Coming out (finally!)

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #81742
    Sophie Bourne
    Participant

    Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m stuck on a window ledge with a fire burning in the room behind, and smoke clouding the view below. I can’t go back, and I can’t stay where I am. I can’t tell if it’s safe to jump, or where I will land.

    But I must jump.

    The weekend just gone, I took a 400 mile round trip to see my parents, and came out. It was -fittingly – on leap day (29th February) that I decided to make my first leap into the unknown.

    Their reaction was much more loving and supportive than I expected, particularly when I think back to how they handled my last coming out attempt at 19. Mum and Dad were conservative Christians, but now liberal Christians. They’ve grown a lot in understanding over the last decades, in particular seeing how the rigid faith they (and others) raised me in has hurt friend after friend, and family after family. So much suffering. So much self-hatred. So much wasted life.

    Anyway it was good to talk and have some loving ears listening. But they are now really worried too: about me, about my children (especially my son), about how my ex will react, about whether my ex in-laws will stir up trouble again. All the things I’ve been worrying about too. All that billowing smoke which made my leap day journey a leap of faith, and the landing a still unknown.

    I’ve also booked to see a therapist next week. And an LGBT contact at work tomorrow. I’ve prepared some folders and videos to try – somehow – to help my children understand.

    It is all starting to look very real. It is terrifying.

    One real sadness from the weekend. I still have two surviving grandparents, in their nineties. My grandmother is losing her memory. My grandfather is nearly blind, nearly deaf and very frail. He is as reactionary and bigoted as ever. I dressed as myself on Sunday morning, but my mum and dad had already told them I was going to be up for the weekend, so I learned they wanted to see me.

    Except they didn’t want to see the real me. They wanted to see the fake me, the self who’s been hiding me and smothering me. My mum and dad insisted I stripped off and re-clothed as my fake self, to present as their grandson one more time. It is indescribable how painful that felt. I could go 400 miles to come out, but not a further 400 yards. My parents used my male name all day. I’d asked them not to. I think maybe they couldn’t or had forgotten.

    On the drive home, my head almost exploded. I stopped at a Starbucks for coffee, and almost reflexively gave my male name to write on the cup and then hated myself again. Inside I was screaming “I am Sophie. I am Sophie. Please call me Sophie”. Then the server looked a bit surprised. With my hair out, my silk scarf, and my female jeans, I probably looked more like Sophie, and he would have happily said “Madam” instead.

    This is what coming out feels like. As I fall through the choking smoke, I am – at last – also starting to breathe.

     

     

     

    4 users thanked author for this post.
Viewing 5 reply threads
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    Replies
    • #81987
      Sophie Bourne
      Participant

      SILVER

      Well it’s now a week since my first coming out. My mum and dad described themselves as “poleaxed” though they are now calling me Sophie, by email, and from the tone of their latest emails, seem to genuinely want to. Mum got it first. It felt like an achievement.

      I”m now out to two people at work too: an  LGBT contact (who was a bit surprised, but told md she’s been party to quite a few conversations like this) and the company’s trans support lead, who herself has transitioned only recently (and is about the same age at me).

      We had one of those striking “me too” conversations over the phone… rather similar to some of my exchanges here actually.

      Both of us married wives though we secretly longed for husbands. She is still with her wife but never had children and feels terrible loss from that; I split from my wife after chldren, but now don’t know what to do about the situation, and fear an even more terrible loss.

      We were both woken by the same biological clock: both had long, flowing, thick hair in our youth; both felt we had to cut it back again and again to conform; both of us then felt severe dysphoria when it started to thin and bald (and that we were now on our final chance). I got a bit of hope from spironolactone though: she said her hair has started to grow back since taking it.

      Now about the children and my ex. I feel that while jumping off the ledge, my dress snagged on a hook a few feet below and I am currently left dangling. My daughter actually opened the wardrobe containing my female clothes, told my son and ex about it, and … absolutely nothing happened.

      They came to the conclusion that I was keeping sone clothes for a female friend (to sell at a second-hand stall), my ex mentioned the incident to me casually last Monday, apologised for my daughter’s nosiness and no-one has mentioned it again. I even said I would explain properly, but no one has followed up.

      My turn to be poleaxed… of all the possible reactions, that was the last I was expecting. They looked the truth straight in the eye, and still couldn’t see it. It must be literally unthinkable to them. I had a whole bunch of coming out materials prepared… but none of them are ready for them.

      Anyway I need to talk to my therapist next week, and work out how to proceed very carefully. Coming out at home is going to be a total shock; tbere doesn’t seem to be any getting away from this now. My years of disguise have been just too good.

      Reactions after shock are not good ones. Disbelief and denial are likely. Both my ex and my daughter already have a tendency to clam up about painful problems that they hope will go away (or to yell about them, fire off blame at random, and take the slightest hint of criticism of such behaviour as a personal attack). My being trans is going to hit them right like this.  They will refuse to do any research or reading themselves. They will hope that therapy might “cure” me, so they don’t have to deal with it. They will feel it is all my fault for grotesquely disrupting their lives. My son is most likely to just cry about it, and feel terrified about what happens next.

