Sunday, March 15, 2015

The view from the top

March 15, 2015

I am now four months post-op from my phalloplasty surgery. I have had a rough recovery. I am still quite exhausted and am dealing with urinary issues that I never had before. My body feels like it has been through a war. And it has.

Before I say anything else, I want to be clear that this blog is purely my own experience and does not in anyway represent trans people in general. It is my life and I happen to be transgender. This blog is an attempt on my part to make sense of all the experiences I have had and to share them because for some reason sharing them makes me happy.

I loathed being a woman. When my mother promised me a new wardrobe when I started my period, I shuddered. When my breasts started to develop I refused to acknowledge them and wore baggy shirts. The estrogen/progesterone cycle caused my first real experience with depression and I got used to it over the thirty (thirty!!!!) years between 15 and 45 from when I hit puberty to when I took my first shot of testosterone.

My self-loathing became part of my identity and my inner turmoil became a magnet for external drama and trauma. I managed to find lots of needy people in more turmoil than me and I helped them. This made me feel better about my own conflicts.

I realize looking back that I had no way of communicating what I was feeling because I did not know that others did not feel the same way. That is the problem with one's internal state of being; it is impossible to truly know what someone else is experiencing.  The things that felt natural to me like playing with GI Joes, wearing swimming trunks, playing with boys in the neighborhood, wearing boys pajamas, refusing to wear dresses, being mistaken for a boy, being called a boy's name, were fine when I was young. As I began to approach puberty, the tomboy status was not as welcomed and I had trouble finding my way. My mother was always accepting of me but this was bigger. My friends were each turning into something that I was not: a woman, and they were excited by and eager for the changes.

I remember when my daughter H started to develop breasts. I looked at her and said, "oh my gosh you are getting little boobies!" She said proudly, "Yes, I know! This one is Billy and this one is Suzy!" and then she laughed. I remember thinking, "Wow, she is a healthy girl. So this is how you are supposed to feel about getting breasts." I was truly happy for her.

And now I finally feel that way in my own skin. The body matches up with the mind and there is peace. Finally. Except that the man that I am is kind and easy going and the woman that I was was fraught with turmoil. I feel to a certain extent that I inherited someone else's life. I have a job that deals with trauma. I have a young child in my home who has intense emotional, mental and physiological issues from fetal alcohol exposure, genetics and trauma in her early life. I am lacking in stamina.

Becoming and being a man is an entirely different experience. When I started my transition I really thought I would remain the same person but with hair and muscles. I was wrong. I have fundamentally shifted in my thinking, my perceptions, my drive. I recently left the church that I was deeply committed to and find myself spiritually adrift.

My wife is taking a college class on Human Relations. One of her assignments is to describe what happiness is for her. She asked me. I said "Hell if I know."

I feel like I climbed a great mountain, with phalloplasty being the last summit. When I arrived at the top and looked out over the horizon, I saw great beauty but also great devastation. Now that I am complete, I have the task of cleaning up all the turmoil-based decisions I made. What I thought was going to be a cold beer with the guru at the mountain top, is actually a date with the janitor.

Pray for me. I need all the help I can get.


  1. God bless your journey, Nick.

  2. Hey Nick! What is a 'summit report'? I just commented on your youtube post. From now on i plan on just commenting here on this site to simplify things. ;)

  3. I just read this post again and understand your comment about 'summit report'. I too look forward to it. Happiness is one of those elusive things in life. It seems we all as human beings wonder if we are truly happy. We strive to be happy. Want to be happy. Those who love us say they want us just to be happy. As i have searched to understand 'happy' myself, i have come to understand for myself that 'happy' is more a state of wellness for me. It doesn't always mean that i am all smiles and laughter. Is my life in i living my truth the best that i can at this time in this journey of i living as my authentic self...are things that i check in with when i might not be feeling particularly 'happy'. Life is tough and living it authentically and honestly isn't always easy. It is a marathon and not a sprint. So we must pace ourselves, be patient and be loving and tender to ourselves. Don't be too hard on yourself about whatever messes you feel you have made in the past. Be responsible for your choices, but don't beat yourself up. Own them and forgive yourself. Then let them go. Life is a live and learn process.

    I hope in some small measure this is helpful as you have been tremendously encouraging to me. Keep questioning, keep seeking, keep that wonderment about life and be kind to yourself.