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From Mars to Venus

My story isn’t much different than what you may find anywhere else, really. The early years of life was spent playing in grandmas basement after school, running around the neighborhood with my gang of friends, playing ball, jumping in the creek, roller skating (it was cool, back then), just typical kids stuff. Through grade school I was semi-popular, awkward in my tall thin body, kinda athletic, funny, and liked by teachers because I was polite and never a problem. But, oh, mother, did I have a secret.

As I began to come out of the fog and haze that was the years of Junior high school it was dawning on me how painful life was about to get as puberty was ravaging my neutral body into a fragile shell of a man. From the first day of high school I could tell that all the guys were maturing into men, and the women who had begun blossoming a year or so before were that much more beautiful, and then there was me. Needless to say gym class was weird. The locker room banter and disrobing made me feel on display for all to see my freakish self in my underwear. Hence why I didn’t always dress for gym. The anxiety trip that high school ended up being allowed for me to become quite the recreational drug user. I would go to parties with friends, blend in to the crowd, find a quiet corner, or, try and lerch onto someone so it doesn’t look like I am alone on an island. Typical parties, really, with weed, cocaine, acid, and alcohol being staples. Yeah, I was a real loser, allright. Whatever made me not want to think about who I was, and how I was just wasting away, well, I would try it- within reason. No needles (even a loser like me has principles).

As the years went by I saw friends die young due to drug or alcohol induced accidents, and I would think to myself “how is it that you are killing yourself to live and bad things are happening to other people..yet here you are. You can’t even live your own life. You should just get it over with, because its never going to happen”. Having played a small part in one friends death haunts me to this day, and he may be alive today if I would have simply agreed to go somewhere with him instead of him getting into another car that would eventually be totaled and he the only one killed. Who knows, I could have ended up in that car, and with my long, lanky ass, would have surely been killed, also. Instead. Maybe, who knows. At the time guilt was a powerful ally to my already low self-esteem, and, the two combined did a real number on how I viewed the world viewing me….for a long, long time. Oh, mother, did I have secret.

When I made it to 26 I started going out and about and seeking out support groups to help me figure out why I knew I was a woman on the inside, but, considerably different on the outside. I didn’t have the internet yet (Al Gore had just invented it a few years prior), and it never really occured to me to go to a library and research the subject. The all-consuming thought in my mind was why the hell I am the only one that feels this way? Because if other people feel this way too, well, good luck to ’em! Low and behold, though, I did find others, and only half of them were crazy, and I was able to make a few friends. Being out in a social situation was like nothing I can describe (is there a word for it?). Surreal, maybe, is close to it. I went out whenever I could, just to feel like I was, at least, trying to be true to myself. Due to my late blooming, though, I wasn’t able to do the bar and club scene until 3 or 4 am like some of the other girls did (how?), and usually faded out by 1 or 2. A certain girl needs her beauty sleep, or, she is a bitch! Soon, going to clubs wasn’t realling doing it for me, anymore, and, I felt the need to take the next logical, but scarey, step forward. Funny enough, I stood on the thresh hold of the next step for the next 5 years almost.

I mean, what was I supposed to do? Start taking female hormones? Have SRS? Live as a woman? Me? Please my family would dis-own me so fast the world could take a while break from spinning for a sec. Get real. There’s no way I can just expect everything to be fine after I snap my fingers and make the pain go away? Is there? These, and other questions I asked myself, in Spring 2003, as I lay on the floor in my grandmas basement in the room where it all began so many years ago, having a nervous breakdown. At one point a moment of calm washed over me as I started to believe in myself for the first time, whole heartedly, for, maybe, ever.

So, shortly after that I was living alone, going to a support group, seeing a therapist (or at least trying to find one that understood), and gaining valuable confidence in myself as I was now presenting my true self to the world more, and more on a regular basis. Whispers at work became half-hearted remarks about how I was walking funny, when I was going to cut my hair, do men wear lavender?, are your legs shaved?. It got to be fun to answer the questions honestly when they asked me, because, odds are that was the last time that question got asked. By that same person anyways. So, yeah, that confidence, thing…. the cat was beginning to get out of the bag all by her self.

