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going forward in 2013....

By now going out as a woman for me is second nature. The nerves are gone and I am completely at ease in my own skin. It feels wonderful to be able to express myself in this way; a way that I never dreamed was going to be possible. For a gender outlaw like myself it represents having arrived at the epitome of balance and a level of congruence with my mental image of myself. How wonderful it feels to be here after the long struggle. Each time I feel I am at the summit things improve once again and I arrive at a new and more enlightened plateau of self discovery. After spending most of my life as the proverbial salmon fighting to get upstream I have finally stopped struggling and am learning to finally live in harmony with my disphoria. I could not buy that level of contentment with money or possesions.

Now that it is clear to me that I am not transexual I can relax and just be transgendered. I owe gratitude to AQV, Jack Molay, Marian. Sherry and others who have provided their input in …

end of the year thoughts...

Despite my occasional optimism, I am doubtful that I can successfully pair off with another person at this stage of my life; most especially due to the advanced state with my dual male/female existence, I sometimes feel it's no longer a realistic scenario to imagine that a woman exists that would find such a lifestyle palatable. I have also romanticised my previous life with my girlfriend and have forgotten how bad it could be at times. I don't regret meeting her or sending her flowers because at least it closes that chapter of my life in a more graceful way than the way things ended 5 months ago. Might there still be a chance for us? Possibly yes but there would need to be a meeting of the minds plus no cohabitation until my kids are older.

I am no longer willing to sacrifice joanna to fit into someone else's idea of what my gender presentation should be; even if the expectation of a traditional gender role is entirely normal for a biological woman. So if something must b…

happy holidays

To all who have followed, read and/or commented on this blog may you have a blessed Christmas and the very best for the coming year. May all of us find balance and peace in our lives and with that a state of contentment that carries us through the challenges of our lives.

the road to congruence....

It's important to be realistic about things. My GID is here to stay and how I manage the rest of my life without letting it define me entirely is going to be the key. As I have mentioned, going back to a state of shame and denial won't work any further but putting some control on my crossdressing is probably going to be beneficial as the behavior can be addictive. Dressing exclusively for it's own sake is not the answer. I need to find a middle ground where I am allowing the outlet to happen without obsessing and having it be a mandatory part of my day as it has mostly been of late.

To add fuel to the fire I get pangs of wanting to get my girlfriend back but that is likely rose coloured thinking that could lead to more incongruity in my life. She has a power over me borne out of a strong attraction but the mixture can sometimes be more Molotov cocktail than the perfect martini. My life could go back to being tumultuous once again.

No matter which way one looks at it, havi…

life of Pi

Saw life of Pi with my kids yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the film. Ang Lee has done a marvelous job at creating a magical and reverent work that celebrates spirituality and religion while at the same time telling a gripping story of respect between man and his fellow creatures. All three of US were riveted by the film and I highly recommend it.

On another note, my ex gf came back to me and apologized for telling me to leave her alone. I don't really know where we stand now but I will let the course of time take care of that. Whatever is meant to be will be.

and changing gears yet again, my sister who has always tried to talk me out of crossdressing has finally begun to read and understand about GID and autogynephelia. I pointed her to a few places including Jack molay's latest posting on crossdreamers where he talks about whether there is a cure for this enigmatic condition. It is finally starting to sink in with her that this is not something one chooses but lives with a…

nothing to lose at this point..

I am going for therapy but not for gender confusion. Instead it will be to deal with my anger. One of the footnotes to my gender therapy four years ago was that I might have repressed anger issues possibly stemming from my childhood. Keeping things bottled up all those years certainly did'nt help and when my ex gf accused me of being a verbal abuser it was closer to confirming that there might be something there.

Upon meeting her again on sunday I promised to enter a treatment for verbal abuse as a prerequisite to any possible re opening of our relationship. Now with that possibility closed I still plan to follow up simply for my own benefit.

I have never thought of myself as an angry person but I need to investigate whether it merits investigation.

another lesson learned...

Well I should have known better. In trying to contact her again and meeting her I ended up wounding myself yet again. She was a sight for sore eyes this past sunday. Beautiful as ever and me with my rose colored glasses firmly in place thinking mostly of the good times. It made it easier to forget the bad times when her beauty was there once again in front of me after a 5 month absence from view. I should have known better. After a pleasant couple of hours over coffee on the Sunday the whole thing ended this afternoon with her email telling me to "LEAVE HER ALONE".

One day I wilk learn. Hopefully before I leave this earth.

Sunday meeting with my ex....

I took the initiative to email my ex-girlfriend because I need either complete closure or to maybe open the door to a reconnect. That is if she'll have me back.

I have always been short tempered. During the time that I was questioning my gender plus dealing with raising my children and being in a relationship with a woman who never wanted and never had children, the challenges were many. My temper flared up on more than one occasion and although I was in love with her, in the end felt that her demands were coming into conflict with my parenting responsibilites as well as my desire to drive my feminine time onto a new plateau.

Now 5 months of alone time have affored me some perspective and I have been to the desert of my soul (so to speak). I am being cautious about things, but the way I feel today is better than I did when we broke up last June. I need to know whether reconciliation is possible and I don't want to permanently close off with her without knowing that there may…

depressed last night and today...

I am currently on a business trip for work and last night was a terrible night. I became distraught and depressed as I ended up on Facebook and saw pictures of my ex looking happy and beautiful in some photos. I slept maybe 3 hours and cried myself to sleep.

My mind is not working well these days at all. I thought all was going in the right direction but it's apparently going to take more time to get my head screwed on straight.

I realize that for the first time in my life I have no objective and no direction for myself. The only goal I have left is to try and raise my children the best way I can at a distance.

I know this will pass but today I don't feel much better.

