Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Tonight I went to see my nephew play basketball. He was just moved up to Varsity. I hadn’t got a chance to see him play this year and it was important for me to see a game. My nephew goes to the same high school as I did. Dansville is a rural community that is so small it’s a village. While the big city has become more liberal many small towns haven’t changed. My niece is in High School too and she’s told me stories of how some of the students are towards anyone who is different. So nothing has changed since I went there in the early 90’s.

So you can imagine my nervousness in going back there as my tranself. Everyone there knows the old me, the fake me. While I haven’t started to transition much I have long hair and I usually wear it up in a headband. So it’s easy to notice a change. I almost thought about not going in the fear of being triggered and spiralling out of control in January but I pushed myself. I woke up and I didn’t want to leave the apartment, which isn’t fun to go through. I kept putting off getting ready, which leads to more anxiety because then I’m rushed. I have learned to leave a lot of extra time so I’m not pressured. Thankfully I didn’t procrastinate too long. One of the biggest diphorias that I have is my beard. Usually I don’t have the energy because of depression to really do anything about it. I struggle with basic grooming like brushing your teeth, let alone shaving.

I was going to just blend in, out of fears of embarrassing my family (which is totally me, they are great about it) and fear of being called out. So far I have been a wallflower both by necessity and choice. With not shaving my beards I will definitely get looks if I dress more feminine. Plus I don’t have any clothing other than sweats and tshirts. So I’m rather limited. I started to go down that road and I stopped myself. No, I’m going to be. So I went to my mirror and used my hair clippers to shave off my beard. Usually that’s what I do. I don’t shave I just shave the facial hair off and leave stubble. Not today. I took a shower and afterwards I shaved my face. It felt so great. I can’t wait to get to the point with my depression that I can shave more often. It’s definitely going to be a challenge. I hope as I further transition I will start to feel better about myself and will want to shave, and be motivated to do so. This May, I will start on hormones so that will be a big change for me. So I’m both excited and nervous about this new journey. I wish the hormones got rid of my facial hair but it only thins it out. Most trans women use either laser or electrolysis. Right now I can’t afford it. Plus I’m a big chicken. So shaving is my only option.

Like I said usually I just put my hair up in my head band and I don’t style my hair. I have been attempting to style my hair, which has been a challenge because I have really frizzy hair. I recently got some tips from my therapist and I used them with my hair dryer. After I was done I actually loved it, which is rare for me to like something exterior. As I looked into the mirror I was happy with what I saw, which never happens. Recently one of the ladies at my complex gave me a shirt that was too big for me. It’s blue and soft. So I decided to wear that as it’s kind of feminine. So I put that over a tshirt. I even painted my nails. So I walked out of my apartment a different person, my most authentic self. It felt wonderful. I even got some compliments from the ladies in my complex.

I used a blow dryer and some curling gel. It’s the first time I liked my hair.

As I was getting ready I was grooving to the dance station on Pandora. Dance music really helps to lift my spirit. So that helped with my nervousness. That’s until I stepped out of my apartment. The nerves started to swell up in my stomach and I thought I was going to explode. I started using my coping techniques that I learned in the hospital last month. It’s called tapping. It’s basically using something physical to ground yourself to reality. I can dissociate easily and it helps keep me floating away. Tapping is like it sounds. You say a phrase like, I love and accept myself. While you repeat this you tap various parts of your body to the beat. It starts with karate chopping your hands together and goes to your face, then your chest and stomach, and finally your head. You repeat this until you don’t need to anymore. It really helps me. So I used a simple version which is just doing the karate chop. I would look silly doing the full version in public. Though if that’s what you have to do, do it. It’s better to look silly and stay calm, than it is to have an anxiety attack.

Finally my bus came. I had about an hour ride to Dansville and I did my best to calm my nerves. As I got closer my nerves turned into excitement. They just built a new high school and this was the first time I saw it. When I got there I instantly fell in love with the new school, especially the gym. I was nervous when I walked into the gym, as it’s in an open area at the top of the gym. Everyone in the bleachers can see you. At that point I said fuck it and did my own thing. I had also decided if someone called me by my dead name I was going to tell them that my name is now Kaelie. I didn’t have to do that but I was prepared. Even before I knew I was trans I really didn’t care to see most of the people I grew up with. They are the types that you run into the store that you make an effort to not be seen. High school was a tough time for me so I have no interest returning to that time. It’s funny how we live in a Facebook world now and the people who didn’t treat you so well growing up get amnesia. So your bullies are now trying to add you on Facebook. NO THANK YOU! 🙂

I was really happy to see my family. Especially my two nieces and nephew. I love them with all my heart and I’ve missed them. The game was great. The Dansville Aggies won by a lot and my nephew got to play, so I was happy for that. I wished I would have gotten him see him play at his JV games as he played all the time but at least I got to see him play, and he was happy to see me. So that made me feel good. I’m not really into sports. I really don’t know what goes on but I like basketball. The team is very good and it was fun to watch my nephew and rest of the boys play. One of the boys is like 6ft6 and can dunk it. That was fun to watch. I love the excitement of the fans. The roar from the cheering. The halftime buzzer and cheerleaders. While I didn’t play sports in school I did video the High School basketball games for the team. So I got to ride with the teams to games, so that was fun. That’s my only experience with sports.

So the game ended and I waited for my nephew to come out. It was very nice to see him. He’s so kind and sweet. I’m so proud to be his uncle aunt. All the kids are very well behaved and I’m so blessed to have them in my life. I was so glad I ended up going. The only person from school I care to see actually took me home. We were good friends in school and have remained friends since. She was the first non-family that I came out to. We both worked at the same bank in our early twenties. She’s real and authentic, and wants nothing to do with the bullshit like I do. It was really good to see her and I was so thankful to have a ride from her, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go. The bus doesn’t run that late.

So now I’m floating on cloud nine and happy. I came inside the complex and I was just so at ease. As I walked to my apartment it was the first time it felt like I was at home. I feel like I’m starting to come out of my cocoon and I’m so relieved at that. I just need to be patient and hold on. It’s tough right now because most of my days are spent alone. Making new friends takes time and I have very little connection to the outside world. So it’s nice when I can get out and see the world. As I make new connections I know that my environment will change, especially when spring comes. I just have to remember this being alone thing is temporary. I thank my lucky stars that I finally have my own place, and one where I’m not worried of losing my housing due to the inability to work or because of someone else. As long as I pay my rent and don’t do anything out of the ordinary I will have a place.

I’m on the right track and doing what I need to in order to heal. People say fake it until you make it. I have always hated that saying because it reminded me of my family and others who have looked down upon me that I didn’t fake it with the big stuff like the abuse. I can’t fake it anymore, it does damage to me. So hearing that phrase just triggers me. Today I came up with an updated version. Be it, until you become it. That is more my style. I don’t think faking is the appropriate word. That’s the thing about therapy and healing, do what works for you and that’s just what I am doing.