March 13, 2013

In Which Ali Gives Up Her Seat At The Table

As promised, here’s what happened last night …

It was, as I noted before, a group session. It was a well-established group, too, run by a local gender therapist and featuring her long-term clients (of which Erin was one). They knew each other’s lives and stories. By contrast, I was the outsider, the intruder into their group. Fight-or-flight definitely kicked in when I first sat down, but I choked the feeling back.

The women there offered an interesting cross-section of people on the trans spectrum. There was Erin, the long-term success story of the group — successfully transitioned, several years post-GRS, married to a man, living as a woman in her chosen career. Then there was a woman who had begun her transition as a teenager, and who was only three weeks out from her own GRS. There was the woman who was mid-transition — several years on hormones, living mostly as a woman, but who still had days where she went out dressed as “him” and who hadn’t yet come out to her co-workers (telecommuting had saved her from that step thus far). And then there was the woman who, at near the age of retirement, had overcome a thirty year struggle with alcohol abuse, only to discover that she’d never been happy with who she was; health issues keep her from even getting HRT, apart from an antiandrogen, but she dressed and lived female.

I won’t reveal the details of the conversations that went on there. But in general terms, what I heard were stories that echoed my own experiences so far. Heck, that echoed things I’ve written in this blog! Like living for years being unhappy and not knowing why; like having “the moment” where the idea suddenly fell into place; like trying to “pack it away” and failing miserably; like feeling comfortable, not feminine, when dressed.

Honestly, my discomfort at being the outsider didn’t last long. There was a familiarity here that I couldn’t deny. I started talking, and I started listening, and I started fitting in. I was comfortable amongst this group of strangers. Why? Because they were like me.

So that’s it. Game over for Him-Me. I’m officially giving up my seat at the cisgender table. Wherever I end up for the rest of the meal, it won’t be here among the gentlemen and the dudebros. I’m done clinging to the idea that this is a temporary thing, or some sort of  midlife crisis or a stress reaction to my impending divorce. I don’t know exactly where I’ll end up — there’s years of therapy in my future to help me determine that — but it won’t be eating the desert course with the guys.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll settle for something like Meg over at Call Me Meg has — a comfortable sort of back-and-forth between job and private life. Or maybe it will go further than that. I don’t know! And honestly, I’m the kind of person who absolutely loathes uncertainty … but I need to learn to be okay with it. For now.

This afternoon, I have my enrollment call with the local Uni transgender program. Wish me luck.

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  • Aria –

    I’m heading towards something similar to what Meg is doing. The difference between us is that I have less holding me to my male persona than Meg has. And I wonder what this uncertainty will bring….


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