The New Page

Note to Readers:

This will be the last post for this year. Starting January 1st, 2016 I plan on posting a new, shorter post every day (much like this post). Either once a week or once a month I plan on doing a larger topic post like I had been doing mostly.

NewMed

On December 17th 2015 at around 2:00 am I woke up and something changed. That something was the seriousness of my suicidal thoughts. They went from empty words used to get attention to serious and quite terrifying in an instant. After noticing this change, I immediately reached out for help because I was afraid if I didn’t I would convince myself to harm myself.

After a bit of time, I realized that something was not the way it should be in me. Some part of me is in need of repair. This state of mind that I live in should not be what I accept as normal. I deserve a chance to feel joy and not worry about things nearly as much as I do. Ever since I was a child, I’ve lived in nearly constant worry and fear. I don’t know what life will be like without such worries, but I expect it will feel a lot more worth living than it does right now.

Today, I begin taking medication to help with my anxiety and depression. This marks the first page in a new chapter in life.

IChooseToLive

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015

I know that I was supposed to do a Part 2 to my previous post but I haven’t been able to fully realize what I want to say yet. So, I thought I’d do this post instead.

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance and I wanted to create a special post to honor those who have been harmed and lost their lives for showing the world who they are inside.

As a transwoman myself, I can’t help but realize how lucky I’ve been so far with my transition and wonder if my luck is going to run out. I imagine myself in the scariest situations I can in order to empathize with those who haven’t been as lucky. When I do this, all I feel is guilt and shame because I feel that my so called “luck” is merely the result of being hyper cautious. This type of caution gives me protection but comes at a terrible price.

The cost is that I invalidate myself every time I am cautious. I do this by ignoring every time I’m misgendered or when my old name is used no matter how much it hurts. I also I dress more gender neutral sometimes when I don’t really want to and I don’t work as hard on developing my female voice and don’t really use it in public. Caution keeps me quiet in social situations and I pretend not to notice hateful and ignorant comments about trans people that I see and hear. I do this instead of what I should be doing which is combating them. I do all of these things and more out of fear of the possibilities that could happen.

My caution is simply cowardice and there is no excuse for it. Every time I hide myself because of fear I am not only invalidating my own gender identity to appease others instead of making them think but I’m also invalidating every other trans person as a result. Being part of a minority means that each person within that minority has a bigger contribution to how that group is viewed as a whole. The view of the group can be based on this and it can contribute to negative generalizations, or stereotypes. By being afraid to act, I’m kind of telling cisgender people that gender identity isn’t important or real to us. I’m giving others an excuse to invalidate us and to not understand us. My non action is action and it is harmful to the transgender community.

Starting today, I will no longer exchange the authenticity of my gender identity or other’s gender identities for total safety. I will have the courage to question those who are ignorant and don’t understand. I will fight hate with calm compassion and rationality. Instead of running away from life as I’ve done countless times before I will go forward, even if it’s only one small step at a time. I will honor those who bravely came before me and I hope to inspire those who will follow.

So today remember us. We’re people too and we deserve to live our lives as ourselves without fear.

My Place on the Autism Spectrum Part 1: Social Challenges

I – Introduction to ASD

I apologize for the long wait and the length of this post. I hope to try writing more frequently from now on. This blog post will highlight my personal struggles with autism and other mental issues that I deal with or have dealt with in the recent past on a daily basis. My hope is that it will bring about an understanding and possibly sympathy or empathy for people who struggle with autism and mental issues in general. Note that this is only one account of how I’m affected personally. It should not be taken as proof of what others may or may not experience with their own struggles.

I have ASD which is known as “Autism Spectrum Disorder.” This condition has a wide array of symptoms and some people are better equipped to interact with people unaffected by ASD. I am a high functioning autistic so I am better equipped to interact with neurotypical people (people who aren’t on the autism spectrum). The mental issues, not necessarily all autistic issues, that I have identified within myself are: black and white thinking patterns, repetition of thoughts, indecisiveness, overstimulated vision and sound, and difficulty navigating relationships and simple social situations. What follows will discuss these symptoms in more detail and how they create challenges for me on a daily basis.

