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My Story

My story begins like any other. My parents met, fell in love then had me. If the stories I was told growing up are true, they both wanted a little girl so when I was born they were ecstatic. I was to be their only child.

Growing up mainly in the 1980’s and 1990’s there was a fear of anyone that identified as part of the LGBTQ community. I was, as far as anyone knew, a fairly happy child. I was always shy and a bit withdrawn but happy. What they didn’t know was that as far back as I can remember, I always felt wrong. I wanted to be a boy so bad I could taste it. I felt like I was alone.

I remember one time that I was at my parents cabin and it was the middle of summer. I had these favorite jeans that I just adored. Not because they were cool or had designs on them because they were quite plain. It was because I felt that it appeared like I had a penis. I must have been 8 or so. I thought that if I cut them into shorts (which is what my mom was trying to get me to do) that the reason I loved those jeans would disappear and I would be a girl…still. A teenage neighbor talked with me and convinced me that nothing would change about the jeans that they would just be a shorter version of my favorites. I never told her the real reason but she knew that this meant a lot to me.

A couple years later I was in the 4th grade. I had just moved to this new school and had made a couple of new friends. One of my new friends came to school with a new outfit on and I told her she looked cute. Automatically people started calling me gay and making fun of me. I told them that I meant to say pretty and I didn’t know why cute came out. While she was pretty I didn’t find her cute in any way but that one instance shaped my fear of ever truly being myself. As I said before, the fear of people in the LGBTQ community was very real. This was 1987-88 and the HIV/AIDS epidemic was basically just starting. Gay and lesbian people as a whole were being shunned for fear that ‘the gay disease’ was infectious just by being next to someone with HIV/AIDS.

In middle school I kept to myself and my small circle of friends. In gym class one day we were changing out of our gym clothes back into street clothes and I remember looking over at a friend of mine and wishing that I had her chest. She was wearing a training bra (we were in 8th grade) and I wished that I could change my B/C cup to her nonexistent ones. She caught me looking at her and quickly I said, “I love your bra, where did you get it?”

High school came and I started breaking out of my shell a little bit. I started wearing more male clothing (even swiping my fathers steel toed boots and pants). I started using a wallet with a chain (it was the 90’s after all).  I dated a few guys, even had sex with one or two of them. I met a girl. We had originally met in 7th grade at group therapy but lost touch for a couple of years.. She was the quite girl with the ‘Blossom hats’. We got along well and started seeing more of each other as friends. I don’t remember who said it first but eventually we became a little more than friends. I loved every minute of being with her. She was funny, beautiful, and smart. We dated different people but when the tequila came out so did we. I ended up getting pregnant shortly after I turned 18. While this girl stayed in my life for awhile we eventually lost touch again after I had my child.

Before I got pregnant I was physically, verbally and psychologically abused by my boyfriend. When I became pregnant I thought that the baby would change him for the better. Nothing changed. When I got pregnant I was just under 100 pounds and 5’3″. As I started to gain weight (which I didn’t start doing until I was 7 months) my boyfriend constantly told me that if I didn’t lose the weight after the baby was born that he didn’t know if he’d still love me or not. By the time I was 8 months pregnant any time I went to the kitchen to get food he’d always say, “Do you really need that?” with a disgusted look on his face. Eventually I would tell him I was going to take a bath then I would sneak Pringles into the tub with me. I knew that he would never bother me while I was in the tub because he’d said that he couldn’t stand to look at my fat body. November came and I gave birth to a perfect baby girl. The next summer her father and I married. The abuse kept on and one day after a particularly terrible event I packed up my child (yes, mine) and we left.

I worked with a woman that I became great friends with in the year 2000. I helped her and her girlfriend move and just fell in love with them and the girlfriends son. He was such a bright boy. My new friend asked me if I wanted to go out to lunch one day so I said sure, why not. She took me to a friend of hers to meet her. This is confusing, isn’t it? Okay, work friend we’ll call Cassy. New friend I met on lunch we’ll call Valentine. So, I met Valentine and thought she was one of the sweetest and most beautiful woman I’d ever met. On the way back to work Cassy asked me if I like her and of course I said yes. She told me that Valentine had been born a Chad. Over the course of a couple of years Cassy took me over to Valentine’s and we got to know each other well. When Cassy met a woman name Jolene it was love at first word (they didn’t meet in person first). More on them later…

