Hello my darling readers. Just wanted to check in. I know I’ve been somewhat MIA over the past two months or so but I’m making an effort to write more often than I have been. You may or may not notice that some of my recent entries have been taken down. I can’t really explain why that is, but suffice it to say that it was a necessary evil for the time being. I will eventually put them back up when I am able to.
Regardless of that, however, I am here today, writing to you from a sunny and delightfully warm day in Minnesota. I’d love to say that today is a very happy day for me but unfortunately my hormones and brain chemistry are not in the greatest of places, despite having so many things to be happy about. I will do my best to not allow that to tinge this entry.
First things first, I don’t know if I will remember to write on that day and hopefully I will be celebrating in some fashion so I might not even have time, but my first birthday as Emma is in two days. That’s right June 8th is Emma’s birthday because that was the first day that we went out into the world knowing that we’d never go back to presenting as Robert the male. It was the first time we went to work as Emma and was the first step in a year long journey of discovery, excitement, heartbreak, depression, friendship, love, sex, and spiritual growth.
It was such a scary day. I was so worried what my coworkers were going to say and what my life was going to look like. Sure, I’d been dreaming about it for months beforehand but doing it and dreaming it are two very different things. I remember my wife kissing me goodbye on the street where I was dropped off before work and saying, “You are going to do great. I love you.”
I remember how nervous I was to walk through downtown Minneapolis in my skirt and blouse wondering if people would harass me or make fun of me. I remember how nervous I was to get out of the elevator and walk through the office lobby. I remember feeling a mixture of excitement and fear about all of it. I was a girl, finally, at long fucking last, I got to live as the gender that felt right to me. No more hiding my true form from the world, no more concealing painted toenails in men’s dress shoes, no more boring boy clothes, no more short hair and scraggly face. I was Emma. We were Emma and there was no going back. It was time to accept our destiny as a gender non-conforming extraordinaire! =p:::
Obviously, for those that have been reading over the past few months, the past year has been anything but uneventful. It has also been anything but smooth sailing. The list of changes that have occurred since June 8, 2015 is just about astounding. Despite my rather clear recollection of our first day living fulltime as Emma, I can’t really remember what it was like before that day. Sure, I remember things from my previous life as Robert as the memories have not disappeared, but I cannot fully access the feelings I experienced during those months leading up to our transition to fulltime. It’s almost as if my brain has put up a barrier of sorts between what was before and what came afterwards. Perhaps it is simply that I no longer identify with that part of my life or that person that I used to be and as a result it is like it’s another person’s memories instead of my own.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t had some sort of psychotic break or anything like that, I’m just simply so vastly different of a person mentally, emotionally, and physically that it feels like looking at a past life. I am not that person anymore and as I said to one of my poly partners yesterday while strolling around a lake chatting, I cannot even imagine going back to that life. I know there are likely more than a few heterosexual cisgender people who read this blog, and I truly appreciate their readership, but forgive me for saying, I could never go back to such a lackluster existence. My life in the queer poly world is soooooo much more interesting and exciting than my existence in cis-het-monogamy-ville. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with being cisgender, heterosexual and monogamous, not at all, I’m simply saying us queer people have more fun.
I think that’s partly because we so often cut through the bullshit of societal programming around what is right and wrong, and what is normal or abnormal. Instead of forcing our experiences through a lens of normativity and societal acceptance, we allow our experiences to flow through a less of curiosity and experimentation. We do things that cis-het-monog people don’t really do. Obviously there are always exceptions but we explore sexuality, gender, expression, art, love, relationships, and politics in a way that defies the very conventions that dictate what cis-het-monog life looks like.
For example, I am dating two people right now (yes there is another one since my previous entry, and it’s a hell of a story). I care a great deal for both of these individuals. They are both fully aware of my relationship with the other and are both on board with that dynamic. Each of them is dating at least one other person, all of whom know about their relationship with me. I have had sexual experiences with both of these people. I have experienced feelings of affection/love for both of these people, and yet those feelings are very different from one another. I love one of them in a way I do not love the other, and the same is true in the opposite. Each of these two people offer me vastly different relationship and sexual experiences, and while I refuse to qualify one as being superior to the other, they are both amazingly fun and fulfilling.
One of these people is a bit older than I am, and she is genderqueer/transfeminine. It could not get anymore queer if we tried. Two gender non-conforming transfeminine individuals together simply defies every societal norm around relationships. How do you define this relationship? What label does it fit under? Is it a lesbian relationship? Is it a gay relationship? Or something else entirely? Obviously as a queer person I refuse to accept the need to put a label on it because I think that would diminish the relationship. It is, if a label must be chosen, a queer relationship. It offers extremely intriguing and interesting possibilities; the kind a heterosexual relationship never could.
The second person I am seeing is a gay girl a few years younger than me exploring her identity and sexuality. She was assigned female at birth and in many ways identifies that way. There may be parts to her that are not entirely female but that is for her to explore and decide for herself, and I want to respect her privacy here. For now, suffice it to say that she is gay, she is a girl, and we are together. One might think that years of living as a heterosexual man would make this relationship with a mostly cisgender woman rather commonplace in my life, but that person would be gravely mistaken. Being with a gay girl is so very different than being with a hetero girl. It’s rather difficult to explain what I mean but suffice it to say I have finally gotten to experience that lesbian relationship dynamic I’ve been looking for. With that being said, I’m not sure one could accurately describe the relationship we have as a lesbian one. I suspect that she would agree with me. What we have is just as queer, albeit in very different ways, than what I have with my other partner.