II – Black and White Thinking

I tend to think in terms of black and white even though I’m very open minded about most things. When I mention black and white thinking here, what I’m describing are absolute rules to live by. Rules without any exceptions. I don’t know where these rules really came from entirely but I do know what they are and how they’ve hurt me. One such rule is “don’t make people uncomfortable.” This rule sounds like it could be a good thing, perhaps even something to teach a child; however, it is incredibly damaging the way I use it. What makes people uncomfortable? Well, staring at them for one. How do I know if I’ve been looking long enough to be considered staring? My solution for not looking at someone for too long is not looking at people in the face at all. When talking I don’t want to make people uncomfortable or be seen as rude so a lot of times I simply do not look at them but rather look down or away, which people typically think of as being disinterested or shady in some way. But the fact is I’m just trying to make them feel comfortable.

Another way of making people uncomfortable? Physical contact. As much as I enjoy hugs I do not feel comfortable initiating them because I feel like I could make someone uncomfortable. So, I think the best policy is to not try to hug others unless they initiate it. I do realize I could always ask for consent but I have a tendency to feel bad about asking too. I think that if I ask consent they might be made uncomfortable about the request and worry about what saying “no” will do to my feelings or they will feel like they have to say “yes” and live with the discomfort. This possibility makes me feel horrible inside.

Another black and white rule is “try to understand others’ perspectives and try to help them understand yours.” How can I possibility screw this one up, right? Well, some people just don’t possess the ability to use language to describe their perspective to where I can understand it, or they don’t feel comfortable sharing their feelings on why they are the way they are. Sometimes people can’t understand where I’m coming from either even though I try very hard to use the most precise and descriptive language possible. When these situations happen I feel like a failure and feel it’s necessary to talk down to myself. I do this because of another rule: “You should be punished when you do something wrong.” If I can’t understand them, I think “You’re not smart enough to decipher what they’re trying to explain.” If they don’t feel comfortable sharing, I think “You’re not worthy enough to deserve that information.” If they can’t understand me, then I think “If you can’t help them understand you then you can’t understand them and you fail at explaining things. You’re so stupid and worthless.”

All of these rules destroy my self esteem and are always taken to extremes. These rules are made worse by my repetition of thoughts.

III – Repetition of Thoughts

When I think of how a thought might shape a person, I think of writing sentences as punishment in school. Imagine instead of writing line by line, you trace the same spot on the paper over and over again. So, when I think of something like “You deserve to be punished when you do wrong,” imagine writing that single line on a piece of paper over and over again, while sitting at a wooden desk, tracing over the same sentence. This eventually leads to the paper being destroyed as it gets eaten through and the desk starts to become engraved with the sentence. Eventually the desk is worn through as well and there’s just a hole left where the sentence has been written so much. The desk itself represents long term self worth and the paper short term. When these thoughts have become ingrained so deeply within me they are very difficult to fill in or replace because they feel natural and a part of me. Besides, change can be very uncomfortable.

This etching of thoughts is what my mind does constantly and the process from short term to long term is much quicker than it probably is in typical people. My mind gets stuck on a cycle and keeps running that cycle countless times. The more I try to chase after the thought to catch it and contain it, the faster it runs away from me, leading to me not even knowing which of my thoughts are the ones that are harming me. They all seem the same, like a constant buzzing of bees. Sometimes, in private, I put my hands over my ears and try to scream out for them to stop and throw a tantrum to try to get my mind focused on something else. This happens rarely and I call it “When my thoughts get too loud.” Even though I’m screaming and throwing a fit I never harm myself or others physically. I at least have that much self restraint.

IV – Indecisiveness

Another aspect of my thoughts is indecisiveness. This happens mostly when trying to decide what I want to do with my life. Growing up I had a vast array of interests from magic tricks to technology to drawing to writing to acting; basically being creative and logical, which followed me into adulthood. I had no idea what I wanted to do and I had no focus on any one skill. I bounced back and forth and never really improved beyond the point of my own natural talent for some of these areas. This indecisiveness has continued into the present. I bounce back and forth between several interests and never dig deeper than the surface. I simply haven’t been able to make up my mind as far as what contribution to society I want to make and feel obligated to because it’s attached directly to my self worth.

V – Overstimulated Senses

Some people like to listen to their music loudly and proudly. However, I’m not one of those types of people. When I hear a sound that I deem too loud I become paranoid and concerned for my safety. My fight, flight or freeze response is initiated. This happens a lot during social situations when there are multiple people talking to each other. I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of noise and it triggers my “when thoughts get too loud” response because all I’m feeling is chaos and terror.

