This story is based on a blog I had started after Wolsey came out to be as transgender. It was written during his transition and I had assumed I would never be able to follow him, so I decided to do what I could to be a husband.
I didn’t have any resources on husbands staying with their newly transitioned husband, and in fact it looked like at that time I was the only one doing so (that I could find, I have no doubt I am not the only one period).
The almost five years of that blog were intense. I got interviewed by numerous publications, and we even were approached by TLC for a special (we turned that down). We were then approached by our publisher Riverdale Avenue and they asked me to write about it.
I had the idea that I could take a good selection of my blog entries, then write up my responses to what they were about now that Wolsey was fully transitioned, and then also get Wolsey to write his perspective for each post and what he saw and felt. I think working with Wolsey so we could give both sides was a much better approach, besides I like working with Wolsey.
The publisher really liked our idea and here we are almost three years after signing our contract with the book out. I figure I will also list below where the other publications were, including one publication I actually wrote a story about our story in a shorter and much different format (MELK).
Funny enough, the very first blog entry I wrote I said I thought I was in the wrong body as well, but that I didn’t foresee ever being able to transition… Evidently my foretelling doesn’t work so well.
Press and Interviews about the Accidentally Gay Blog, and my marriage to my spouse:
Since I started my transition back last spring I have tried clothing for my chest wear such as a camisole, or other garments. My chest wasn’t very large so I didn’t have to pay much attention. After all I was still in “boy mode” and wasn’t concerned about passing.
Fast forward to end of the year and my boobs are becoming real. Not big, but early-mid teen level and becoming obvious when I wear shirts. This absolutely pleases me of course and I don’t mind them poking out. The problem is I am going back to work (I will post about that later) so I need to be conservative and keep them in check. Plus I am starting to work out now and they are starting to hurt when I bang against something.
I realize they are still not big, but the hubby got me some sports bras to wear. So now I am trying to wear them for support and in preparedness for my chest surgery this fall (and they will be fairly large) so I know I will be a bra person from this point forward.
During my wearing of a sports bra I can tell you what someone who was AMAB is surprised about. These are obvious things but when you live as a guy for four+ decades you never have to consider these two items.
1. Bras are tight across the chest. I realize this is a “duh” moment, but the privilege of not having to wear a bra means you might know logically, but you don’t realize until you do it how different it is.
I have found it comfortable sometimes, my breasts are fairly tender now and if I lean against something like a guy or don’t pay attention they smart from being tapped, tagged or smashed against something. The bra definitely helps that.
I also found I really understand now (and I bet even more so when I have the chest surgery and larger bras) why the women I was around were so happy when they could take their bra off. The sigh of relief I heard always seemed a bit odd to me. Men’s clothing doesn’t fit like this at all and I didn’t realize it was a relief to get the bra off. Now I get it.
2. The second, and even more unexpected aspect of the bra is the weird way it feels around my mid/stomach section. The bra doesn’t feel weird, but the feeling of something on my upper chest but then nothing on my abdomen is an absolutely bizarre situation for me.
I never wore half shirts/muscle tees that expose the midriff and I am sure this is a similar feeling, but it felt awkward to have only the top half of my chest covered on one layer, but not below. It was even weirder to feel the shirt I am wearing on my belly, but a different layer of fabric (the bra) on my chest.
I have gotten used to it, but it struck me how separated we keep the genders for clothing and what it means. Just a little insight to you on what a transitioning women is thinking about bras in her first weeks of experience.
One of the unexpected results of being on estrogen and testosterone blockers (spirolactone in my case) was the change in my risk tolerance lowering and my risk aversion increasing greatly.
For the first 46 years of my life I was a very high risk tolerant person. I wouldn’t stress quitting a job on the fly. When I was younger I would hang out of a truck at freeway speeds being held by only a belt that a friend was holding (or freeway surfing in the back of that truck on the freeway). I didn’t mind jumping apartments more than once a year, and I liked a lot of change in my life.
My safety didn’t concern me one bit, not physically, financially, emotionally or domestically. It would drive my husband nuts and I can’t say that I don’t blame him for being upset, especially now.
For the last 10 months on hormones and blockers my risk tolerance and aversion has become inverted. I get anxious driving too fast (especially if I am not driving). The idea of looking for work freaks me out. The idea of having to move is pretty intensely bad for me and finally I have developed this weird fear of our financial situation deteriorating even further that I want to stock up.
Now, part of my risk tolerance and acceptance I had before my transition can be directly laid out at how I was raised. Being raised around bikers, police involved in our lives, violence and guns (oh and living homeless for more than a year in high school) contributed. This was along with poverty and a lot of hunger made me pretty bullet proof for risk.