Increasing calm

I've been feeling more relieved of late. There is an increasing sense of calm taking over which is welcome after the more turbulent months that have passed. I am also becoming more comfortable with my decision to forego therapy and just try and become increasingly comfortable with who I am; to just be happy with my transgender status. If this means living in between genders then so be it. Yes it hurts my chances for a relationship but we need to be true to who we are before we can be with someone else.

Maybe it's because we're approching the Christmas period I don't know. But I will enjoy this sensation while it lasts.

target error...

Target error - that concept has been in the back of my mind for a while now. The idea that I want to become the object of my desires makes perfect sense given my history. When I was very little I wanted to emulate my mother; wear her heels, earrings and lipstick. I wanted to BE my mother and when she would scold me and I second guessed her punishment she would sometimes say : "when you're a mother.....". I winced but was secretly titilated when she said it. I went to her closet when she was'nt there and practiced being a lady. The thought that I could become a woman, a mother was so exciting to me that when puberty struck that thrill was often times accompanied by sexual release. So in parallel with developping an interest in girls my own age, the specter of female emulation followed along like a shadow. I was not old enough to have sex with girls and ejaculate into them but I could emulate them and at the same time desire them.

There was no deliberate act of masturb…

Christmas party

Last night I went to my company's party. It was a well attended affair with probably close to 700 people making the trip to the Italian banquet hall where it was held. It was the first time I had attended one of these functions on my own and it felt a bit strange. I was glad I came however as the meal and the company at our table were both good reasons to have made the journey.

I found myself at various times looking at a few women, simultaneously wishing I were them and being drawn to them as potential love interest. Nothing new for a person like me but it was particularly strong last night without the focus that a date would have given me. As stated in my previous post, I need to get a point where I come to an acceptance that I will stay on my own and be totally at ease with that.

Last night made that task just a little bit harder.

the mystery of relationships

Relationships are a complete mystery to me. Granted I have not had many but I feel that I am neither adept at finding the type of person that is suited to me nor good at knowing when things have soured and I am just hurting myself and should move on. I am always guilty of wanting relationships but now want desperately to rid myself of that desire. I would be swimming upstream against the current anyway so why bother making the effort. It has been written that if you work on yourself good things will come your way and you will attract what you deserve.

I have not been one to wait mind you. I want to control things and have a history of being judgemental. Also, to my advantage and simultaneously to my detriment, I have been given the mind of a thinker. That combination coupled with an unusual penchant for women's clothing makes me an unlikely catch for women. So I will stop trying even whilst the desire remains; a desire borne by our nature as social animals to want to love and be…

how shopping has changed and more....

Its funny how things have changed. I used to buy women's clothes in male mode and then slowly migrated to buying them dressed as a woman as I gained confidence in my presentation. Now I am buying even my male clothing as a female and pretending to be my own wife while doing it.

Two nights ago, I bought a pair of shoes for my "husband" and had a great time doing it. I had not intended to go shoe shopping but the deal was just too good to pass up. So I took advantage of the situation and once again practiced my female communication skills. I will do that every so often just to validate my ability to pass and connect with another female. I have so far exceeded my expectations.

Last night I had my last IPL laser treatment on my lip area and chin. I will be virtually beardless and will require even less foundation than I currently use. I am very happy with the results from the previous treatment and looking forward to 3 weeks from now when the lasered hair finally drops away.

more lessons still to learn

I need to work on myself in another area - self forgiveness. I need to cut myself some slack and allow myself to make errors; errors which are less about mistakes than giving in to my natural character. I got so accustomed to refraining from being happy by holding myself back, that it has become a natural reflex to feel negative. My guilt over expressing my feminine side openly was so vehemently prohibited, that I could never allow more than a few days of yearly crossdressing to soothe my desires. Once satiated I needed to destroy all evidence in a frantic purge.

As much as those inhibitions are apparently gone, there remains some resident guilt. That is in fact the hardest thing to get rid of. But I persevere and will hope that 2013 removes another layer of old wallpaper in the room that is my mind.

Another issue is passing. Since I am used to generally passing well, I tend to get a little freaked out when I don't. I am getting better at this but still have a ways to go. I am als…

Sunday outing

Well my son’s surgery went well on Friday and I am so pleased! He had a condition known as strabismus which is the medical term for crossed eyes (actually only one of them was misaligned). So now he will be away from school for a few days while he recuperates from a procedure which took only 45 minutes and was performed by a top notch surgeon. It was all covered by the Canadian health system which Canadians so love to complain about but is in fact quite good overall. This is something I can attest to personally given the treatment I received when I had my stroke.

I spent my Sunday off yesterday doing some Christmas shopping and I ended up, quite by happenstance, meeting a nice lady called Leila while I was having a coffee. She is an immigrant from Lebanon who’s been in Canada for 21 years. We had a nice discussion and she ended up giving me her card as she and her husband run a business from their home selling a special type of imported cooking oil. She told me we should meet again an…

woman anyways....

I am at a point where, if there is to be no transition, what is left is to come to terms with my female nature. In my head I feel like a woman and if tomorrow you asked me to adapt to living as a female, I would do so in a heartbeat. Not many males on this planet would want that I reckon. In fact the vast majority would be devastated were it to happen to them.

The way I feel in my head is what counts for me at this point and the change of plumbing is not a prerequisite. So, as I have stated in a previous post, I guess I will remain a gender variant outlaw. I am already living as Joanna successfully so why rock the boat.

The other thing I have decided is to live completely honestly when it comes to the potential for one day meeting a soulmate. Should that ever happen, that person would need to accept the entire me. I would not throw Joanna away to try and fit someone's image of what a male should be. I am after all hardly conventional in that sense.

