My profile: Who is this woman, anyway?

Hi, I’m Karen, and welcome to my blog. This blogging thing is a new adventure for me, but several of my friends have been urging me to keep one for awhile now. I’ll do my best. I hope you will be patient with me when I stumble, but mostly, I hope that this blog will help make this business of being trans a little less weird, maybe a little less scary.  If you’re here, there’s a good chance that you, or someone you know, is dealing with the same issues that I am. I want to tell you that it’s going to be alright. You hear that? It’s going to be alright. I’m speaking from experience.

So who am I to talk? Well, when I started all this, I was a pre-op trans woman in the middle of her RLE, her so-called “real life experience.” While I had lived (almost) full time for several years, in 2010 I finally decided to seek gender reassignment surgery. (Note: the accepted term for this among medical professionals is now gender confirmation surgery–an improvement, to my mind on all kinds of levels.) Whatever we call it, to qualify, one of the hoops that must be jumped is this RLE. That means living full time in female mode; no going back. Before I can apply for surgery, I am required to have lived as a woman for at least 12 months. The reasoning behind this is that by doing so, the applicant, me, in this case, will have a better idea what life will be like, should she decide to press forward. This meant finally coming out to my son and my elderly father, both of whom have been wonderfully supportive. I have been very blessed in this. Others have not been so lucky.

Coming out is risky. Living full time is even riskier. A trans friend of mine once remarked, “Being out as trans means laying everything on the table. And you have no idea what you’re going to be allowed to keep.” You can literally lose everything: family, home, friends, colleagues, job, career, savings, pension, everything. I know people who have. But I have not, though I would be lying to say that this has been easy, or that there have not been strains, and deep, deep pain. Still, I have been blessed with an understanding, if not always totally supportive spouse, and with a family that has tried mightily to accept and come to terms with (in their eyes) the loss of a father and the emergence of this new person, Karen, who in her new hormonal adolescence, seems at times a stranger. (A nice one, though, I hope; one they can eventually come to love.)

What I have discovered through all this, is that while  the journey into Mordor is long and fraught with danger, it is filled with unexpected beauty and joy as well. Since coming out, (to everyone, family included,) I have been accepted, even loved, by people I never expected would be on my side, and  in places I never expected (or thought) to go. In the past few months I have joined an all women’s Latin dance class, sung female tenor in a wonderful choir, learned basic silversmithing, (I make my own jewelry! How cool is that?), and surrounded myself with wonderful friends. I am supported by an amazing counsellor, who recently connected me with a speech therapist who specializes in teaching feminine voice. (It will take time, but it’s coming! I can hardly believe it!) And I have discovered that the future is not a road to be travelled, but a landscape to be constructed. The world I live in is one that I am building for myself, and you can do it, too. This one is a world filled with color, with love, and with joy, and for the first time in my life, I feel whole and totally alive. And the voice in my heart tells me, “This is soooo right! And about time, too!”

I’m listening.

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4 Responses to “My profile: Who is this woman, anyway?”

  1. Hi Karen,
    I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to get to know more about you, and I feel blessed to sing with you. In my limited time with you, I find you to be a sweet, gentle, caring soul and I’m very glad to know you.

  2. Thank you so much, Cyndi! What kind words! I know I’m stating the obvious, but sometimes it needs to be said anyway: having you and Shirley in my life is one of the greatest blessings that have fallen upon me since my transition began in earnest, way back at the beginning of the year. As you know, I have never sung before, not really, but you have managed the impossible. You have given me something I never thought to have: the joy of music…and Thursday mornings are absolutely the highlight of my week.
    Thank you so much for that…and for all your kindnesses these past few months. See you tomorrow morning!

  3. Nice to meet you!

    • Thank you, Dawn! Nice to meet you, too! I’m afraid it’s been a bit neglected lately. I’ve been journaling daily, but the journals are posted on Facebook. I’m not used to having anyone actually read what I’ve written. Thank you for your kind words on what you’ve seen. How on earth did you find it?

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