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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Sifan’s Vagina Monologue

The Vagina Monologues

The Vagina Monologues

A couple of months ago I was fortunate to be able to see a local production of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ here on Maui.  I was invited to come along with six other woman.  It was a quit the experience.  A lot of bonding, a lot of laughing, some crying. but everyone came away with a deeper sense of what it means to be a woman and a sense of ‘owning’ this important part of ourselves.

For me it was an initiation of sorts.  It allowed me to be proud of who and what I am.  It got me in touch with myself – much deeper appreciation of a vital part of myself that was missing for the majority of my life.

One of the monologues had to do with a transsexual woman’s experience.  It was read by a good friend of mine who is a trans-woman like me.  At one point she declared:  “I payed for my Vagina!”  Well, all the way home that night, my mind came up with verse after verse of a monologue that I would have given.  I decided I should put the virtual ink to virtual paper and post this.

I had to pay for my Vagina
(The Voice of a Transsexual Vagina)

I was born a woman without a vagina.  I have had to deal with the confusion, societies stereotypes and misunderstandings for most of my life – like more than 60 years.

From the very start, my first memories are of knowing that I was supposed to be ‘smooth’ down there.  I didn’t know what smooth was supposed to look like until many years later when my baby sister was born.

Early trauma involving my mother and then school had triggered my subconscious into protection mode.  It felt the misunderstandings, the stereotypes and the hatred that society had towards me so it convinced my conscious mind that I wasn’t a woman.

Me convincing me by achieving ‘manly’ goals to prove it:  technical mountain climbing, small plane pilot, long mountain treks, marriage, children and grandchildren, even starting a high risk business.

Who and what am I?  How could I be a woman without a Vagina?  Where is my authentic self and what is it?

But my body knew even if my head did not.  Waking up after surgery, at the birth of my Vagina – I had a visceral feeling that I was now back to how I ‘used to be’.  After surgery, somehow these sensations were ‘known’ and ‘normal’ to my body and I was at peace.  Before, it was a constant irritation and cause of deep dysphoria.

There are many costs that had to be paid:

My Vagina cost me over $20,000 and a trip to the other side of the world.

It is going to cost me almost as much and two years for electrolysis and other procedures to correct what testosterone and puberty has done to my body.  Some of those things can not be changed.

It cost me a month of pain:  5 hours of surgery, 7 days in a hospital and 23 days in a hotel next to the clinic to give birth to my Vagina  Some of this was the most severe pain of my life.

Four months of blood and fluid loss, of intense contractions as my Vagina healed.

A loss of everything I had before:  some friends, part of my family, a great job and a dream house on one of the 10,000 Minnesota lakes.

Other transsexuals have lost their lives to suicide or have been murdered because some people cannot deal with our authenticity, our truth.

My trans*Sisters – OUR sisters – live with this reality daily.

Our Vagina is an integral part of my ‘our bodies.  It is vitally important to be in connection with and ‘own’ our Vaginas.

All my life, my body knew this even though my head did not.  I paid for my Vagina with gender dysphoria.

Puberty robbed my body of many essential feminine traits.

I am still ‘paying’ for my Vagina ….

Memo to my Former Self (3 of 3: to my 58 yr old self)

This is the third in my series “Memos to my Former Self”.  The first was to my 7 year old self. The second was to my teenage self.  This one is a letter to my older self, when I was 58 and on the cusp of finding out my truth.

I recently read a book (“Letters For My Sisters, Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect. Published by Transgress Press”) compiled with stories that trans* people wrote to their younger selves.  They were asked “what would you say to your former self” and “to what age”?


Steph at 58 yrs old

Steph at 58 yrs old

Aloha Steph!  Yup, I’m from Hawaii.

I see you finally settled on being a professional instructor, traveled the world (many many times over).  Wow, very impressive.  You’ve accomplished a lot! I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of what you have done with your life.

Oh yes, I know, lots of hard work and some catastrophes on the way.  Like being director of global technical training for 12 years and then having that company be acquired and the entire training division cut and you out of a job ….  But look, you got back in and are training again and are still traveling – although not internationally any more.  But lets face it you were gone overseas almost 1 week out of 5 and were getting really tired of that.