This of course combined with my 30 year long fight with depression (transition related along with PTSD and childhood trauma) made me really risk tolerant. I honestly never thought I would live to be this old and I didn’t really care. Not that I thought of it that way, I just assumed I would be dead by something.
This changed massively when I came out as transgender and the depression retreated back. I am in counseling for my depression, PTSD and trauma. The biggest piece though seems to be the testosterone restriction. It is a huge difference now. Some might say it is only correlation but I watched the husband go the opposite direction from before his transition (he got very anxious about risk when he was still presenting as feminine) and now he is a lot more tolerant of it. Our roles have almost flipped not just gender wise but in the risk aversion.
I realize I bought into the whole toxic masculinity when I was younger. I totally admit it. I loved (and in some cases still do love) adrenaline rushes. I love the feeling of a plane taking off and landing (just as much now, one of the weird things that hasn’t changed), but the idea of our finances and my unemployment ending freak me out. Driving in rainy freeway weather freaks me out. The idea that we might have to move yearly again makes me uncomfortable when a year ago I always looked for new apartments and new adventures.
I do feel bad though. I used to always give a hard time to my female friends and especially my husband (at the time my wife) about being such a nervous Nelly. He would be anxious driving in the rain, or other bad weather conditions, nervous about moving again or quitting jobs, etc. I just assumed he needed to get over it. I didn’t understand at all what he or my other female friends felt.
I didn’t realize how much of it is hardcoded into the hormones/position in society. I feel like a total dick because of it. Not that I was mean, but I would roll my eyes and bitch to myself.
So there it is, I am now way more risk averse to physical things, financially a bit and definitely domestically. It is amazing how much of us is dictated by our chemistry.
Lately I have been freaking out about income. We are currently able to hold indefinitely on the husband’s wages, even with getting breast augmentation, and the orchiectomy (even a vaginoplasty if I go that direction). They are all covered by insurance and he is doing awesome supporting me.
So I am freaking out about the FFS. That has to come out of our pocket… except if I wanted a nose job or tracheal shave, those are covered, but those are the two things I don’t need right now. So I am looking at the countdown clock to accruing a debt I don’t have enough to do more than make base payments for a year and hope I get a job.
This has meant I was reconsidering going back to the DoD. Incredibly toxic environment, I would hate the job and myself, but if I could tolerate 18 months I would pay off the FFS entirely, my husband’s car and the car I would have to get to be able to commute to it.
So I reach out to my immediate supervisor. To my knowledge I left on good terms. I am completely eligible to force my way in with my tenure (there was no marks on my personnel record). She was excited and wanted me back ASAP. She recommended I talk to the Station Chief who is the overall manager. She even contacted him and he told her to have me call him.
In the past working under the station chief, he asked me to not take another job with the VA. He needed me as a highly qualified auditor and we made an arrangement and I did just that (this was a couple of years ago). I stayed at a job I hated because he asked, and also because the hubby was still there and in all honesty it was more for that reason.
My expectation was to dicker over scheduling and my time off for surgery… I was wrong.
I called him and his voice was weird. It had a tone I had never heard before and I was bit confused. He immediately asked if I was still changing my name from Lucky… I told him no, when I change my gender Lucky will actually be on my ID instead of a nickname (along with Lucia). He got really quiet.
I knew I was fucked at this moment. He got weird a bit about things when I confirmed I was going to have surgeries this year.
Then all of a second he thinks it might be a bad idea if I apply back. He said there were some “unofficial” performance issues and that the Regional Manager was lukewarm to the idea of me coming back.
I have never had a performance issue, in fact I was given an award 4 weeks after I left the agency in a paycheck for MY PERFORMANCE.
I confronted him about this. I asked if any of this was in my jacket since I HAD NEVER BEEN TALKED TO ABOUT MY PERFORMANCE. He backpedaled but kept saying maybe the other set of offices (the “not my backyard” excuse) would be better. If my performance was bad then it wouldn’t just disappear if I applied at a different office 7 miles away. Nope that wasn’t this at all, this was “we don’t want transgendered people here”.
I knew this was all bullshit, and I tried to retract myself explaining no worries, it isn’t a big deal to me anyways I wasn’t sure if this is what I wanted to do. He kept me on the phone for 20 minutes and it was awkward (ok, I could have left anytime but I have my own issues about being assertive).
So evidently now that I am having “surgeries” and transitioning, my performance was an issue at my last job. However these performance issues are “unofficial” and are not in my records at all.
It does absolutely reaffirm the husband and I’s decision to leave when I started my transition. It would have been hell there and I probably would come home crying every day, or in trouble for becoming too aggressive in return.
