When I think back to all that has skyrocketed over the last year and a half for me personally I am just beside myself. I’ve encountered so many things in this brief period of time that it actually has changed me in many ways. I do not even know where to begin. I can’t help my son or my spouse as I desire because sometimes we will need to be helped me and that I’m finally getting the help I always longed for.
I struggled with shyness, isolation, low self esteem, depression, suicidal thinking, transgender, family tragedy and a feeling of needing to live as I felt in my heart. When I see my son gloomy and depressed and longing for friends it just breaks my heart because I do understand his pain and despite this I still feel I’m unable to reach him. Although we discuss this internal pain and struggle we have them for quite different reasons.
My reason is pretty clear as to why I fought and my son’s struggles just make me feel worse as I only want the best for him. I am trying to discover how best to assist him in establishing relationships and being accountable despite his autistic background. That was my entire motivation in creating my website, A Father’s Love, My Son and Autism, dedicated to understanding Autism and wanting to help my son and love him unconditionally and accepting him with all of my love and always being there for him.
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I sometimes wonder why life must be so painful and sad when we ought to embrace it and enjoy it as it eventually will come to a conclusion. Why do we feel so helpless and weighed down with worry and dread all of the time that it puts a damper on things and makes us feel so angry? Is life supposed to be this way? If that is true then it might explain why people struggle and become heartless, unfeeling and suffer in silence and pain. For those that are kind, caring and compassionate this is quite tough to address because it distorts your entire take on life and makes you lose your sense of self and takes the joy out of living and might tragically lead to suicide.
I felt I had to compensate and proceed to extremes simply to find approval or approval in my life and I hid my true feelings and constantly felt inhibited and unable to break through to be true to myself for fear of rejection, ridicule and physical violence. The main worry I have is the way to protect my son and help him to have a bright and happy future. There’s so much doubt and my son has special needs and as he draws nearer to age 18 the more I fear for him. I wish to see him find himself and find his fire so he can flourish and eventually come to accept himself and do something meaningful and possess a constructive and fruitful life.
It’s taken me all these years to come to take myself amidst all of the terrific things I have experienced like marriage, fatherhood and successes in school and work. I can not help the fact that I am transgender or painfully shy. I do understand that I am trying my very best despite my exposed position to protect my loved ones but I’m facing the true possible reality of losing everything. It’s so sad to realize you’re different and many people judge and treat you with cruelty, disrespect and are extremely ignorant.
I am worried to look at the job market when and if I can work because I know I’ll face discrimination as a male to female transgender person. I truly came to this stage of needing and deciding to transition because of two different and very painful tragedies happening in my life. The bond I had with my father was exceptional and very unique and that also resulted in a bond between my son and his grandpa that was heart warming.
We had many times with my father as he had been very delighted spending time with my son and loved ones. He was rather proud of me and always offered me very helpful advice and help over time. He was selfless and always put my sisters and my needs before his and he had been very devoted to mother who regrettably died many years before, prematurely. This was really sad when mother passed because my father became very withdrawn and isolated and battled depression and all of us knew mother was quite unique despite her struggles with her illness.
Despite his broken spirit he was able to live nearly 20 years longer and centered his life around my sisters and I and our families and he was very devoted to all his grandchildren including our son, Matty. He was a very loving husband, father and grandfather and we were blessed to have him in our life. Then on April 16, 2009 I was crushed as I discovered that my father took his life at age 73 by leaping in the path of a speeding train. This was the toughest thing we as a family needed to cope with and we had no means of knowing that he was so desperate.
It really affected me and I couldn’t sleep and felt completely lost and wondered why it had to come to this. As I struggled through my dad’s tragic death I had an excellent friend who reached out to me by phone the very next day after he heard the news and he was very sympathetic and very reassuring. He spoke with me on the phone for many hours and I still recall it as though it was yesterday. I won’t ever forget his true concern and religious guidance he provided me and it really was very helpful to me and I was so very thankful for his friendship and his empathy.
He was my very best friend and he actually was there for me when I really needed it and that’s extremely special. The truth of life occasionally wears you down when you lose those that are extremely special to you. When I heard of my buddy’s premature death 2 decades later, at the tender age of 40, I was in shock and couldn’t help but cry. Both of these tragedies forced me to look at my life and seek treatment which I hunted quite a long time back when my mother died but as I was now in my early 50’s, married with an autistic boy and feeling very sad and depressed I knew I had to find some help and counselling and I sought out a therapist to speak to.
Initially I concentrated on my son and dealing with his situation and my concerns for his future and then I talked about my loved ones and the tragedies I lived through. I was reluctant to talk of my gender identity but felt I really had no choice because this was constantly affecting me throughout my life. When I revealed I recognized all of my life as feminine despite being born man I just cried and felt I came into some very painful but very enlightening moment. I began to discuss it more and realized after talking with my therapist, an extremely dedicated and compassionate girl, at all my visits I really realized that I needed to transition to locate my own inner peace and happiness despite my feelings of guilt in having to place my wife and son through this.
Despite all of the pain and feelings of entrapment and remorse I feel as my situation affects not only myself but also my family and several other people in my life I really do feel helpless with my decision to transition. I realize I don’t have any control over that but I am quite sensitive and influenced by it. However, I do have to mention there are lots of positive experiences I encountered in starting my journey for the last year and a half. My transition from male to female gives me a feeling of confidence and makes me feel good and believe me that’s more helpful to me as I had to fight with being transgender for my entire life, which is extremely sad and painful.
