Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Life after SRS

This is the question talked about the least and usually mentioned by those that have basically not had a life after SRS that did not involve some form of activism involving transsexual or even trans issues. Before you get your panties in a bunch I really have a lot of respect for these people in most cases. Several are what I consider quite good friends. They chose a path different than the path I chose and either path has its value.

I cannot speak of the out, proud, loud, and activist role because that was not me although I did a little in NYC before I realized it was not for me.  I was also blessed with the genetics and the early hormone intervention that made passing a non issue and I was also young and idealistic in what I wanted from life.  I wanted my Disney Moment or my Leave it To Beaver family life because I was a child of the 50's and I also had someone that simply told me to live and forget the past.

I just wanted to be the girl I knew I was like the many others before and since me have wished for. Dr. Benjamin once told me that after SRS I would leave and lead my life and he would never hear from me again.  By that he meant he really thought just getting on with my life was more important than dwelling on the past and how I was born. It was a different time and much easier to just move on with your life.  I did but I wrote to Harry religiously until shortly before his death.

Every girls life starts with expectations and mine and others like me are and were no different. I have always believed you make your own life and you get out of it what you put into it but there will be good times and bad times along with the normal trials and tribulations of everyday life every girl and woman faces. We start a little behind the eight ball but what we missed can be overcome.

I learned dreams do come true sometimes. In my naivete I begged god to change me into a girl at night so I could wake up as me  the next morning.  Going to sleep and waking up a complete girl was my wish. Well that happened for me on a cold January day in 1971. The anesthesia put me to sleep and the surgeons allowed me to wake up a complete girl many hours later.  I went to sleep and woke up a girl.  Okay it is a stretch but it is what it is and it did kind of happened that way.

I was never ashamed that I was born transsexual.  I was angry I had been born transsexual. I was angry at god, mother nature, and anyone else I could think of to blame for being born a boy and not a girl. I wanted everything girls had and everything they had to endure.  I wanted to menstruate and have the issues involved with that.  I wanted to be a mom with my own baby. I wanted to be my daddy's little girl. I wanted to be able to go to my boyfriend's senior prom as his date but it was impossible in so many different ways.

I was really angry about the way I had been bullied in High School inside and outside the school. I had even planned revenge on some of those that hurt me in High School. I was convinced to attend my tenth High School reunion because Harry and my mom thought it would help deal with the anger and hurt I felt.  There was one boy I planned my revenge on because he had hurt me badly several times. I figured I would seduce him and then tell him as revenge. It did not work out that way.

The tenth reunion was actually held eleven years after but it was weird. I visited my old High School to say hello to some teachers that were kind to me. It was actually weird because I was dressed nicely and the boys sitting on the Granite Steps were smiling at me as they had done in September of 1958 before they realized the truth only this time nobody would ever know about the "truth". I actually laughed a little at that. A girl knows when ever male's eyes are looking her up and down and this was one of those times.

The main corridor that I thought was 2 miles long was not long at all but when a child's mind thinks of it as a gauntlet time and distance are lost in the confusion of a frightened mind. I remember looking up from the blue walls and realizing for the first time the ceiling was white. Life in High School had always been eyes down and forge ahead,  I never looked up nor did I ever speak to anyone in the corridors for most of those 3 years.

My teacher reunion went well and the student reunion was weird. The only difference between the High School me and the reunion me was hair color and some additional makeup and a knockout dress but it dawned on me that people see what they want to see or what they think they should see. I deliberately did not take a name tag and spent a solid two hours dancing with men that were trying to figure out who I was and that included the target of my anger who was both a gentleman and complimentary when we danced.

Finally one of the "geeks" figured it out when I reminded him he always had trouble with certain math problems. I went to the ladies room in preparation before leaving and he told everyone and I remember thinking how pathetic they all were but I was so wrong.  I was saying goodbye to several teachers when the boy I had planned my revenge on came up to me and started apologizing and I realized they were as confused as I was then. He actually had tears running down his face and I realized he was very serious in his apology.

I learned that evening how blind my own fear had made me.  Several girls asked why I rebuffed their attempts at friendship in my Junior year and I remembered none of it. It took that boy 8 months to batter down the walls I had built around myself but he did. The entire evening turned out to be cathartic just like Harry and my mother said it would be. I was there well past the midnight hour talking with young adults a few years older than me. It allowed me to let go of that part of my past.