Several years later I met another man. This one was amazing, or so I thought. I loved him with a ferocity that surprised even me. He had two children from his broken down marriage that I got to call my babies too for awhile. I was so happy with all that I had in that time of my life. I had a husband (we married after a couple years of dating) that I adored and 3 children that were my world. October 2005, just 2 months after being married, we found out on a Friday night that we were pregnant. I was so happy that nothing could bring me down. That whole weekend I was on cloud 9.We were so excited that Sunday at church we told everyone that we were expecting. And then Monday came. I went to work like any other day. My husband and I were going to go to the doctor and make it official, all I had to do was call the doctor. I told one friend at work that we were expecting but wanted to wait to tell everyone else until we knew how far along I was. I went to the restroom at just after 9 am feeling like I had to go. I looked down and saw that there was blood on the tissue. Walking back to my cubicle I stopped by my friends desk and told her what was going on. I sat crying at my desk until my manager came by and asked what was going on. She told me I could leave to go to the hospital. On my way to the hospital I called my husband’s job and asked for him. They told me that I could wait until he went on break and he could call me back. I told them that they had better find him and fast. I did not make it a request. Called my mom after I got off the phone with my husband. He and I were devastated to hear that we were having a miscarriage. I was able to get bereavement for 2 days. I had blood tests to confirm what we already knew. My husband and I talked about it and we let my daughter name the baby. She named her Jordan. My first day back to work a co-worker went into labor and had a healthy baby boy. I wanted to be happy for her but I just had all this hate and anger about the situation.

April 2006 we got pregnant again. We didn’t tell many people until we’d made it close to the 2nd trimester. We found out we were having a girl. When I was 5 months pregnant I found that he’d been cheating on me since a month after we got married. I was beyond devastated. I was hospitalized for suicidal tendencies (and not for the first time, sadly). Eventually I left with my girls. Because of a physical altercation between he and I (one in which I lost another child because of it whom I named Justice Nathaniel) there was a one year restraining order put on him when I left that turned into a 5 year because he wouldn’t stop breaking the order.

The girls and I moved into the apartment above my parents in their house where we were until a flood like nothing our city had ever seen took it all. We lost so much but I am grateful because I know that there are people that lost much more than we did. In the aftermath of the flood I met another man. I cared for him as much as I had my 2nd husband if not more. But for reasons that I won’t say I left him also.

Jolene, Cassy, myself and my children became very close over the next decade. They are two of my best friends and I don’t know what I would do without them. I love them as I would sisters had I any. They have watched my girls grow up and even helped out here and there with them.

If it hadn’t been for meeting Cassy I would never have known that there were others out there like me. Through meeting Valentine I knew that I wasn’t alone by feeling that I wasn’t born right, that I was born in the wrong body. I told Cassy and Jolene about my thoughts and feelings of being a man and they understood. They supported me before anyone else did and I love them for it.

When I felt ready to ‘come out’ I came out to my children, friends and co-workers first. I was so terrified to tell my parents that I was a transgender man (female born) that was pansexual (attracted to any gender as long as I find their brain, heart, and personality attractive) that I wrote them a letter and sent it via ‘snail’ mail. My mother called me a few days later and called me by my true name, Chris. I cried tears of joy at hearing her refer to me like that. Later they sat me down to have a talk. I thought that they were going to change their minds about being supportive of me but my father told me he was proud of me. With this instance included he has only told me that he’s proud of me 3 times in my life and I am 37 as of this year. A couple of months ago my father in one of his many drunk moments told me that he would never call me by the name Chris, that he would forever call me by my ‘dead’ name. That hurt more than I thought was ever humanly possible. I don’t know if he remembers it because I just can’t talk to him about it. I’m afraid that I will be so angry with him that I’ll say something that I regret or that I’ll never speak to him again. I told my therapist that if they were divorced that it would be easier to visit just my mother and totally ignore my father because of the way that he is flat out disrespecting me. I call him Father, Dad, Papi…why can’t he refer to me as Chris, his son? I am a man…

I am a man.

