May 1997, the first month

The first few weeks were a dream, literally. Everything I did everywhere I went, everything I thought was new. I saw myself as different, but not in a bad way. Being different didn't matter anymore, even though people still saw my outside, I was a new person, a boy, on the way to being a man. While shopping, I dreamed what it would be like as a man, I stopped being afraid of my masculine appearance, I was comfortable in it and dreamed of the day everyone else would react and accept me as I really was.

Driving around I was a male. Sitting at home I was a male. Drinking coffee I was male. Reading a book I was male. Sleeping I was a male. When I looked in the mirror I no longer flinched or looked away hastily, I imagined what was to come. I lived in a euphoric world. Joy was ever-present.

I had a future.

That was the most important thing that occurred that first day, May 6th. Most of the problems I was in therapy for stemmed from hating my life , hating me, and the loss of any type of livable future. I drifted through the days in a blur, nothing mattered anymore, I let everything go. The job that I had worked so hard for, my friends, my family all fell behind me as I became more and more depressed. I had no future. At least not one I could not live with.

On that Tuesday I got my future. I became alive, I wanted to go on, I had a goal, a mission, a joy to my life that never existed before.

I hit the internet with a vengeance. I gobbled up everything I could about gender dysphoria, about being a transgendered man. My mind whirled with the possibilities, with the realities, with the future. I was superhuman. I was a god, I was invincible, I was ME, really Me, there WAS a ME. I learned so much, I felt I had a place in life, I could have friends, a love, a life. I WAS!!!

At therapy I no longer wanted to dwell on the mundane facts of life. Who cared that I had lost my job, who cared that I would lose my apartment, who cared I couldn't pay insurance, car payments, bills ... I had a future. I really had a hard time staying in the real world, and I began to let the old stuff fall away from me. All I cared about was what was to come. She tried to keep me grounded to keep my mind on my finances, and the real world I was in. I swear if not for her, I would have floated off this earth.

The other reality I had to face was my friends and family. I couldn't wait to tell them, and yet, I was terrified. What if they didn't understand. How could they see what I'd been through inside, how could they know what it meant to me. This would affect their lives as well in a big way. It would mean asking so much of them. Oh, no doubt they would still love me, but how would it change their lives and our relationships. With the joy of telling them I was whole, was the fear of telling them how much of a lie all of my past life was. Could they accept a new brother, uncle, son, nephew. Could I still be a part of the family even though things would be so radically changed. Well, it was a chance I had to take. The biggest positive to this process was that all of my family had strong bonds with God. I myself have a strong inside bond with God, and it has enabled me to get this far. So I had to trust that they would understand that God knows who I am and loves me as I am. He would help give them the strength they needed and as mom always said, "God won't ever give you more than you can handle", so I took comfort in that and tried to decide the best time to tell them.

Actually I told my best friends first. They knew me and would be shocked, but probably not surprised. My best bud was ultra cool. He was just awesome. We talked for awhile, he asked questions, and I went thru the roof with the joy of someone knowing. His fiancÚ was also cool and so I had a base of support. My sweetest girl, my goddess and other best friend got the clue from him and was freaked somewhat. I knew she would be that way, but she was still the wonderful woman I knew as the shock wore off.

About a week after my epiphany, I told my mom. I was gonna wait till I knew more about all the things that were gonna happen, but she knew something was up and it just came out. She didn't act surprised, actually she seemed relieved. She was mostly so happy for me. I knew that soon the full import of what was to be would hit her, but the initial telling of the first of my family was over. The relief was incredible. How incredibly lucky was I to have such great support. Oh, I expected it from my friends, I am very picky and they are true friends, but to have family try to understand and be there was incredible.

Later that week, of course, the impact hit. Mom and I had many talks, and when I told her what my new name was gonna be, Devin (Celtic for poet) it really hit her. During the course of our conversations, Dad gleaned what was happening, and in his own low key way, let me know that he was there for me and still proud of me. That was the best moment of all of this. I expected mom to be there no matter what. But to have my dad there without rancor, without judgment, without bitterness, well it is beyond words.

Next were my sisters. They have two kids each and though I wasn't worried about them, I worried what effect it would have on my nephews and nieces, and what my future relationship with them would be. They of course were tremendously accepting and I left it to them how to handle the kids. I don't think they have told them, but I now know that I will still be in their lives. Another huge relief, I couldn't imagine life without them. They are the greatest kids anywhere, and give me so much pleasure and fun.

The only one left in my immediate family is my brother. He's on the other coast and I have yet to see him. I want so badly to tell him, but I can't do it on the phone. It has to be face to face. He is the only one I really worry about. He has been the only brother, the only uncle, the only nephew, the only son, the other man besides dad. How will it affect him to have a brother, how will he react. I know he'll be happy for me, but will there be a sense of me crashing in his territory, will there be happiness at having an older brother, will there be a sense of competition, will he be there to help me enter the male world.??? The only sense of not being complete will continue till I am able to tell him.

Eventually aunts and uncles and cousins will be told, again, I think that because of our wonderful sense of family, the closeness and the love and the strength of God, that they will still be there. I know the journey will be hard for them and I wish I could relieve some of the confusion that will inevitably follow, but we all have to follow our own paths, and this one is mine. I only hope they will be there to share it.

Well , the month of May was incredible. Easily the most joyous of my life. But, also the most thought provoking. A whole new attitude, a different way of thinking, a new future, a new life, a wholeness. Along with that some fear, who am I kidding, a lot of fear, but somehow I feel capable of handling it. Most of all a future.

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