A Price For Peace

The life I’ve been living since I’ve turned thirty has been unlike anything I ever imagined. I have no real complaints about where I’ve ended up in the whirlwind of events that led to me having to survive on my own. I feel more at peace with both the challenges I face, the choices I have made & the path I am now on.

I’ve had my share of support from those who didn’t really have to do a damn thing for me, and now I’m doing everything in my power to make up for their kindness. I work hard at a job I love & the fruits of my labor are already reaping due acknowledgement and reward. My momentum in voice-over is gradually being revived. Everyone who has ever lifted a finger for me has not been forgotten. I have held onto each significant act of kindness given to me & vowed to repay them in kind.

Honestly, I thought that my world had expanded and blossomed to its full extent. I was wrong. Living as the female I quietly always knew I was has not only been emotionally eye-opening for me, but deeply revealing of how much I still don’t know about myself. All the things I mentioned in the first paragraph that I feel at peace about have played a part in what has seemed like a rapid evolution of my truest nature.

In this moment, I’m so happy I could cry. Though I’m still striving to reclaim all that I’ve lost, I feel zero stress. Things are not perfect, but I accept all that has been offered to me in all of its imperfection.

Every opportunity. Every desire. Every chance to connect.

So much is clear to me now. What I want out of this life. How I want to spend my time. The list of goals that motivate me to keep pressing on. The kind of people who I want to surround myself with. The type of person I would share a bed with…Truly comforting to now be privy to such classified information previously locked away.

So much about my twenties were twisted, fractured, and better forgotten. Thank goodness I’m incredibly optimistic about my thirties being the best years of my life. Cautiously optimistic, but optimistic enough that I’ve dived headfirst into all that being a respectable, responsible,  independent woman can offer.

However, if I’m truly being honest with myself, this cultivated peace does come at a price. Sacrifices of both physical and emotional comfort. The certainty that no matter what, there will always be someone or something serving as my anchor. For the past four years, my “anchor” has been my self. Though I have done well to fortify my psyche to weather many harsh storms, even I experience moments when my anchor reveals its weakness due to a choice I made. Or worse, offering a piece of myself only to be tossed to the side because I foolishly forgot my self & expected more.

And in those moments of weakness, I remember that I only have myself to blame. Terribly lonely, yet frustratingly motivating.

This is the first time of my life I only have myself to answer to. The first time I am in a place where allowing myself to experience the harshness of reality rather than running away makes sense. Logic continues to prevail were emotions would break me…as is most preferable.

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Saving myself for no one

The concept of sexual intimacy is not lost on you or me. However, somewhere along the line – growing up in a Christian household, trying to be a good, heterosexual boyfriend to the few girls who gave me a chance, my admittance of being of an agnostic, free-thinking perspective, and embracing my identity as a pansexual transwoman – I lost sight of what I should and should not deserve. Rather, I never had much of a chance to really explore the idea of engaging in sexual intimacy. For specific reasons, I just accepted that my time had not come.

My long-standing belief has been that one should reserve sexual intimacy for the person they have committed themselves to in a monogamous, romantic relationship. I have since realized that this line of thinking has been the last bastion of traditional, Christian-centric thought that had somehow survived through everything that had drastically shifted in my lifestyle. The idea had been deeply engrained into me, despite being “born male”, and the shame of contradicting this thinking loomed near whenever temptation arose. My parents being religious & fairly traditional led me to put my own romanticized take on it, believing that if I remained patient & virtuous, one day I would be able to entrust my body to the person I believed was “the one.”

I recently read a novel that turned me on (pun intended) to the very common practice of two characters meeting one another. After their initial meeting, both of them recognized their instinctual attraction to one another over time with each chance interaction feeding the heat between them. Eventually, one makes a move and the other is equally overcome with ferocious passion. For some reason, the timing in which I was exposed to that story – right around when I turned thirty – caused me to have an alternative perspective. Prior to turning thirty, I would have asked “who could possibly jump into bed with someone who clearly had no romantic intentions to remain faithful to them”? However, in the face of physical aging, sparse intimacy over my lifetime, and the high level of self-love I had cultivated as the woman I was born to be, what I read now appeared almost natural and sensible as my former mindset seemed almost something an insane, brainwashed prude would do.

#1: I can be shallow as fuck about looks.

#2: I am light-years from being a “prude”.

“Turning 30” has been a recurring theme in this blog as of late and sexual expression is not excluded from it. As I often do, I wondered why only I had to be the one sexually frustrated, swearing off intimacy just because “the one” hadn’t come along. I could count on one hand how many times I had believed I would marry someone. This romanticized notion of keeping myself “pure” for “my first time” when I was already perverted, unabashedly playful in my sexuality, and near legitimately considered a succubus among my close friends rapidly became outdated through rigorous self-assessment.

