Don’t worry its just the title of Billy Fury’s first album in 1960. I am a big rockabilly fan and the more obscure the record the better. Not that Mr. Fury is obscure; he is a legend in the UK but much less well known here in North America.
I have a real soft spot for early British rock and roll and he was the best. Two tunes for your consideration, Don’t Knock Upon My Door (a rocker) and A Thousand Stars, a sappy romantic ballad, yes I can freely admit to liking those now.
In an earlier incarnation I dyed my hair blond to look more like Billy when he starred as Stormy Tempest in the movie That’ll Be the Day. You know come to think of it I do look good as a blond.
Sounds like a breakfast cereal, "mini posts the cure for the common breakfast". Blame the corny cereal jokes on the episode of Mad Men I watched last night. Did you see it? Peggy stripped and I still want to be Joan (who wouldn’t?)!
Not Quite April
Presenting as April at home is one of the steps forward that my spouse and I talked about when we were discussing telling the children. For three evenings last week after the children went to bed I have changed into casual April wear, girl jeans, blouse and bra for the slight breast development that the past five months or so on hormones have happily provided.
At first I was quite uncomfortable in this not quite April stage, no makeup, no overtly feminine clothes or high heels. Basically what any woman would wear after work, dishes and bedtime stories. I do feel more comfortable in my own skin and more relaxed but this in between stage is a little hard to look at I the mirror. I want to see the woman I am inside but the guy keeps intruding…and he is not welcome!
My hair is the longest it has ever been and if I don’t comb it back as I do in guy mode I can let my bangs fall naturally over my forehead, hiding the typically male widows peak hair line. I am seriously considering finding a stylist who will have a go at giving me a female cut that could be easily be combed from female to male. If not….back to short back and sides.
My spouse had been great and remembers most of the tome to call me April and even use female pronouns. Next step is to introduce my female wardrobe to daylight hours and the children.
Depression and Frustration
I didn’t get out this weekend and the inability to be fully April, even for a short time weighted heavily on my mind. I am better than before, a few months ago I would be super depressed. Therapy has helped deal with the depression and perhaps I can see a brief light at the end of the tunnel where I will be April all the time.
Prison of Masculinity
Part of the reason I could not get out was the male part of my life had too many demands. The Lincoln Mark IV is still on the disabled list. I pulled the fuel pump and have started to rebuild the carb as both the garage I are in agreement that the problem is fuel delivery related. I didn’t get a chance to finish the job as the shop gave me the wrong fuel pump and filter! Covered in gasoline and grease and feeling anything but feminine I needed a 45 minute shower to get all the crud off me.
No replacement could be sourced Sunday so I finally had to tackle the floor repair on my Oldsmobile Toronado. I had stripped the interior and removed all the wet sound deadening material due to a sunroof leak. Satisfied that I found and fixed the leak (oh god I hope so!) I have to strip off the surface rust on the floor, fix a small hole and repaint before the interior can go back in. I got most of the sanding and painting done last night and reinstalled the power driver’s seat….heavy. The plan is to put a top coat on the floor tonight and drive her to work Tuesday. We had a hot weekend and I was drenched in sweat and covered in metal and rust fragments by the time I was done for the evening. Time for the second long shower of the day.
Sorry, getting carried away with all the car stuff, the point is that I was rather down about having to do all these car repairs, like a guy. I love the cars but don’t really enjoy the getting dirty part anymore. The cars were feeling like a self made prison and I strongly resented the time I was spending on them. The defensive wall I had built out of cars to keep the pink fog out was now a prison forcing me to still be a man.
A rationalization of the fleet is coming. I wish I could keep the most expensive ones but they may well go to finance surgeries. Peace and Hope
I don’t know if I consciously applied any of the techniques I have learned for fighting depression. But a long shower, shaved legs and then slipping into a soft cotton nightie and a fuzzy robe really helped. I curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea and watched the latest episode of Mad Men. Simple pleasures but everything seemed a better, I felt peaceful, I felt like me and some hope returned.
Ok I won’t bore you with car stuff…too much….up till 2:00AM no doubt trying my neighbors’ patience.
After determining I have some sort of vacuum leak/manifold air leak, I finally had to admit defeat and resolved to call the auto club in the morning and have her flat bedded to my mechanic. It was either dust off the 59 Cadillac or borrow my mother's mini van. So feeling very down market today.
