January - A new year, A new man
Hang on to your hats all you loyal readers of this tome. It will be a long and bumpy ride. A few curves to start, & then smooth sailing the rest of the way.
January 1st was not a good day. I brought the new year in by myself. I had to work early, and so I didn't do squat New Years Eve. It was a nice peaceful night. The only problem was my head. It was whirling round and round, not getting anywhere, mostly going back over the past year. I had lost so much last year materially, but gained so much emotionally and spiritually. My soul had been found, my job lost. My mind was clear, my cars and apartment faded to memory. New friends gained, old friends relegated to the past. Round and round. Morning came and I didn't get up. I turned off the alarm, and lay there utterly exhausted. Still my mind went whirring. I called in sick, and didn't even try to get up.
The biggest thing in my head was the fact that I had finally found myself, and had not done anything about it. I knew that wasn't really true, but the crux of the matter was I felt like I was all talk. Nothing towards my goal of being a man was accomplished. I planned and learned and waited for each day to bring some step closer, but it never happened. All I had done was survive a few months more. All around me stories of other men finding there way and doing what was necessary to move forward, I contributed nothing.
Oh woe is me, how black the day was. A day of new beginnings and promises, and I couldn't even get out of bed to go to work. Okay, enough.
The first couple of days were a struggle out of darkness. I was determined not to live this year like any other. I wasn't sure how to go about the change, but I was going to try. I began by exercising a little each day. Changing my diet, changing little habits I knew were not healthy. Getting out of bed on the first alarm, getting up earlier so as to have more time to tackle the day. Going to bed at a reasonable hour. I began to feel a little better. My new job was getting easier, that helped too. A little more discipline in my life felt good. I felt more purposeful. More in control.
I finally got my first bigger check. To celebrate, on Sunday, Jan 13, I went to get my hair cut. I had finally learned how to bind myself so it didn't show and didn't feel too uncomfortable. Out I went as the man I felt like. It was a beautiful day, I was up and out early to enjoy it. I got to the hair place (the barber shop was closed, sigh), and strolled (okay swaggered) in, and the guy up front said hiya buddy, what will it be. After a few minutes of exchange, he got my name and circled M, not F. Oh, how good that felt. I had a few minutes before they got to me, so I strolled down to the coffee shop, got my favorite and sat down. It was great. Everyone saw me as a guy. It's easy to tell, the guys treat you different and so do the women. I was so high enjoying it. Back into the shop and I still had to wait. There was a book showing male haircuts and I browsed through it. My hair had always been short, but kind of androgynous.
I found the cut I wanted, and when it was time I showed the girl. She got to work, and I found myself in the middle of a catharsis. She shaved of the left side of my hair. My reflection didn't look weird, it looked somehow familiar. Then the right side, more familiar still. Then she began cutting the top. She shaved over the ears, the back of the neck and my sideburns (I use that term loosely). For the first time in my life, my hair looked GOOD. Not just okay, not just better, but really good. I didn't look strange at all. I paid, went out, and hit the street. The rest of the day is a blur. There were no points of reference to the day, just a feeling I had never had and can't describe. I was a guy out in the city. No second looks, no wondering stares, just total acceptance from everyone I passed (make that totally ignored as I was just another being on earth). What a wonderful feeling. I was not out of the ordinary anymore. No object of consideration.
The weird thing is I realized is that when I looked female, no one looked at me askance, but "I" was so freaked out inside by feeling that I was dressing up or being false that I was always on edge and uncomfortable. Dressing as a guy felt great, but caused some looks. For the first time in my life, I was free of those looks, and my paranoia. All this from a haircut? Unbelievable!
Needless to say, at home I was now happy to look in the mirror. I went to bed a happy man. I woke up a happy man. I looked in the mirror as I got ready for work, and knew I couldn't go as a female. I was going as a man. The bus ride to work was heaven. Walking in it hit me what I was doing. I had worried what my co-workers would say about my hair, but what about my whole appearance now. Oh well, too late. The first comment was "You got you hair cut". Others reacted about the same. No probs so far. The day progressed and all but one old lady called me by male pronouns and names. Heaven. The next day was therapy with my Doc. I told her what had happened in the last two days, and she was her usual supportive self. "well Devin, looks like you have made a commitment to yourself". I was kinda taken aback, as it had all just happened so fast and naturally. I hadn't really planned anything, it just happened. But I realized she was right. I had made a commitment to me. I knew I would not go back to appearing female, that I had finally taken a step towards my goal. How incredibly exhilarating. How incredibly heavy. I discussed the fact that I didn't want to make a big announcement at work. I just didn't feel it had to be anybody else's big deal. It was so natural and right the way it happened, and I really didn't want it to become some tawdry gossip topic to people I really could care less about. The only ones I cared to "announce" it to were my family and friends as I chose. Did that mean I wasn't really transitioning? Was I taking the easy road? The answer from her and the others I have discussed it with was no. It is my way of doing this. No one else has to approve, know, judge, or otherwise authorize my transition to living as a male.
