Happy Rebirthday to Me!!!


I have reached what to me is a first of many milestones to come in my life. I have officially been on HRT for one year as of Good Friday (appropriate day to start huh!). I can say that my experiences so far, though occasionally bittersweet, have been positive ones. Being a transsexual woman in Saskatchewan is an adventure to say the least.

I have been full time living as a female for about 5-6 months and have had what can only be described as a comedic ride thus far (my sense of humor is slightly warped). Since coming out I have felt at total ease with myself with who I am and have developed a sense of pride in being true to myself. Initially the reactions I got kind of bothered me. I don't know how well prepared I was to be stared at by everyone (having green hair in high school helped). I admit over time I have become more accustomed to the attention and have changed my perspective. I think I'm doing a good job of rattling the sensibilities of this old fashioned town and every grimace and sideways glance is a lesson taught in human behavior.

I guess the way I have been feeling about my transition is distinctly opposite to how I felt before it began. I used to be depressed, suicidal, and was ashamed of how I felt. I was unable to understand my emotions or why I identified myself as a female (there is no singular or general reason why we do). I hated myself for my inability to suppress or accept my need to express my femininity and hatred for the rest of the world for making it so easy to feel ashamed of being me. I think I draw a lot of strength from my family and friends for not judging me and that alone has helped me have a better outlook on life. However, I acknowledge a degree of spite with which I inflict my right to exist on the people I encounter. I'm past needing the acceptance of everyone else and accept myself.

Now before I keep going tooting my own horn about how far I've come i will share some of my frustrations. Ironically I notice I get called "sir" even more often than I did before I starting wearing make-up and women’s clothes (I have taken to replying by calling them the wrong gender in return). I suppose it bothers me a little less when it's a drive thru employee in comparison to a nurse (you'd think she would know better but then this is Saskatchewan). I still get afraid to go out a lot but mostly in respect to going to new places or when I am alone.

Sometimes I opt out of leaving the house unless it's necessary, the nagging feeling that I am putting myself in danger real or perceived has kept me safe so far. I can't decide where on the spectrum of cowardice and common sense I land but I am taking over the city in spurts of reckless abandon so I won't be too hard on myself. By that I mean there are places I can go and not feel unsafe or threatened and the number of places is increasing as I progress. I am single and since moving into a place by myself I sense loneliness trying to embed itself in my psyche. I am trying not to let solitude get to me but if there is one thing that I need, it's a little human contact from time to time. I don't mean sex and I don't mean a pat on the back, but if I hug you unexpectedly for no apparent reason, well....that's the reason.

I have noticed the initial shock wearing off my coworkers, although some regard me with a healthy and oftentimes slightly insensitive curiosity. I am no stranger to the testing of relationship boundaries and the way that a lot of my personal life seems open territory for conversation is the side affect of having to wear my life on my sleeve. I am of the mind that people shouldn't ask questions they don't want to know the answers to because I am more than happy to tell someone something that will keep them up at night (like they really need to wonder if I pee sitting down or wear a thong or if I plan on bronzing my testes). I may have mentioned I used to be a bouncer in a bar, hence I have the skills needed to deal with most difficult situations, my sense of humor and patience have served me very well. Although it's perhaps less sophisticated of an approach, I always keep in mind that I might just have to choke someone out if I run out of options.

I have had many different encounters ranging from drunken females trying to see what my bra is stuffed with (which happens to be my breasts) to being scrutinized by a clerk trying to authenticate my identification as I buy cigarettes. I have been asked by children if I am male or female and asked why I talk like a boy (shouldn't you be in school?), I have spent entire evenings with people and found out later that they were unaware I was anything other than a regular female (yay!). I have been told I make people want to throw up and been told I have made people question their sexuality. I have been called bold and told my bravery inspires people and I have been told I am a freak of nature. At the end of the day when I look at myself in the mirror I might be all or none of those things but I see a woman who is finding peace with herself. I would endure far worse for that gift. I guess you could say I'm starting to feel like my new self for a change, Ha!

The point of what I wrote here is simply to share some of my personal experiences. I have managed to survive my first year of transitioning with my sanity and my sense of humor intact. I know I have many challenges ahead of me but I welcome them, they are well worth it to me in the end.