Last night I saw the film "…

regrets

Walt Heyer is a former male to female transexual and hosts a site called sexchangeregret.com. He responded to my previous post in support of my recent decision not to undergo gender therapy. Later I proceeded to his website and read of how his conversion to a spiritual life was pivotal for him in his decision to return to living as a male.

While I have no issue whatsoever with Walt's decision, I question whether the spiritual connection can be credited with curing his disphoria. As a lifelong spiritual person, I have always believed there is a God and practiced my faith. I also have instilled the same values in my children. However nowhere during that process has my disphoria disappeared. So while I don't feel I am transexual, there is somewhere within me a strong connection to the female. That connection has been there from my earliest memory and all attempts at eradication have proven to be futile. This includes many hours of prayer hoping that it just goes away.

What I have…

telecon with Helene...

Helene called me back today after receiving my message regarding my not pursuing the therapy. She wanted to understand my reasoning which I was only too happy to explain. After I had gone through the same series of points I outlined in my previous post, she understood and agreed with my logic. Interestingly near the end of our discussion, she described me as being gender variant which is a description I use in my blog title but never really took overly to heart. Perhaps it’s a good fit because I am not so disphoric that I need modify my body but just female enough for that side to require a substantial outlet. However, I don’t need to define myself to such a degree in order to be satisfied.

She reminded me about the lawyer Micheline Montreuil who lives as a woman but has never undergone surgery or even taken hormones. I suppose that would be more of a role model for a person like myself.

Change of strategy

I have been reflecting about the prospect of entering therapy and last night I made a conscious decision to forego it. It was based on the following thinking:

• I don’t need to have SRS or even take hormones
• I can live as a female without doing either.
• I want to continue to provide a male role model for my son.
• My disphoria is not debilitating enough to propel me to change anything.

Plus what would the therapy do for me at this point? Probably not that much with the additional challenge of sitting in group sessions with aspiring transitioners who might tempt me to do something I would later regret.

The rethinking was also prompted by a meeting I had a couple of nights ago with Ana Alva, who is a transsexual woman barely over 30 years of age. She works at a trans drop in center run by the government and helps others in their struggles. She actually had some reservations about the program run by the hospital and during our conversation I began to realize she might be right. Leavin…

first therapy session

Yesterday's meeting with Helene (my new therapist) went well. I find her kind and inviting. She was also, not unexpectedly, well versed in the latest literature on the subject of AGP, GID et al. and is more up to speed on the latest thinking. She actually told me that Ray Blanchard has progressed in his ideas since his early 90's writings - something which surprised me. She also (quite rightly) told me she was not there to decide anything or convince me of anything and that I should not trust her until she has earned that trust. She was also shocked that I had progressed to where I was with little to no help. Helene thought I had been on hormones for years but I quickly dispelled that while taking it as a distinct compliment.

So I am there for group and individual therapy and that's all; I know I need to clear up my thoughts and to do that I need help so that's good.

By now I feel that my crossdressing is a symptom of a desire to be feminine and, as jingles commented r…

the way forward....

Today I meet the gender therapist and, depending on how the discussion proceeds, I may embark on a 2 year journey to find gender congruence. There is a cost for this because while Quebec pays for surgery, the treatments preceeding SRS are not covered by the health system.

However, my aim is to come to a point where the disphoria is more manageable. That could imply living full time with limited hormone usage and no need not proceed any further. I am hoping this is a worst case scenario so that I can continue to play a male role in the life of my son who incidentally is having strabismus surgery this coming Friday to correct a slight misalignment of his eyes.
He is my primary concern in my gender struggles. He is sensitive and has already displayed discomfort at the idea of my crossdressing. I had not intended to divulge anything at this stage in his life, but my well meaning ex-gf urged me into candor in front of both my children. In some ways I dont regret their exposure to this issu…

something that needs addressing

Let's be clear. I have never been a fetish transvestite. The reason I think this is because the innocent crossdressing of my early youth was so completely devoid of any sexual overtones. It was only as I got older and it came unannounced that I became horrified and disgusted. There begins the cycle of embracing and purging that so many of us are familiar with. Other people just like me have transitioned or at least lived full time: Virginia Prince. Anne Lawrence, Susannah Valenti and others who may not have fit the mold of the classic TS model.

Maybe I should just be satisfied with this scenario and deal with it as I must since I think given my age and my life situation, it would be best to leave my body alone.

What is left now is to get just the right amount of professional help to aid me in my own thought process towards a measure of mental peace around this issue. To be happy somewhere between the closeted crossdresser and the transexual.

I am indebted to the treatment I under…

the tipping point

What is the tipping point? What is the trigger that tells the trans person: that's it i'm a woman and it's time to do something about it. We have all known people who lean heavily towards the opposite gender both in mannerism and affinity of thought and yet they have neither the forethought nor the inclination to tamper with their bodies. Must there not be something in the trans brain that is unique; something in the wiring? Because in the end no human being is exclusively male or female but a mixture of both. Therefore it is possible there is some faulty wiring in the brains of people like myself. Whatever it is, it does not let us rest until we've dealt with it. We crossdream, crossdress and we have SRS in an attempt to deal with this disconnect.

Has nature made a mistake? After all we are born either genetically male or female (i am discounting intersex). I was also born with a combination brain of male and female so why should not that be good enough?

I have pro…

confiding in my mother

I had a conversation with my mother today over the phone. I had called her last night and left a message so she was calling me back. We spoke for a few minutes about my kids and my ex-wife and then the focus turned to me and how I was doing. I confided that i've been struggling and that I needed to see my doctor about my disphoria.