My spouse came out around mid night and told me to call it quits. I was quite down looking out at a driveway filled with a sea of Detroit iron all needing some sort of repair, costing much in dollars or time. She made a good point; my heart wasn’t really in it anymore. I hung my head in sad agreement. You know she reminded me that you used to spend three or d four hours a night out here, I would never see you. You haven’t done that in a long time….since coming out.
As you might guess I love cars and still love cars but the obsessive need to fix and restore for hours on end has fallen by the wayside. I much prefer to drive them and a quick wax now and then. I can freely admit that I used my ever growing fleet to keep me busy and my mind off the dysphoria.
A had a intense need to start another project every year or two even if the previous one was still ongoing as it kept the male me sane. Replacing one madness with another. I am sure many of you have experienced the same thing whether that girl fog dispelling obsession was exercise, work or extreme bird watching.
Cars were the biggest culprit but I was also becoming quite obsessive about politics and in the past record collecting.
As a couple, the cars were the greatest source of tension in our marriage, in some ways being Trans does not even come close. I was totally impervious to her arguments, reacting angrily to any suggestion that I sell some of them or spend less time working on them. It makes more sense now, cutting back on car time and spending risked weakening my male defenses and that was unthinkable.
I admit that a lot of my self image is still tied up with what I drive but now that I am finally being true to myself and I no longer need the constant male reinforcement an exhausting obsession can hopefully go back to being an enjoyable hobby.
From the above ad:
"We invite you to visit your dealer soon- with the man of the house- and spend an hour in the passenger seat of a 1959 Cadillac"
My spouse says I should really post daily, well it has all been quite serious so far. Prepare for some rather more mundane updates:
Dentist appointment this morning to finally do away with the retainer. Dentist is late then the wire that is supposed to go behind my teeth does not fit. Have to go back next month. So running late boss calls don't make it to work until past 10:00.
My 1972 Lincoln Continental Mark IV (say in a posh voice) decides now would be a good time to start misfiring and hesitating at low RPM. Pulled over checked for loose or aged vacuum lines etc... nothing visible to the naked eye. Could be a fouled plug as choke stuck on way to dentist but a fast run to work didn't cure the problem so could be plugs, wires, points, distributor cap, rotor or coil in IMHO. ARRRGH have laser session tonight and have to run out at lunch to do errands.
My girly activity tonight, pull and inspect all plugs in the 460, regap and install. I hate when I don't know exactly what the problem is. Anyone have a pair of pink coveralls?
Good thing the pink Eldorado is getting her exhaust leak repaired today, might need another car, sometime only nine cars will do.
It is times like these I question my sanity when it comes to old cars, I mean my daily driver is pushing 40 years old!!! Sometimes a source of pride and sometimes great worry.
Friday, threw needless distractions at me like a long day at work and a few fires to put out. Then the left rear drum stuck on my Lincoln, think it was an over adjusted shoe, you see I just had the axle seal replaced...wait wrong blog.
Finally after dinner and doing the dishes it was time to tell my eleven year old daughter. She is very sensitive, intelligent and very much the full fledged teenager already. I had written down what I wanted to say and did my best not to refer to my notes. I walked slowly to her room as it my feet were made of lead.
I told her I had something important to discuss but relax she wasn’t in trouble. I began by asking her if she knew what the term gender referred to. She did and from there I talked about how in the vast majority of people their physical gender matches who they in their head and heart. However, in some people there is a mismatch between who they are physically and who they are in the head.
At this point I could tell she was getting very upset, asking what was wrong she said that was that what she was?....oh no already making a mess of things, “No honey I am not talking about you, it is me who is one of those people”. I explained that some scientists believe that being transgendered is due to the development of the brain in the womb. I told her transgendered men and womwn struggle every day and that their gender dysphoria makes them very sad.
But we are lucky today there are medicines and surgery that allow people like me to make our bodies match our soul. This is what I would be doing, in fact I had already started. Not tomorrow but in the near future I would look different, like a woman, however I will always be your dad that I love you more than anything, that I am so proud that you are my daughter.
She started to cry, no sob, I felt my heart break into a million pieces. I wanted to run away to call her mother to comfort her but I could take the easy way out. We continued to talk, she was most upset by the thought of change and that I would look different and therefore be a different person. I assured her that inside I would always be her dad, that I still liked the same things but becoming who I always wanted to be would make me a better person and better parent. I would not be sad and angry all the time.
