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

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