So now I am broke, worried about a fiscal cliff, but reassured we still made the right decision. So if nothing else this upsetting incident also just reassures me there are no regrets from quitting that piece of shit job.
I never really thought about what I looked like when I stared at myself in the mirror. I generally would just groom and move on. It is just a station to stop at and fix up as best I can what I see in the mirror.
It is strange now that I have lost more than 105lbs, I am under 200lbs for the first time since I was 18. That combined with the fact that I am growing my beard out for electrolysis and causing a huge influx of dysphoria (which I will talk about more later) and the final touch realizing that most of the brown in my beard is gone due to laser hair removal means it is mostly a glint of silvery white.
Combine that with my longer thinner face and my hair is still brown means I am looking at myself in the mirror and realize I once again look vaguely like my father around this age. Especially when I catch it in the corner of my eyes, it catches me off guard. Not in a bad way, he wasn’t an unattractive man. I don’t hate the sight of him. I loved him dearly even with the alcoholism and other issues. It just wasn’t something I expected to see again.
When I was 18-19 and I first started dating the hubby I looked similar to now (just 30 years younger of course). I had more than one occasion where I would walk the hubby down the street (he was a tiny, very very attractive punk rock girl at the time, since this was 24 years before his transition) and people would comment back to my mom that they saw “John” down on Railroad (the local bar road) with a younger girl.
It got my dad in trouble a couple of times for stuff he hadn’t done, and I never understood it. I never really thought we looked alike (although looking at a photo album I can see what people were saying). We even had one person step out of a bar and start calling my dad’s name when I had walked by with my hand around Wolsey’s waist. Of course when they got outside and got closer they realized I was his older kid and apologized, but it was funny now (and I was a bit horrified back then).
I grew older and within a couple of years I had put on a lot of weight. I still think I looked hot (well, I didn’t, but W always thought I did) and I looked a lot more like my mother’s side of the family, the viking norseman bloodline was a lot more evident and similarities to my father disappeared under my bulk.
Now that thirty years have gone by and I have recently lost all that weight I look different and my body has morphed closer to my father (except far taller, my dad was always shorter than me) and my grandfather on my mom’s side similarity has receded.
So now sometimes, with the beard coming out and the silver white coloring glinting in the light of the bathroom mirror I see memories of my dad. Part of it makes me smile, I loved him dearly. Part of me misses him terribly. I haven’t yet really talked about the horror of him passing away and the total fucked up situation my siblings put the whole thing through. Maybe I am at a point I can do that.
Then part of me panics for a moment. Shame that I might “destroy” what is left looking like him living here in the world. It is a stupid thought. A fear that I am going to fuck something up. I realize this is more about fear of the unknown when it comes to the FFS, but that is how it comes out. That I might destroy the last remnants of my father that still live and look like him.
The worst part is that is quickly overridden by the gut sick feeling I see of myself when I see that facial hair coming through. I never understood up until coming out and transitioning what it meant that I hated facial hair. I tried it a lot, I come from biker stock and it is part of the uniform, especially the mutton chops. I think a lot of the time it looked really good on me, better than without it. It didn’t matter though, I always hated it.
I hate it more now that I know FFS is coming up and there it is mocking me while I wait for the electrolysis to make it go away forever over a very long period of time. That however doesn’t stop the weird guilt and shame I feel over intentionally changing my bone structure and removing that beard forever. Don’t worry, that guilt and shame only last momentarily and then my desire for my true self to come out is stronger, but its there.
I know part of it is I just miss my dad a lot. He had a lot of problems, way more than most dads. In other ways he showed love a lot stronger than any dad I have met. It is complicated thing, but I think the transition is forcing me to deal with feelings. The fact that I see parts of him when I look in the mirror has made it harder. It doesn’t help we are coming up to the anniversary of his passing and I think with the anxiety of the surgery.
Sometimes I can’t even clearly define why I am upset about it, I am still working on it, trying to understand. I don’t know if all this will be is random emotions about my history, my life and experiences and complicated relationships, but that is why I write it down. Maybe in 20 years when I am closing in on 70 it will make more sense why I felt this way… or maybe I will still have no clue.
For now it brings out some sadness, a lot of dysphoria, but also a little smile when I catch my father in the mirror.
Before I go any further I need to put a disclaimer. This post is about genital stuff, mostly about changes, some of which are unexpected. I feel the need to write about it because that is the purpose of me blogging about my transition, all the details of it. However, if you are squeamish or don’t want to know about medical aspects of my genital transition then don’t read any further, I will even put a cut here for you.