Comments

Amara said…
Delightful!...Happy Birthday Rhenaiya!
Thanks for sharing your inspiring story that I believe can only have a postive and realistic inpact on people following in your footsteps.
Peace
Karen Reeves said…
Rhenalya Happy Birthday ! I think the ladies here at Gender Evolve got the present from YOU however. It is always interesting hearing about other girls' journeys. It is not a straight upward course. There aree mountain tops but there are valleys as well. We continue to climb however :-)

I know the journey is difficult. I, myself, have not shared alot of the heartache along the way prefering to remember only the victories. As you continue on your journey the sense of self worth and gratification will grow. Whether it be in Saskatchewan, Great Britain, South Africa, China, or elsewhere, each story from each girl reminds us of the struggles ahead for so many. It should also remind us of the steady gains for everyone. When each person attains another victory in their personal life it magnifies into a victory for all of us !

Thank you Rhenalya for telling us about your interesting insights. You are a brave, intelligent, and beautiful lady.

With Love,

~KAREN~
RE: HAPPY REBIRTHDAY TO ME!!
http://genderevolve.blogspot.com/2006/04/happy-rebirthday-to-me.html
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Dearest Rhenaiya,

Ooooohhh girl, you've come such a long way baby!! Do you know, it was 1 year ago exactly that you and I first met? Apr 30/05 I stumbled upon URNA and set up a profile, within a day or two after that I located you! (For those who don't know, Rhen and I live in the same city). The first time we met and went out was on your birthday weekend, this time last year. Wow, a lot has happened for us both in one short year!!

Not only is it your 1 year "rebirthday" Rhen, but it feels like mine too. It's my 1 year "anniversary" of finding the trans community! Knowing you in person this past year, watching you blossom, has been a big motivating factor in why I've been so involved with the t-community. You have been a major source of inspiration for me. Rhen, I have witnessed such a notable transformation in you. While the physical transformation is obvious, it's your emotional and mental transformation that really has touched my heart the most.

Though you've always been a pleasant and friendly person, when we first met, you had a dark cloud surrounding you, a deep sadness, a tinge of bitterness. You seemed fearful and self-conscious, almost anticipating negative responses from others. Since then, I've watched you take one tentative step at a time, venturing out of the closet and into your truth. With each step, you gain confidence, and the momentum to take the next step.

In one short year, you have walked through 28 years of bottled-up fears and come out to everyone, friends, family, work. You are now living in truth, and the burden of silence you used to carry is no longer with you. Come what may, you have liberated yourself from others' expectations of you. It's like you've dropped the boulders you used to carry on your shoulders. The difference in your energy is indescribable!

Today Rhen, the best way I can describe your energy is... peaceful. You seem at peace now, after having been at war with yourself for so long. Not only do you seem peaceful, but also relieved and grateful. As you told me before, most of what you had feared never came to pass. Your friends, family and work have all accepted you. They may not understand you, some may not agree with you, some might wish differently for you, but nonetheless they have all accepted you.

Coming out as a transgender woman in a workplace with 50+ manly-men takes incredible bravery, yet equally touching is the fact that you continue to work there as visibly trans, and these men continue to treat you respectfully. See, we would not assume that acceptance would come from such a group of blue-collar men, yet unless someone tries it, we'll never know. Because of Rhen and others like her, we are finding acceptance in the most unexpected places!

Rhenaiya, the reason you have come to this state of peace, dear little sister, is because you took the risks necessary to get here. You risked losing your entire comfort zone, because living in the box was killing you. I am so proud of you sweetie, and so honoured to know you. I hope you will spend more time among us GE girls in the year to come, as your perspectives are very valuable to us all.

Lots of love,
Michele
Steffanie said…
Congrats Rhenaiya!,
We share almost the exact same HRT birthday, a year apart. You have my admiration for your bravery as a single T girl in such a "Frontier" town. In my 5+ months of full time life, I have had very few negative contacts with the world, but you have had more exposure day to day. Sometimes I wish they would ask me the tough questions like "what's in your bra?" (not really tough at all, is it?).I can so empathize with your reactions to comments like "proud of you" and "you're so brave"....I just tell 'em, "I'm totally chicken sh-t". Love your attitude girl and keep your head up proud. A wise friend once told me, it's not that they make you or don't, but that if they do, they see that you're real, decent, and someone deserving not of their derision, but of their friendship and respect. Happy, Happy birthday and life! Huggs, Steffanie
Carollyn Olson said…
Happy Birthday to a gorgeous lady. May your journey through womanhood continue to be the highlight of your life. Remember, friends are angels who will always be there to pick you up when you fall so you can fly even higher. Love, CC (Mature Woman co-founder and Vanity Club member #435)
Sherry41 said…
Sweethart here is a GIG HUG from me. I know just where you are.
Sherry41 said…
Sweethart here is a GIG HUG from me. I know just where you are.
Sherry41 said…
Sweet heart I know just where you are. Here is a BIG HUG from me
Sherry

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