Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seriously, it's hot in here.

So I'm not sure if it's a side effect of the hormones, or just me, but I have been running hot lately. Hot flashes, and generally just hotter than usual. I'm going to keep an eye on it, but I just wanted to throw it out there.

Anyway, it's been a week since my first shot of testosterone and I don't feel any differently (not that I really expected to). I'm taking a relaxing day today and staying at Sarah's house playing ACII and job hunting. I already called a bunch of places as well as sent emails.

I'm worried about job hunting. How are they going to feel when my resume says Aileen "Aidan" Kircheim, and then I show up. Of course they're going to use to wrong pronouns, and of course I'm going to have to explain to them what's going on. And it's not that I'm worried about talking about it, because clearly, I'm not. Ask me anything and I'll answer it - completely open book. But it's that face that some people make that looks to me like 'okay I hear you but I still can't really comprehend this' and what comes out of their mouth is, 'Thanks for coming by, have a great day', which really means 'sorry but I'm sure I can find someone else'. It's generally not fair that someone might not hire me because I'm trans but it's not like I can prove it. And I know that a lot of us who aren't exactly passing, or haven't changed our names yet, have this problem. I just wish it didn't happen as often as it does.

So ultimately I'm worried about finding an employer who understands, accepts, and tolerates me as an employee. And the truth is, Long Island is not the best place for tolerant people. We like to pretend that we're all about equality, and understanding of people who live outside social norms, but it's really not like that at all. People are prejudiced, people are racist (and not the funny Avenue Q way either. Nasty racist) and it's unavoidable here. Don't get me wrong, I know that there are a lot of places that are the same, as well as worse than Long Island, when it comes to racism and discrimination. What I'm saying is, Long Island is where I am now in my life, and I have to deal with it.

So I guess we'll just see what happens, and roll with the punches.

Damn I should go back to kickboxing.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The truth is, I was terrified.

One step closer.

To happiness.
To self respect.
To passing.
To becoming a man.

Yesterday was my first shot of testosterone. I cannot believe it. Not in the "oh it all happened so fast I can't believe it" kind of way, I mean actually cannot believe it. Three years of looking forward to this experience. Three years of waiting, wishing, hoping, anxiousness, self-hatred, nervousness, and then in less than 2 minutes it's done. And afterwards, my fear and doubt starting to run wild. What if this isn't what I want? What if my parents never understand? What if Sarah changes her mind about supporting me when I start going through puberty all over again?


Of rejection.
Of not following through.
Of losing what I love.
Of being a burden to others.

No matter that 99% of my insides have been telling me for years that this is what I want, and to be excited, and I can do this, I let the 1% of me take over. I let it run me for almost a quarter of an hour. I think it's healthy that I still have that doubt. And I'm going to take some time getting past that 1%, but I can do it. I will do it.

Anyone who says they're not scared before their first treatment of hormones, is full of shit. It doesn't make you any less of a "man" to be afraid. It makes you human. It's going to be okay. Talk about your fear. Whether it's with a therapist, a good friend, or anonymous in a forum online. If you don't talk about it, and figure out where it is stemming from, you will NEVER get past it. This isn't a fear of spiders that can be overcome by just facing it and getting past it. This is a process that will take time, tears, and serious self reflection. But it's worth it.

Some people have asked me how I know that I'm trans, or what makes me want to go through with hormone therapy, or am I sure this is what I want. So I'm going to explain through the story of someone I met in Albany. Though her name escapes me now, her story will stay with me forever. We'll call her Jill.

Jill was born a man, and knew since she was very little that her sex was incorrect to her gender. Jill is (at the time I met her) in her mid 40s. She has never, never, told her family about being trans. She has lived two lives for her entire existence. During the week she is Jack, and works at an accounting office from 9-5, like an average man. On weeknights and weekends, however, she becomes Jill. She puts on a wig, fake nails, a dress, some heels, some makeup, and heads out as what feels more real to her than a check from her job in her hand. She explained this to me, and what I remember most was her eyes as she told me. They were not only filled with fear that her parents would find out, but with sadness. Sadness that she could never be herself full time. Sadness that she may never find a partner who understands her, and will support her in her life. She feared that her job would fire her, that her family would not accept her, and she would completely alone in the universe.

I never want to do that to myself. I never want to hide who I am. And hearing her story made me realize that that was exactly what I was doing. I was lying not only to myself, but to everyone I loved. So now I have vowed to change that. So I am ready to venture into the unknown, to do something I have never done (and that list is pretty short), and to take it in stride.

It's time to discover the diamond in the rough. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The first of many truths.