She really does get it now my mother. After the initial shock of 4 years ago wore off, she started to see that this is a deep and complicated issue. She's also seen enough Dr. Phil shows et al. to get a sense of how families struggle with this unwelcome gift. How sometimes the stories turn sour and in others everything works. Mike Penner became Christine Daniels only to revert back and then commit suicide. Lots of ugly stories like that one. Sad also because they could be prevented with the right amount of social education and putting the right systems in place to allow more seamless transitions in the workplace.

So as we talked and I mentioned the …

got disphoria??

I read the following on a gender disphoria board discussion and it freaked me out ever so slightly:

"I figured out my GID around 44. Before then, I just knew that I was "different" in some way, I did'nt fit in with a lot of people, and I was'nt like most men. After 44, I was able to finally put a label on it - GID. Since then, I have experienced the ebb and flow of GID. Some days it's not even on the radar, some days it's almost overwhelning. I identify as androgyne, but I've also allowed for the possibilty that my GID may come to a point where I have to do something about it. Even though I've dipped my toe in the estrogen pool, for now I can quench my GID with crossdressing"

Except for the estrogen reference, this is me exactly! even right down to the age. I am increasingly certain now that I do suffer from GID and from everything I have read it's only going to get worse with age. I need to address it post haste. My doctor has already …

hell bent on self destruction....

Perhaps some of my posts talk about my female persona in a way that might give the impression that I am putting on an act when I'm being Joanna. In fact quite the opposite is true in that I am being myself in the purest sense by lifting the mask that I've learned to wear over my lifetime. I become less inhibited and open up to people more and feel a true sense of freedom. I'm not being an actor in a play but simply letting my inner femininity shine through. It's been very liberating to do that.

On the other hand there's something not right. I can't put my finger on it yet but this is all too compulsive. So I'm either a woman in denial or a compulsive crossdresser. Either one of those choices suck because I want to be neither. I want not to need to crossdress. But I've tried everything and living alone and giving myself permission to dress has created a monster. Women don't need to crossdress, they just get dressed.

And meanwhile I'm stuck in a T…

my public identity as Joanna

Irrespective of my internal turmoil, I am relishing the public persona that is Joanna. The merchants and friends who only know me as a woman are helping me to bring validity to my female side. This morning as I arrived at the cathedral for the 8 am mass I was greeted by a lady who stands outside asking for some help. She has seen me elsewhere but now knows and expects that I will be there on certain Sundays. She sees me coming and calls out my name. We have a little chat and I give her some change from my purse. She's just one of the people who don't know there's a male underneath the clothes and makeup.

Then after the service I go to a little Starbucks closely where the barista asks me about my kids and my husband. She's very pleasant and I appreciate the banter realizing how different it is between two women.

I don't ever want to take that for granted. Today I prayed that I will find some peace and balance, for the my father whose been gone for many years and f…

beyond dressing up

There was a time when my dressing up was just about that; ie. going through the exercise of putting together a presentation so that I could go about my business undetected and unread. But with the purge that followed there was no afterword, no attempt to figure out where it was all stemming from. What's been revealing about this period is that in allowing myself to dress I can move past the mechanics of the clothes and makeup and into the feelings that impel me to present as a female. It is a movement away from the surface and into deeper exploration.

After all, our psyche has a lot to say to us if we listen. The problem lies in moving past the static of our upbringing, prejudices and programming and examine the pure thought underneath. Not an easy task because a lot of elements are virtually hardwired at this point. Like a painter removing old layers of paint we can begin to lift off layer by layer all of this baggage.

This has been for me the biggest challenge and the reason why…

the battle rages

There's a battle raging for control of my gender identity. I am increasingly feeling like a woman and may come to that conclusion. That need not change my plan of attack since for me it's more about what's between the ears than the plumbing between your legs. I can live my life honestly as a female without surgery. I no longer care about what a potential life partner might think as it is my life. As I have said, there will be no search so why worry about it? Best to be true to myself and come to a happy equilibrium.

There is one thing though that makes me curious. Might the blocking or elimination of testosterone in my body make me feel more like the person I was meant to be. It's not about breasts either, it's about feeling grounded and content and in congruency between mind and body.

dinner with the crossdresser and his wife

I am not in the habit of meeting a lot of trans people in person. My history with such encounters has been mixed but since this is someone I had corresponded with (albeit sparingly) over the last 6 years or so I decided to accept an invitation to dinner. I had met this couple once before accidentally in a dress shop last summer when I was still with my gf and we made loose plans to meet up at some point in the future. Last night was to be the culmination of a few weeks worth of planning.

I met them at their hotel and we walked over to our restaurant which was within walking distance - a very modern looking continental tapas bistro.

The conversation flowed and as we compared notes on our experiences and the childhood origins of our crossdressing, I began to realize just how different we are. If there is a spectrum to the transgender world then she is near the beginning whereas I seem to be somewhere between crossdresser and transsexual. She was more drag shows and clubs and I was June…

more work to do

I was on a crossdresser board this morning and read the following passage in response to a query about managing and controling crossdressing desires:

"the only way to control is to make it a conscious choice instead of letting it remain a compulsion. To do that you need to get in touch with yourself and your feelings and not be ashamed or afraid of them. Once that happens you control the reins of the process"

I think there's a lot of truth in that statement even if does not offer a perfect solution. I suspect that I may not really be as accepting of myself as I think I am. My worry about a mythical future partner being critical of who I am instead of embracing all of me - crossdressing included - is clouding my thought process. Until I can rid myself of all vestiges of my shame, I won't be truly free and able to become perfectly whole. I have come so far that I sometimes lull myself into thinking that I have arrived at my target when clearly I have'nt quite gott…

all about the tone

Readers of my blog will undoubtedly note that I am in a period of questioning and flux. Therefore the tone can be rather negative a lot of the time. I don't mean for this to be the case but I am hard pressed to find positives at times to the self acceptance that I'm trying to adhere to. Each step forward brings a new series of questions and trepidation about what to do next. It's like tiptoeiing through a minefield and hoping that you still have all your limbs on the other side. How far does one take this and what should be your limit.