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Blown Away

There is an older couple that come into my job that have had issues with me being transgender. Yesterday they came in all smiles, even the husband which is unusual. I love it when people come in with smiles. It automatically puts me in a good mood and I am more willing to help them and go the extra mile for them. Anyway, the first phrase out of the woman’s mouth was, “Good morning young man. How are you today?” I was blown away and almost rendered speechless (which is unusual for me!). I was so happy that they have finally accepted me as transgender instead of insisting that I am going to hell. Maybe there is hope for the world after all. It warmed my heart for sure!

It’s amazing how one small gesture can warm and open the heart. In the next couple weeks I am going to look for openings where I can try to make someone feel as good as this couple made me feel yesterday.

As today is coming to a close I have to admit that I did not go out of my way to make it a great day and therefore had a pretty rotten day. Although, tomorrow is a new day and I am determined to make it a much better day tomorrow, will you?

Chrisitan

Totally forgot

Yesterday after lil bit comes home from school she tells me that it was picture day at school. I had it in my calendar to remind me and yet I still forgot! It’s not like she was wearing dirty ratty clothes or something but the fact that I forgot angers me. I wish I could remember things like I used to. I’m not quite 40 and already my memory is failing me.

It’s the beginning of a new day so I’m determined to make the best of it. I am going to go out and make it a great day!

Christian

Decision has been made

As some may or may not know I am going to school. I am at my lifetime limit for borrowing for school loans (I have a degree in cosmetology and an Associates in Business Administration and am currently going for my Bachelors in Business Administration). My choices were to get a private loan, pay my school almost $5,000 USD, or quit school and pay off some of my student loans then go back. After much thought I have decided to quit after this semester which is in a little over 3 weeks. Adding more loans will not help me (plus, I need a co-signer) and I don’t have $5,000 to hand over to the school. After going to school nonstop for almost 2 years I need a break. I want to spend more time with my family and have fun instead of being tied down with homework. My heart isn’t in it anymore so I think this is the best decision for me and my kids. I’m hoping to be able to post more here also because it’s been sporadic at best and I’d like to change that. This will also give me a chance to work on my mental health by giving me a much needed mental vacation.

Trying to make today a great day and I’m hoping you are also.

Christian

Happy Valentines Day

I do not have much to share today but I wanted to take a moment to say happy Valentine’s Day to all you wonderful people. I hope that today was a wonderful and magical day for you.

I don’t have a valentine this year (same as the last 6 years) but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t special. My oldest got me a heart filled with Kit Kats which I absolutely adore and the little one gave me extra snuggles which I adore as well. I got to work today which was nice.

It is my hope that tomorrow is just as wonderful. I plan to make it a great day, do you?

Christian

Unexpected Forgiveness

There is an older couple that comes into my job about every other day for sandwiches. They get the same thing every time but I always ask if that is what they are getting just in case they mix it up on me.

A little over a year ago I came in wearing an Air Force coat that has the saying “Air Force don’t die we just go to hell to regroup” on the back. I’ve worn this coat for years. The man is a retired Vietnam vet and so he commented on the coat. I made their sandwiches that day and we got down to the register when the wife asked me if I was sick to which I replied with a no. She then asked if I was stuffed up with my nose because my voice sounded different. I explained that it was my medication but not telling her which medication (it was the testosterone). She said, “I’ve never heard of any medication causing that” so I explained that I am transitioning into male. She acted as though I was joking then realized I wasn’t. They sat down and ate then came back up to the counter individually. Her first asking who was paying for it. I explained that my insurance was and she said that no insurance covers that. Yes, she is obviously very uneducated in this aspect. I said that mine does. As she was walking out her husband came up to the counter and said, “You know that place on the back of your jacket? You’re going there while I’m going up there (pointing to the sky)”. I just stared at him. I had never been talked to like this in my life and had no clue what to do or say. For the next 8-10 months I refused to help this couple. One day I was the only worker so I had to. They had commented that they hadn’t seen me in awhile and asked where I’d been. My response, “Hiding”. It was not a lie.

