only means one thing to me: I need to get the hell over myself. I need to push myself and not give a shit about what happens. I need to stop comparing myself to others. I need to stop thinking that I am less-than. So tomorrow at 7pm, I am going to go to the gym and make a fool of myself, but I’m going to start learning how to push myself and to accept failure. And most importantly, I’m going to learn self confidence. I’m really scared that I will give up, but I can’t keep doing that. I won’t.

Identity and attempting to find one?

The past few months I’ve started really delving deep and analyzing my behavior, my mannerism, things that I find normal and how they effect others, and general differences in the way I interact with others versus cisgender males. I’ve started to feel anxiety about this crazy notion that I can’t make a connection with others because I feel disconnected. I’ve spent so many years in my own head and I’m slowly learning that breaking that habit is much harder than anticipated. Before I started medically transitioning I assumed that once I was post transition (for the most part) I would be able to socialize, communicate, and just BE me. The only issue with that now is, I don’t necessarily know who I am. My entire identity revolved around feeling like I couldn’t express one and I think that I might have forgotten to create one for myself. My whole life I spent much of my time just watching others, attempting to read them and listen to theirs stories and so now that it’s time for me to branch out and start to look outside of others and into myself.

At the end of April I started working a second job at a boy’s group home. I work in the agencies two locations, and both houses are very different. It has been the first time in my life that I’m completely surrounded by cisgender males. It’s already been such a learning experience. Growing up I surrounded myself with women. I played zero coed sports, had very few male friends, and the only real strong male role model in my life was my dad (thank GOD). Sidebar: My dad’s guidance by modeling has really helped shape how I view masculinity and how I present my masculinity. I find his presence demands respect and because of this he doesn’t feel the need to constantly seek validation from others.

Unlike my dad, the boys at the group homes act the opposite of that. Young men (especially these young men who have been a product of the system and who have experience unfortunate traumas throughout their lives) are hyper sensitive about their masculine identity and feel the need to assert dominance in most situations. I’ve already seen so many verbal altercations, physical acts of aggression, and downright disrespectful behavior towards staff as well as each other. This is what I anticipated. I have also seen thoughtfulness, young men just trying to make the best of their situations, and lots of drive. Whenever I see their tempers flare and their interactions with one another, I am reminded about how differently I was raised and socialized.

I’ve also noticed that when immediately in testosterone only setting, I fall directly into a maternal role and react to situation in a more nurturing way. This might have to do with growing up in a very nurturing home, being socialized as female, or just personality. I can’t be sure but there is a huge difference in how I react, how I handle, and how I conclude any type of situation with the boys versus other male staff in the homes. I could probably go on and on about all of the differences I notice, (polite laughter, empathetic looks, etc.) that I can contribute to being socialized as female versus being socialized as a cisgender male, but I think the key is to stop analyzing and picking apart every little thing and just being present.

The road to my hysterectomy 

Today I saw my nurse practitioner at the trans clinic for the last time. Fortunately, I can still go to the clinic I just have to see an MD due to insurance. We ran some blood tests and I go back in next month to go over my levels. My hidden agenda for the appointment was to begin discussing the road to my hysto.

For the past year or so, every few months I’ve suffered from cataclysmic cramping. Fortunately it’s been about 6 months I haven’t had a severe bout, but I have been cramping regularly but the pain isn’t as severe. I’ve also been bleeding on and off for the past two months. I think it’s time for my last surgery.
She referred me to a trans friendly OBGYN. My NP is retiring in a few months and so she wants me to get a move on so that she can oversee this while she is still running the clinic. I’m nervous to have another surgery but knowing this is my last and most routine surgery gives me hope.
The idea that I will be post transition (minus administering hormones FOREVER) brings me a sense of relief. No more ‘to do’ lists, and no more (hopefully) large medical bills related to this transition.
I’m planning to document the process so other trans men in my area can have some sort of clue what will be coming their way in their form of appointment, paperwork, insurance, surgeons, and of course recovery.

Back at it again with the overthinking.

I haven’t written a post for this blog in a very long time. I deleted it temporarily because I started working with kids who understand how to use google and knew my name. I didn’t want to be outed in a way that would make my job terrible, but now I realize that I need to keep writing and sharing because even after years of my transition, I look to other brothers for advice and thoughts. I’m apologizing to myself for being scared.

My thoughts today revolve around the idea of being stealth, where I fit in, and what I miss most about being pre-T.

Honestly, I don’t know how I’m seen by people. I don’t know if they see beaming masculinity, insecurities, confusion, or just me. I guess I don’t even know how I feel about myself, so this might be the reason why I’m so lost.