Today I found myself staring at a woman in human resources. Her name is Therese and she's quite striking. But then a feeling of hopelessness went through me when I thought the better of what I was thinking. It was an exercise in futility knowing full well the uphill battle I would be facing were I to enter into anything resembling a relationship. So the desire must be stripped away completely and be quenched with something else. Because …

scratch that previous post...

Sometimes this situation has me thinking stupid. I'm messed up and tend to get ahead of myself. There will be no living full time as Joanna. What WILL happen is just the right amount of crossdressing which keeps me from jumping off a building. I've got an illness and I need to treat it as such. Fantasy scenarios happen when you don't have your head screwed on right. What I'd give to be normal and get rid of this infernal bullshit problem.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when I didn't accept myself and could hold my breath and not cave in. Thank God I've got something bigger than myself to worry about. Without my kids I'd really be in a pickle.

revealing year coming...??

I feel (rightly or wrongly) that the following year will be pivotal for me in putting everything in perspective. Already only 4 months on my own has taught me a lot about myself and how my trans nature fits into the grand scheme. Hormones and certainly surgery appear to be off the table, however my living full time as Joanna could (and that's a big could) have me working as Joanna. The advantage being that I can still be a dad to my kids but also be true to the woman I am.

I would have to be certain and do my homework way in advance but it could be feasible. After all people at work need not know how far I would go in the process but merely respect that I'm transgender. I would have a private consult with HR and gauge the company's receptiveness. I do work for a very professional firm that values my experience but I would take nothing for granted. I would need a very clear green signal that all would be fine.
Alternatively, I could approach a new firm with the express idea…

guilt as cancer

When I think about all the years I spent feeling bad about myself I get depressed. The simple fact of following my nature and dressing up as a woman became this huge deal. There's no doubt in my mind now that guilt is one of the most insidious killers of the spirit. The negative feelings that threaten to drown your sense of well being are like a shroud to your sense of well being and happiness. I am only now beginning to remove that veil of negativity.

What an incredible waste of energy.

don't search. just be happy...

I used to search for love and understanding. To my own detriment,I never really received what I needed because I never offered the entire truth to anyone. I am entirely to blame for this because I now know that my parents would have been receptive if not a little bewildered by a son who should have been born their daughter.

Years later I was not forthcoming with my wife either. Not her fault if she did not have all the information. The fact she divorced me over this is par for the course for many of us, but other issues were present that would have tipped the scale regardless.

My recent 3 year stint with my gf also proved to me just how complicated things can get even before one adds the trans issue to the mix.

So I sit here today with a better understanding of myself and of how the world works. Not only am I more sure of what I don't want but also painfully aware of what many genetic women don't want - it's safe to say most would not choose a gender confused male. To make…

sometimes it's heart wrenching

I sometimes go to a blog called calie's chronicles written by a MTF who though clearly transsexual has opted not to transition due to family and career concerns. It's often a tough read and I greatly admire Calie's resolve in her attempts to deal with the sometimes very severe disphoria she experiences. I was struck by a recent post of her's in which she decried the gang mentality of some members of the trans community. She outlined the following 4 axioms that some of these members adhere to:

1) there is no link between crossdressers and transsexuals
2) all crossdressers are perverts
3) if you don't transition early you're not a true transsexual
4) late transitioners are men without penises or testicles

These axioms are not espoused by calie (nor by yours truly) and it's facile to categorize all trans people into set categories for the sake of branding. I also greatly admire her altruism as it is clearly he'll for her not to have succumbed to the tempta…

of crossdreamers and crossdressers

We are cousins; we belong under the same transgender umbrella. Although if my understanding is correct most crossdressers crossdream while few people labelling themselves crossdreamers seem to crossdress. The common thread being that our masturbation centers around self visualization as women.

I cannot imagine myself not crossdressing because it is my outlet for the internal feelings I have. Without it I would be truly frustrated and lost. So I can scarcely imagine how crossdreamers who don't dress up manage their feelings of attachment to the feminine. This is not meant as a critical statement but just an observation. The mind searches to connect to something that it aspires to even if that desire is unattainable and fleeting.

For me this has been the clothing, the shoes and the makeup. This has been my escape valve and giving it up at this point (much as I might want) appears to be wishful thinking. I have found it more therapeutic to accept and practice it in order to make life…

my aunt's visit

My mother's sister is visiting from Europe. I had not seen her for well over a decade and having her here for 15 days has been great. She reminds me of a calmer version of my mother. Back when I came out to my family I sent her an email explaining things and she was very matter of factly about it all. It did not faze her in the least. I was always very appreciative of that and it made me admire her all the more.

So when she, my mother and I were having coffee today, the topic of being transgender came up. I was able to discuss things openly and honestly in a way I never imagined I'd ever be able to do. In my discourse with my aunt, my mother was also able to learn new things about my being trans and get a new perspective by watching me explain the details of my childhood to another person. My mother understands more than ever that it was a difficult thing to keep hidden but that I also held no blame for my parents as I myself chose to keep silent for fear of their judgement. A…

learning process

Going from the occasional crossdresser I used to be to 'woman in training'(?) has been very illuminating and interacting with other women by being taken into their social circle has been extremely helpful; not only because I am feeling welcomed but also because I am being offered an up close glimpse into the relationships that women form with each other. Even something as simple as an interaction at a store cash is radically different between 3 women than between the same number of males. That privilege has been very affirming and also allowed me to see just how comfortable I am as Joanna.