Boy, you sure have changed your name a lot.  As a young boy everyone called you Steven.  Then later in high school you were Steve.  When you were a director of training you proudly called yourself Stephen (Stefan).  And now your are going with Steph.  You will shortly find out why.  I know your most favorite name in the world is ‘Stephanie’.  I’ll come back to that.

Your two sons are married and they each have bought their own houses and have moved out.  Wow, who would have known that in this economic climate you would have had to have them live with you for so long, even after they were married.  You have given them a great start in life.

Steph about 50yrs old

Steph about 50yrs old

A lot has happened to you as of late: kids moving out, getting laid off from a job you held for 36 years, the agony of looking for a job for a half year and for the last 2 years you are back as a technical instructor. Add to this your wife’s depression and every night being on suicide watch is really putting a huge drain on you.  I know.  This is a hard part of your life.  You just want to be happy and enjoy life.  Hate to tell you this, it’s about to get worse.  In the next year you will lose almost everything …

You have reached a crossroads in life and you know it!  Well at least you have inklings of it at this point.  I know you have a lot of pressures on you right now, from many different sources and angles.  One of those is something your subconscious had buried long long ago – and now it’s coming back to consciousness.

 You know what I’m talking about – but you don’t know to what extent this will lead you.  You have just had a number of ‘interesting’ coincidences that are seeming to lead you into this.  At work for example, the owners wife came into your office, shut the door, and confided in you – things that she would only tell another close girlfriend.  You have also confided with your female co-instructor  that inside, you feel as a woman.

A couple of months ago, you were asked to go into SecondLife, a virtual world, create an avatar and investigate the feasibility of using that as a remote/distance training platform.  And what did you do?  You created a female avatar for yourself.  Yes, I know that your method, style and philosophy of training would best be matched this way.  The students experience would be congruent.

But what happened next was a surprise for you huh?  You found that being in as a woman was natural and a freeing experience, whereas, those times you were in as a male avatar, you found you were role playing and did not like that one bit.

You know all these things are leading up to something.  Even the sequence of your nicknames points to this.  You have recently had a couple of moments where you took time to think carefully about this and to mentally give yourself permission to continue.  You will look back on these times and call them “your bathtub moments”.

Steph, these are real.  You have had a trauma long ago when you were a small child.  This caused your subconscious to deeply bury this truth about yourself.  This was ok – it protected you and allowed you to achieve so much in your life.  That’s a good thing Steph!  However, that protection is not needed any longer.  You have raised your children, your wife is pushing you out and seems to need independence.  All these things are coming together that allow you to start to drop all the protections you have and start to see who you really are.

At this point you see yourself as a woman surrounded by and protected by this male called Steph.  You have even named the woman inside ‘Sifan’ after the name that was given you in Beijing which you also used as your  avatar name.  This is a good start.

Do yourself a favor – look up ‘transsexual’…  Read stories of those that have transitioned.  See therapists that are knowledgeable in this area.  This would save you a couple of years my friend!

Talk to your sister.  She understands you and will be a huge help to you.  Yes, I know you have already confided in her.  But continue, she will be such a huge help for you in the coming storm.

Be careful but look for and seek out support.  You will desperately need that – but be careful who you trust.  This can be dangerous.

I already mentioned that you are going to lose almost everything in this next year.  It’s a pretty bleak and dark storm.  But storms pass and this one will as well.  Some pretty awesome things lay ahead.  You get married again, you move to Hawaii and you find a job at an observatory – your life long ambition!

Most importantly, you will become your true authentic self.  Your deep secret will come to life and you will become – completely – who you deep down know you are:  a woman.

You see, I know – because I am that woman:  I AM SIFAN…

Sending you love and fortitude for the journey before you,

… your not so far in the future self:  Sifan

PS:  I kept our middle name as Stephenie  (yes, ‘en’ as a nod to us)

Memo to my Former Self (2 of 3: to my 15 yr old self)

This is the second in my series “Memos to my Former Self”.  The first was to my 7 year old self. This one is a letter to my teenage high school self.  I plan on writing a third one to my older self, when I was 57 when I was just on the cusp of finding out my truth.