This sense of terror can also be activated during visual stimulations. Usually when I see a crowd of people I feel like the walls are closing in and feel like they’re just going to turn on me, shove me down to the ground, and start kicking me mercilessly. My mind reacts like I’m in desperation, screaming for them to stop, and I either run away, or stay frozen in place. When I stay another thing happens. In order to be able to deal with the situation going on in my mind I separate myself from my senses. This is a defense mechanism that causes me to dissociate from my senses and emotions. I basically feel non existent and robotic by being completely logically driven. When I do this it makes it impossible to connect to others. So, either way it’s a lose/lose situation. Sometimes I get stuck in this phenomenon and feel detached from myself as a person entirely. I did this for several years, but have recently found a way to snap out of it which I will discuss in a future post on emotions.

VI – Simple Social Situations and Relationships

ASD makes me feel deficient because I’m in no way a savant like some people with autism are, such as the character in the movie Rain Man. As I’ve said before, I don’t have a singular specialized interest, my focus is more generalized, and I have many interests. I feel like I’m in between the geniuses on the spectrum and neurotypical people. I feel lacking because I can’t I socialize properly, and I can’t solve complex problems and remain lost in my thoughts.

Unlike some people on the autism spectrum who have no grasp of social situations and body language, I have just enough of an understanding to get me into trouble. I care about how my words and actions affect others and want to succeed socially. I want to have typical relationships to feel normal and useful in some way. However, I often mess up and it shatters my self esteem. When trying to start a conversation I have difficulty keeping the conversation going. If someone says “Hi, how are you?” to me then I usually respond “I’m fine.” Then that’s the entire conversation. If I make it into small talk phase then I spend most of the time trying to think about what to say so I am not misunderstood and so I don’t hurt other people’s feelings or make them feel uncomfortable. Usually, it takes a few moments to try to process the situation in which case it’s too late because the person has given up interest in making small talk with me and found another who seems more interested. This is usually why I prefer text messaging in some form because it gives me more time to think about what to say than what is given to me in person.

If someone does actually want to talk to me and expresses genuine interest in me I become very excited and very attached to that person. I don’t want to lose the rare person who actually finds me interesting so I grab on too tight and put them up on a pedestal. Since I’ve basically laid claim to this person I feel that anytime they interact with someone else, when I’m feeling insecure, that I’m not worthy of their friendship and I become jealous of the other person they’re giving attention to. This causes me to feel isolated and alone and desperate for attention which makes me instantly think suicidal thoughts and I share them with said friend to get attention. Over-attachment, jealously, and desperation complicates things and a friend more than likely thinks that I’m crazy and will want to get the hell away from me. Or maybe s/he thinks that s/he is hurting me. Which makes me feel even lonelier. Even if people do care about me, I feel unworthy of their care because I feel broken.

A lot of the time I think about different possibilities of reality. What I mean by this is for every single action or word spoken, there are countless other possibilities. These are the “what ifs” of life and I think about them quite a lot. I think things like “would this person be my friend if I acted differently?” This causes me to have a lot of regrets and feel guilt over many things, even these imaginary what ifs. I constantly wonder if there’s a reality where everything is better and I’m happy and live with as few regrets as possible. What follows is a hypothetical situation where I will sort of take you along on a journey throughout a type of social situation that has happened many times to me and one I really want to change.

VII – Hypothetical Social Situation

This section is going to combine everything I’ve talked about and a couple of things I didn’t get to mention into a mental journey through a particular type of situation when I try to interact with a friend.

* I approach the location where said friend is. I have spent time mentally preparing and psyching myself up for this visit. *

This time is going to be different. This time I’m going to prove that I can have a normal conversation.

* I go to the area where my friend is. There are other people surrounding my friend. *

What do I do? What do I do? I have to prove that I can have a normal conversation. I have to prove that I can be a good friend and actually seem interested.

* I glance at the friend’s eyes. *

Look down. Look away. You don’t want to make him/her feel uncomfortable. So, stop looking! Wait! No! This is one of those thoughts that aren’t constructive and hold me back. If I want to improve my socialization I will need to learn to look people in the face. When I do that then I gather all sorts of information about the type of mood the person is in and can gage how he/she is reacting to my words and actions.

* I try to look again. This time s/he is looking at someone else talking. Jealously takes over and self esteem becomes lower. *

Why is s/he talking to that person? Didn’t s/he see me come in? Am I not important? Is our friendship meaningless? Why would s/he ever really want to be friends with me? I’m not normal. In every possible reality I’m not important to him/her. If I try to go and talk then I will be interrupting possible joy s/he could’ve gotten from the other person that s/he is talking to. Shut up! Stop thinking like this!