My last jaunt through a mall I regularly visit had me exchanging dialogue with other women merchants in a way I had never experienced as a male; and I must admit that I like it and value the lessons it's teaching me about myself and others. That coming out of my shell as Joanna has given me a boost of confidence which is spilling over into all facets of my life. Even in my male mode at …

of androgyny and courage....

Yesterday I followed a link that Stana over at femulate put on her latest posting. It led to a radio interview with an androgynous model named Van Burnham who tried to transition back in 2009. Although she appears much more female than male (likely the combination of her genetics and any hormones she may have taken) she talks about belonging to neither gender and is clearly comfortable existing in a netherworld between both. She passes for a woman in a heartbeat and (in my humble opinion) would have trouble passing for a man.

What I like about the interview and my brief viewing of a couple of her YouTube videos is how much herself she is. I think this is so critical for a gender non conforming person since the world can and will make your existence difficult at some point. Being this young and so much your own individual is exemplary and I for one admire her for that.

I wish I had been as self assured at her age and more able to understand and accept my own gender variance. I am not s…

Obama wins

I'm not going to try and insult any of my American sisters of the republican persuasion but I'm pretty glad that president Obama is getting a chance to finish the work he started. It's obviously a very divided electorate between the rural red and the urban blue and the gap seems to be widening. The democrats are at least more embracing of social change and acceptance of diversity. Let's hope there are more advances for the transgender community but also a coming together of the two factions. White rural America is getting smaller and they need to get with the program.

An unfortunate problem for this president is that in 2012 there are still people out there who still have trouble with an African american in the white house.Scary stuff from where I sit in this day and age.

becoming whole

I am realizing more and more what I need to do now: which is to find a true balance and become a truly whole person. For many decades I was not able to feel whole due to a denial of the female side of my nature. Keeping that side at bay took enormous effort and led to deep dissatisfaction. The more I tried and failed, the more guilt and shame I felt over being weak and powerless. The part of me I now call Joanna, was to be destroyed and denied any existence because she represented an abomination. She was keeping me from leading life as a normal male. The gender therapy and reflection that ensued allowed me to come to a better understanding of myself and to achieve a higher degree of self acceptance.

Now, in spite of embracing my nature, I am increasingly aware that there may be a limit to that acceptance; that being my coming to the slow and deliberate conclusion that I may not be a true transsexual. I don't have body disphoria, don't hate my genitals and can function as a mal…

being ME

Funny when I think back to 20 years ago: a time when I was nowhere near admitting that I was transgendered. I kept it buried deep in the recesses of my mind, holding back on the crossdressing for months at a time only to have it return with a vengeance. Eventually the pressure would build and I would be compelled to indulge it, feeling terrible afterwards and then throw the clothes in the trash. That cycle is something a lot of trans people are very familiar with. I now realize that this was my way of dealing with the repressed feelings I had. Since they had to go somewhere they were channelled into the equivalence of a couple of weeks worth of crossdressing per year. It was all very tame as I would go out to public places and enjoy the feeling of being an imaginary woman for a few brief hours.

Yesterday I reflected on this as I spent an entire day as Joanna. I went to a few shops, tried on a few things as I interacted with sales ladies and spoke to coffee merchants as if it were the…

realizing you're really a woman

The book that quiet voice pointed me to has been nagging at me over one issue in particular. Aside from it's harsh tone the writer subscribes to a bulldozer "my bell has wrung therefore I must transition" mantra. She also insists that women are born and not made (which I don't necessarily agree with) but if you have lived your entire life to date as a male, have a spouse, kids and a career it's not that obvious. Do you proceed exclusively on the basis that you are a TRUE woman?

I admit I have a problem with that. How about the idea of thinking of others before yourself? A few posts back I wrote about the website of an early transitioner who thought that late transitioners were basically men in dresses and how once you had a family you were being selfish by expecting the world to stop revolving and accept you as a woman. I am not sure about the men in dresses bit, but I do agree with her about the second part. So if the writer's litmus test for really being a …

the doldrums are subsiding

It's been 4 months now that I've been on my own and I am finally starting to feel normal again. The breakup was difficult and I was even doubting whether I had made a mistake by not trying to get her back. I texted her recently to see if there could not be some potential continuation without living together but during the exchange of texts I realized we'd be going back to where we left off; ie. a bad situation. Plus I need to get to know myself and in order to do that I need alone time. My kids, friends and job will fill any void I might feel. I needn't worry about that. Example:I was treated to dinner on Friday night by my ex wife and kids and then last night by a long time work colleague and friend so a very pleasant way to celebrate turning 50.

So in finally starting to feel really positive about life again I will try and indulge in less melancholic thoughts. My transgender nature is always going to be there so her and I just need to be better bedfellows. Instead of…

those subtle changes

Years and years ago when I first took my first tentative steps into the world dressed as a woman I was painfully self aware but also fascinated by what I was able to accomplish. I was actually out there dressed as my own feminine ideal - wow!! But then slowly but surely it began to morph almost imperceptibly into just feeling normal. It has been continuously doing this without fail since the beginning except that over the last few years it has gone into exponential mode. The changes have been markedly noticeable.

I know this is tied in part to self acceptance and maturing but also by my repeated forays into the world and reflecting on why I need to present as a woman. Slowly the puzzle is unraveling I feel and it is telling me that perhaps being a woman is MY normal. And while that titillating excitement is now gone it is being replaced with incredible, peace, comfort and sense of rightness that I'm having trouble ignoring. I will now be moving to the next phase of testing the no…

birthday girl

Well it's my B day and I must say in spite of the confusion in this little head of mine I feel pretty darn good. I will be going to dinner and my ex tonight; something that has not happened since we got divorced. I think it will he good for my kids and good for our future cooperation as parents to our 2 great kids.

playing house

Quiet Voice made me me think of something when she responded to some of my posts. She made me feel like this is a game and I'm playing house the way little girls do; only I'm playing woman. She makes a valid point in that if I am not a woman then I am trans and I should just learn to make that work for me and celebrate it.