Being met with my cold logic quickly turned to frustration. I was three weeks into being 30 and had yet to experience unrestrained intimacy followed by sharing a bed with my partner. Like an ignorant, virgin teenager, I was still wondering how people [read: my friends] have sex and if there were any steps to follow for a successful romp. And then I was smacked in the face with the truth: This was all my own doing. I repeatedly declined the idea simply because no romantic commitment would follow when there were multiple instances where sex likely would have been welcomed.

Another hard truth washed over me: The combination of my past upbringing and now my present life as a transwoman had somehow made me believe by default I should never feel safe experiencing sexual intimacy other than with someone who had confessed their love for me. An amalgamation of anger and sadness careened through my body. There had to be a way to rewrite this automated preset equation that I had left unchecked in the midst of my gender transition.

I want to be a good woman.

Only sluts sleep around.

How do you take love out of sex? I’m so clingy. I’d fall in love with them and get hurt.

Will I ever be loved?

But…

…why I should starve myself.

I’m desirable. Beautiful. Lovable.

If sex with someone I trust could make sense…

Experiencing intimacy with someone I feel comfortable with isn’t shameful.

Yes, I want to be loved. Sex doesn’t equal love. It never has.

I won’t be young forever. Live your life. 

Fuck who you want.

So I did.

I Killed My Babies

At the start of 2014, five months before I began HRT, I made a very expensive choice to cryogenically freeze my sperm. At the time, I knew how testosterone blockers and oral estrogen pills were projected to change my body, but the only real certainty was that I would become sterile after a couple of months. Regardless of the choice I was making to move forward with my transition, I also knew that there was a chance I could one day end up in a loving relationship with a cis female who, like me, would still want to have a child with me. Knowing this, I took a very long drive to Pennsylvania (twice) – once to fill out the paperwork for a 2-year storage and another to actually do it.

Truth is, I figured I foresaw where things were headed for me career-wise. I was confident that my future self would be able to achieve financial stability before the two years ended. As this was my last major financial investment, recouping it, given my job experience, wouldn’t be that difficult.

Sadly, my life has never been so easy.

Two years passed and at the start of 2016, I was immediately plagued by the thought of not being able to maintain my storage. My lifestyle and body had shifted dramatically for the better. However, my financial health had plunged; I was wrought with debt just trying to keep myself afloat in a seemingly unfair and unwilling job market that no longer wanted to hire me. There was no way I was in any position to maintain my storage, but I pretended that I had somehow dodged a bullet and paid for much longer than two years or they had just trashed my storage because I hadn’t paid. Both would be preferable than having to take any action.

And then I finally received my first notice of due payment.

Neither of my imagined possibilities had occurred; they were still keeping my storage, but billing me monthly. Again, the worst possibility.

As I had more pressing matters to deal with – one of them being creditors harassing me; another being figuring out where I could possibly live in late May after my mother decided to kick me out of her nest – I ignored the payments. No, I wasn’t simply running away from reality, but had hope that somehow, some way, a proper job opportunity larger than my current part-time job would enable me to pay it off and keep the possibility of having a child alive. Just before I was to move out, an opportunity did arise, but was short-lived unfortunately.

And the billings kept coming…

End of July arrives and the impending bill about to total $200 is breathing down my neck. I had received a notice in the mail about how I could either extend my storage or terminate it. I had been holding on to this notice for some time, mulling it over as I hustled to obtain a second job according to my projected timing. Managing my funds well and actually succeeding in my goal to land an awesome second job a few days into August were wonderful pluses. However, they were not enough to justify me paying monthly, clinging to a hope that my life and luck would lead me to a cis female who would want to have a child.

So, to stop the bleeding, I made a call to the cryo center to begin paying a portion of my bill on a monthly basis. I also mailed my notarized form – yes, it’s that big of a deal that they make you have that done – for the formal termination of my would-be children. Logically and strategically, the core basis of all of my thought processes, this made sense to me. Emotionally, however, not as much.

Last Saturday, I received the notice in the mail stating that the termination had been completed. Truthfully, due to the lack of physical interaction with said sperm, I didn’t break down crying or anything. I did, however, feel a sense of loss. Almost like I had let someone down who had put their faith in me. In this case, it was my biological unborn child(ren) that I will never be able to have.

Many people will say “oh just adopt” or “trust me you really don’t want a child”. To that, I say: Yeah, you’re [probably] right. Yes, I had hopes to carry on my genes that I know are quite good. To see the miracle of life in action as a mother caring for a child who I could clearly see had parts of me and the woman I’d love. I did romanticize the idea of it all, but to actually choose to end all possibility of it…Well…despite how calmly I’m taking it, my actions prove that I wanted to fight for my right regardless of me also paying money to take hormones.

Just like junking my car, which I actually took tons harder, this was the necessary thing to do. For me. Right now. There’s still a lot I’m figuring out about myself as a woman and what I want on multiple levels. As I continue to cull the excessive fat from my life, l have no desire to feel any regrets. I would much rather truly live freely within my controllable certainty than chain myself down for the sake of an uncertain probability.