I recently read a book (“Letters For My Sisters, Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect. Published by Transgress Press”) compiled with stories that trans* people wrote to their younger selves.  They were asked “what would you say to your former self” and “to what age”?


Steve: High School years

Steve: High School years

Heh Steve!  Hold up a minute. Ya, I know you just finished ROTC drill team practice and need to get ready for the dance tonight.  Kathy is a wonderful gal, you and her make a beautiful couple.  I know you are going to have fun tonight!

Oh, I’ll get around to that – I think you will quickly figure out how I know these things.  Let’s just say I’m not your average older woman and that we have everything in common …

Look, I know you are having a tough time right now.  Yesterday you were downtown walking up main street.  You looked a bit grim, very unusual for you huh?  You really really want the next 5 years to pass by with the snap of your fingers.  Guess what?  I’m proud of you for wishing that!  I know, seems strange that I would agree with you huh?  But what you don’t see is what underlies all of that.  Wishing this is your way of coping.  The alternative – quitting life – is not something you would ever consider, right?  Trust me, I very glad and proud of you for that.

This may seem like a strange thing to say, but I know that it is hard for you to be out in public, walking downtown or even the dance tonight.  At least tonight it will be dark and only Kathy will be noticing you, or at least that is what you hope.

It’s been difficult growing up, right?  Sort of conflicting a number of times.  Part of you was glad you finally started to shave but another part, deep down, was horrified.  Ya, I know you only felt the conflict and could not understand where it came from.

And Kathy – isn’t it wonderful to have a steady at last?  It’s not like you don’t have girl friends.  Seems like every single girl you meet is your friend.  But none (except Kathy) ever see you as anything other than, well, another one of their girl friends.  In fact, they would tell you things they would only tell their girl friends – and they would never ever tell a ‘boy’!

I know this made you feel very special.  And it should.  I also know that you have never doubted your maleness even in light of this.  Or in light of seeing how much different all the other boys are from you.  And it’s not just the normal differences between one individual and another.  We are talking ‘all’ the boys.  Not only that, you are disgusted with the attitudes of grown men, especially when it revolves around women.  People you looked up to and thought were great men and even your role models have this distorted view – objectifying them, seeing them as second rate and sexualizing them.  And oh my god, even priests (pun intended)!

Of course you don’t understand the men but do understand the women very well.  You have a lot in common with them.  That is why they come to you, as another one of their girl friends and also why they do not date you.  Same sex dating is a pretty big no-no right?  Yes, I know, you believe you are a man, but try to understand that from their perspective, you ‘know’ (and feel) to much.

Look, sorry, but I can not spill all the beans. I will give you some hints to try to help.  You have had some trauma in your early childhood that resulted in your hiding a large piece of yourself very deeply.  Sad to say, it is going to take almost the rest of your life to figure it out.  But that is ok.

You have done so much already with your life.  So many accomplishments – but everyone just writes those off and I know it seems like you even have to hide those or never talk about them for fear of ridicule or worse, being accused of the dreaded bragging.  Your mother will brag about your other brothers and your sister, but only complains to others about you.  This is so unfair – you are so much better – especially when you know what your brothers have done.  Somehow they still are the apple of your mom’s eye.

Hang in there Steve – know inside that you are better than just ok – you are awesome – even though no one else will ever acknowledge that.  I’ll give you a small hint:  they are jealous.  I’m sorry to tell you, but this will continue like that for the rest of your life with them.  But trust me, later in life, not only will you confirm this, but others will tell you this too.

Steve: finally a happy face!  You were always so serious.

Steve: finally a happy face! You were always so serious.

You know how you always seem to need to accomplish things?  Sort of always feeling like you have to prove yourself?  Ya, I know, it’s a constant pressure.  You are always so serious, even your pictures show that.  Well, you know, all these things we just talked about contribute to this.  They all add up and compound the pressure to perform.  Unfortunately your deep dark secret is part of the cause of all of this.

That part about the girls seeing you as another girl friend?  And how disgusted you are about not just some but all other other boys?  Ya.  This has instilled in you a powerful drive to prove yourself from the very core of your being.

