I finally was able to bring my brother home this past Saturday evening. They had kept him about a week past when we thought he’d go home to observe some other, new issues he was having. I had to put my big boy panties on and get pretty butch with them because they wanted to hold him over the weekend once again to get a sonogram on Monday, which had already been put off since Friday. We agreed he could go home and get the sonogram done at his home hospital. While they were “observing” him I had stayed away to try and catch up on my own life and get some work caught up. When I arrived on Saturday I was surprised to see on his chart that they had me listed as his brother. Feeling emboldened by my desire to get him out of there I embraced the idea of being his brother and introduced myself to his nurse that way. I was in total male mode while I talked to her calmly yet sternly about the situation and somehow it worked. I would not have suggested they let him go if I thought for a second that it wasn’t in his best interest. He had sat around that place for an entire week while they ran blood tests and checked his vitals. Enough was enough.
Since then, the hospital has called me a couple of times looking for him and I have told them I’m his brother and redirected them to his phone line. I was definitely feeling pretty proud of myself for taking good care of him and helping to spring him from the hospital like any good brother (or sister) would do. Pat on the back. I want to use the word sibling, and maybe I will in the future, but somehow I never can think to say it in the heat of the moment. I get flustered and mumble brother or sister or he’s my brother. I need to get a grip on this because this problem is not going to go away on its own.
On another note, I’ve been having some in depth email discussions with an old work friend who I’m still in contact with. She’s totally cool with me being trans but also curious and asks questions, which I am happy to answer to the best of my ability and based on my experiences. I talked to her about how it’s really surreal to be seen as male all of a sudden. It seems like top surgery really bumped me over into the male category in a very sudden way. It’s kind of freaky and cool at the same time. It’s taking my brain a little time to catch up with all of it though. I’m totally loving being called Mr. LastName and sir out in public. There have been a couple younger guys (early 20s?) who have helped me in stores who seem to want to chat with me a little bit about random stuff or comment on my ball cap and that’s pretty cool. My friend asked me how it felt to be part of a different sect of society now and I honestly don’t feel like I ever was part of any sect before, except maybe the lesbian community for a while and I assured her that I have not been welcomed into the men’s club yet. Though I have noticed, instead of the lesbian nod that I’m used to, there seems to be a man nod that I get now and then. Random men will nod at me and sometimes say hey as we’re passing in a store or a parking lot. Maybe that’s part of the men’s club thing, if there is such a thing. But, how does it feel to be seen as a man now? Strange. Disconcerting. And yet, also comforting and relaxed at the same time. Surprisingly, I used to worry that I looked feminine enough and that I might get dirty looks from women for being too masculine, even before starting to transition. Every sir I got back in those days was a confirmation that I was not pulling off looking and acting like a woman good enough. Now, I just go through my day being myself and don’t have to worry about passing as female anymore. I can relax and just accept that people will see me as any other middle aged guy and pay me no mind at all.
I stopped in a grocery store this morning to pick up something I shouldn’t be eating (donuts) and on my way out two elderly ladies were coming in together. I paused a few seconds to let them through the doors before I proceeded out. It seemed like the gentlemanly thing to do. One of the ladies looked at me and smiled and wished me a good morning. It’s a little thing on both of our parts, but I could tell that she saw a respectful man when she looked at me and that made me feel proud of who I’m becoming.
I used to talk a lot about transition being also a transformation and I certainly still believe that to be true, especially for myself. I see this as an opportunity to finally be the person I’ve always known I was, not only on the outside, but on the inside as well. It’s a rare and precious gift to be given this chance at bettering myself and becoming whole in mind, body and spirit. My mind has some catching up to do with my body and spirit but eventually it will get there. There have been moments when I’ve felt like I’m splitting apart mentally and that I don’t know who I am anymore. This has been known to scare the crap right out of me. But, I think it’s part of the process of breaking out of the old programming and creating a new pattern for myself. I ask myself sometimes, “who is Shawn and how is he different than Dawn?” It’s a complicated and paradoxical question to ask oneself. Technically we are the same person, owning the same soul and spirit, personality, body, history, possessions, talents, skills, knowledge, etc. The differences are subtle. Shawn isn’t necessarily a better person than Dawn. Dawn was a pretty awesome person in her own right and set up a fantastic future for Shawn to traverse. The difference lies mostly in the fact that Shawn is sure of himself in a way that Dawn was never able to be. Shawn knows that people really see him. Dawn was always afraid that people WOULD see her. Shawn knows who he is. Dawn was always searching for answers to questions she had never asked herself before. Yet, Shawn has big shoes to fill in a lot of ways. He can’t rest on Dawn’s accomplishments and just coast through the rest of this life. He needs to make his own mark and accomplish his own goals. This is where it starts to get really fun and interesting to see what he comes up with next.