It was a large part of the catalyst that drove me towards the rest of my life. Letting go allowed me to move forward and live life as I had wanted from very early on. I was blessed with several close friends that were born transsexual and we all just lived after our SRS. All of us just blended into society as girls and women.  I lived a very normal life for a woman.  I had a bad marriage and a great marriage. I had a daughter I was privileged to raise.

Life is what you make of it and it is even more rewarding when you do it as a woman. I highly recommend it.


Anonymous said...

One of the most significant actions a type V and VI takes is the process of "forgiveness" most often of yourself sometimes of others. It is essential to let go of the past accept the things that it is impossible to change and to simply move on. Until you do it makes it hard for anyone to love us but far more importantly to love ourselves.

While the past is maintained as a part of the present the future cannot unfold as it should. I could not comment on these blogs on the issues I do if my own life was not founded on a firm and stable footing.

In my past I worked, almost lived and breathed with a small group of people. They were always good to me and tolerant. God knows they had their own problems but although they never said anything they always knew what was wrong with me. When I finally talked to one of them about my condition the reaction was one of "We all know we have been expecting this" If I had known that I could have saved myself some wasted years. Forgiving myself for that was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. It was that single act of forgiveness that enabled my current happiness.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this, a very good blog entry. After I had my corrective surgery life went on and I soon forgot most of the misery living with my birth condition had brought me.

Nothing like the confidence a proper body instills in a person.


Reality Check said...

I very much enjoy reading your recollections as well as your current observations and erspective. There really are very few women that I know of that managed to survive those early years in such good order.

I think what people today fail to realize is that those of us who grew up in the 50's and early 60's have/had a much simpler understanding of how 'things' work.

Like you, I had never even heard of trans anything when I was very young. I just knew that my body was all wrong and I should have a girl's body/life and not a boy's.

Unlike you I never found my way to Harry Benjamin at such an early age. In fact, even in 1972/73 when I underwent my SRS, I still had not even heard of him.

Hard to believe I know, but consider...no internet. All I had to go on in the mid to late 60's was my college library which had only a news item referencing Christine Jorgensen and an even older one in Lili Elbe.

But here is the thing. Despite this limited information, despite the high risks, the goal was clear. Once the I became aware that this was in fact a possibility, I did exactly everything that I needed to do to get to where I needed to get, which was simply, WHOLE.

And that was all she wrote. Ever since, it has been simply, "life goes on".

Life after SRS? Gee....what can I say? Life goes on...:-)

Foxfire said...

Life is immeasurably more wonderful once we are corrected, and can finally achieve that overwhelming sense of "rightness" within ourselves and our bodies. I cannot fathom wanting to remain forever stuck in some trans-limbo.

Thank you Liz for sharing your experiences here with us.

Reaity Check said...

Another extremely pertinent point, which is so pointedly ignored by the TG, with their 'surgery is an option' meme, is the that the "option" is only available to those who are not TS.

Those of us who are TS do not have that option. We absolutely MUST, have that surgery in order to live our lives as normal, happy, healthy, everyday women. And yes, that happy, healthy life, includes happy, healthy sex.

flow said...

what a beautiful blog entry.

i've often wondered how it is that others from our youth saw us, since its so hard to be objective when you are living in the midst of stuff.

i can only imagine how it felt for you. It makes me wonder if it is worth travelling back to the uk to attend my college reunion.

thanks,as ever, for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Like others, I made the decision to attend a high school reunion. I had finally decided to go to my 20th, by which time I had spent more than half my life in a corrected state.

In my case, I didn't walk with my class. I took advantage of a loophole in Texas education law and graduated early. While most were sociable that evening, I was quickly reminded that I had not lost anything by not keeping in touch with anyone from the class. In the years that have followed, there is still only one person I have kept in touch with...ironically enough someone who came out later in life as lesbian. Had we both been able to talk to each other about such things, we both would have had better childhoods given that we sat next to or behind each other for close to six years...

Surgery gave me the chance to HAVE a life. Without it, I doubt I would have seen 25...the tee-gee borg will never grasp the life-or-death scenario that many of us were confronted with. The catch-22 is that in order to defeat some of the bullshit that they push for, I would almost be compelled to walk away from a life of normality, something that I have no desire to do. Normal lives...what a concept...and one that Umbrella Inc will NEVER be able to grasp.