It’s been quite some time since I posted here. Partly due to laziness. A greater part due to the simple struggle to get by and largely due to recently working two jobs.

But occasionally you just get to thinking and find you must put your thoughts into actual words.

Tonight is such a night. There are lines of thinking that have come upon me repeatedly. They are usually triggered by the actions or words of someone in a totally unrelated way. And most often the person whose actions or words have triggered it has no idea that it’s happened. More often than not the trigger is something very innocent, but like billiards ricocheting across a table, my mind goes from trigger to bouncing through various mental pathways.

Yes I know so far this is dull as mud.

What I am thinking is that not everything is able to be quantified. Not every cost, result, change, course of action, decision etc has a sum that can be truly weighed and measured.

When people first meet me, then get to know me a bit and eventually feel comfortable enough to converse about my life and the less than common course it has taken; they will almost without fail utter the same 6 words, “It’s all been worth it, right?” Followed by, “You’re happier now, right?”

Usually I will respond with something vaguely positive or innocent or avoident. Something along the lines of not really having much of a choice. But I really did. I could have chosen to cling desperately to my self-denial and evenutally self-destructed. I could have chosen to admit the truth of who/what I was yet refused to actually become a truer self. I could have continued a rapidly downward spiral of depression and more than likely ended up a statistical suicide.

I didn’t choose any of them. No instead I chose to admit to myself, my family, my friends and the world that I a transsexual. Born physically male, lived most of a life as such. To all intents and purposes had a successful life as such. Yet waged an almost constant internal war with my own gender identity for most of my adult life. Had a childhood where I knew I was somehow different yet had no real idea just how I was different. I chose the path of self discovery, of trying my best to become who I was supposed to be. A more “true” me.

And so those words, those two questions, “It’s all been worth it, right? You’re happier now, right?”

And to be honest, I’m not so sure it has been worth it. I’m not so positive that I’m any happier.

My choice cost me some friends, some family. It irrevocably altered my relationships with my entire family. Although most of my family are, have been, supportive, some are more comfortable with who I have become than others. I suspect that for some there will always bee some degree of social embarassment, that they are related to transperson. They will never actually say so, may never even think those exact words. But they will also never be likely to say, “Hey let’s meet for lunch at SuchAndSuch restaurant.” They may never even tell people they know that they are related to me. In social settings (notably online social media) some of them now only refer to me by my first name and never by how we are related. My children for example, no longer refer to me as “Dad”. My youngest will if it’s just me and her, but if I’m being introduced to people or if it’s an online public communication, then I’m “Krystle”. If the grandkids are around I’m “Nana”. Yet I doubt they really know how I am related to them. My oldest refers to me as Krystle in cards, private messages etc. I have somehow ceased to remain “Dad” in her eyes.

These are the kinds of costs, the types of prices I have paid for my life’s course, that I can’t quantify. Except to say it hurts. More than I can express. It makes me feel as if they may just be embarassed or ashamed of me. Or as if by becoming who I am I have somehow lost the right to be their parent still.

And yet I know many others in my shoes whose costs and losses have been infinitely higher. So I try to console myself with the thought that I could have it much worse. And I know that to be true. But it doesn’t lessen the sting a single iota.

And yes I’ve also paid the price financially. I gave up a lucrative career with a supportive company. And I did so due to a feeling of burnout after doing the same thing for 28 years. So I chose another careeer. Went to school, became licensed and was told time again that  not only was my training and knowledge top notch, but that I had a gift with my touch. And yet, that wasn’t near enough to build clientele. It wasn’t enough to land jobs I was imminently qualified for. I lost track of how many jobs ads I’d send a resume to, get called in less than an hour after sending my resume and either hear the caller go cold once they heard my voice (I get called Sir almost without fail over the phone) or see them lose all interest once they saw me. I have had my gender questioned outright over the phone by one such spa that was looking to hire. I was asked “Are you a man? We only want to hire a woman and you sound like man. I don’t think this will work.” And that call was in response to my resume less than 5 minutes after I had sent it off. If I looked good enough on paper that you’d call me that fast, then you’d think they’d at least want to talk to me a bit more beyond “Hello”. I’ve also run into clients who looked at me and refused to have their service done by me.

Let’s add in the whole dating, romance arena. My sexuality is that I am attracted to women. I always have been. I’ve had my share of experiences with women who hold to the thought “Once a man, always a man”. I’ve had women who never knew me as man, who I’d never even spoken to directly, refer to me as “him”. I’ve communicated with women online who through the course of several e-mails become very interested, only to totally lose interest once I let them know I was trans and then have them tell me, “Oh I could never be involved with anyone like you.” when just before they couldn’t wait to meet me. I’ve made the mistake of becoming involved with women who in the end were merely curious about what it would be like. Dating, romance etc. for anyone over 50 is tough. Even tougher when you ID as lesbian and the lesbian community harbors so much prejudice against transwomen. I’ve come to a place in my life where I not only have stopped looking; I stopped hoping or caring. In fact I actively do not want to ever again have any sort of romantic entanglement with anyone because I just don’t need to experience the loss, sense of betrayal or feeling of being cast aside. I don’t need to be hurt again simply because of who I am.

So my life’s course has resulted in my closing off a huge part of the human experience.

No, it’s not been worth it. I’m not happier.

When I’ve shared some of these hurst and frustations with people I know, the response i most often get is, “Well you must have known what you were getting into when you made your choice.”

Knowing such possibilities on an intellectual level, and living them day by day over the span of a decade or more are two entirely different animals. And even had I known it on a visceral level, they way I do now, my “choices” would have remained the same. I never chose to be transsexual. I could only choose how I handled it. And those options were limited to basically hasten my own end or try to live through it and hope for the best.

The “best” isn’t all that great. At least not for me.

Just over a year ago, I was asked by a young newly self-recognised transgirl, “Please tell me it gets better.” I couldn’t lie to her. I told her it doesn’t necesarily get better. It gets different. She’ll still face being hurt, still face a struggle. But her struggles will no longer be so much internal as they will be with the rest of the world. But for her I have hope that being of a younger, and seemingly more receptive and open-minded generation, that she will become more fully integrated into society as a whole. That she will go through her transition during a time when society will be enacting more legal protections and seeing a paradigm shift in awareness and how the gender different are perceived and accepted.

For myself I find my life has become simply a day to day struggle to survive, to try and find a somewhat better degree of financial security. I find myself increasingly withdrawing as much as I can from the world at large. Moments of happiness are few and far between.

It’s not been worth it. I’m not happier. But it’s all I have.