* I walk away and find something else to do. Eventually the noise dies down and I go out to where the friend is. *

“Hi.” s/he says to me.

“Hi.” I say back trying to be friendly. However, I cringe at the sound of my own voice.

My voice is horrible. I hate my voice. I need to find my female voice. Why the hell can’t I practice more. Why do I suck so bad. I probably don’t pass and probably look terrible right now and always. I’ll never look how I want to look. Curse these long lanky arms and legs. Curse these big feet and giant nose. Curse this stubble! Stop it!

“How are you?” s/he continues.

“Fine, and you?”

* More people approach and s/he goes to them. I get trapped in a corner. *

Crap, how do I get out of here? The walls feel like they’re closing in. I can’t breathe. Oh crap, I can feel my thoughts getting too loud. I’m freaking out! I have to get out of here! I have to get out of here NOW. Should I just ask them to move so I can leave? Don’t do that you idiot! That is rude and you don’t want to take a way his/her time from people who are making him/her laugh do you? No, I don’t want to do that. I’ll just wait it out.

* Breathes deeply. Since I can’t run, I begin to separate myself from my emotions and anxiety. *

What am I doing here anyway? I don’t feel real. I feel like a ghost. I might as well be a ghost since I can’t socialize properly anyway. What if none of this is real? What if I’m dreaming? What if my entire life is a dream or a simulation? I feel so hollow now. Devoid of anything. How could anyone ever want to be my friend? Why would anyone want to be in a relationship with me? I’m worthless. I’m not a real person.

* Movement has happened and I see an opening. I quickly scurry towards the gap. *

I might as well just go now. I’m already a mess and couldn’t make a connection anyway since I can’t feel anything.

* I go to leave. *

“Bye.” I mutter in a sad sombre while looking utterly defeated.

“Goodbye!” s/he says in a friendly voice with perhaps a touch of sadness. Or is it disappointment?

* I get in my car and drive home but my mental journey doesn’t end as I’m driving. It’s only just begun. *

What the f**k was that? Why didn’t you do better? Well, I got really freaked out by all the stimulation and wasn’t prepared for a multiple person conversation. Don’t give me that! You know this stuff already. Quit making excuses! I’m sorry I’ll do better next time. How? You always say that but don’t do anything! You’re nothing! Nothing! NOTHING!

* I make it home and collapse in absolute shame and disgust with myself. I feel horrible and start to throw a fit. I hit my bed and throw my pillows. I yell. I cry. I try to cry into my pillow and suffocate the sound. Hoping for it to stop or for me to die. Eventually it stops. I send a text. *

“I’m sorry for the way I acted and will do better next time.”

* Then I don’t hear a response. *

It’s probably nothing. S/he is probably just busy.

* More time passes and I begin to really worry. *

“Are you mad at me? I’m so sorry if I upset you. I don’t know how to interact with people very well. I don’t deserve your friendship and I don’t even deserve to live. Please just tell me what I can do to make it up to you. I want to die. I WANT TO DIE!”

* Eventually I hear back and I have to be talked down to calm down a bit. I keep apologizing for everything over and over and over again. So much so that it probably seems fake but every apology is sincere and loaded with remorse and guilt and a desire to stop causing others pain. I just want this inner chaos to end but am clueless as to how to make it stop without my own death. *

VIII – Conclusion

This concludes this blog post. I hope you found it informative and easy to understand why I do the things I do in social situations. Figuring out how this mentally destructive system was very difficult to do and took a long time to fully figure out. Trying to define the problem while going through mental chaos is nearly impossible, but I eventually figured it out. I prevailed. Writing this brought some tears up so it wasn’t entirely logical but more from the heart.

Also, I want to offer a sincere apology to anyone my actions or words may have have hurt in any way. You all deserve better and that’s what I want to become. That’s what I vow to become! I have been struggling with this for a long time and have only recently figured it all out. So, I’ve really been trying to work hard on solutions or workarounds. In the next post I will discuss what changes I’ve been making and what I’ve learned and discuss a little more of what has been the biggest struggles. Stay tuned for part 2!

Thanks for reading.

Cara

As the Cog Turns: Countless Clockwork Connections

If I were to perish from this world before I had a chance to live all the dreams in my life, I’d at least want people to know about my view of the universe. When I look at the universe, I see something similar to a clock. Each life breathes life into another; similar to how cogs turn each other in a clock. We are all connected; we all have our own pace. Each cog contains other cogs within. The ticking can seem chaotic and disorganized; this is because there are many ticks happening at different rates simultaneously.