I work in an agency with a majority of cis gender straight women. I love working with women, being surrounded by women, and everything that has to do with women and femininity, and for a while I was stealth. Actually, I’m still living stealth with a few of my colleagues who I don’t know well or who I don’t think would be “cool” about it. Anyway, I’m 50% stealth, and I’m trying to figure out what that means to me.

I go back and forth about whether or not it’s important to tell somebody about my journey. I don’t want to over share, but as time goes on, I would like people to understand me. At work, I’m seen mostly as a cis gender straight male and I just can’t get on board with that. I take pride in my queerness, and I feel like it has shaped me. Sometimes I want it to be acknowledged and sometimes I want it to remain a secret. The problem with coming out is that you can not undo it. Much like the written word, it’s concrete and it stays. The fact that my mind changes daily about how I want to present myself is absolutely the reason why I feel so wishy washy about living stealth or living out.

The truth is, I’m jealous of people who appear queer at first glance. I feel like when I was younger I came off that way. I didn’t fit any mold, didn’t fit in any box, and even though I felt dreadfully unhappy, I see now that I was able to find peace in others like me without even having to say a word. When you see another queer person you’re able to connect with them on spot in a unique way. You are able to appreciate their story without even opening the book.

Now, as a post transition bear, I don’t feel like I have the luxury of people being able to read me and feeling that they can connect with me on a queer level. I could easily live a 100% stealth lifestyle, and for most that’s “goals” and for me it was too, but now that I’m living my dream, I feel beige. I feel like I’ve almost lost part of my identity. I never identified as female, but I never identified as 100% male either, and through the years of being perceived as one, I am able to see that I fall somewhere in between. I know a lot of people also live like this. Maybe this is just the cross that trans people have to bear. Being queer, I went from female to male, one end of the spectrum to the other, but my heart is somewhere in the middle. Now of course I’m not saying that I’m not much happier, healthier, whole, and free, because I am. This transition saved me in many ways.

I’m grateful, grateful, grateful for where I am, and this entire journey. I’m just attempting to understand who I am. I’m sure this is a life long battle. Stealth or not stealth, I’m happy where I am and the idea that I have so many more chapters and transitions and surprises and existential bullshit in my life is exciting and refreshing. My entire adult life I’ve been working so hard to change, counting down the days until this happens and that happens, maybe the fact that I’ve stopped changing scares me because the idea of slowing down and being done sounds so stagnant. It’s apparent to me now that I haven’t written in a while because my thought process is scattered and I’m probably more confused post entry than pre, but I’ll get the hang of it again soon. I have a lot to say.

Partnerships and understanding the sacrifice

My eyes were opened during a discussion I was having yesterday. I have spent so much time convincing myself that I am no different than any other man, that I become defensive every time somebody suggests otherwise. To me, I am like any other man, sans penis. Well, that just isn’t true. Life experiences are what make men, and mine are different than others. Being transgender, I have an underlying sadness deep within that does not exist in other men. It’s the sadness of a lifetime of confusion and emotional pain, that only trans people can understand. It’s inexplicable to almost everybody. I forget these things, because I feel so confident in myself now. Even though my surgery recovery has been a disaster, and I am having another surgery in October to fix the mistakes made in April, I am very body confident for the most part (minus the chub). When you feel good about yourself, you forget the skeletons looming in every corner.

During my conversation last night, she said “I have to make the decision to be in a relationship with somebody who is transgender.” My inital reaction was to be upset and hurt, even though she said nothing wrong. When my transition influences anything in my life, I find it makes me upset because it is mine and nobody elses to judge. However, I have spent so much time being so introspective, I have realized that in fact, she does have to make a decision to be in a relationship with a transgender person. Even though I see it as no different than being in a relationship with anybody else, I know that I am wrong.

Sex isn’t the only thing that is different. There are various responsibilities when it comes to being transgender amidst transition, and a partner would have to share responsibility and show compassion. There is also baggage, and I hate to call it that. There are a multitude of things that are trans* specific. Another may be the acceptance of the trans* partner into their group of family and friends. There are many different dimensions, that I choose not to see. All I want is to be normal, but the uniqueness of my situation is also something that I love. It makes me think that I did not appreciate my last partner for making the sacrifice to be with somebody like me. I feel a genuine guilt for not putting her feelings and thought into consideration, but at the same time, the first year of my transition was mine. I felt it okay to be selfish because for once in my life, I was able to. With my new love, I have learned from past mistakes, and have learned to show appreciation for the struggle we will be embarking on together.

Dating somebody who is transgender is definitely a decision, but so is dating anybody. I’m glad we had the discussion last night because it helps me see that I’m not the only person in this. I effect everybody I am in contact with. She opens my eyes every day.