I commend you for picking and choosing honorable ways of proving yourself: the sciences, academically (not talking grades here, I know you have picked the toughest courses, way beyond what is expected and you are keeping your head above water) and emotionally.  Steve, you will find that it is very rare to combine feelings and sensitivities with both science and with being ‘manly’.  Your future partners (sorry to say, but yes, that is plural) will see this in you and tell you that was one of the main attractions they had for you.

Steve, these are all pointers to your true self.  Unfortunately, you will not figure this out for another 40 years.  In a strange way perhaps it is fortunate.  Right now, in the strict conservative society you live in, that society would destroy you, your life, your world would completely change and life would be very very tough indeed.  You will need to trust me on this.  Just keep these memories, these ‘pointers’.  They will come in handy later on in life.

For now, trust that you are on the right path.  Be the daring brave person you are.  Get out there and climb those cliffs (I mean this both figuratively and  literally – you are going to take huge risks in your life that you will succeed in and you are destined to be a technical mountain climber!).

Teenage Steve

Teenage Steve

You will start your own business, a high risk adventure that will last 8 years.  You and everyone involved will wind up far ahead in life and business because of what you start and do.  And you will get to fly a plane and almost get your private pilots license.  Your friends will invite you to come along with them to climb the cliffs by devils lake.  And that is before climbing hardware was used – you will learn how to tie ropes to form a safety belt and how to repeal with rope only!  You will be very daring and adventurous.  Some will say a bit too risky.  But you have calculated those risks – these are well chosen, well within your abilities.  You might not understand this, but you need to do these things.  You need to prove yourself, you always have. It has to do with your feelings of not fitting in as a boy, a man.

Oh and Kathy – what a gal!  You will have fond memories and attempt to find her later in life.  Unfortunately, the most you will find out is 5th hand information:  something about her living upstate, married, not very well off and not happy.  Sorry about that.  Your second love winds up as a medical doctor and lives in a very posh neighborhood, so I guess that balances things out.  You find others, some will break your heart, but you pick up and move on, even though you felt for sure “she was the one”.

A married Steve, about 25yrs old

A married Steve, about 25yrs old

Yes, you will get married (twice).  You will have two sons and you will have four wonderful grandsons.  Unfortunately, after they have left the house on their own, your deep secret will start to manifest and this will cause them a great amount of grief.  You will lose everything you had accomplished at that time: your marriage, your sons and their families, your job and your dream house on a northern lake, not to mention a lot of friends and other family.  The sad thing is that you will not even know why until years after.  That is when all the pieces will come together.

You will not be very happy with what you did to bring this on.  I’m not going to judge that one way or another.  It just is.  You will need to accept that and push on.

And there is good news after that:  you get married again, this time to another wonderful person and guess what?  You move to Hawaii and get the most awesome perfect job for you.  And even better, you finally figure out who and what you are, and you successfully change to be the authentic you.

Yes, you make it – in spades ….

Hang in there kiddo – those next 5 years you are wishing to pass will evaporate (maybe too fast).

… from your future self

 

 

 

Memo to my Former Self (1 of 3: to my 8 yr old self)

I recently read a book (“Letters For My Sisters, Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect. Published by Transgress Press”) compiled with stories that trans* people wrote to their younger selves.  They were asked “what would you say to your former self” and “to what age”?

I think this is brilliant and thought I would give it a go.  But I had a hard time determining the age that I would sent it too.  The best I could do was come up with was three different times of my life that I would have sent a letter to.  This is the first of those three.  I’m sending this to myself when I was in early grade school – about 8 or 9 years of age.


Steven: 7 Year old me

Steven: 7 Year old me

Hi Steven, it’s ok.  I know I must look ancient to you but please don’t be afraid.  I’m not one of those adults that tell you what to do or believe a child should be seen and not heard.  I know how tired you are of always being second tier: adults, older kids, bullies.

Your parents don’t give you credit for what you accomplish.  I know all you want is some recognition for your hard work. You just want to have some say in your life and some control over yourself, your life and your future.  I know…

And yet – look at yourself – one can see in your eyes how proud you are of yourself and of your determination.  Remember this, these are powerful tools that you have and that will get your through life.  And I’m sorry to say: you will need to remember this.