One can focus on the sounds of his/her/their own life and perhaps find order; or one can embrace the madness of the universe and try to listen to the sounds of it and perhaps lose themselves in the chaotic symphony of tick tocks. The latter is what I have done. I try to hear the underlying structure of the universe and it tends to leave me feeling helpless and a bit dazed. I often lose myself because I don’t see myself as a separate entity. I merely see myself as another cog in the machine, neither more important nor less important than any other cog. Just a simple cog; just a life breathing away at this moment in time.

While it can seem like there are only these two options, I believe there is a third. We can focus on our lives (find the order) and we can also listen to the universe (find the chaos), thus hearing both songs at once. This is what I’m trying to do. I have lost myself in the overall flow of the universe; like a child might lose its parent in the crowd. I have always felt apart from reality rather than a part of it. For me, my connection to myself has lessened over time. Once it was stronger, more intense. Now it’s almost nonexistent. I’ve been trying to find my way back, but it is difficult to become grounded when one has been flying for so long. It doesn’t quite feel normal.

I’ve spent so long trying to make connections to other things, giving them more importance, that I forgot to make the connection to myself. I don’t quite know how and I am almost afraid to as I don’t want to lose the sound of the universe. I don’t want to become too selfish. This tends to happen when I try to make the connection to myself. I long to find the balance between these two types of connections.

A connection can be made to anything. Connections are made any time there is an interaction occurring between at least two entities. These connections can be either people, animals, plants (living beings) or rocks, electronics, books, etc (non living objects). Many times we don’t even see where these connections are happening. Sometimes we don’t even see these connections as good. We see these “things” as obstacles separate from ourselves rather than stepping stones directly connected to our lives and helping to further us along on our paths. We bicker and complain and lose the lesson. When I feel stressed, which usually happens quite a lot, I try to turn my attention to the present. I do this in many ways. Sometimes I meditate, other times I focus on my thoughts (gently following them). What tends to work the best though is using imagery to find my place in the universe. I realize that I’m standing. I’m standing on the floor. This floor is connected to a building, connected to a city, connected to a state, to a country, to a planet.

This planet lies in a galaxy on the quilt of the universe amongst many others. To realize this is something very precious to me. I am gentle because I feel this connection to entities. I feel as if I’m a parent caring for their child. I am careful and calm because I feel that these connections are fragile things and I don’t want to break them. I also don’t want to be the reason for them becoming broken. I am a part of these entities and they are a part of me. Connecting to the universe is the easy part for me. It comes in the form of interaction. Right now I’m connecting to my laptop as my fingers gently type these words. My words will eventually connect with others and perhaps have a profound resonation on their lives, perhaps yours.

Hello World (A new day, a new life)

Hello there, my name is Cara (pronounced “Care uh”) and this is my blog. This blog’s purpose is to be a record of my own unique experiences and perspective on the world as seen through my eyes. I write it to simply be a means of preservation of who I am and what I stand for. I also write it in the hope that my words will help bring about understanding between people with different and often conflicting points of view. The tone of this blog will not be judgmental or harsh. Rather, it will be calm, rational, and compassionate. I will listen to any opinion no matter how ignorant or different it is from my own and I will do my best to not react in an irrational way.

If I were to choose words to categorize myself right now, as a person, I would choose: transgender, transhumanist, liberal, spiritual agnostic, humanist, environmentalist, equalist (which includes subcategories such as feminist, LGBTQA supporter, etc.), asexual, one having ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and gynephile. I know that last one might sound a bit disturbing if you don’t know the definition. All it means is a person who is attracted to or one who loves women. I will cover each of these categories in separate posts in much more detail.

What follows are a series of Frequently Asked Questions and reactions that a MtF (Male to Female) transgender person might be asked. These questions / reactions are ones I have either been asked, how I thought some people might react, or questions I thought others might ask me about at some point or may be curious about. Some of these questions might be a little too personal in nature. If you do not want to know the answer then skip over it. I encourage you all to read through them all to have maximum potential for understanding me and possibly other transgender people in general.

FAQs

01) Q:What do you mean when you say you are transgender?
A: “Transgender” is an umbrella term, one that encompasses a variety of other terms, that deal with gender expression. I am transgender because I feel like I’m female even though my body is male. This is known as Gender Dysphoria. Gender and sex are not synonyms in the way that transgender people, and some other people too, use them. I am also going through a transition process from male to female to align my male body with my female mind by changing my masculine physiology to a feminine physiology.

