Throwing Out Expectations

It’s now been over a month and a half on HRT(hormone-replacement therapy). Many mundane, yet miraculous things have changed. My face has feminized so much, I am called “ma’am” at stores. My body shape has changed so much, I no longer fit into men’s clothing. My mood swings are mood roller-coasters. My breast development now requires the wearing of a bra. But something far deeper and more important happened. I let go of my expectations.

I had all of these grand ideas about how transition would go, what kind of woman I would be, and what I would look like. Not watching reality television, I was not lured by glamor or beauty. Instead, I had done a lot of research into feminism, women’s rights, and gender constructs. I would not be the stereotypical woman, overly emotional and concerned with fashion. I would not give into the pressure to “look good.” I would be conscientious to prove I was hardworking and concerned with the things that matter most: the environment, helping others, and of course, women’s rights. I would refuse to be oversexualized, put people with male privilege in their place, and would never settle for anything less than equality.

Right…. LOL!!!

While I believe we do get to choose our Path, I also believe our Path also chooses us. I have two daughters, who are probably more emotionally stable that I am right now. I am moved to tears by the word “kittens” and or even thinking “happy thoughts.” I’m also the most fashion-minded one in the house. I have heard the women in my life make terrible comments about their bodies. Body acceptance isn’t easy, but I feel it is crucial. Feeling comfortable and taking a little care in how you look is such a huge confidence booster. I’m still interested in things like the environment. Whether it’s making a purse out of an old jacket, a skirt from tattered bandannas, or a standing garden table out of an old box spring, I love to reuse things. It cuts down on waste.

I still do what I can do help others, but I’ve become so involved with transition that I honestly have become somewhat self-absorbed at times. I have found that it is typically better to wait until someone asks for help, and so that is what I do. I’m too busy trying to fix me. And though I still consider myself a feminist, it is for very different reasons than going in. I just want equality and realize I am now on the outside looking in, asking for/demanding it. I can now see male privilege in certain people. And when I try to point it out, I see male guilt. The situation is way more complex that I ever could have realized, and I am only just learning.

Things are so far different, I think I have become my own Shadow. The only emotion that has stuck with me, through it all is gratitude. I am grateful to be here. I am grateful for my supportive wife and her guidance. I am grateful for my bewilderment, for my disappointment, and for my letting go of who I was. I am grateful for the fact that I am still changing, and I have no idea who I will end up next. It’s time to throw out expectations like an old pair of ill-fitting jeans and embrace the new individual in the mirror.

Love and blessings,
River

MensWomensJeansSizeConversion

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Coming Out

Just to let you all know, I am a trans woman. I know many of you are family and friends with questions about this journey. So I have put together this FAQ, based upon questions I have been receiving from you, the family and friends. I understand that this is not just a transition for me, but for everyone in my life as well. Please, remember I write this with all the love in my heart. ♥

Q. Are you and Laura staying together?
A. Absolutely! Laura has been supportive as I have gone through this exploration of self. As it turns out, she has done some self-exploration as well, and I have been supportive of her changes. We believe people evolve and change, and that it’s what it means to be human. We are still very much in love and still hope to grow old together.

Q. What about your daughters, Lilly and Aiyana?
A. We have taken steps to ensure they have support as they adjust to the changes. So far, they seem to be doing just fine. In fact, they both seem happier with the new me.

Q. Does that make Laura a lesbian?
A. Yes. Though according to this article, most women have been attracted to the same sex. It’s really nothing new.

Q. What do I call you? What pronouns should I use?
A. Thank you for asking. I prefer to be addressed as “River” and the pronouns “her” and “she.” I am going to work on changing my legal name at some point, but it is a process for many trans folk. Perhaps we can make a deal. How about I practice patience while you adjust to my new name and pronouns, and you practice patience while I go through the process of changing my legal name?
Name change and pronouns can be important for some trans individuals, as it helps them adjust and become comfortable, as they transition into their new lives. Little things like this also help them to see that they are supported by the people around them.

Q. What steps are you taking?
A. Transition is not a straight line, but rather a long check list of gender-affirming activities and actions. Some of these things one individual might deem necessary while another does not. And a few of these things may be easily attainable for some, while out of reach for others. “Transition” is the process of going through one’s personal list and getting all the things they feel necessary for them to fit their target gender. It is a process that usually lasts years, if not a lifetime for some. It can include hormones, voice training, electrolysis, relearning social queues, counseling, name changes, surgeries, and much more.
I began with meditation, counseling, and then electrolysis. I try not to think of what has to be done, but rather what is being accomplished. Otherwise, it can be rather intimidating. For instance, the electrolysis will take 18 months or more. If you wish to stay updated on my transformation, simply subscribe to this blog.

Q. Have you always felt like this?
A. Answering this is not simple. When I was younger, I knew that this was who I was and what I wanted. For years, I longed for it. But because of certain circumstances, I felt that I had to take this part of myself and bury it. I did not feel I could survive and still honor my female self. All I can say is that I grew up in a harsh environment. Many years later, I began meditating and these feelings came bubbling back to the surface. So for about two years, I have explored various gender energies in meditation. At the same time, I have reconnected with those old parts of myself that were buried so deep inside. Meditation is a wonderful way to heal old wounds. Now in order to continue, I must live authentically and be who I was always meant to be, instead of what was wanted for me.

Q. What prompted this?
A. When I peeled back enough layers to see myself for who I really was, my dear friend and teacher, Alfred Willowhawk put a figurative mirror in front of me. It was then that I realized that I had been chasing everyone else’s dream for me. I had never truly pursued what I wanted for myself and had to become what he calls a “spiritual warrior.” We all have a tendency to do this, and this applies to things other than gender. To learn more about this kind of thing, please visit his website, Warrior. He has a radio show, devoted to such topics as becoming a spiritual warrior and your authentic self. It can be heard here, The Cauldron, Fridays at 9 pm eastern.

Q. Does this new life make you happy?
A. It feels like being home after a really really long grueling day. I am unsure of how else to phrase the feeling. It is similar to the feeling of wearing your favorite jacket on a chilly day, or one of those days that makes you realize how grateful you are just to be alive.

Q. I miss the old you and don’t want you to change. How can I express that?
A. By speaking with me. You can tell me exactly what you miss and why.

Q. Are you getting the surgery?
A. That is between my wife and myself. I love you, but I don’t ask you about your plumbing, as I see it as being irrelevant to my life.

Q. Is it true that once you join a pride movement, there’s a musical number?
A. LOL This is my choice. Here is Laura’s. Enjoy!

Q. I have more questions!
A. If you are curious, try googling it and doing some research. If you have personal questions or would like to know more, just ask or message me. If you are interested in seeing my transformation, please just follow the blog. I am also working on a resource page with a list of transgender internet resources. If anyone has more sites to add to the page, please let me know. Thank you!

Thank you and blessings to you all,
River and Laura