Wednesday the same couple came in and I asked if they were getting their usual, her with the American cheese and him with the shredded. The wife said, “Yes ma’am” and I asked her not to call me ma’am. They looked at me funny and asked why not so I explained again that I am a transgender man. She goes, “Well we didn’t know”. I said that I had told them about a year ago and they had told me to go to hell. They looked shocked that they would say something like this. I just stared them the entire time. I know that my feeling of anger and hurt could be heard through my voice but by the time I thought about it the words had already left my mouth (which is typical of me). I do not remember what the woman was talking about after that but I do remember that she had referred to me as ‘him’ when talking to her husband. All these months I have been angry for something that they didn’t even remember saying only for them to accept (somewhat I’m sure) who I am. I was mad for not talking to them all those months and kept playing the scenario over again in my mind when all I was doing was withholding joy from myself. How could they know that I was angry and why? I stole time and happiness away from myself. They did not force me to feel what I did and for so long. It took this for me to realize all the time that I deprived myself from.

Do not hold grudges. You are the only one this effects. The other person moves on with their  life and 9/10 times does not even know or understand the wrong that you feel they have done to you. I hate to sound like a Disney movie, but let it go. You deserve to be happy and if forgiving those that have upset you, no matter how big or small, sets you free to live the life of happiness that you deserve. I have sat here for hours since this encounter going over all the ‘wrongs committed against me’ forgiving the other person. It is me that won’t let it go, me that won’t move on. Not them.

I challenge you today to think of just one person that you feel has wronged you, whether family, friend, or stranger, and forgive them. Make today a great day by doing this one thing for yourself. You. Are. Worth. It.

Christian

Endocrinologist appointment

Tuesday I had my 3 month appointment with my hormone doctor. She’s great and I highly recommend her for anyone in the area. I had my labs drawn the week before and my numbers are right where she wants them. They were high previously which just made my body turn the testosterone into estrogen so I was falling back in my progress. I found that odd because that was the only time that I saw any god changes like a drop in my voice and the start of facial hair. I told her that I started off sounding like a 4 year old girl and now sound like a 12 year old girl. She chuckled and said that to her, I sound like a 12 year old boy. Maybe my hearing is off but I think at that age girls and boys still sound a lot alike. Anyway, she said he’d recommend voice therapy but that it would not be covered by insurance and it’s around $100 USD per visit. Plus, she also said that typically her mtf (male-to-female) patients use those but that I may be able to get some pointers or suggestions for my voice. Don’t exactly have that kind of money so I asked her to hold off on the referral for a couple of months. As for the facial hair, good luck to me. I told her that I started putting minoxidil on my face (Rogaine for men basically) and she said that was great. I really like her and how she treats me like a man with a slight hormone imbalance. I had brought up several months ago about how I was concerned with my lower growth because I’ve heard many other transmen talk about their growth but I have had none and it has bothered me for some time now. She remembered and asked me about it but much to my dismay, nothing has changed. I go back in a few months and I am hoping that I have some positive changes to report at that visit.

Snow storm coming in tonight so I am going to get off and shovel again so there is less to do tomorrow. I am working today to start making it a great day tomorrow. I hope that you were able to make it a great day today.

Christian

Scar Update from Top Surgery

It has been 6 months since my surgery. I have noticed a confidence in myself that I haven’t had since I was 4 years old running around outside without my shirt on like the other boys. I have little feeling around the scar tissue but from what I’ve heard, this is pretty normal. If someone were to touch the area I can tell it’s being touched yet am unable to feel the contact. Maybe it’s the pressure or it’s possible that I have a small amount of feeling. The scars themselves are a light shade of pink (I am Caucasian) instead of the mean red they were after surgery with the exception of under my left arm where I lifted my daughter onto a gurney to get her into the helicopter last August for transport to the hospital. I pulled open the wound doing that and it never healed right. I am okay with this though because it helped to save my precious daughter’s life. Like my stretch marks, this anomaly in my scar tissue is my war wound. Something that I lived through and came out better on the other side. Something I learned from and embrace.

If you’ve gone through top surgery already, I would love to hear your stories. If you plan on going through it, what are some things that you are really excited about and some things that you are nervous/scared about? Maybe we, as a group, can help each other out. If you are not able to, or for whatever reason choose not to have top surgery, that is okay too. Each person has to do what is best for them and their situation. No matter which category you fall under, you are still a man. You are still you. You are still lovable and worthy of love and acceptance. I care about you.

Go out and make it the best life that you possibly can, starting with today. Go out and make it a great day!

Christian