02) Q: What is gender then? What is sex? What is gender dysphoria?
A: Gender refers to how a person sees themselves in their own mind. Gender is what’s between the ears (mind/spirit). Sex refers to the physiology of the body. Sex is what’s between the legs (body). Gender dysphoria is when a person’s mind/spirit doesn’t match their body. When this happens, a state of confusion and anxiety can arise causing a person great amounts of stress and depression.

03) Q: What does it feel like to have gender dysphoria?
A: This is going to be a bit of a longer answer, so my apologies. The best way I can think to describe it to someone who doesn’t experience it for themselves is to imagine playing a character. I feel as if I were assigned a role that doesn’t fit me against my own choosing. Everyone recognizes me only as this character. My costume is stuck on me, permanently. When I look in the mirror I see a stranger, a stranger that I realize everyone else knows me as, and I don’t like it. It makes me feel very uncomfortable, stressed, and occasionally depressed. I feel like anything that I accomplish in my life, the credit will go to this stranger. Sometimes I don’t feel like trying because of this. When I speak, the voice that always comes out of my mouth both surprises and horrifies me because it’s not how I hear my voice in my head. So, I tend to write more and speak less, at least until I develop my female voice more.

I’m an actress hidden in the body of a male character. I want to take off my mask and costume and show the world who I am so I can get credit for the experiences in my own life, not my character. However, some people don’t see it as that. They see it as the opposite. They think I’m hiding myself from the world and playing a character by changing, when in fact the reverse is true. I’m taking off a costume, not putting one on. This is why it can become incredibly frustrating for some transgender people to try to explain how they feel to others. Transgender people feel like they are being known as something that they are not.

For others, non transgender (cisgender) people, the opposite appears true. They know a person as something they are, to them, and then they start acting like something they’re not, to them. I don’t blame others for thinking or feeling that way, but my identity is something others will never fully understand as they haven’t lived my life and had my experiences. Just as I cannot ever fully understand another person’s perspective, they cannot understand mine. I do believe through listening and using language more precisely to the best of our ability that we can get a glimpse of what a person’s life is like for them. We can try on their shoes for a bit and expand our own perspective on the world by looking through another’s eyes. We can grow.

04) Q: Have you always felt this way?
A: Yes, I have always had this sort of feeling that I didn’t feel comfortable in my male body. I didn’t always know that I wanted to be female, but I have always felt different from others. Before puberty things weren’t so bad. During and after puberty however, I was a very angry person and I didn’t know why. In the spring of 2013, by random chance surfing the web, I learned what being transgender meant and had the realization that I was transgender and a desire to explore my gender identity.

05) Q: Are you sure this isn’t just a phase?
A: Yes, I tried various steps to figure out exactly how I felt. At first I thought that maybe if I just dressed in nicer clothes and was more clean cut then I would feel better. I tried to think of other ways to be happy as a male, but neither worked. They just made me feel more depressed and upset. I finally went to a therapist who specializes in gender identity and got another perspective in May 2014. I eventually realized that I’d never know for sure if I was transgender or not unless I tried to actually transition by starting with hormone replacement therapy (hrt). From the first day I took hormones, I knew that transition was right for me. I felt a sense of comfort in my own skin for the first time in my life and as I’ve gone further with hormones and other steps in transition I’ve only felt more comfortable with myself.

06) Q: Have you ever contemplated suicide?
A: Yes, I have certainly thought about it several times. I have even thought about how. When I feel like not trying, I get into a depressed state where I feel incredibly lonely and worthless. In this state I can be very mean to myself. That’s when I think about it. However, I would never act on any of those thoughts because I think suicide is a waste of a life and very selfish. When one commits suicide not only is one knowingly causing others pain and stopping all of their negative experiences, one is stopping all experiences, even the positive ones. Any potential good that could come from one’s life is extinguished. Any benefit to humanity, gone.

07) Q: Why are you choosing to be this way? Why do you feel this way?
A: The only choice I’m making is to transition. I didn’t choose to feel gender dysphoria and feel awkward my whole life. I’m choosing to do something about this default feeling I was given. I can’t just wish it away. As for why, there is the possibility that being transgender has something to do with an error in my development during my mother’s pregnancy. I haven’t read much of the research on this answer as to why, because I do not feel the need to know why. All I needed to know was what to do about it.

08) Q: Why are you outing yourself? Are you trying to get attention?
A: I am outing myself because I’m tired of hiding who I am. I want to feel genuine and real. By not acknowledging this part of me, I feel fake. I am not trying to get attention and am not acting out. I merely want to bring attention to the issues and perspectives associated with being transgender and provide a calm, compassionate voice of reason for others to listen to.