I have some great news and perhaps some scary and unbelievable news – about you and your future!

You know how every body in school picks on Billy, calls him names, thinks he’s slow and stupid and retarded?  You hate that.  You’ve seen how smart he is.  He just has a problem in front of people he does not know well.  But no one gives him credit, they just ridicule him and call him names.  Worse yet, you saw how his other friends attempted to stick up for him and then they got ridiculed and shunned.  I know this has kept you quite and that you held back from supporting him in public.  I know you feel bad about that too.

I’m not going to tell you that you should have stood up for him.  I know that you have something you are hiding that would make it even worse for you if anyone knew.  Surprised?  Yes, I knew you would be.  I’m sorry to say, that even at your very young age, trauma has forced your secret so deep that it will take many many years to reconnect to it.

I know you are scared, you saw how people treat Joey, calling him names like sissy and queer just because everyone thinks he acts like a girl and likes the other boys.  And I know you have some things in common with him.  And yes, I know you like girls not boys.  In fact you can’t understand boys and why they are the way they are.  They are so different than you – right?  And I know you are having problems understanding why you are so different.

You have spent a lot of time thinking about this, right?  A part of you knows you are more like all the girls around you then the boys.  Yes, I know, you ‘know’ you are a boy and just have these ‘extra’ abilities and sensitivities.  And that’s ok.  It really is ok.

I can see how all the kids at school would treat you and the very difficult time you would have if they knew.  And you have already seen what would happen from watching how they treat Billy and Joey and others.  You need to be protected and that is what your unconsciousness has done for you – buried this deeply.  And that is ok too.

You believe fitting in and doing what everyone tells you to do and achieving will make you successful.  And you know from watching others that doing this puts you ahead and in front of everyone else.  You have seen how competitive grade school is and know that success is not on the play ground or being the most popular with the kids.  You see the larger picture – it’s the adults and later life you are getting ready for.

Well, you are right!  But everything has a price.  Your price is burying something so deep that it will take 50 years before you find it and solve it.

Steve: at puberty

Steve: at puberty

This is ok too.  Everything has a give and take.  This will haunt you, you will not fully understand why or what it is.  There will be many times when life will give you huge clues, but you will simply ‘file them away’ only later to look back and finally put the pieces together.  Such is life I’m afraid.

Yes, it’s going to be hard.  There will be times you wish you could just skip forward 5 years – get past the awful times.  At least you will never think of calling it quits.  You are tough that way.

Please, take time to look back at your accomplishments and awards.  You need to know that you are accomplishing some really big and cool things.  I know they seem like nothing, like everyone else and that you feel you are not at all special – you are constantly being told this by your teachers, your parents and family and even the other kids.  But really, as you grow up, remember this:  take time to look back and assess your spectacular achievements – they really are wonderful accomplishments you know.  And you need to know that.

You have a wonderful enjoyment of life.  Your nature is to be happy.  This is going to serve you very well.  You love nature and many times you will go to her to help sooth yourself and solve the issues life throws at you.  Believe me, you have all the ‘tools’ you need and then some…

Let me give you a small peek at the rest of your life.  There are many hard times – much harder then what you are experiencing right now.  But you accomplish so much.  You will find and experience some of the most beautiful and joyous moments anyone could wish for.  The last job you have before retiring will be a dream come true for you.

Steven - about 7

Steven – about 7

You will have a family, grand-kids too.  They will be an awesome part of your life.  But, when you solve your deep secret, you will cause them great pain and will have to leave them.  The jury is still out if they will ever reconcile.  Like I said, everything has a price.  I’m sorry to tell you this.

I’m not going to comment on good or bad.  Life just is.  Things that seem bad usually turn out much much better – although it takes time before that happens.  You will always be happy and content with life.  You will continue to achieve and to enjoy life.

Solving your deep secret will free you – in ways you just can not imagine.  Yes, I know I have not told you what that is.  I’m sorry, but if I did, so much of your life would be different.  I really do wish you could figure it out now, at your age.  Yes, your life would be easier in some ways, but you would miss so many of life’s struggles and these struggles are what will shape you into a wonderful person that you will become.  Unfortunately, these hard times really are necessary.