It sounds bad but she actually took things very well, by the end of our talk we were joking and hugging. I am so impressed by her understanding given my flawed description. Part of her sadness was imaging how difficult it was for me growing up as a boy when I knew I was really a girl, that she wanted me to finally be happy. I cannot begin the express my admiration at the depth of her understanding and empathy. I find that there are few adults who can even imagine the feeling of a Trans person, they are more concerned with how it will affect them etc.
Despite the overall positive reception I was thrown by her tears and when I went to update my SO I must have looked like I had blown it, I kind of felt that way. Pandemonium reigned upstairs as the youngest two were just finishing a bath and the youngest had managed to bloody the others nose with her elbow. My SO went to talk with the eleven year old while I got the other two to bed.
Comparing notes later we argued, she was mad I had not been prepared for the reaction I got, guilty as charged. I had thought so much about what I was going to say I didn’t take into consideration all the possible outcomes. In fact I was avoiding thinking about reactions as I didn't want to imagine the best ones and therefore be disappointed. I was angry at myself and angry at my SO for what I felt was not enough support from her on this most important day. We kept talking around each other and before I knew it the dark tentacles of depression began to steal around my heart. That old familiar feeling of not wanting to do anything enveloped me and I lay on the couch feeling sorry for myself and letting the dark thoughts flood over me. Finally my SO woke me from fitful semi consciousness at 5:00 AM and I crawled into bed.
The next morning we talked some more, she told me that our eldest actually took things very well and she was sorry she was angry, that it is hard for her too. I apologized too, time for a new page and clean start on Saturday morning.
We made pancakes together from scratch. After breakfast t I told the younger daughters, ages seven and almost four. Needless to say it went a lot easier. I doubt the four year old really understands and had seemed to have forgotten our little chat the next day. The seven year old did comprehend the potential changes and had a couple of questions, then asked if she could look at all my clothes, see my painted toe nails oh and could we go shopping. She is my little fashionista!
I want to continue to stress to the children that my transition is a joyful process for me and that we can all move forward in love.
To reinforce we are still a family we decided to take a trip to near by Niagara Falls and do all sorts of cheesy tourist things, haunted houses, mini golf and rides. We visited Ripley’s Believe It or Not (actually quite fun) played glow in the dark golf, walked down Clifton Hill to the falls, took lots of photos with all the other tourists from Japan, Germany and around the world. Later we had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. It was pouring with rain when we left the restaurant and we made a dash back to the Chrysler Town & Country mini van. We all looked like drowned rats. Traffic was still heavy even after 10:00PM. The girls watch the first Harry Potter movie on the drive back, a family favorite. Everyone had a great time and we still have tickets for a few other attractions that we will use later. We plan to go back in September before the end of the season.
The eleven year old confessed to her mother that she was feeling a little depressed the next day. I did my best to spend the day with her; we went grocery shopping (how exciting I hear you say) picked up the latest Harry Potter movie on DVD for a movie night.
One of my SO’s biggest complaints is that I would avoid getting up the middle of the night when one of the children called as I was wearing a nightie and didn’t want them to see. No more excuses as they have seen me that way now!
I did get a chance to go out for coffee with a girl friend last night. I did not leave home dressed as it was still daylight (gosh I sound like Vampira or something) but I did tell the children where I was going and made sure I painted my nails before I left…hate doing them at the last minute all the time.
The plan is to gradually introduce April into every day family life, jeans and a top around the house slow working up to them seeing me present fully as April. Now Halloween is coming up so who knows, a witch perhaps or maybe Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter fans will know of whom I speak).
So how did it go? Both good and bad but overall much better than I could have possibly hoped for. I am under no illusions that all is said and done. Difficulties can still arise; the oldest obviously doesn’t want the other children at her school finding out. Girls can be so cruel at that age.
Another giant step forward, really does anyone else’s opinion matter after ones immediate family?
I am not quite sure where it came from. All of a sudden fear has fallen away and I am ready to tell the world that I am Trans that I want to be a woman. A year ago and even a month or two ago I would only admit that to myself. Saying that out loud to another person would have been unimaginable. Other girls talk about ones bell ringing, this is similar, like a switch has been thrown and I am now ready to take that next big step.
Don't get me wrong I am still a nervous wreck when I go out as April to somewhere new. My friends and I often frequent a local coffee shop. The staff know us and I feel totally comfortable meeting their for a little girl talk. Put me in a mall for the first time and I will be a basket case for the first forty five minutes or so. Then I can shop till I drop.
