Embrace your Shadow Self

I’m trying so hard these days to do this and, you know, shame and fear keep creeping in there and holding me back.  I know I’m not alone though and so when I find something that I think is so universally helpful and healing I have to share it.  I highly recommend checking out Rebelle Society‘s website and subscribing to their newsletter if you enjoy this article.  Every week you’ll get an email with several inspiring articles to read and once in a while one of them will knock your socks off.  Anyway, enjoy!

http://www.rebellesociety.com/2013/09/17/facing-the-darkest-side-of-a-beautiful-person/

Slow But Steady Progress

I’m six weeks post op for my hysterectomy.  I feel completely healed most of the time with the exception of an occasional twinge of discomfort if I wear my belt too tight around my waist but I’m not officially cleared to resume normal lifting for another two weeks.  This surgery was a pretty major hurdle for me to cross on my way to authentically living as myself but it is also somewhat anti-climactic to be honest.  No one, including myself, can really tell I had a hysterectomy.  It doesn’t change much for me really.  But, it is one very large step AWAY from being female bodied and THAT is important!  Middleagebutch used the following quote in a recent post that really put my transition into clearer perspective for me.

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything.  Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”— Unknown

This.  This is what the hysterectomy is about for me.  This is what chest surgery will be about for me.  This is what changing my name is about for me.  It’s what taking testosterone is about for me.  And it’s what transition is about for me.

So now I’m ready to move on to more interesting and enjoyable aspects of transitioning.  I went to the court house today to file the paperwork for my new legal name and pay my fee.  I had to give myself a little pep talk first but now that it’s done and the ball is rolling I feel good about it.  In about 4 weeks I should have my real name on my driver’s license and that’s going to feel awesome!  Why was the pep talk needed you might wonder.  The most obvious reason is that going to the court house is a little intimidating with its metal detectors and police guards and bureaucracy and all that fun stuff.  But, digging a little deeper, I know that I’ve been going through a bit of a mourning phase, again, over the loss of my old identity.

It all started the day before Mother’s Day for me.  I posted my favorite picture of my mom and me on Facebook.  I was about 15 at the time and my mom had taken me and some of my gal pals to the beach for the day.  It was a fun and happy day and a really nice memory of a time when everything was pretty simple and life was good.  I had no idea how sad it was going to make me to look at it on my Facebook page.  My happy, innocent 15 year old self with my arm nonchalantly draped over my mom’s shoulder smiled back at me with that optimistic cockiness that I had in those days and I started to tear up and fill with emotion.  What would that kid say to me today?  Would she be proud or disgusted?  Where is that cocky optimism now?  Where did it go and what made it go away?  I’ve decided that she would be pretty proud of what she accomplished and excited about the chance to shed the shields and masks that have closed her off to the world and step into the light.  The reasons I have for making these changes were present back then.  She hated her name and her breasts and her period.  She knew she identified more as a boy than a girl.  All of that was there but she didn’t have the tools or the means to do anything about any of it.  I think she’d be pretty darned ecstatic to know that I can fix all of that stuff now.  Maybe one day I’ll see that same cocky grin projecting back at me again in the mirror.

The other thing I’ve realized is that I keep using my old female self as a shield to protect my new male self and I’ve been wondering why.  Obviously, I feel much safer in the world as a woman if for no other reason than because I know how that part of the world works.  But I think it’s also a little bit of my female self feeling unsure of whether my male identity is strong enough to take over the reigns yet.  I was thinking this morning of it being similar to a pitcher in baseball who’s pitched a winning game for 7 innings and now being asked to turn over the ball to a new, fresh pitcher to finish off the game.  I often imagine that has to be a little hard to do, even though your arm is spent and it’s for the teams best interest.  So my life is like a baseball game.  It’s the top of the 7th and we’re leading.  We’ve overcome some obstacles and fought back from sure defeat a few times and I’m feeling a bit unsure of whether this new pitcher is strong enough to keep the lead and take us to victory.  But I can’t keep going so I have to trust him.  And I AM him.  She is him.  In the end we are all one, united and victorious.  I have to trust in this process and believe that it will all be as it should be once we’re done un-becoming who we never were.

Ask Matt: Do My Spouse’s Feelings About Hormones Matter?

Matt Kailey's Tranifesto

Question MarkA reader writes: “I was inspired to write by a question you posted recently from a parent asking about their genderqueer teenager. I felt like that teenager could have been me if I was born a couple of decades later.

“I started to have issues with my assigned birth gender at about age 13, but the message I got from so many people was that I was just going through a normal adolescent phase and I would grow up to feel comfortable being a woman. I spent some years thinking I must be a trans man, but that didn’t really fit either. By the time I was 19, I was pretty sure I wanted to change my body to create something androgynous and knew that meant taking hormones.

“But this was the 1990s and everything I read and heard about transition was that it was only open to binary-identified people…

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