With so much love and admiration,

… your future self

 

6 Months Post-Op

3/11/2015 Working at the summit

3/11/2015 Working at the summit

The ‘big’ 6!  This is the second milestone of recovery from SRS (4 months, 6 months and 1 year).  At 4 months the contractions and nerve re-connections pretty much stopped.  Now at 6 months most of the rest of the constant pain has gone away.  Whereas before it felt like something very hard was just inside under everything – that has now gone away.  Before, there was a constant low level pain – every second.  Regardless of what I was or was not doing – I always felt “down there” – constantly.  Only when I took pain medicine was it normal – with out pain or a constant swollen feeling.

Now, it’s just occasionally that there is any pain down there.  Today I didn’t even use my seat cushion at work – and I worked at the summit (it’s harder when working up there).  I’ve graduated to only using my seat cushion if it’s a hard chair.  Trust me – that is a lot of progress!  I can also sleep at night without having a pillow between my legs to keep them apart.

This all happened the day before my 6 month anniversary.  Just like the 4th month anniversary, seems like it took me right up until the day before for things to fall into place – but they did …

I’ve gained about 8 pounds since the operation.  Now that I’m feeling better, I’m going to start my walking again.  I bought a weighted hula-hoop for exercise too.  And oh boy – it’s not so easy to lose weight like it was before.  My goal is to drop another 30 lbs over the next year.

It’s been very cold here in Hawaii, especially upcountry here.  It’s been down in the 50’s.  Now, back when I lived in Minnesota, with furnaces in every house, even at -40 below zero, our house was a nice comfortable 72.  But we do not have heaters here.  So when it’s 50 degrees outside, it’s ever so slightly warmer inside – like 52 ….  That is cold even for Minnesota for inside.  And worse:  since my operation it’s very easy for me to get a chill.  I feel like I’m freezing almost all the time.  Life has changed.

I have three wonderful women that I’m privileged to have had as mentors as I transitioned to full womanhood.  Lisa of course and two others that I work with at the observatory.  One of them now, no longer works there.  She is the only one that would wear a dress or a skirt to work.  Almost everyone else is in t-shirts and jeans.  She was my inspiration for many things, style was one of them.  She is also the person that ran interference for me when I first started using the women’s restroom.  The other woman at work has also been an inspiration and huge help.  I would best describe her as a ‘wild woman’ in the best way – the way we all should aspire too.  Lisa on the other hand is my conservative mentor – right down the middle of the other two.  She keeps my feet on the ground and everything ‘real’.  I’m fortunate to have these three woman around me and mentoring me.

I still see the woman, that left the observatory, for lunch now and then, and just gave her and her sister’s family a tour of our observatory.  They had two sons, 5 and 9 I believe.  The older son was asking lots of very good questions – I wish everyone that I gave tours to would ask these kinds of questions!  But the younger child was getting bored fast.  He raised his hand and when I asked what his question was, he stated:  “I raised my hand three times …”  Oh dear ….

The spring is a busy time for me as I’m preparing and getting ready for some astronomy outreach events.  I am giving a demonstration on how we find NEOs (near earth objects – asteroids that are close to the earth’s orbit) using a 3D virtual model of our observatory.  The first is for the University of Hawaii’s open house in Manoa (Oahu) and then on the big island for their AstroDays celebration.  Later I teach about 320 3rd graders some elementary astronomy.  So I’ve been busy polishing up my presentations.  I enjoy these!

Soon we will be going back to Brookings to look for houses or lots again.  More houses and lots will be coming back on the market with the coming of spring.  Lisa is diligently watching and saving those we are interested in.  I can’t wait to get back there.  That is a magical place – just like Maui is.  Like other times in my life, it seems when it’s time to move on, I get behind it and put my energy into it.  It’s not that I want to leave, it’s just that I know I must.  I am going to miss Maui greatly.  I have spent two decades traveling the globe, have lived in a number of places – none I would actually call home, any more than home was where-ever I was.  Maui was the first and only place that actually was a home to me – and always will be.  This is the only place where the land beneath my feet has a deep connection to my spirit.  I chose my surname to honor this:  literally “the home”.  This is hard, but I embrace this move to Brookings and am investing my future there.