Here comes my story. Along with clichés. But most importantly, the truth. Ever since I was young I've felt different. Something just wasn't right, and I never knew what it was. I had more friends that were boys, I got along better with boys, and I liked it that way. It felt better than being a girl. Which, looking back, never felt right. I didn't have a bad childhood. My parents did not make me that way, I was just considered a "tomboy". There was nothing wrong with it, and it was no one's fault. It's still no one's fault.

From the very beginning I have been good at sports. I loved it. I made the travel soccer team before I was supposed to, before the rest of the kids my age did, I swam and played basketball for CYO, I played volleyball, made the varsity softball team of my high school in 9th grade, and the varsity soccer team. My grandparents taught me how to golf, my dad taught me how to hunt and fish, my brothers taught me how to skate. I was throwing myself into sports from an early age to keep myself busy, and it was fun. But I was trying to find something. Something that would fill the void inside of me, and make me feel like I was normal.

The move from middle school to high school was an interesting one. I separated from some friends, and gained others. I started to get close to my third cousin Sarah, and ended up helping at her school with her theater club. We started getting closer and closer as friends and not only did we start to hang out more, but I got to know some of her friends also. I'm not sure when it happened, but I fell head over heels in love with Sarah. Every part of me was screaming "but I'm supposed to be a girl!! And I know I'm not a lesbian!" and "it'll never be okay. she's your cousin." So I did my best to hide it. And when I couldn't really do that, I tried to shift my focus of affection from Sarah to her friend Liz. That didn't work either.

Summer of 2008. I've just graduated high school, made it the whole time without throwing myself at Sarah (much to my own surprise), and it seems like not many people (unless I told them in secret) knows the wiser. Success. Sarah is working during the summer out east in Hampton Bays. Now since 2004 when I knew for sure that I was in love with Sarah, I have been talking myself into it. Convincing myself that the past 4 years have not been in vain, and maybe someday she'll come to love me the way that I love her despite the fact that we're family (but really, third cousins? Who cares? And we can't even biologically have kids...). So I've been going for it. And working my ass off to woo her. Yes, I said 'woo'. And (again, much to my surprise) it seems to be working. I've got her hooked, I know it. We're up talking until all hours of the night, we're falling asleep in each other's arms. It was perfect. But I couldn't kiss her. I was a coward.

September 6th, 2008. Freshman year. I'm visiting Sarah at Purchase and for what must have been about 15 seconds and feels like a lifetime, she's been laying there with her eyes closed, giving me the kiss-me face. I manage to find some courage somewhere in the universe, and I kiss her. And my jaw has never been so clenched, and my lips so tight. It was like a 4 year old making a Ken doll kiss a Barbie. Honestly, it was pretty terrible. You can ask her, she'll tell you.

The next day was panic. We didn't really talk about it, but she kept saying "it's okay, really" over and over and all I could think was damnit I ruined it. And that'll never happen again. And I swear I can kiss better than that, really. And for the next 2 weeks we called each other every night talking about it. What would the family say, and how are we going to work this out, and damnit I swear I can kiss better than that! And when she came to visit me in Albany, we had a do-over of our first kiss. It was much better, thanks for asking.

We've been together ever since.

2010. Gender Studies Class. "Today we're going to talk about transgenders." Tranny jokes ensue, Birdcage references made. The usual that I'm familiar with. But then we really started talking about it. Like real adults. And it's not just Birdcage trannys. I'm sitting in class, next to my friend "JPK", and it fucking hits me. That's it. That's what this is. I'm a boy in here, that really happens. People deal with this all the time, and I could take hormones, and get surgery, and the outside would match the inside. I'm thrilled that I finally, FINALLY, figured out what the hell is wrong with me. And it's not wrong at all, it's just lesser known.

Ever since that day I have been dreaming of a new life. A life where I can really be myself, and be a bro instead of a hoe. A day when I can take my shirt off at the beach and not get fined for it. And play shirts vs skins basketball and be on the skins team. A five o'clock shadow. A deeper voice. Easier muscle growth.

Well, it's happening. Thursday will be my first day of hormone therapy, and I'll start taking testosterone shots. My parents are not thrilled, and I didn't expect them to be. It's okay that they're upset, and don't understand. Because growing up here on Long Island, I didn't understand either. And if I hadn't gone away to school and taken that class, and then gone to trans meetings, and support groups, I wouldn't even be close to where I am today.

I'm nervous, impatient, but most of all excited. I'm finally on the road to becoming a real boy. People may not understand, and that's okay. All I can do is live my life, and try to teach some people along the way. But that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to live my life. I have been the rock of this family forever. And my brother Michael told me that I should do what makes me happy, and that love is love, and if people love me, they'll come around. Since he said it, and since he died, I've come to realize more and more that life is too short to not do what makes me happy. So thanks to him, and others who have said the same things, I have the courage to do it now.

Because life is too damn short. And that's the truth.