I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately. I feel such a sense of impatience and irritation over the last few days that I’m starting to just want to pull my hair out. I know at least some of my issue is the fact that my wife and I have been living on the poverty budget for the last six months. Finances have even gotten worse, in no small part because all of the money we had saved is now fucking gone due to earnest money and home inspections (inspections that turned up problems that will need to be fixed immediately either by us or the sellers of the house we are buying). What the rest of my problem is, exactly, I have no flippin idea. For all intents and purposes everything is going along smoothly. I even have really good news to share and yet all I want to do is scream and cry and piss & moan about how unhappy I am. Is this dysphoria?
My therapist has often alleged that gender dysphoria frequently manifests as having a lingering and pervasive sense that something is wrong with them, and that’s certainly how I feel right now. Something is wrong with me, but hell if I know what it is. You would think with lowered testosterone levels that I’d be more prone to being relaxed or less angry, yet I’ve found the opposite to be true. I almost feel like I have roid-rage sometimes because I’m just furious for no reason.
I don’t mean to get all negative on my readers by the purpose of this blog is to document as best as I can what the transition experience is like, and this festering anger and pervasive state of irritation certainly seems to be part of it, at least for me. My wife is being so good to me, is even finally planning to tell her coworkers about me. The house buying experience is actually going quite smoothly and is very exciting. My cat still loves me and purrs when I pet her. The dog still blissfully smiles up at me while wagging her tail when I look at her. My coworkers are treating me with kindness and respect, and I’ve even made some significant progress at my job with coming out (which I’ll address in a moment). Everything is going so good, yet I just want to rip somebody’s head off!!! You know that old school Limp Bizkit song, Break Stuff? Well that’s is how I’ve been feeling lately.
I think some of it has to do with the fact that, mentally speaking, I feel so much more like Emma than I look on the outside. It’s ridiculous how much a reflection can continue to bother a person. I look in the mirror and I see this man staring back at me and I just feel so goddamn irritated by it, but why? Why does his stupid face have to always be there, mocking me? Sometimes I just want to claw that face until it no longer resembles the reflection I’ve seen so many times.
Okay, I know, I’m falling off the deep end a little. You all are probably like, “Damn, Emma is cray-cray,” and you would be mostly right, I think. I really feel like I’ve just gone insane. My mind has broken from reality and has convinced itself that it’s really a girl instead of a boy and when that girl sees the boy staring back at her, contradicting everything she knows and feels, she becomes so angry. Great, now I’m talking about myself in the third person. I’ve got to pull it together, right? I’ve got to calm down and take some deep breaths, right? In…. Out…. In…. Out…….. yep, still want to commit random acts of violence.
You know I’m kidding right? I’d never actually violently assault anyone… at least not anyone who didn’t deserve it >;)
Okay, well now that we’ve finished with this week’s episode of “How Crazy is Emma, really?” I guess I can talk about my progress at work.
So, I have officially come out as transgender to my boss and HR person!! Honestly, I wasn’t really planning to have done it so soon, but sometimes things just progress in such a way that your plans have to be thrown out the window and you’ve just got to go with the flow. It’s a somewhat complicated story but suffice it to say that I came out to my HR person, who was surprisingly mature and professional about the whole thing (she has a reputation to the contrary). I think she was able to maintain that level of professionalism because she somehow already knew that I was transgender and that I was going to be making the transition from male to female. How she came by that information is beyond me, but I have a few hunches. Regardless of her unexpected insight, she took me telling her very well and suggested that we tell the CEO of the firm the same day (this was yesterday). After I left her office, surprised at her positive reaction, she managed to track the CEO down and get a few minutes of his time where the two of us could discuss my transition with him. Coming out to him was much harder than it was with the HR lady for some reason. Perhaps I felt reluctant because he was a man and I haven’t really come out to many men except for my father (and facebook friends), or perhaps it was just because he had no idea what I was about to tell him (compared to the HR lady who alleged that she already knew a few minutes before I told her). Regardless of my reluctance and need for the HR lady to sort of help me get the ball rolling my boss was very understanding and kind. He talked to me about how this was a first for them but that they wanted to make sure everything was done as smoothly as possible, keeping in mind both my feelings and needs, as well as the firm’s needs and legal obligations.
Because the two of them have never experienced having a transgender employee before they admitted that they were going to be relying on me to some degree to help them navigate the transition process, which I have to say came as somewhat of a surprise to me. True, I didn’t expect them to be like “oh, we’ve done this a million times, don’t sweat it, Emma! /high-fives all round” or anything, but I’m not sure I was expecting to have to be the one in the driver’s seat. On one hand it’s probably a good thing because I can hopefully have some control over the process which would probably be good for me and my mental health (gotta keep the cray-cray at bay right?), but on the other hand it feels like just another burden of being transgender.
I don’t mean to discourage anyone from transitioning if that’s what they feel will make them happy, but it’s really important to understand how difficult of a process transition can really be. This is definitely no Sunday stroll in the park where I get to feed the ducks and breathe in the fresh air. This has been hard. This has been painful. This has been aggravating and exasperating. This really has been a burden, one that so few people ever have to carry. Having to be responsible for carving out a process by which my company can adequately handle having a transgender employee is no simple task. I don’t want to minimize the equal rights movement for women or for African Americans, but damn if I don’t feel like I can truly appreciate their struggles right now. I’m working against a system that is so heavily stacked against me and people like me that it’s almost unbelievable. The worst part about all of it is that there are no local resources for me to use as a guideline for helping my employer write a guideline for handling transgender employees!! I basically have to create one myself based on rather generic ones offered by groups like HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and other transgender friendly companies. I guess I should be grateful that I even have those to work with, but I’m struggling to appreciate them the way I should.
The sad thing about all of this is that even though my employer now knows about my plans to transition, I’m still no closer to actually coming to work as Emma. The vast majority of my coworkers still don’t know and won’t know for some time. My appearance is still so masculine that to try to present as Emma would just feel silly right now. I would just look like a tall dude in women’s clothing with almost assuredly botched makeup, and I don’t think my current lack of self-esteem could handle the reactions I would get like that.
Part of my current frustration is the fact that I’m not even on the hormones that will make my body change. I still have another week or more before I can begin estrogen and my patience is wearing thin. I know I should be content with where I am, because there is nothing besides the now, but I really want to just be on estrogen already. I really want to already be making the gradual changes towards a female body instead of standing in the infuriating state of male-limbo. And that is what it is. That is why I’m so upset these last few days. I’m ready to be somewhere that I can’t be yet and there is nothing I can do about it besides wait… and I hate waiting. Waiting requires patience, and god didn’t see fit to equip me with a strong sense of patience. We all have our virtues that need working on, and mine, is definitely patience.
Well, thanks for reading my rant. I apologize for the negativity of this post, but sometimes you’ve just got to vent, right?