Not sure if I’ll couple a trip back to Minnesota with the next Brookings trip or the one after.  But I can not wait to go back and see my two sons, their wives and the four grandsons I have now.  And also to see many of my friends and some old friends that have stayed with me.  Somehow, now, this is very important to me, this re-connection.  I think a lot of this has to do with feeling that, for them, I’m now on the other side of transition.  The last time I saw them was when I came out to them at the very beginning of all of this.  I know so much more now and am so different from back then (it’s been awhile).  I wish I could go back to that time with the knowledge I have now.  Now, few will ask, most will quietly attempt to accept and carry on.  I wish I would have the opportunity for a full and deep discussion with them – but I truly doubt that a situation would arise to allow it.  Advice for others:  make it good the first time ….

For the first time I’m seeing scientific and medical papers being published about older transsexuals and the uniqueness of our stories, especially my story.  Today, children 4 or 5 years old express their gender truth and because there is enough information out there, parents, schools and society acknowledges them and they never have to live their lives coping with disphoira (it’s getting there – there are still a lot of horror stories).  For those older but not my generation, there was enough information, usually hidden, but enough that they knew they were the opposite gender even though they did not know the terms for it or if anyone else was like them or anything else about it.  They usually fought it – they became ultra-masculine: top navy seal, football quarterback for a top 10 team, even getting married and having children – as a way to prove to themselves they were what society said they were – men.

But older than that – me for example – there just wasn’t such a thing – nothing and society back then was very strict and fierce.  The only option, at least the way I explained it to myself, was that I was different – I was a boy, but I had all these other abilities (which were all feminine – but these all got twisted into somehow being masculine and acceptable).  But it really comes down to what we are inside and when that is in direct conflict with society (everything external to us, family, school, friends, relations, etc.) and this conflict is dangerous – then our subconsciousness deploys protection mechanisms.

When I was very young, I had a number of incidents that wound up driving this deep underground.  I was also a fast learner and when I saw others in deep trouble, this reinforced my protections.  Since there was no way to know or understand what my conflict was all about – part of me simply hid and made up a story – a story that would take 60 more years to unravel (see my beginnings blog for more information).  It’s nice to see these research papers basically stating the same – at last.

A number of people (family, spouse, older friends) have mentioned that they never saw this coming.  Along the lines of “I just don’t see how you could have hidden this for all these years – I did not see any indications of this in you”.  Well, nether did I !!  That is a consequence of how we create these protections within ourselves.  Ask anyone who has had childhood trauma, for example repeated familial rape.  They might even see the perpetrators as benevolent as they have to in order to survive.  These protections last a life time and only when things are ‘safe’ and these protections are no longer needed, will cracks start to appear and slowly layers upon layers peal back to reveal what actually happened – and we slowly heal.  It took seven years with a therapist and a ‘safe’ environment with Lisa to be able to bring all this out and start to understand.  And as I’ve stated before:  “As I allowed myself to become more of a woman, I started to notice something. It was more like my maleness was falling away then a femaleness was being attained. I was not becoming more of a woman, rather, like layers of an onion, my maleness was being peeled back.  I realized, I’m not becoming a woman – I am a woman.”

It is also of interest that both my ex-wife and my spouse now, have said that what initially attracted them to me were these female ‘sensitivities’ in a male.  They both see that it was the woman that I was underneath that was the attraction:  “you are not like other men….”.  Of course neither see themselves as anything other than heterosexual and would not have even giving me the time of day if I was a woman when we first met.  And of course when we first met – I still thought I was a man – only with all these ‘extras’.

These two things have always been difficult for me to explain:  why I didn’t have a clearer picture of myself as a girl at an early age and why no one, including myself, understood this or could even see my transsexualness for most of my life.  Only in hindsight is all of this clear to me.  I hope this post helps to answer this for you.  I’m glad to see research covering this as well.

What a journey!

With aloha,

Sifan