Tuesday, May 5, 2009

hi again -

May 5, 2009

Good morning!
I am sitting in my room on a rain morning, my tooth hurting and no health insurance. Hey, it's all good.

Enjoy my "letter"

-- my ‘letter’--
March 2004


Not often do I actually sit down and compose a letter, so this must be pretty important. I mean, why else would I take the time and trouble to arrange my thoughts just so on this paper to be the most concise, the most understandable, the most followable (I love this word!) expression of my inner feelings and thoughts.

Whew! Now, that was pretty superfluous. I do, however, have so much respect and love for the people that I address this letter to that I need to make sure you understand exactly the what and why of the theme of this letter.

I cherish my relationship with you, respect who you are as a person, and wish to create a more real relationship with you. And to do that I must be truthful to you and I. And this is precisely the theme of this letter. To be honest and truthful to you, to open up and show you a little of the real me.

It is a standing joke among some circles that I am a “man of mystery”, as the saying goes. That is because I did not want you, for a myriad of reasons, which I will explain in this letter, to know the inner me, the person that is the real me, and yearns to be free to live in this world. So I felt I had to close you off, lest something slip out.

I am not the person that I have been presenting to the world. For most of my life I have not been allowed, either by external control or internal control, to freely express and live who I am. I have lived in fear of rejection, disapproval and abuse. I have lived with frustration, self-loathing and guilt. I have been carefully shaped to believe that my real self is an abomination, an anomaly, some thing to be purged and “saved” from. I have tried so hard to prove to you and me that I am a regular guy, a cool dude.

But, no matter how hard I try, I just can not believe that who I am is not real, is not the true way for me to be and live, no matter what some book says or what some “authority” asserts or what some law allows. I can no longer live a lie. I can no longer look at my self and try to make my self believe that I am some one I am not.

And I KNOW that I am a decent person, that I am not a freak -- Not in the eyes of the Divine and to those who truly love me. I know that I make a positive difference in the world, that my life has meaning and purpose. I am creative, curious, intelligent. Some people actually say that I am a nice person and that they are attracted to my spirit, so that’s pretty cool, huh?

And, no matter if I present my mask to you or the real me to you, I am the same person. I am just afraid that everyone will automatically think that I am suddenly soo different. That I’ve changed so much – “what’s happened to you?” The outside is so important to people, a lot of us never get past it in our relationships with others. How you look is who you are.

But you are not that way, or this letter would make no sense to you whatever, and there would be no point in sending this to you. And I respect you way more than that. And so I labor to sculpt this lengthy explanation so that you may have a perspective in which to assimilate the substance of this letter. And you know, after reading this over, what I have written so far is way more than a lot of you know about me already! I could stop now and be ahead of the game!

My mind and spirit tell me that I am one way, and my body presents to others that I am the other way. My mind and spirit tell me that I am female, and have always been, as long as I can remember. But my body is a constant reminder of the incongruity in my life, this wrenching divide of the parts of my self that keep me from being whole. And one thing I have been striving to be all my life (and so I find as I live this life most people have been) is to be whole, to be real, to be “who I am”.
And I have really tried - I mean labored and sweated - to make my mind and spirit accept my physical self, but it just not going to work.

And of all the fates, I happen to be born into a culture that so adamantly clutches onto the binary code of just about everything in life except The Divine which just HAS to be male! And sex is so powerful in this culture, it pervades so much of this culture – not sensuality, the simple and open use of all our senses to enjoy the world and each other, and celebrating relationships on a physical as well as spiritual level – but sexuality, the search to be stimulated in a physical, genital sense. Combine the three (binary system, a male deity and obsession with sex) and I, in the process of transitioning (especially giving up my “male” privilege and becoming a “second class” person), am entirely screwed!

And yes, I am in transition- in physical transition from male to female.

Okay, all you guys, you can turn your head, spit on the ground and make the sign of the cross – “ya mean ya gonna cut em off?!” You ladies can turn to each other and go “eew!” and shake your heads – “there goes another good one”. I have heard both said so many times in my life in so many different circles of people.

Either that or you are in shock. I am sorry if you are, I know it is hard to wrap your head around. It has taken me years to get to this point of committing to make my self whole, and you are just hearing it for the first time.

You have to know that transitioning is not something I want to do – it is not just one of those rebellious acts. It is a necessity, like breathing. I would never ask to be treated the way I am, to be shunned and berated and humiliated the way I am. I would never want to spend just about every cent I have to effect this monumental change in my physical self. And I would not wish this journey on anyone. It is so, so hard. The shit never lets up. Every day.

But you know, it’s funny – I really don’t mind the hardship. Not most of the time. Of course I have my bad, bad days – but I also have days that are ecstasy. And I am starting to learn what it is to be truly happy and comfortable with my self. I always wondered what that was like. I am becoming so much more real to my self and to those around me. It feels good.

