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I've been a woman my whole life.  Inside.

For 44 years, I looked in the mirror at my face and asked him, "What the hell are you?"  The question was deeply existential to me, it encompassed everything about my feeling of being off, strange, and wrong in this world.

For 44 years, I lived with a near-constant state of anxiety and discomfort, and sometimes real pain and despair, as my ability to keep hold of my "real" identity waxed and waned.  Most of the time, I was able to be safe at my job, but outside of a mostly picturesque family, I was in hell and incapable of being a real man.  

Then one day, after someone I really thought I could trust outed me (as a cross-dresser, not as a trans), and then apparently tried to kill me, I realized that I could never go back to being that failure of a man again.  His willingness (mine, really) to fit in almost got me killed.

I've been awake for about two months now.  I started to awaken once about five years ago, at the end of my first marriage.  I recognize a lot of the things I wrote and said (and wrote songs) and I was talking to myself about this.  About being inside somewhere I wasn't meant to be, and didn't believe in anymore.

But, for some reason I snapped "back" and tried to suppress the obvious need to play around with girly stuff that manifested itself as soon as I was out of the house.  I wanted to prove I wasn't the reason my marriage failed, so I did it again.

Huge mistake.  I ended up with a controlling, demanding, and quite parasitical woman who ended up discarding my entire life quite casually when I basically attempted to assert myself.  

Her need to make me a "man" had driven me to a state of my ordinary anxiety and discomfort, and cranked it up extra-high.  I was so anxious and sleepless, I could hardly eat.  As apparently happens with many trans people in a crisis, I lost weight until I was so skinny that even the smallest pants fall off me.  Don't be envious . . . this diet plan can be fatal.

50% of transsexuals die before age of 30, it is estimated.  Most commit suicide.  The despair that is caused by not having a self-image is so intense, when I was thrown back into it during my coming out I lay for 9 hours with very little food in my stomach, a diabetic who cannot tolerate low blood sugar because it will just keep falling, and I believe if I hadn't mustered the self-will to assert my identity again I may have passed out alone in my house, locked in my room, and been beyond help before much longer.  I had barely eaten for days because I had been outed and was in a terror that I had nowhere to go.

But, I had been "talked out" of the idea that I was a transsexual by my father.  I do not blame him, he is watching his son vanish.  My parents are very proud of the fake me that I pretended to be.  The fact that I am kind of capable helps, but the fact that they believed it helped more, and it perpetuated my false identity even as it probably kept me alive.

So once I believed him, I was ready to die.  There was nothing.  Everyone would stare at me, I was a freak.  I screamed at the ceiling sometime early the following morning that I would not kill myself for my father, and then I broke down and forgave him.  I knew he loved me.  It was just his own need to fit in that was making him say these things.

I still have trouble speaking to them.  They haven't seen my face since I woke up.  People who have can tell, I am more fully alive, more me, more happy than I've ever been when i believe that this is really going to happen.  That the agony and disconnection I feel will finally end.

I've had to start training everyone in what this thing really means.  The sensation that bugs are crawling on my skin, the stage-fright like feeling I get, the fist of agony that crushes me when I wake up and have to "dress down" to fit in.  It causes me a 45-minute weeping session on the way into work.  Which, just today, I have hopefully put an end to since I announced myself to the HR department, and got their full blessing.

It is a different world in 2014 than it has been my whole life.  I think in the final analysis, I had a very bad run of events happen to me (the outing followed the death of a close friend and the disowning of me by my son, so it was traumatic all around) but I also kept seeing trans people in the news, and I was finally able to admit and accept to myself that was what was going on.  And that I could end what was at this point a nearly empty existence, and not die.

I wanted to live.  I want to live.  And to live, I must make use of modern science to re-shape my body to match my soul.  I've no doubt whatsoever that I am female inside.  I have never strongly identified as male.  Online profiles I filled out in my former life, unless there were only two choices, all identify my gender as "other."   I was frequently (to my secret delight) mistaken for a woman in drive-throughs, and got comments on my woman-ish behavior, all my life.  I've always looked and acted mostly feminine, and I've nearly always taken the woman's POV in nearly any issue where it has come up.  I say nearly because 44 years is a long time, and at one point I seem to recall trying to commiserate with "the guys" to fit in, but really for as long as I can remember I have hated hanging out with "the guys" because they're pigs.  They do nothing but look at tits & ass when I go out to lunch with them, and it's gross.  That is really how I talked about it, long before I woke up.  It is really hilarious sometimes (she says, grimly, thinking of all the time it isn't funny).

I'll take the strange cure, I want it more than I've ever wanted anything anyway.  And I feel that the alternative without modern medicine is suicide, and I'm not going to take that cure just because some backwards people may find me discomforting to be around.  

So, that's an abbreviated, just-of-the-presses, real live trans story.  I am starting transition within a few days at most.  Depending on . . . things, I may keep posting stories from my Janet Evanovich-got-drunk-with-Stephen-King life story, because I wish people to know what it is really like.  Why we struggle with our very souls.  And what beauty we see when people do finally accept us.  

Because, though I am an atheist, I have come to believe in angels.  I'll talk about them next, maybe.

Originally posted to Andrea Spande on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 04:19 PM PDT.

Also republished by TransAction.

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