Today I wanted to talk to you about dysphoria and myself. Growing up I have always hated the way I look. I mean absolutely, truly hated it. No physical reason for it, I know I was considered attractive enough that others showed interest in me, and personality can only make up for some of that.
I never associated it as dysphoria though. I always thought I was just too fat, my chin was too big, etc. I even felt differently about the typical male role I played intimately with others. Didn’t like it, but didn’t identify it as a gender related issue.
The hubby tried to get me to buy clothing, to care about myself, a variety of ways to show me that there was nothing wrong with me. I didn’t have the words for him at the time. All I could put out there was that I was fat, stupid, etc. I just marked it mentally as mental health issues because logically I knew I wasn’t that bad, but the emotion would never stop.
That is to say until I transitioned and as my features slowly change I found I really starting to like what I look like. The emotion has gone away mostly. That is until Saturday and it is getting harder. That is because I have to grow my beard out for electrolysis. It is the first time in a year I have had a beard, and while I have had my biker/office chops before, I never liked it.
I find now I hate it even more. I am fortunate, laser hair removal has gotten rid of almost all my dark hair, so all that is left is white hair with some dark hair above my lip. So I don’t look quite so viking like. I also don’t think logically that I look badge even with the beard coming out. I have more of a David Bowiesque guy look going and logically it is fine. Inside it is a thousand times worse.
I am so close to where I want to go body wise, and now the beard has to be done and the feel of stubble and beard on my neck and face just eats at me. Sadly this needs to be done, the electrolysis will get rid of this problem, it is just a small trial I have to go through before I get my facial surgery.
Of course I have had negative thoughts as well looking at myself in the mirror, worrying as I drift away from masculine that the husband will be left wanting something I wouldn’t have to give him. He has never said this, he has made clear he is attracted to me, but that is a huge difference already. I have lost weight, I look fairly good already (the best I have looked in our marriage) but I feel like now that he gets the best look for “his husband” it will be disappearing soon.
That is its own post, but I wanted to get an intro on what I am feeling and dysphoria along with worry my husband will not be as attracted to me. I am sure those are all interrelated to my beard growing out. Let’s hope it only takes a few weeks to do this.
I should be more than happy about this situation. I had a job interview with the old job I had that I left in September earlier this week. Yes, the one that I left in September.
It pays $20,000 more a year than what I was making at the state. I share an office instead of a desk in a pod, and it is mostly self directed. Then why do I absolutely hate the idea of going back you might ask? Because I left originally because of the anti-trans issues that popped up from some employees and from the County Council.
I have the second interview there today and there is a huge part of me that is praying they pass me over. I suspect they won’t, they are using the desk guide I wrote and the guidelines I developed for whoever gets hired back. However, there is evidently three of us getting the second interview and one of the people had worked closely with the boss of this department. The voice inside my head is hoping that they give it to them. I hate nepotism but the dark side of me is hoping it gets used today. There is a part of me that just twists at the idea of having to deal with those looks daily at me for being trans. To be honest though, that would probably only only last for a few months.
No matter how I feel though, I know I can’t reasonably tank the interview on purpose. I watch the husband struggle with pressure that our finances rest on him. My face is going to cost the same OR MORE than getting a master’s degree (above $36,000) and it is going to be all credit. I do have unemployment and we do make enough to squeak by making that extra payment so we won’t crash financially (even with the payments on my face I can scavenge enough to keep us going at least 12-18 months). Even so, while I do have the ability to keep going financially, I can’t say no if I get offered it.
I am already expecting though, if I get hired and find they are still the douchebag coworkers that I left because of, that I probably won’t return after my actual facial surgery. I am even looking at returning to the DoD as I felt there was more support there. Some of the management already said they would pick me up without a hesitation and since we won’t have to rely on the DoD for my medical that is an option. This is because the hubby is still working state and my insurance will still be through the state.
So I feel horrible that I even think I would like to not get the job. Like I am failing the hubby. I have no doubt this is all nudged by my transition specific stresses as well. It becomes this large ball of stress and I don’t know what to do.
That isn’t true, I know what to do and I will do it. I will go to the interview and give my best performance and take the job if it is offered, work my ass off on it no matter what others say and determine in May when I come back from my facial surgery whether I want to jump to the feds or not (right now higher probability then staying).
If I don’t get the job, I will keep applying at places and most likely go back to the DoD as well. Either way its going to suck mentally, but I need to do it. I can’t leave the hubby hanging.
The only thing about all of this is I have never been able to take time to just relax, or focus on my transition. It has been about work and money the whole time. It would be nice to focus on me at some point, but maybe once this is over I can work it out.
