Friday, 31 January 2014

Feeling better

Sometimes I think everyone should have a blog.

When I wrote my last post I was so dysphoric about my gender I felt like I could hardly breathe. In the course of writing it I determined that I should get out of the house as a girl at least once that week. And guess what? I ended up doing it twice! And have been feeling quite a bit better as a result. This blogging thing really does help.

The second time I even attended two of my classes at the university. (They were larger classes where I don't know anyone). I wore a skirt, which was a lot of fun, and heels, which would have been fun except for the fact that I walk to school from my house: halfway there I was thinking: why the hell do we wear these things? Nonetheless, I felt like I looked fantastic— (oh yeah, that's why)— and had a really good day.

In some ways my gender issues are actually pretty simple: when I'm a girl I'm happy; when I'm a boy I'm sad. It's not that hard to understand after all.

I recently discovered and started reading a manga series called Hōrō Musuko, or "Wandering Son." (Manga is Japanese comic books, by the way). It tells a trans-y coming of age story about a "boy who wants to be a girl" and a "girl who wants to be a boy." The two discover each other's secret and together they face the trials of puberty, bullying and keeping everything hidden from their parents. The author is cis and there a few places where that becomes cringingly obvious, but for the most part it's very well done. Somehow I've found it incredibly cathartic to watch these characters struggle with things I've gone through, and some things I'm still going through.
The main characters in their preferred genders.
Speaking of which, it sounds like I'm probably heading over to my parents' house for dinner tomorrow. I've been thinking about coming out to them for ages now. Maybe it's time I finally did...

Monday, 20 January 2014

Not a happy girl

I'm still not out to my parents. At the end of December I figured that would be done by now. But it's still looming over me. Partly this is because my dad travels a lot for his job and I don't always know when he's in town. But it's mostly my own cowardly lack of resolve.

When I came out to my roommates last month, one of them was in Germany so he never heard about it. He's been back in Canada for a couple weeks now, and I still haven't talked to him about it. I don't have any doubts that he'll be accepting, but I still feel like I ought to have the conversation before he sees me as a girl. (As someone else put it, the words transgender and surprise don't go well together.) So this means that I've been back temporarily in a quasi-closet around my own house.

Of course school has now started up again after the winter break, and I have been continuing to present male there. I could maybe attend my larger classes as a girl without it being a big deal. But it would seem strange, in the smaller, more interactive classes, to suddenly show up in a different gender. So, male it is.

All of these factors combined— my continued worry about telling my parents plus the two things limiting my gender expression— have been causing me some pretty bad depression lately. I have not been a happy girl these past two weeks. Not at all. Sigh...

Still though, I know what I need to do. Sitting around moping won't help; I need to take real steps toward making things better. To that end, I'm making it a goal to leave the house as a girl at least once this week.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

A fantabulous night!

I wore a dress for New Year's Eve! In the eight months I'd been crossdressing it was the first time I'd ever worn one, as unbelievable as that may seem. I should clarify, it was the first time I'd worn one as a girl. I'd tried on dresses in boy mode, but that's not the same thing at all.

Carson and Jamey (that's my brother and his wife) had me over at their place to ring in the new year. None of us are the sort of people who really enjoy large parties or spending loads of money at bars, so we figured we'd have a little get-together just the three of us. And just for the hell of it, it was decided the evening would be a formal affair. After all, they both enjoy dressing up fancy, and I hadn't yet had an occasion to do so as a girl.

On the day before I managed to pick out a gorgeous dress that, for some reason, actually fit well and looked good on me. That night I was so excited about wearing it the next day I could hardly sleep! I'm a bit silly like that, I guess. :) The following afternoon I bought some fabulous shoes and jewelry to go with it. I even went so far as to buy some of that shapey hose stuff, which, ironically, ended up being the most expensive part of my outfit.

I arrived at their apartment in boy mode that evening. Jamey and I did our makeup together. She helped me out a lot, and insisted I use several of her products. I learned a lot from her, and my makeup definitely looked better than it ever has before. It was a ton of fun, too!

...aaaand this is what I looked like! Possibly my favourite photo of me ever! :D
Then the three of us had a delightful evening of sushi, boardgames, and drinks, though we missed counting down to midnight because we were busy discussing how Jupiter's gravity causes gaps to form in the asteroid belt. (Yeah, we really do talk about geeky stuff like that, I'm afraid). And it was such a relief for me just to be in the right gender, especially after all the stress I had spending Christmas at my parents' house.

The three of us looking fabulous. (Posted with their permission)
I can't express how grateful I am to have those two in my life, nor how much I appreciate that I can be myself around them. In fact, there was a much more important "first" that night than just my first time in a dress. It was also, technically, my first time presenting fully female in front of them. It's just that, we reached that point so gradually I don't think any of us hardly noticed. Over the months since I came out to them I've let them see increasingly feminine iterations of my male presentation (once even wearing heels in boy mode!), so that by the time they finally met girl-me, it wasn't a big deal.

At one point during the evening I apologized to Carson for how weird it must be having a crossdresser for a brother. (Of course I know I can't help being trans, but I still feel culpable somehow). He shrugged it off: "It's a little weird, but whatever." Then with a smile he added, "You're a crossdresser, but I'm more feminine than you are!" My brother is not a typical "manly man" by any means, and his point, I think, was that I wasn't the only one with an atypical gender.

Depending on your definition of femininity, and that's a very difficult thing to define, he might even be right. I'm a bit of a tomboy; he's a bit of a pretty boy. In the end it probably doesn't make sense to compare one person's femininity to another's, since it's something each person defines for hirself. But it does go to show what a complicated, convoluted thing gender is.

Also, SUSHI!!
It was a great night, both in terms of fun and gender expression, and I'm thinking I just might need to find more excuses to get all dressed up!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A hint of gender

In a footnote of my previous post I said my mom had noticed a hint of my gender issues. Aimee called me out on leaving such a huge cliffhanger unresolved, so I'm writing this post to fix that! :)

As I said before, I was having a very hard time dealing with my gender during the time I spent at my parents' house over Christmas. On the second-last day there, being quite depressed and hoping it would help, I decided to wear a camisole under my guy clothes. (I had brought one with me to sleep in). I wore a t-shirt and a sweater over top of it, so I honestly thought I would be safe.

I did help me feel a little better.

But, of course, later on one of the straps shifted so that it was visible through my collar. My dad was in the next room. My mom pointed to it and said quietly, "You need to adjust that before your father sees it." I did, and we carried on with our game of Scrabble as if nothing had happened.

The next day, just as I was leaving to go home, and my dad was out walking their dogs, she suddenly blurted out, "Tyler, I want you to see a counsellor." This was followed by a very tense pause. I said nothing. Then she continued, "I don't know what you're going through. But when people are having a crisis of identity like this, whether that's gender or whatever, they sometimes act in the ways that are... destructive... like, self-destructive. And I don't want to lose you. Because I love you."

I was completely taken off guard by this. I just mumbled stupidly, "Uh, okay, maybe," and left before we had a chance to discuss the matter further. Perhaps that was a mistake.

Writing about it now I'm really touched by her concern for me. However I'm ashamed to admit that, at the time, I was in such a foul mood that I was mostly just annoyed. It bothered me that she assumed I was in a state of crisis, which I don't feel I am. I'm not really questioning my identity: I identify as trans. I'm quite certain about that part.

All in all though, I'm very, very blessed to have parents who care so much about me. It's important I don't lose sight of that.