09) Q: Since you feel like a woman, does that mean that you’re attracted to men?
A: This is a very common misconception. People tend to mix up sexual orientation with gender and sex. It is not a part of gender or sex. It is in its own category. All three are separate categories. Think of it as: sex is what’s between the legs; gender is what’s between the ears; sexual orientation is what happens between the sheets. I plan on going into more detail in a future blog post on how I view sexual orientation, as a gynephile. With my transition under way, that technically makes me a homosexual, since I identify as female, even though I was considered heterosexual before I started my transition. That’s where the confusion starts and why I prefer the term gynephile.

10) Q: Does cross dressing turn you on?
A: No, it does not. For some people who cross dress it can be a sexual fetish. It is not for me. When I wear women’s clothing I feel a sense of comfort and relief. An interesting question to think about might be: have I been cross dressing most of my life by wearing male clothing, since I identify as female?

11) Q: What restroom do you use?
A: I try to use Family restrooms where available, but still use the Men’s restroom for now. If Family restrooms were more available, I would use them every time until I had sex reassignment surgery. I would then switch to the Women’s restroom or continue to use the Family restroom. The restroom question is a big area of conflict in which I understand both sides very well and hope for a compromise.

12) Q: Is your family supportive? Is your partner staying with you? Can you still have children?
A: My family doesn’t understand it, but they are as supportive as they can be. Yes, my partner is staying with me. Sometimes a relationship is more than just what body parts one has, but it also helps that she is bisexual. I will not be able to have children and I thought about that before undergoing hormone replacement therapy and decided that if I ever want children then I will adopt.

13) Q: What do I call you? How did you pick your new name?
A: Call me Cara and please use female pronouns from here on out. I had thought about several names and tried out Samantha for awhile but it didn’t feel quite right. I was determined to figure out my name so I sat down and started looking through baby names on the computer. I couldn’t decide on a letter but eventually got to C and saw the name Cara on there. It was sort of like the wand choosing the wizard/witch, for you Harry Potter fans. The name felt like it leaped out and chose me. As soon as I found it I realized why I liked it so much. One of my biggest supporters’ first name is Carrie. So, that gave me the pronunciation of “Care uh” rather than “Car uh”. I liked that it was similar and I could sort of honor her and her friendship in my name without stealing her name fully.

There is also an animation that I love to watch. The link is here if anyone is interested. In that animation the main character’s name is Kara (pronounced “car uh”). I sort of felt like Kara because she’s being assembled and experiences life for the first time in adult form. This is similar to how I feel as I’m transitioning. When she says “My name is Kara,” that’s the same reaction I had as soon as I discovered my name. Another fun thing I realized about the name Cara is its sound is half of the word “character.” This applies to me because not only do I love to create characters but I also think character is the only thing a person should be judged for. Also, Cara means “beloved, and friend” and I love that meaning and strive to be those things.

14) Q: Referring to you with a different name and female pronouns makes me uncomfortable; why should I do what you ask?
A: I know that using a different name and different pronouns is a lot to take in and get used to. I will be very patient and gently correct you as you make the transition from saying “Scott” to saying “Cara” and from saying “he” to saying “she.” I understand that it can make you feel uncomfortable and I’m sorry for being the cause for that. I never want to make others uncomfortable even though I know that I will inevitably do that unintentionally; simply because every one of my actions will have consequences, and one of these possible consequences is to make people uncomfortable.

However, that is not my intention. My intention is to finally be me and to feel as if I’m living my life genuinely. I am aware that it is selfish of me to change myself like this. However, it is also selfish of you to not honor my wishes and expect me to live in pain for the rest of my life. From both of our perspectives we are right. The biggest difference in our perspectives is that my perspective is one of growth (I want to be me) whereas yours is one of preservation (I want you to stay the same). If our roles were reversed, I’d respect your wishes and address you by whatever you wanted to be called. I also believe that someone’s gender identity is for him/her to choose for himself/herself, not something that others choose for him/her.

15) Q: You said you were transitioning from male to female; what are the stages of transitioning?
A: The stages are different from person to person. I will list my future plans and stages so far. They are: realization, therapy, hormone replacement therapy, voice lessons, electrolysis, name change, surgery, sex marker on ID change. Thus far I have only completed the stages up to voice lessons, but hope to be starting electrolysis to remove my facial hair soon.