I have been quiet the last couple of weeks due to an overabundance of anxiety, projects and money stress. Overall it has been going ok, and only some of my stuff is transition related so I will cover that in a future post.
As we all know, I was laid off 25 minutes after I put in my request for time off for FFS related to my transitioning. It was unexpected although not necessarily unwelcomed. I hated that job anyways, the management I worked with (as part of management) had favorites, targeted specific employees they didn’t like and overall, I disapproved of how they did it. So, my being cut out was fine, especially if it made me eligible for unemployment. Sort of a win-win.
Five weeks later they still were not approving my unemployment (sadly I worked for the people that handle unemployment, so it was a bit awkward signing up for it) and that has caused a massive amount of stress financially.
We can totally get by on what my hubby makes, even if it is super tight budget wise. He is working his ass off, but it crushes me every time I see him having to do what he does, and he does it willingly to help support me and my transition. That is why it was so important I get unemployment so I can take that burden off and smooth our wait for my surgery in April.
Last week I got asked to come in for an interview at the job I had before last. I left that job because of some pretty transphobic coworkers (they didn’t know I was transgender) and so I made a soft exit and went on to what was a cursed job. Now they wanted to interview me again so while I dislike the idea of working there again, I know the job and it pays fairly good, better than my hell job.
I went in to the first interview, part of me really hoping they wouldn’t want me back just so I could actually have some time to be a stress ball about transitioning and surgery. I was clear on the massive amount of time I was going to be requesting off this year due to four surgeries (at least, not counting any revisions or fixes needed). They seemed mildly ok with it.
I got home and the next day I find I am approved for unemployment. Massive amount of pressure taken off both the hubby and I for at least six months. It isn’t a lot of money and it means we will not be paying any of the large debt we are incurring for my face, but it would keep us going.
Not more than three hours later I get an invite to the second interview for that job, a job I don’t want but pays too much for me to justify not taking it. So now there is a little frustration that I got the unemployment but that will probably be going away by the beginning of February IF they hire me (that is still not even close to a definite yet).
So now I have this cognitive dissonance. I am getting unemployment and am happy, but stressed it isn’t more money. I may get a job that pays about double my unemployment but will hate and here I sit spinning my wheels stressed about all of it.
I find if I express this it sometimes helps, which is why you get to all read about it. There are some transition things happening that add greatly to this, but like I said those will be their own post.
So here I am stressing out that I might have a better paying job, or that I am not making enough on unemployment. You would think between the two choices I would find myself happy, but I am not. Such is the life of a girl.
One of my goals in 2019 was to post several times a week, but already I got a little behind. For the last week or so I have been scanning our pictures packed away. I did this about two years ago shortly after my parents passed. it was done in a hurry, the scan qualities probably not the best, but I did it so I could get the degrading photos safely saved and handed out to my family members.
The photos from my childhood had traveled with us homeless for years, we moved more than 20 times in my childhood (eviction, poverty and homelessness) and this meant all we had left were some ratty photo albums that we kept no matter what. So when my parents died, I figured it was important to scan them, evidently not as important to my family in the end. Lesson learned on that front.
Now that we are settled and I am taking some photo restoration online classes I am learning a lot. I want to go back through not just my childhood, but the hubby and I’s photos and scan everything that I WANT. I make this distinction because there were a lot of photos I scanned that I had no idea who the person was, where it was at, etc. It was only done in case someone wanted it in the future. Now that I am doing it for myself, I can be picky. The other problem is my organization when I scanned it makes it hard to figure out what photos I want to keep and if I can get them in better quality, so here we are scanning.
That being said, being picky is pretty hard. I can for the most part not blink as I put aside photography dealing with people I don’t know who they are. I can also avoid photos of scenic (or not so scenic) views of places that don’t mean so much to me.
I have however found it difficult anyways to not scan some stupid imagery. Not that it means anything to me, but I think it is some sort of resonance, or worry that I don’t want to lose what my parents were looking at, at one point in time of their life. It makes me super anxious that I might be squishing out their point of view.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still not scanning all of the photos I will never look at anyways, but it does give me anxiety about doing it. I am about 1/3 of the way done after a week and I will be glad to have it done, and stop the scanning.
At least at that point I can use my computer to figure out duplicates, remove them. Then remove photos I can’t restore and are no good. I will then go back through my current photo library (after backing it up) and deleting or replacing photos I don’t want or need.
The other good experience is I am learning pretty fast how to restore photos, it is both easier and harder than you would think. Hey, maybe now that my job prospects are shakier with being out and trans I might be able to pick up a little side money restoring photos, or even photo manipulation.
Either way, next couple of weeks will be busy as I do this.