I’ve met many kind and caring medical practitioner who treat me with respect, compassion and dignity. I’ve had only positive experience with the medical community and began my process of transitioning by scheduling my very first appointment in March 2012 in Callen-Lorde that’s a health centre in New York City that caters particularly to the LGBT community. I knew from day one I was in good hands when I was greeted at reception and met my physician. She’s been very kind, caring and very supportive of my situation and is quite special to me since she accepted me and fully comprehended. She started me on the female hormone, estradiol and the antiandrogen, spironolactone in June 2012 that I was really excited to begin. She did warn me of the possible dangers associated with hormone replacement therapy but I fully expected her to do this and was asked to sign a form giving my approval to begin HRT.
Although I understood the dangers as clarified by her I felt the need and urgency to begin taking them. She wasn’t surprised with my eagerness and was very supportive in my use of these and is monitoring my health because of using them. In taking them originally I began to wonder how they would affect me and was really excited. At first I didn’t really notice much but after a month or two I began to notice my skin felt softer to the touch and my complexion improved. I felt a slow progression in using them and now it has been slightly over a year I’m noticing my feminine development that’s becoming more noticeable and very gratifying. I’ve dropped a substantial amount of weight going from 185 lbs to 125 pounds within 6 months that I attribute to dieting and partially the HRT.
I also have went from a size 16 dress size to a size 8 that completely made me so happy. I could slip to the petite sizes and felt that my body contour getting more consistent with that of a girl and I am now able to present as a woman in public with not a second glance. I also had the experience of working in the feminine sex in town for a pediatrician’s office expanding and opening several new offices and I was really happy and worked really hard and was accepted by most everyone and treated with kindness, respect and felt accepted from day one. However after only being there for seven weeks I believed that the company wanted to go in another way and they terminated me that resulted in my severe depression.
My very last day of working in my office I had a complete emotional breakdown caused by all of the pressures I had to contend with and as I turned into my manager I dropped to the ground before her and my fellow coworkers. My manager came to my help and with the assistance of others led me to a sofa where I had been comforted as I was hyperventilating and quite emotional. My manager called 911 and within minutes I was led out as my manager followed to be sure I was safely transported to the ambulance. She was very kind to me and I am very thankful to her for the chance she supplied me and her empathy in helping me.
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We still maintain a connection as she occasionally checks in with me but I’m going through a serious depression as I am unemployed and face foreclosure and other financial concerns. I also realize I want to heal and not worry about the work and mortgage. I’ve been in and out of psychiatric hospitals within the last 4 months and have discovered that in each hospital I spent time in I was treated with empathy, respect, concern and allowed my own private space. I felt I was in good hands and this help I eventually was getting was long overdue given my lifelong battle with depression, transgender and family tragedy.
I’m going weekly to my scheduled doctor appointments in Beth Israel where I see a medical doctor, a therapist and a psychologist. I’m treated beautifully and constantly addressed as Emily and I go to my appointments at pretty dresses feeling genuinely free and very happy despite my depression, family and financial worries. I do however present in the male role in home and change out of my dresses into gender neutral clothes for the sake of my son, a teenager who struggles with autism and I feel obligated to do this as his dad but I am looking more and more feminine despite my change of clothing that’s credited to my hormone use that I want to continue as it’s going a long way in helping me deal with my gender dysphoria.
I find the women to be very understanding and accepting and for me that makes me feel quite content. Even the men are coming around and beginning to understand. I have been quite open minded of my transition and I hope it with courage and with a variety of emotions. I still feel remorse but that’s something I believe I will always have to contend with because of how it’s impacting my son, family and others I care about. I am beginning to feel more accepted though as they’re seeing the positive effects in my transitioning and can feel I’m more content including my son and loved ones. In addition, I have noticed as I walk into my doctor appointments I’m being noticed and the receiver of compliments that’s all very new to me.
I’ve got both girls and guys noticing and it makes me feel more confident each and every day. I was walking along with a very attractive woman turned in my direction and said”Nice dress! It really suits you.” I was so surprised that she would go out of her way to state what made me feel really great as I said “Thank you” to her. As a man I was never actually noticed by the women so this was really ironic that how I control a woman’s focus is as a female. It’s funny sometimes, the irony of life. I am a really shy person and not used to this attention but do acknowledge that it really feels great to be considered a woman and to also be addressed as one and complimented too. I don’t think I could ever get used to it but I’m taking it all in and feel quite appreciative.
I’m devoted to my family as well as my son and realize I will remain loyal but I am quite happy being Emily. I also am attending LGBT support group meetings and making friends with other transgender people that has been very helpful and very positive. My transition is continually evolving and there’s a lot of uncertainty but I feel it’s something I have no real choice over. I’m only human and can not help how I identify but my true desire is to see my son find his peace and happiness and my spouse to also locate your peace and happiness also. I do care for my loved ones and am sad I have put them. I just feel sometimes that life isn’t always as wonderful as we’d expected but I believe we are blessed to live and experience life and discuss it with those we love. I’ll continue to write and express myself and publicly relate my personal transition from male to female. Love to my family and all of my friends that are true friends and help me face each day with love in my heart and guts in my struggle to continue.