16) Q: How does hormone replacement therapy work? How have you changed since being on hormones? Are there any risks?
A: I am taking medications, by mouth, to reduce my testosterone levels and raise my estrogen levels. Testosterone is a very strong hormone so I have to take a testosterone blocker, called Spironolactone, to weaken it so that estrogen replacement will work. The estrogen I take is called Estradiol. I also take Medroxyprogesterone which is progesterone and will help with breast development.

I now have softer and smoother skin, body hair loss, total loss of sex drive (thank goodness!), slight fat redistribution, breast growth, more food cravings / being hungrier, have to use the restroom more frequently, and a feeling of calmness.

There are risks. Since I’m taking sort of large doses of these medications it’s working my liver quite a bit more than it’s used to handling. There is also an increased risk of blood clots. I go to the doctor who prescribed my hormones, my endocrinologist, to get my levels checked and test to make sure my body is handling the medications well. So far there haven’t been any dangerous effects. The only thing that’s happened is my testosterone levels shot up and my estrogen levels were low so he raised the dosage on my estrogen some. That was quite a scare and disappointment.

??) S: You are a sinner. You are going to Hell. You are Satan’s handiwork. I’m keeping you away from my children because I don’t want you to make them gay and transgender. I hate you and want everyone to know your secret. This is wrong.
R: This is not a question or even a series of questions. These are statements. By using statements, rather than asking me questions, people saying these things are basically telling me that they do not want to really have a conversation. Their statements are saying they do not care about my point of view. They indicate that they want to push their own agenda. Knowing this, I will respond to these statements with a series of questions mixed with a few of my own opinions thus giving these people the courtesy of possibly having a conversation so that I may learn something new and continue growing as a person.

If I’m Satan’s handiwork and apparently such a threat, then why did God allow Satan to create me or tempt in the first place? If God knows all and is all powerful then he knew that allowing me to be created he was not only condemning me to Hell but also knew what effects my life would have before I was born on the world he created. He had the power to stop it if he chose to. So, why did he let me live and give me a chance? Perhaps I was sent here to help open people’s hearts to differences and help them learn how to accept other people. Perhaps I was sent here as a lesson for these people to learn to stop judging others, since that’s not their job anyway, and to wish everyone the best and want to see their happiness grow and dreams achieved.

Simply being around me will not change their children into something they’re not. I’m not going to try to convince them that being transgender or gay is awesome, but I might convince them that being themselves is awesome. If their children are gay or transgender then I feel that they have a right to know. If the their parents keep them in the dark about what being gay and or transgender actually is then if the children are transgender or gay they will feel isolated, scared, possibly suicidal, and definitely angry. By not exposing children to as many new and different experiences as they can be given and limiting their world view, they are being condemned to not understanding things that are happening to them and could very well be subjected to prolonged mental pain as a result. Why would anyone want to make their children feel like that?

It’s no secret. I’m out now and open to any criticism and questions people have for me. I do worry about people who spend all their energy hating someone though. It does us no favors. Hate makes people feel stressed and will probably spill over into other areas of our lives. If one does not want to try to understand what I’m going through and has such a different outlook on life than I do then perhaps it’s best to just agree to disagree and leave one another alone.

If they wish to do this then there are no hard feelings between us and I will gladly give them the space they need. Even if it is indefinitely. Whether they are friend or family doesn’t make a difference; if their values are so different that I cannot be accepted as the person I am inside and trying to be outside then quite frankly I do not need them in my life. I have other people who love and accept me for who I am, so why would I try to fix a relationship that will never work out when I can instead invest that energy into a relationship that will grow? Why would they?

As for what I am doing being right or wrong, that is subjective. Right and wrong can change from whichever perspective you take. Think of war. No one wants to be seen as the wrong side. No one side is “right” and the other side “wrong.” Those words were created and used to give more value to one side rather than the other side. That way people would stick with someone else’s plan. Right and wrong are meant to divide people. What I’m doing probably isn’t right for some people. These people are probably feeling in tune with their bodies and minds. However, it is right for me. I want to be in tune with my body and mind, same as everyone else, by changing my body to match my mind. We don’t have to be enemies, we can be friends. If we can’t be friends then we can learn to appreciate each other’s differences and to respect each other’s values no matter how different they are from our own.

Well that’s it for my first post. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you learned something. If you have any other questions about transition or want to know more about me please email me at storycrypt@gmail.com. If you like this FAQ format then perhaps I will do another post with this format on another topic. Thank you for reading.