I do love you and care for you sooo much. And I truly do hope that our relationship can continue, for I believe we could learn the joys of intimately connecting with another human being. I want this. Do You?

With love,


Sunday, May 3, 2009

hello! And we begin!


Herein you will find writings by my self and those others who wish to contribute. I will be posting each day a portion of a volume of writing that I completed entitled :'''after the FAQ..."

I hope in this space to create a venue for those who are trans identified to express themselves. Please feel free to contact me regarding expressions of your soul and heart that you wish to share with your family. short stories, poetry, song lyrics, letters - it really is up to you. No books, though - much too too at one time.

Know that you are loved.

May 3, 2009

… after the FAQ…

Susan Collins
--c. 2008


The time right after I ‘came out’ regarding my transsexuality and my decision to begin transition was extremely frenetic. All the phone calls and e-mails and people visiting and general uproar lasted a good month or so. Then, the silence.

My mother tells me how the first weeks after my father died were so filled with family and planning and the such that she never really had time to breath. Then, after the funeral and the visits were over, the silence came. She then had to deal head on with the awful truth of her husband’s death. And she was alone. All the support she had during the initial crisis was no longer there.. She was alone to face this awful reality. She tells of many tearful, agonizingly lonely nights. She tells of how she came to cherish human touch, whether it came from a letter or phone call or visit. She had to learn to walk this life all over again, alone.

The silence. The time after the commotion and the frequently asked questions and the raw emotions that surround a new revelation or a new life crisis. And certainly the beginnings of a person’s journey toward gender affirmation is both a new revelation to the world around and a major life crisis, both for the person who is embarking on this amazing path, this “…road less traveled” and those that know this person.

After the frequently asked questions is the time of being alone to face the agony and the glory of who you are. The time of staring out the window, wondering what now? The time of trying to find direction and some guidance when at the same time still feeling ashamed and embarrassed to admit to any one that I am “transsexual”. Just saying the word (a word that conceptualized my essence, my core being, so well!) was like uttering a most vulgar curse – but I wasn’t sure if it was a curse to be this way or just to be this way in this society. I wasn’t sure which person I uttered this to would be the one who would announce it to a world that was just waiting for some freak like me to beat and burn and destroy. It is a scary time. Who can I tell? Will any one accept this?

The time after the frequently asked questins was one of great anxiety and paranoia, great loss and pain, a complete death and rebirth process in so many ways – emotionally, psychologically, socially, personally, spiritually, occupationally, medically. I lost complete worlds of people, and had to rebuild much of my social and personal life. I learned first hand the meaning of words such as oppression, shunning, marginalization.

I, for the first time in my life, was no longer a first class citizen in this society, and had to cope with the loss of white male privilege and right of way. I was rejected violently by the circles from which I had previously been accepted, and for a while was utterly alone.

The loneliness can crush you. The knowledge that you chose to completely put your self in such a tenuous position in this world is chilling. The confusion about new directions in life is maddening. The utter shock of losing all rights of citizenship and personhood shakes the foundations of your very spirit. And knowing that there are very, very few people in this world who truly understand what you are going through is agonizingly frustrating.

BUT…the feeling of self dignity from having the courage to stand up and state boldly who you truly are … the freeing quality of finally, finally not hiding, not keeping secret the most important things about what makes you who you are … the lightness of soul from expressing your true self … the feeling of wholeness and genuineness that comes from validating your self as a person, in your own soul and to the world around … these also come after the frequently asked questions. The soft Mona Lisa smile from seeing ‘you’ in the mirror for the first time. The first time a friend gets your pronoun right. Formally seeking medical care to treat the dysphoria you feel about your body and feeling and seeing your body change to fit your true self… the wonderful balance felt inside as you take your place in the world, as you re-assimilate into society in your rightful role, as your true gender.. .all these wondrous events happen after the frequently asked questions.

I am reminded of a part in the movie “MIB” when Will Smith asks if it is worth giving up his whole existence to become a Man in Black. Tommy Lee Jones turns and answers: “Yea, it’s worth it. If you’re strong enough”.

So I offer to you a glimpse of my life after the frequently asked questions. This manuscript is a selection of my writings from the time of my first public ‘coming out’ as transsexual to the present. Within these pages is a sharing of feelings, thoughts, observations, awarenesses and life experiences while walking (sometimes stumbling, sometimes skipping) down this road, this journey, living this adventure of gender affirmation. Included are letters, essays, poems and responses to threads on web site forums.

It has been extremely intense, not at all pretty some days, extremely ecstatic at other times. It is disturbing, uplifting and all in all a very human portrait of who I am and my life experiences, through my cognitive lens, from my point of reference, from my gender.

I share this with you in the spirit of love of one human being to other human beings. All I ask of you is that you listen as you read these pages. And I give thanks to The Divine Spirit that I am “strong enough”.


Sue Collins