Saturday, April 11, 2009

Youch!! Laser Day Part I

 I don't think I have ever blogged about it, but before I really came out to my family with my intent to finally transition, I scheduled laser hair removal, and managed to fit in one session. Then I got caught and had one of the biggest fights I have ever had with my Mom. Dad was standing by trying to turn our fight into something more productive, but in the end it was just a miserable,  highly emotional experience for everyone involved and I promised my parents I would not do anything else permanent until I had some counseling.

Well, almost exactly a year of counseling has passed. I am on hormones and they are ware of it. I have been on them long enough that the effects are starting to show in subtle ways.  And having a beard seems more and more frustrating to me.  Mainly it just feels unnatural.  And I hate the way it makes me look. Even thoroughly shaved, it seems it accentuates every masculine feature of my face.  

It causes me to need more makeup than I would really like to wear. With dresses and nicer clothes, heavy makeup doesn't look out of place. But I really want to be able to pull off ultra casual looks.  And wearing  your clothes casual and careless with tons of makeup just looks peculiar to me.  Maybe I am just paranoid but I am always imagining everyone thinking "Hmm, jeans, a tee, and four pounds of makeup? Bet there's a beard under there..."

Also it complicates my routine. I have to use liquid concealer over the beard. A liquid foundation over my entire face, which can only be applied once the concealer has set. Then mineral foundation over that, which again, requires waiting on the previous layer to set. It takes forever! It is hard to feel good about yourself, when you have to hide your face under layers upon layers of stuff before people can recognize you as your actual gender.

And the third thing is that it wrecks my confidence. It grows quickly, and in public I always have to wonder when its going to grow out enough to mess up the texture of my makeup and become visible.  Its like every time I go out, I am running against the clock.

So for months I have planned to get another laser appointment in over this week. I knew I would be off 5 days in a row, so that my skin would be mostly healed before returning to work.  And as the date has drawn closer, I have dreaded the imminent discussions surrounding this decision more and more. Finally, last week, I called and set the appointment.  And since then, I have been trying to figure out how to tell the parents.  

In the end, I waited until the very last minute and talked to dad about it just before leaving.  It was just as emotional as the other hair removal conversation over a year ago. But it was not at all confrontational.  Dad is incredibly logical, diplomatic and empathetic in his dealings. It isn't in my nature, but I have always seen the results of his communication style and admired him for it. So, I tend to manage disagreements the same way he does. 

When we are at odds, it doesn't feel like an argument. We are both calm and level. We openly discuss our feelings, express our points.  We respectfully listen and then make our counterpoints.  

And so Wednesday morning began with the most intense debate of my life.  Dad did not question whether I was transgender. Just what I should do about it.  He made very hard hitting points. 

In the end he broke out the big guns.  He broght up the point that as we age our priorities shift, and that someday I am going to regret not being able to raise children.  He mentioned that adoption isn't the same. That as you age you see your genetic children being  part of you going on after you die.  But he didn't just leave it at that. No, just leaving it at what I would want in the future was not enough. He went on to say he didn't think my brother and his fiance would ever choose to have children and that for him it is hard, seeing the family linage end with his children.

This argument probably didn't strike me the way he would want it to.  But it probably hit me harder.  One of the biggest regreets I have, is that I can not have children. Nnd feeling like I am failing my parents as well makes it that much harder.  

After the most open and heartfelt discssion I have ever had with anyone about my decision to transition, and lots of crying on both sides, Dad let me go. He was obviously very disappointed and upset. I was feeling  guilty and selfish.  I had left him upset to make my vain little appointment. And worse, I had not told Mom and all.  With her, I knew it would be best to find out after the fact. If I let her know while she still perceived an opportunity to stop me it would turn into a tooth and nail struggle; one in which we would both say things we would later regret. But now I would not be home until hours after her. She was going to ask Dad where I was, and he would have to be the one to tell her. I had inadvertently left him behind to do my dirty work.  Thinking about it I almost turned around.  I called to ask Dad what I should do, and to apologize but there was no answer, so I kept driving.

The drive to Sevierville is three and a half hours.  That is a long time to be alone with such dark thoughts. I kept thinking about the things I am giving up. As a guy, I was normal. I could have children, raise a family, walk down the street without fear of being "outed".  Just a normal healthy person in every physical way.   Can I really do this? Can I really just give it all up?

I tried again, for the first time in a few years to imagine the rest of my life playing out, living male.  But I can't imagine being a dad instead of a mom. And I can't imagine being a husband.  I can't imagine keeping up the act.  Life as a man felt as impossible as ever. 

But I can never mother my own child. And I have so many limitations. I guess there is no easy road.  Being myself involves giving up many important things. Playing at being male involves giving up everything. There was  no turning back.  

When I got to the dermatologist's office and went to the restroom. The company logo on the baby changing station was a pink mommy elephant with her little pink baby elephant pressed lovingly against her side.  I sat by myself and cried...


3 comments:

Leslie Ann said...

Oh, Shan...so sorry. You knew it would be tough, and it didn't disappoint. Don't take this the wrong way, but there was some justice to your Dad having to tell Mom after he tried to guilt you into giving him grandchildren. The one he needs to be pressuring for that is your brother.

You are doing the right thing for you. I know you well enough to say that confidently. No one said it would be easy, certainly not me. Keep that pretty chin up, girl.

All my love,
Leslie

Suzi said...

I just want to emphatically disagree with what your dad said about adoption. You should go ask some adoptive parents how they feel about their child. You will probably find MORE love than you would expect. You will by no means be the only woman in the world that cannot reproduce. Thousands of young women are forced to have hysterectomies. Thousands of them adopt and love that child with all their heart, mind, and soul. My boss is in that boat, and I've seen how deeply they love that child. I've heard that as a TS, it is still sometimes possible to breastfeed a baby. You might look into it. Try not to let that aspect of your future get you down...the possibilities are still there.

Your dad is a logical guy. He knows there is no reason to fly off the handle...nothing gets accomplished. He's hoping you will respond to logic and doesn't understand the power of GID...he needs you to teach him. I believe he might be the only one to help your mom understand.

Good luck sweetie. Just be true to yourself, you can't go wrong in the long run. :)Suzi

thesweetestnote said...

Being Transgender and living the male role I was expected too has taught me a valuable life lesson... you cannot be who you are not. I have taken on a "normal life". It was great at first but "yourself" catches up to you eventually. I have the wife and kids. They bring me great joy and I love them dearly. But now I feel as if I brought them on a journey they need not be on. Everyday is hellish dealing with not being able to be authentic in order to retain my family. Another life lesson for me... never ever live your life to make someone else happy. You eventually find yourself unhappy. And that turns to torment.