And this indeed could be the end of the discussion for me except that something still feels wrong. I'm too advanced where I am now and yet falling short of being a woman. I am indeed in no man's land. This is leading to dissatisfaction in the sense that 'playing house' is not a workable solution. It's playing pretend every night and in the long run will likely drive me insane.

And yet I am not going to go for transition mostly because I'm scared. I have read chapters 2 and 3 of the book she referred me to and I did find one thing that irked me: it's intransigent tone. Mind the barricades because I'm storming through because I …

my own version of stealth

At this point I am acquainted with a series of women who think that I am the soon to be divorced mother of 2 teens. They have asked me about my fictional husband, whether I breast fed my children, about my life as a working mom and many more things that have boosted my confidence and as a result my presentation as a woman. All of the previous work I had done on my voice, my laser treatments, my make up skills, etc have all paid off and I am reaping the benefits of that labour.

My dilemma is that I hate lying to these women. Some of these relationships were accidental in that in testing my ability to pass, I ended up caught in a web not realizing it would work better than expected. So while I have now proven to myself that my combination of genetics and hard work have produced a working version of Joanna, I now almost don't know what to do with her and how far to take her.

Certainly, I do very much value the relationships I have made and want to honour them as much as possible but…

and time goes on...

In a few days I will have reached half a century. I have been through a lot of experiences in my life and have learnt much about myself and others and I am still learning. I also have a renewed sense of fascination with the world because I see it from a different perspective now. I see it more for what it is because I have gained some experience and hopefully some wisdom in the process. I have learnt to love myself more and to not feel like I am hopelessly flawed. Yes I have many things to repair in my character but I would like to think I am essentially a good and decent person and I am a child of God. I was made perfect and it was society that messed up that perfection we are all born with.

I suppose we all learn this lesson that society is full of hypocrisy, pretence, jealousy and intolerance and we learn that to fit we come abide by its rules. The consequences of not doing so are paid with rejection and scorn from people who are generally beneath you. And there lies the interesti…

No Cakewalk

A Quiet Voice (a poster who has responded to a few of my blog entries) was kind enough to forward me a copy of a document titled “A Realistic Guide to the Transitional Journey”. It’s written by a transitioned transsexual woman who, aside from explaining in Chapter 1 the definitions of the types of transgender people (CD, TV, TS, etc), goes on to give detailed information regarding the pitfalls of transitioning. It is well written, frank and removes all of the glossy aspects of wanting to transition for those who might think it’s a cakewalk. Whether it be the realities of hormones, job challenges, loss of spouse etc., its all dealt with in a bluntness that should be required reading for anyone even contemplating making such a drastic change in their lives. Aside from some disagreements I have on the definition of transvestite and crossdresser (which seem to be reversed) I have no issue at all with the document.

Unfortunately, it does not make things any clearer for me. I am desperately…

the disease model

Transgender as “disease model” has kept me captive for most of my adult life. The thought that something was deeply wrong with me permeated my existence and kept me from living a truly honest life. By necessity my life was a sham because I could not access any feelings I had that contravened the politically correct model of what I was supposed to be. As a result, I never learnt how to live without self imposed constraints borne out of Catholic guilt and societal pressure; it was like a form of psychological constipation that kept me from going where the mind sometimes wanted to go. A part of my natural self expression was smothered for the sake of fitting in and fulfilling expectation. From day one I learnt that I was flawed and needed to change or at least keep that part of myself that was not acceptable deep in the closet. I am not angry at my parents and blame no one for this as all were doing the best they could.

The problem with suppression is that it’s always only partly succes…

being transgender...

Over time, I have come to appreciate and even embrace the term transgendered. Back when I was desperately trying to deny and disassociate myself from any traces that I might have this condition/disorder, I did not take its definition seriously and thought it to be a bit of a joke. I thought it an overly self important umbrella term for those who were trying to escape the reality of their birth gender; a moniker to hide behind. But as I have come to accept my own internal nature, I realize that there is a lot to this term and I find its inclusiveness comforting. I know I have been chided for saying that all of us under this umbrella are the same, but what I meant by this is that we are afflicted with a version of the same disphoria – a disconnect with our birth gender that compels us to be drawn to the other gender. Easy as it might be to simplify the behaviour of a transvestite as a man who gets kicks out of wearing women’s clothes, there is something beneath the surface that begs inv…

that mythical "off" switch...

No I don't think being transgender is a gift. It's caused me grief, pain, embarrassment, stress, doubt and a marriage. I don't think it's a gift anymore than I think being handicapped is a gift. It's something one accepts and adapts to but if you had a chance to get that limb back you might take it. I know that I would have pushed the off button to make it go away today.

Yes I enjoy being Joanna but it feels like a trap. It feels like it's mandatory. If I don't dress I get edgy and the more I dress the more I want to dress. This behavior has me doubting that I am a true transsexual and more of an addicted crossdresser. True I'm not fetishistic but I still feel stuck somehow. I don't want to dress down when I go out; I want to wear a dress and heels. I want to be ultra feminine but also blend in. It works for me but what is my motivation and why does it feel like a drug.

When I first went for gender therapy I subscribed rather knievely thinking that …

mistaken for a girl

I remember being mistaken for a girl on several occasions. There are 2 that most stand out in my mind. The first one was during the act of an amateur magician during his show in the basement of our neighborhood church. He had me come up as a volunteer to help him demonstrate the old separating/joining rings trick. This was the early seventies and most boys had longish hair to boot. Once he had completed his trick he looked at me and said "thank you for helping me. If you are a girl you could use these as earrings" and he proceeded to place one of the rings against my ear.