Confidence allowed me to come out to my brother in January 2005. I wrote what I thought was a good letter trying to explain what I wasn’t quite able to say out loud to someone yet. My soon-to-be-learned-lesson was that once I told him there was no going back. In other words a small snowball would start rolling and pick up momentum to where it would go up the side of another hill, go airborn and then land right back on me and all I would be able to do is hold out a sign that says “help” from underneath the now huge boulder. Within 2 weeks my brother demanded he and I meet face to face so I would have to tell him in my own words. As difficult as it would prove to be I managed to look him in the eye and explain myself for a few hours. We left with hugs and love for each other, and he even took a copy of “She’s Not There” & “True Selves” when he left. I thought there was hope, at least that things may work out ok. Two weeks later, come to find out, my brother is now harrassing my room mate (cd) on their myspace page. I, foolishly, interfere, and my brother goes and writes a letter to my room mates department head at the university he was working at, and explains to this guy how my friend likes to parade around in women’s clothing and leads an overall very deviant lifestyle. Basically, begging for for my friend to be let go on morals alone. My friend was later denied tenor. Big brother was just getting warmed up, though. Soon after he told mom all about me, and phoned me at work at 3pm one day to tell me how I was going to go explain myself to mom after work (in 2 hours…..freak…OUT). None the less, I went to moms and got a full dose of how, although, I may be a good person, I was Satan incarnate. Wrought with sin, and in desperate need of saving. It was difficult to try and convince them that I had already been saved, and that is why I was still alive. This is my path, I told them. They don’t want anything to do with it is what they told me. Oh, i could visit, but not as a woman. No way. Never.

In the two years since that time the only communication my brother and I have had was through text messaging, e-mails, or him stalking me through my yahoo360 web page. In one of my blogs on 360 I copied the messages he and I shared when he asked me if I was going to be at a family reunion. I told him I was going to wear a tube top, mini-skirt, and stilletos. He told me he would have me arrested and removed from the park regardless of what I would be wearing. He forbid me to go. He invited him to come to my apartment, and bring the police with him because someone was going to end up in the cruiser, and I had no intention of it being me. I’ve been told recently that my nephews are told that “uncle M” doesn’t feel well, and that he needs prayer whenever they ask about where I am, and why I don’t visit or call. I have begged my brother to let me be a part of their lives, but he won’t have anything to do with it. I miss those kids terribly. It will be just over 8 years befor the oldest one is an adult, and even if I can track him down who’s to say he’ll want anything to do with me after so long and such a great change that he never knew anything about? And those two books I gave my brother to read? When I asked him for them back he told me they were in a garbage heap somewhere in Southeast Missouri shortly after I gave them to him. Come to think of it he never did send that check, either.

All of this make me anxious, and, at times, unbearably so.

I ‘ll add more to the story later.



4 Responses

  1. Wow, Karen,
    This is practically a primer for those of us who have struggled with taking this slowly but steadily. I admire that you have done what you have within your own set boundaries. Doing what you can when you could do it seemed to be the key to you finding your self.

    I look forward to reading more of this powerful story.

  2. Wow here too. I so wish these stories were just that, stories, and in reality everyone lived happily ever after. I will never understand how people even family will go out of their way to be as cruel, hurtful and down right evil in response to someone coming out. There is nothing in the Bible or Christian religions that condones this. But somehow people think it is alright because someone is different from them.

    Well you certainly won’t get that crap from me or any of the wonderfully beautiful people here. The key to happiness in life is understanding and acceptance, especially of yourself. IT may be just one key in a series of doors but it’s a big door.

    Many Blessings,

  3. Wow powerful stuff indead as Lori says. I think most of us have used alcohol or drugs or something when the chance to escape from the stress presents its self. As long as you have come through it unharmed then it doesn’t matter. I used to find myself in your position at parties as well.
    I cant help think that we live in a screwed up world sometimes when people can act in the way you have experienced by your brother and then lay it upon you that it is your fault. More tolerance is needed from these people and less preaching. Let them who is without sin and all that…

  4. I must admit that I’ve been lucky so far with my transition and coming out to my family. Both my kids know and have not rejected me, and my youngest brother’s wife, whom I also told, has said that she supports me. As for my other brothers and sisters (I’m the 2nd of 7 brothers and sisters), well, I’ve been the “black sheep” of the family for so long now that it hardly matters what they think. I never hear from them anyway.
    I’ve read enough accounts of what happened when someone came out to their family to know that there’s really no guarantee of any kind of acceptance, but that doesn’t make it any easier when the rejection happens. It’s the outright cruelty that I just don’t understand. To purposely try to wreck someone’s life simply because they have an issue that the other person finds unacceptable, that moves from disapproval right into phobia. There’s something sad about a person that is so phobic that it challenges their own self worth and makes them strike out in response, weather it be transphobia or homophobia, etc.

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