Two very different partners, two very different queer relationships, and all of it above board and okay with everyone involved… you don’t find that in the cis-het-monog world. You just don’t. What I’m doing actually sounds completely outlandish to most people who’ve only ever known the cis-het-monog world. All of the rules have been broken or thrown out the window, and curiosity and experimentation have replaced them. Don’t believe me? Consider this:
During a class activity in school two white, cisgender, heterosexual girls were asked to participate in a disagreement resolution scenario. In order to protect their anonymity I won’t say their names or reveal any identifying information. Their disagreement was about an instance where they went out to the club together to dance and possibly go home with a cute guy. Both of these young women were convinced that this story was truly scandalous. In short, one of the girls went home with a guy to sleep with him without really telling the other girl. The other girl was then left to go home by herself not knowing if her friend was safe and not feeling safe herself. Both of these girls were rather embarrassed about how revealing this story was about their sex/dating lives.
Now compare that story, where these two women were extremely hesitant to even reveal it because of its sexual implications, to my story above about participating in two queer, gender bending, sexual relationships simultaneously with permission from everyone involved. I don’t know about you but it seems to pale in comparison. Am I saying my story is better than theirs? No. Am I saying that I believe my story is WAY more interesting than theirs? Absolutely, and that’s the point. I cannot even fathom going back to the life I lived as Robert because it would be like going from 3D Imax movies to black and white silent films.
Maybe that’s harsh on my cis-het-monog readers, but it’s honestly how I feel. I know that cis-het-monogamy can be really fulfilling for people. I know that I found a lot of happiness in my life when I participated in that model. I know that not all cis-het-monogamy is boring or non-exploratory in the sexuality field, but so much of it is. But my lack of ability to fathom going back to previous life doesn’t end there.
The past year of living as Emma has taught me a lot about myself, about what I want, and about where I am going. It’s brought so many new friends into my life as well. I actually have friends now. Like friends I see on a very frequent basis. We go and do things. We try new things out. We see shows and go to parties. We have so much more fun than I had when I was married. I loved my wife and we did do some things but we spent so much of our time in front of the TV, accomplishing very little. Money was always a concern but even when it wasn’t, I wasn’t all that interested in doing things outside of the norm. I was honestly boring as Robert. I was so bored with my life and existence on the inside that I just couldn’t bring myself to want to try new things or to step out of my comfort zone.
Now, I’m constantly stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things. I’m constantly exploring new interests and experiencing new things. I’m confident and excited about life. I’m eager to move about in the world and take up space. I love helping people and being an asset for other LGBTQ people in need. I can’t imagine going back to the way I was before. Sure, I don’t write as much as I did before the transition, but that’s because I’m out experiencing life rather than simply writing about it.
My darlings, I may only be a year old, but I feel as though I have gained a lifetime worth of wisdom in the last year. I have felt my highest high and my lowest low. I have felt excitement and disappointment. I’ve felt despair and I’ve felt fulfillment and joy. I have friends, I have lovers, I have a new career, and I have a new lease on life.
A year ago I was reborn into this life as Emma, the transfeminine extraordinaire, and I’m so excited to continue my journey. We say it all the time, but this is just the beginning. There is much to be done, much to see, much to experience, and much to learn in the years to come. We will document that journey for as long as it feels right to do so and we hope you will come along with us.
(p.s. my gay girl lover is Yuffie, the one from the second half of my Valentine’s day entry where I had to come out to her in the middle of our pseudo-date. If you don’t remember you can read it here http://transadvent.blogspot.com/2016/02/2-14-2016-entry-valentines-day.html it’s after the intermission. Yeah, seems patience has paid off because now we are together after three months of waiting and it’s probably the best thing that’s happened to me in a very, very long time)
(P.p.s. I recently had a request to discuss my relationships with my family. I will try to capture the current state of affairs here as there really isn’t much to say. My mother continues to struggle with calling me by the right name and is still having a difficult time thinking of me as anything but her son. She is making efforts to be accommodating but that accommodation is rarely in the form of affirmation. She simply seems to lovingly tolerate this life change, if not somewhat begrudgingly. I know she wishes I could just go back to being her son, but has more or less accepted that that isn’t going to happen. Our relationship is better than it was a year ago but there is still a lot left to be desired for.
My father and I have never been all that close or involved in one another’s lives, so I have not spoken to him in months. I called him recently and left a message but haven’t heard back from him. It is hard for me to say how he is doing with things but as of the last time I spoke with him he was still doing better with name/pronouns than my mother and was overall more affirming than my mother. I cannot say if that is the same, better, or worse because I do not know.
My extended family, well, my grandmother finally knows and I have had a conversation with her about it. It went about as expected where she simply expressed that she would always love me and I’d always be her grandson. With that being said we came to an agreement that her husband, my step-grandfather, would never be able to understand or accept me as Emma, so we decided not to tell him. This makes me sad because he was one of the very few positive male role models in my life and under this paradigm I can never see him again, not unless I wish to possibly destroy our relationship or hide my true self. It does not sit well with me at all but I’m not sure there is anything that can be done about it. The rest of my family is doing okay but we almost never actually speak. This is not a new development as it has always been that way. In many ways, I am somewhat of an orphan, disconnected from my blood relatives and completely on my own. Sure my mother is there, as much as she can be from over a thousand miles away but without my former in-laws in my life, I have no tangible family outside of the friend family I have created/been adopted into. That can be both very freeing and very lonely. I miss my in-laws, dysfunctional as they might have been, almost as much as I miss my ex-wife; but such is life, my friends.
Well that’s all for the family dynamics for now.)