The second occasion was accompanying my mother to our local corner cafe. The lady was chatting with my mother and said "you have a beautiful daughter" and that instant I was mortified and secretly flattered all at the same time.

Aside from being scolded by my mother for wearing her clothes at a very early age, those two incidents have stayed with me all my life. In my attempts to distance myself…

it's just clothes right??

These days I'm trying to really relax and reflect on how I feel when I'm out as Joanna. I've moved beyond the tension that was like a pall over everything; the incessant worry about passing and being detected. With the removal of this layer I can focus on the feelings and what it means to me to present as female. This is also being aided by my having made friends as a woman. The fact that I can be stealth with these women allows me to get a small taste of how it might be like to live full time.

It's not like I'm pushing to live full time as much as I want to test the envelope. I am after all just me under the clothes. Admittedly I feminize my way of speaking and using my hands for example but in a non overly exaggerated manner. I just naturally move into that mode and it feels comfortable.

My dilemma is that I want to stop crossdressing. I want it to stop and go on being a normal male or become a woman which is also no longer crossdressing. Being in the middle in t…

certainty

When I read the stories of small children sticking to their guns about what gender they feel they are inside I am fascinated. At their age I was expressing little signs like quietly role playing in my room using my bath robe as a skirt and enjoying some private femininity. But these children go beyond and bravely confront convention and in spite of their parents's insistence to the contrary maintain that they are really girls instead of boys or vice versa.

I ingested the negative messages I was getting and tried to conform as best I could. My parents were highly religious and from a very conservative European stock. They would not have been receptive back in the late sixties regarding trans issues. There was no internet, no media attention. Even homosexuals were only beginning to scratch the surface of social tolerance. I in my private world was a freak that needed curing so I suppressed as much as I could and with the first signs of puberty and accidental sexual release in the c…

my children

I love my children dearly. They did not ask to come into this world and I have a responsibility towards them that will not waiver. And yet I am concerned that this process I am going through will result in my discovering that I am a latent transsexual. This is something that is keeping me grounded and away from needing to want to be a transsexual. Right now things are manageable as I try to unearth who I really am after decades of denial. Things are buried so deep that I suspect it will take some time before I have an answer. So I stick to the line that I am trans and can tow the line between both genders. Maybe if I repeat it enough it will stick and avoid a mess.

My children know I crossdress but have never been exposed to it. It was not my intent to tell them but my ex gf went ahead and spilled the beans. I don't necessarily think that was a bad thing mind you because it has opened up the lines of communication between us on that front. I have been able to explain a bit about m…

in the end we're all the same

Having read, seen and witnessed so many personal stories of transgender people, I now realize we're so similar; in fact more similar than different. We've all heard the cliche that being trans is a journey and not a destination but I think it is very true for this particular saying. People realize early or late that they're transgender or think they're something else but eventually get to the same destination. That destination being acceptance and not necessarily full blown transition or surgery. We all have different life circumstances and choices we've made and some choose to respect those commitments and make due with their current status, while others risk everything to achieve their goal. Everyone's goal being unique.

Some transition in their sixties or seventies and that has the same validity to me as someone who does it in their twenties. Both groups may have felt the same inside but one had the method, circumstance or courage to make it happen. And that…

more randomness

I know I repeat myself a lot in this blog. It's like annotation for my psyche and I jot things down when they occur to me. In fact most of this blog is written on a smart phone. I'll be in a coffee house and things will occur to me and I'll need to formalize them in writing. It's my therapy.

So to again recapitulate:

1) I feel increasingly like a woman
2) I am not a fetishistic transvestite
3) I can pass for a woman in public and could work as one if I desired
4) surgery won't make me more of a woman

These 4 points are the main discoveries I have made over the last months. The last one being the most recent discovery and the one which will allow me the flexibility of not requiring a major life overhaul as well as sparing my children much pain. In other words I can live happily as a woman without surgery. Might there be hormones in my future? Possibly but in the short run no. I still need to function as a male in society and I don't want to make that increasingl…

more of an extrovert as a woman

When I'm out and about as joanna I notice myself being more outgoing and sociable. I don't know if that's because I'm happier as joanna or I'm just trying extra hard to fit into the role and thus over compensating. Regardless, I seem to really relish my time out as a woman and my "passing" has taken a huge boost. I never understood what people meant when they said you have to know you're a woman inside in order to have a chance to fit in as a woman in society but now I understand it fully. I am Joanna and I feel comfortable in my own skin. That self realization radiates outwards and you are perceived as what you understand yourself to be. Powerful stuff that.

I had a great day yesterday as a result. Both meetups went great and we will keep in touch as always. M is getting older and needs to move towards assisted living. She is an amazing woman and has lived fully and intelligently all her life. E is only a few years older than myself and she's loo…

I've made a choice

I have (for better or worse) made a choice; and that choice is to be myself. In the past I made compromises for the sake of society, religion, friends and family which led me to stiffle my different way of being to my own detriment. I am not suggesting that anyone forced me into this situation; quite the opposite - I did what I thought I should be doing in order to measure up to expectation. My own shyness and insecurity likely also linked to needing to keep this part of myself an absolute secret, created a shell around me which kept my natural personality stiffled. Too much for a young person to bear I fear and I hope my own children never suffer in silence the way I did. I would like to think that they would come to me with something like this and I would be there to help them. I've been there.

So this choice to be myself will limit my chances to find someone to share my life with but in return I will have a peace of mind and spirit that will hopefully compensate. In the end we …

some pictures....

As I had promised some recent pics to share...only marginally doctored (he he)