Posts tagged happiness
So its official, then. According to my favourite librarian, in another of those wide-ranging saturday afternoon sorts of conversation, the view from the library is that i am altogether happier, more confident since i started to transition.
Quelle surprise! Though i guess now that particular fact can be catalogued and referenced in the Lincolnshire archive.
OK. Regular readers may not be quite so surprised. I think the sheer joy of these last years must ooze out of almost every post. But there is a practical side to it too: one that should act as rebuke to any and everyone who sees transition as only about the individual concerned or, in extremis, as a means to divert that individual from suicide or depression.
I wasn’t posting much about ten days ago. Reason? I was busy. Very. First up, i was working on a project that, currently unpaid, nonetheless means i am inputting to policy at the highest levels in government. Yay! And while there is a trans connection, increasingly i’m digging into past experience in IT security and talking about issues that apply to all women.
(Yep: its that name change thing – but beyond that, and the fact that government is actually taking it seriously, i’m saying nuffink).
Then, the next coupe of days, i was chatting to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) – an organistion that I’ve grown increasingly fond of. They – for those not instantly aware of them – carry out the awful task of monitoring the internet for child abuse material, creating block lists, and forwarding information to police forces, both in the UK and abroad.
Another very interesting conversation – and again, something i’m staying mum about until it becomes something (or nothing).
The point? Well, both of these are things i really want to do: both are well outside the trans comfort envelope (and that’s good, because the last thing i want is to become identified and, eventually, pigeion-holed solely by my gender identity).
And what united both these episodes is how free, how natural it felt to be working at this level, in this way.
Which may seem strange to those who reckon i’d had a “successful” career before transition. But not from where i was sat. No. I always felt awkward. A fraud. Someone outwardly calm, but behind the facade, fiercely paddling just to keep up.
I may have known HOW to do a job – and how to do it rather well. But everything around my interactions with work, work colleagues and the like, was utterly awkward, insecure.
Same with blokes (on which i know some have commented). I always found men a mystery: they spoke a foreign language as far as i was concerned and, for a while in early transition i went so far as to eschew male company altogether.
And now? On the work front, the last couple of weeks have been a dream. Me. Jane. Working AS me, Jane. There was no need to think through who or what i was or how to connect. I was – as the librarians had it – happy, confident and i am pretty sure that shone through.
Blokes too: I still very much doubt anything intimate will ever happen there, no matter how curious i am. But i seem to have found a new lease of life in my relations with gusy. They aren’t so scary. I can deal with them.
Small stuff? No. It means, at this late stage in my life, that i am suddenly, unexpectedly, happily transitioning from social inadequate to someone who fits…who finds it so much easier to make a contribution.
And that, for all the sceptics, has to be a mega benefit that is rarely mentioned in the literature. Transitioning doesn’t just save lives. It makes lives easier to live, both for the individual concerned and the rest of society.
Of course i was going to wait. NOT!
Hospital advice is back on hormones after two to three weeks. We’ve reached the two week mark…blood pressure, pulse and everything else seems back to normal (gutted, in hospital, to find my bp shooting up to 125/80…tis usually a much reasonabler 106/60: though i did scare them one night by dropping to 80-something over 50…don’t they know i have lizard genes?).
Anyway. Hormones are back. My understanding is the main reason for being off them is if there is a sudden need to whick me back in for surgery and as far as i can see, the only reason that might happen is if, when they remove my catheter tomorrow i go into “retention”. eeek!
And being back makes me happy. I wonder why. Obviously no impact yet: did poke my boobs optimistically in the hope that the growing pains would restart straight away, but suspect i have a little longer to wait for that.
All the same, whilst i’m not exactly a drug connoisseur (my lifetime experience has been remarkably limited) i do find the effect of oestrogen quite lovely. Was going to say that it makes me happy, but that’s too active a feeling. My brother, who is a GP, observed that it tendes to make his patients (male and female alike) feel “contented” – and he’s right. Very laid back, very at one with the world.
Which raises, in my mind, the question of how come some people haven’t gone for oestrogen as a drug of choice. Like, over time, it creates a lovely warm feeling about the world – and definitely has far fewer side effects than stuff like heroin.
Or maybe people DO use oestrogen that way and just don’t let on.
And how much of the effect is psychomatic? (some, i’d hazard, but only some).
Enough. The oestrogen is beginning to flow once more round my system. Prepare yourselves, readers, for highs, lows, tantrums, crying jags and total happinesses. Which is pretty much as it should be.
I do hope no-one who has been reading this blog over the last week or so has been getting the wrong impression, viz. that its all horrid and pain and no gain and therefore, just maybe, very soon the dread regrets will be setting in.
Nothing could be further from the truth, though its been a harder road initially than i expected, and some slight worry that i haven’t had the “magic moment” of denouement that others describe so enthusiastically.
So first, why blog the ick stuff?