What a relief. The days passed unremarkable except to me. One co-worker asked me if I was upset that the customers called me "sir", and I simply said no, and went on with what I was doing. She accepted this and went on, too. I still use the ladies room at work as they do not know. Otherwise everywhere else I am a man. It has been wonderful. I thought I would feel self-conscious about it, but I don't. I feel absolutely like ME for the first time in my life. No worries here mate. The stress is less than ever before on me. I have met two acquaintances who knew me before as Debbie" (even writing that name feels weird). I informed them that I was now Devin, and they merely said oh okay and we went on chatting. I feel so unbelievably lucky. My family and friends are solidly supporting me, I have a killer Dr., who gives me no hassle, and is totally understanding and supportive of the process, and now with very few waves, I have become who I want to be. I know there will be struggles as I go, I don't fear them, I have a new strength in who I am and what I want from life. I don't fear others judgment of me, I have handled that since youth from being perceived as gay. I am just the person now I always saw in my mind and in my dreams.
My way of thinking and dealing with everyday life has also changed. I no longer fight everything. I deal with instead of cope with things. I make my own day be. Everything is so much easier now. Without fighting myself and my thoughts and every part of my life, I am free to live it.
I have begun to think outside of myself. Before everything was personal, even if I didn't acknowledge it, or show it. I tried to live getting people to like me for me, my activities were geared toward recognition of me as a human, trying to ward off people seeing me as a Gay or Lesbian or Butch. Now I don't have to work on it or try so hard. It isn't as important. I am who I am and no one else has to agree or approve. What a weight lifted.
I wanted to be more of a part of the FTM community. I got on mailing lists and have begun to learn and understand so much more. I have made a few friends that I can reveal things to and talk honestly with. I started an FTM web ring for FTM pages...Which reminds me if you are an FTM with a page, please visit the webring home of "FTM Pride Ring". I want to help increase the visibility of FTM's to help other FTM's find support, and to educate others to who and what we are. Just regular people who are very diverse, with normal needs, hobbies, wants, and lives. We just have a different fight from some people. It also helps increase the hits to our pages as people surf throughout the ring, so it's good for everyone, the educators and educated.
Anyhow, I digress. I have also become involved with a local political organization to help combat the bigotry and outright hostility of our "Charlotte Coalition" which is a group of white right-wing fundamentalist who now rule our city and county government and have publicly acclaimed that they are the majority and they know the right way to govern our city. They have cut all funding to the Arts and Science council for bringing the play "Angels in America" to Charlotte. Now they want to post the 10 commandments in courtrooms and city and council chambers and have openly said that any other beliefs are not valid and they should leave Charlotte if they don't like it. It is very scary. But even the right-wingers in Charlotte have begun to fear what they are doing to the city, and have joined in to help oust these "gang of 5" as they are known. Any how I am one of the webmasters for the "Progressive Alliance" and am very involved in the organizational efforts.
I am a man to these people, and more importantly just another concerned citizen working to better our area. What a change for me. Doing something I think is right with no fears or reservations. Contributing in a way I never could have before. A wholeness I have always longed for and am just now getting used to feeling.
None of this would have been possible without the support and knowledge I have gained from the stories, truths, and information other men on the net have given me. Most don't know I exist, and never will, but to all you who have participated in chats, mail-lists, put up web pages and e-mailed or signed my guestbook, you have given me the strength and knowledge to make changes and take risks and learn and live. Thank you to all who have shared with all of us. I again wonder what my life would have been like without the 'net. I know in time I would have achieved my goals, but I also know it would not have been as easy, as productive and as fast without you.
I wish for all of you who read this, no matter what or who you are, that you have a very good year and that you can be as happy and healthy as is possible.
And now I have to go, February and the rest of my life await.
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