      Worst case is that conversation ceases completely. I  just get a letter from my solicitors in a few weeks time… telling me that my ex is dragging it all back to court. Or I get papers served on me telling me that they’ve managed to find a judge who would issue a temporary order banning me from seeing or talking to my ex or my children. And then I have to spend months more and thousands of pounds overturning it. At a time when I’m in a deep personal crisis myself.

    • #81774
      Elizka Anderson
      Participant

      SILVER

      Thank you Sohpie, knowing that I am not alone in how I feel does help alot.

      I just chatted with my wife because she found a hair stylist that she called magic. So I am going to hear what they have to suggest. Lay it all out there for them and see what comes back.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #81773
      Sophie Bourne
      Participant

      SILVER

      Hi Elizka, I sympathise about the hair. Mine’s giving me real dysphoria, bordering on panic.

      I used to have really thick, long, flowing hair, almost forcing me into accepting myself as Sophie every few months. I ruthlessly cut it back to conform. Over and over again.

      Then a couple of years ago it started thinning. Last year, noticeably receding. I’ve been growing it out this year, but it is so thin and gappy on top: just won’t look right. Combing forward is all that works.

      It makes me well up inside when I think how I used to look, or how I could look now if I’d started transition ten or twenty years ago. And if  don’t start HRT soon, I will be bald and wearing wigs for the rest of my life. It might be that I’m already doomed to that… just don’t know yet.

      Sorry, I’ve realised that might not help you very much. Do take care though xx

    • #81769
      Elizka Anderson
      Participant

      SILVER

      Thank you for the wonderful idea Sophie. I am taking the first steps in finding clothes that work. Thrifting helped fill some gaps in my closet.

      The hair is a hard topic. I am working up the nerve to get it done. I have had such incongruent feeling about it that I have a hard time ever getting it cut. I am balding to the point it makes bangs look like a comb forward. But I have some ideas and the wife and I are trying to get to the shop together soon.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #81750
      Sophie Bourne
      Participant

      SILVER

      Thank you for the bravery of sharing your story. I know what you did was very hard, surviving in this world is a difficult experience and at times you have to do the hard things.

      The part in your story about visiting your grandparents really struck a cord with me. That is what I live with everyday. My Dad has dementia so I can’t dress as myself in my own house. My wife and I moved in to help with my Dad and 3 months later I had a revelation that I am Elizka.

      Aging family with memory problems come with their own host of emotional qanderies for their families even without adding a trans persons emotional needs to the mix. In the community who else has experienced this? How has it made you feel? What solutions have you come up with?

       

      My answers:

      Have you been in the company of a family member with memory issues while transitioning?

      Yes, I live with my Dad who has FTD Dimentia (early onset, can’t be slowed or revered)

       

      has it made you feel?

      Every day is a lie. I have to hide it all the time almost.

       

      What solutions have you come up with?

      I work from home so I made my office my safe girly place. Pink lights, space themed, totally awesome. It’s a place dad never goes. I use this chance to dress as much as me as I can, and when I walk away from the office I either have on clothes that can pass as male or have male clothes ontop of my correct clothing. It’s not perfect, but it’s how I need to cope for now.

      Thank you for your sympathy Elizka, and for sharing your story too. I’d love to be friends with you and accepted the request.

      I am so sorry for your Dad, and for the pain his situation causes you too. I think you are an amazing woman to be this caring and sensitive to his needs.

      Unisex clothing outside your office sounds OK… after all, this is what many cis-women wear most of the time. Perhaps you could also style your hair in a way which puts you just on the femme side of the male/female divide… but since your Dad is used to seeing a son, he’ll continue to see that (even if you don’t).

      It’s not great I know, but perhaps would make you a bit happier in yourself xx

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #81746
      Elizka Anderson
      Participant

      SILVER

      Thank you for the bravery of sharing your story. I know what you did was very hard, surviving in this world is a difficult experience and at times you have to do the hard things.

      The part in your story about visiting your grandparents really struck a cord with me. That is what I live with everyday. My Dad has dementia so I can’t dress as myself in my own house. My wife and I moved in to help with my Dad and 3 months later I had a revelation that I am Elizka.

      Aging family with memory problems come with their own host of emotional qanderies for their families even without adding a trans persons emotional needs to the mix. In the community who else has experienced this? How has it made you feel? What solutions have you come up with?

       

      My answers:

      Have you been in the company of a family member with memory issues while transitioning?

      Yes, I live with my Dad who has FTD Dimentia (early onset, can’t be slowed or revered)

       

      has it made you feel?

      Every day is a lie. I have to hide it all the time almost.

       

      What solutions have you come up with?

      I work from home so I made my office my safe girly place. Pink lights, space themed, totally awesome. It’s a place dad never goes. I use this chance to dress as much as me as I can, and when I walk away from the office I either have on clothes that can pass as male or have male clothes ontop of my correct clothing. It’s not perfect, but it’s how I need to cope for now.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
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