The confidence is that I am becoming April more and more even when I do not clearly present as female. I feel her presence even when I am at work in guy mode. And I welcome her "hostile" takeover. My therapist described her as ruthless but in a good way. Perhaps she is finally tired of hiding. I wrote to one friend saying that once I have told my children, almost everyone I care about will know and to paraphrase Nelson, the rest can be damned.
More importantly I am no longer filled with an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame. Those terrible twin emotions that drive Trans people to despair and their darkest thoughts. It is a confidence that I finally believe that I can do it, that I can successfully transition. I have hope again. I can now imagine the unimaginable...telling people and transition itself has become "maginable" . My SO talked about telling her parents, her sister and brother, about neighbors finding out and I found that I could take it that I wanted them to know, that I was excited and happy to let them know who I am. It is a step closer to becoming who I want to be.
Therapy has allowed me to better accept myself and now I can share April with those I love and eventually the world. Becoming April is not a bad thing it is not shameful or a cause for guilt it is a JOYOUS thing, it is a transformation full of LOVE and HOPE.
It is this weekend we plan to tell the children. I am scared; I do not want to hurt them. I have though a lot about what I will say and how to say it but most importantly I need to let them feel that joy and the love and hope that is in my heart. I will be a better person and a better parent.
Ok, I hope this didn't come across as too Pollyannaish, I have no misconceptions about the difficulties on the road ahead, but I have tank full of hope and a pretty good idea where I am going. ...now where is that on ramp?
An indulgence, spare me a thought this weekend and if inclined say a prayer for my family.
This first post does not represent the start of my journey, that has been on going for about two years when I first came out to my SO. I came out as a cross dresser after experiencing a terrible bout of depression and thoughts of suicide.
When I told her she asked me, “do you want to be a woman”, No I emphatically replied, I am not one of those people. After the words left my mouth I knew I had lied, I had no intention of deceiving her but I still could not admit what I truly desired to even myself.
Within less than six months I knew I wanted to transition. I had started going out dressed with supportive friends. I hated to change back to my male self. I would stay out late as I dared I would wear nightgowns every time I could. Appointments were made to see a gender clinic and plans to attend SCC in Atlanta were made. All the male underwear disappeared from my draw. Female clothes started to take over my side of the closet. After a while and despite my weak denials to the contrary she stated, “if you didn't have to go to work you would be April all the time!” Yes I admitted. Finally the truth was out and I could admit it to her and myself, I wanted to become a woman, the woman I ALWAYS wanted to be, the woman I should have been from the beginning.
I will transition.
It has taken a long time but I was able to find a supportive doctor and am now on hormones. I am seeing a therapist to help with depression and all the emotions surrounding transition.
My mother knows, my brother knows, one of my wife’s best friends is in on the secret. But nothing has really changed yet. I am still a middle aged man for all intents and purposes. I look a little thinner, my hair is a little longer and I won't wear tight t-shirts anymore but I still work at the same company, still enjoy my male hobbies. To the outside world we are a model nuclear family with slightly over the 2.5 children. But the man I was is disappearing; he continues to fight back but to no avail. I am in No Man’s Land.
The relationship with my spouse has changed, we are still together but more like girlfriend/co-parents/an amicably divorced pair still living together? I am eternally grateful to her as she has been supportive despite her personal world being turned upside down. I don’t know if I would be so forgiving or understanding if the shoe was on the other foot. She sees me being Trans as not a selfish life style choice but the I was from birth, something I cannot help. She truly does want me to be happy.
At some point in the transition process separation will be inevitable. As much as I would be more than happy to remain together she would rather have a man and a husband than a best friend. She has not tried to 'fix" me so I cannot possibly try and convince her a Sapphic relationship would be best for us. Still it takes some time to get used to the idea that one day we will not be a couple, we have only been together forever and have never been with anyone else. When that day comes it will be a sad one.
It is not all doom and gloom she still manages to tease me about both of us looking for the same kind of man in her next and my first husband. That I had better keep practicing my cooking so that I will make a good wife. Or perhaps you and “so and so” would make a good couple.
No Man's Land is also meant to symbolize a kind of empty space between the two genders, things could go either way with only a slight push and nothing is written in stone. The next big step is coming up telling the children and in turn my wife’s parents and immediate family. From there, there will be no turning back.
I am ready to leave No Man's Land and start on the road to womanhood with my foot to the floor...lets hope the road is actually a freeway.
PS. Like the header illustration, it is from the 1960 Cadillac brochure. I love her expression.