- because i do. I would rather cover the whole experience than give you selected highlights;
- because i’m a wuss. If i’m in pain, i want others to know, possibly in the forlorn hope that someone will decide to treat me with palliative mint chocolate;
- because others don’t. i have no intention to scare the horses, but i think that the post-op stuff is rather less well covered than the pre-op and the dramatic moments. This is not an easy period, but it should put no-one off: just that you need to be better prepared than, maybe, i was.
So. How’s it been?
First few days were a mess. Being on one’s back with one’s genitals tightly padded is both painful and little change from before. No sense at all of change and loads of teeth gritting to endure.
On sunday, the day when other trans women have talked of personal epiphany, i was disappointed to feel little more. The bandages came off to reveal a Frankenstein horror between my legs. I was still very numb, scared to touch myself, woozy….
Baasically, it didn’t work for me. Didn’t feel like a mistake. Just felt like a massive anti-climax.
Add the next few days of bowel and bladder problems. The rapidly enforced dilation regime. Being back on the dreaded catherter. The pain, the pain, the pain….
You might expect me to have started to question my decision. Except, the opposite seems to be happening.
I just pushed thru, as i do, with stoic determination. I’ve found a routine for dilation and douching and have the entire procedure now down to about 50 minutes (including post-dilatory bath).
And each day is getting better. Not just less pain. But a growing sense of joy. A smile that comes to my lips now when i think about my body.
Its that “small thing” sense of joyfulness i mentioned a few weeks back: the happiness i get when i brush my hair in the morning, or get dressed and feel good about myself.
This is so, so right it makes me cry. This, finally, is MY body.
There’s a moral in there somewhere: if this is right for you, the suffering is more than worth it. But each of us need to find our own way thru it.
No great, sudden realisations for me. Just a slow build that’s not finished yet.
If i sometimes go quiet now, don’t worry. That’ll just be me, seized by the moment and the ecstacy: overwhelmed by happiness.
Was it worth it?
Do you really need to ask?
i am waking. it is after. after the op. after the pain.
i know that: feel that with every fibre of me…
i squeeze my legs together, feeling…difference.
i feel myself flowing over with happiness.
OK. I’ve posted before about this sense of “joining the sisterhood”. i don’t want to overdo that, because of course, i’m still nowhere near knowing or understanding the life of a ciswoman (one born and raised as female).
Still, there are conversations that now feel open to me: gloriously, brilliantly open.
At the weekend, i took the boy out to a party. In between the sulks and removing him bodily from another small boy (who had had the temerity to ruin his game by shouting “blast off!” when it was HIS rocket and HIS game), i sat and chatted to one of the mums.
A bit about me and trans. That is, of course, par for the course now. But then we sidled off into the realms of make-up: threading, best way to remove hair, skin toners. Utterly, utterly pointless, trivial stuff.
And yet, i felt myself glowing inside. All those years of conversations with men that never quite gelled: likewise, all those conversations with women that never quite broke some barrier. Now, here i was, chatting about a subject i had never really chatted about before – and in a way i had never known.
As various friends have commented over the last few months: “you are such a GIRL”. Or slightly more sophisticated: “you are so femme”. Yes. I confess. I am – and so much of what has happened since coming out has been a coming home. The freedom at last to be me and not some artificial abstracted version of same.
So why the sadness? Because when i told my partner, she owned that she couldn’t ever remember having a conversation like the one i’d just had. And she has grown up female.
Of course, she adds: its not a sort of conversation she can see any point to. It wouldn’t interest her at all. Still, behind that denial, i detect a certain wistfulness. its like, i’ve just been granted admission to a club neither of us ever knew existed and maybe, just maybe, she’d have liked to have been asked if she wanted to join.
I fear she may take her revenge by wearing tweed and smoking a pipe.
The hardest thing about this blog, i can see, will be keeping it up to date with new and exciting content.
Today i brushed my teeth and re-shaped my eyebrows may be very satisfying from my point of view: but its hardly the stuff that i imagine my readers are particularly interested in seeing day in, day out.
Because change is still there, but it is getting slower and more subtle. My friends almost all know now: telling has become a chore rather than a moment of panic.
my local Tesco are pretty much used to me in a skirt. The staff have got over their initial shock – and even talk to me as though all is ordinary. Well, almost all the staff: there is just the one security guard who still gives me strange looks.
As for name: “jane” fits more and more easily. i like to hear it: like to be called by MY name now – and if there’s still a step to go in terms of working out whether to keep surname to go with it, or change altogether, well: that’s a debate still to be had.
Alright: one small new experience. Not the newness of skirts, but the familiarity of them. Today, walking upstairs, i caught myself moving as someone who is used to dressing this way. That is new, and maybe in a strange way its how i shall turn mundaneity into newness for a while.
First, there is the newness of things being new. Now, there is the newness of things being familiar and no longer new.
i feel very happy in myself: very very content.
if i have a wish for today, it is that others, too, can share my happiness.