Posts tagged: transitioning

Transitioning as a frog

By , August 28, 2010 10:36 am

Earlier this week, my director and I were discussing metaphors for transitioning. I was saying that transitioning is something I’ve mostly been able to acknowledge in retrospect. Everything I did seemed to be in tiny, incremental changes, regardless of how I am able to understand its significance now. And so I come up with a new transitioning metaphor: that of a frog being boiled alive.

Supposedly, if you place a frog in cold water and slowly bring the temperature to a boil, the frog is too stupid to notice and hop out. (Wikipedia says it may be true, if the temperature rise is slow enough.) I’m not saying I was too stupid to notice the transition, but I do stop and wonder sometimes at how different my life is than it was just a few scant years ago.

Ribbit! Ribbit!

Warm and bubbly

Warm and bubbly

“You know that’s why I transitioned, right?”

By , August 21, 2010 9:55 pm

A joke response to the following…

“Becca, you’re such a musical theatre dork.”

“Formal clothing for women is so much more light-weight than for men!”

“Your long hair is so beautiful!”

“You have such good skin.”

“So you hate beer and only like fruity drinks?”

Any others y’all can think of?

What is “The Mirror”?

By , July 29, 2010 10:47 am

To own up to my history outs me as trans and brings up a long stretch of time – the first twenty or so years of my life – that’s at odds with how I see myself now. When I talk with people about Judaism, do I acknowledge my Bar Mitzvah and out myself, or do I say I had a Bat Mitzvah and rewrite part of my life? When a coworker talks about buying suits or ties, do I chime in with memories of my experiences, or do I stay silent? Do I ask my parents to take down pictures from the first two decades of my life? To wipe clean the time before I was 22 or 23? To cover the mirrors which reflect the parts of myself I don’t always want to remember, don’t always want to see?
From Trans Form, my December 2009 show (emphasis added)

Uncovering the Mirrors postcard

Uncovering the Mirrors postcard

My upcoming show is called Uncovering the Mirrors. It’s a reference to the bolded line above, sure, but more broadly it’s a reference to how one holds shiva (a mourning gathering in Judaism): “It is proper to cover the mirrors in the shiva house [because] a mourner is striving to ignore his/her own physicality and vanity in order to concentrate on the reality of being a soul.”

The “mirror” in my performances is a metaphor for something. In Trans Form, it was a metaphor for “the parts of myself I don’t always want to remember.” That is, the “male” parts of me that I was trying to get away from.

The title Uncovering the Mirrors, though, speaks to a desire to not cover up or hide. And so, recently, I’ve been trying to figure out what, exactly, that mirror is.

Continue reading 'What is “The Mirror”?'»

Coming Out Surprises

By , July 24, 2010 5:45 pm

Last night, I went on a bit of an adventure. First, I went to see Queertopia again at About Face. It’s part of their youth theatre program, and is very much worth seeing. I went with some of my high school students (though a bunch who said they were going to come didn’t show up…) and it was great being able to expose my students to very different work that other kids their own ages are doing.

Then, I met up with a friend for her trolley party.

Rebecca on on a trolley

Not a great picture, but undeniable proof of trolley-hood

I’m not totally sure why she was having a trolley party – I think a friend of hers was in from out of town, which is as good an excuse as any – but a bunch of people I knew from Northwestern were also there. One of whom hadn’t seen me since I’d transitioned, and clearly didn’t remember who I was.

Continue reading 'Coming Out Surprises'»

When are feelings not valid?

By , June 5, 2010 10:56 pm

A little early, I know

I had brunch with my dad this morning, following our recent issues. Going to brunch was definitely the right thing to do, but I don’t know that I’m happy I went. I certainly don’t feel any better.

We basically talked in circles for an hour. I attempted, once again, to explain why and how his behavior was hurtful for me. Even though I don’t doubt that he loves me, the way we interact still causes me a lot of pain.

And, over and over, he repeated his favorite refrains: “I can’t change what I feel. My feelings are just as valid as yours. You’re asking me to change over night. I had a son for 23 years. I’m trying.”

Continue reading 'When are feelings not valid?'»

Moving toward something?

By , May 31, 2010 12:40 pm

Yeah, it's a little cheesey. What do you want from me?

Transitioning, for me, has primarily been an experience of moving away from things. At every stage, I’ve thought about how unhappy I was, not about how things would be better if I did XYZ.

I went into therapy because I was miserable, not because I was particularly sure I could be happy. I went on hormones because presenting and living as male fit me horribly, like an itchy and too-tight outfit, full of pins and needles. Not because I thought I’d succeed as living as a woman. I underwent hair removal because being hairy felt all wrong, not because I thought being smooth would be pleasant.

Fortunately, I was wrong about those things: When I reached whatever minor goal I’d set for myself it was better, not simply “less bad.” But my thought process was still about moving away from things – a false presentation, hiding something, masculinity – not moving toward anything.

I’ve been continuing to think about The Surgery. And I’ve realized that, for the first time in my transition, I’m interesting in moving toward something rather than away.

Continue reading 'Moving toward something?'»

Oh father of mine

By , May 29, 2010 9:04 pm

I'm not convinced my father could carry me on his shoulders these days...

Earlier this week, I asked my mom to call my dad. I hate having her act as an intermediary between the two of us, but I wanted to figure out what – if anything – he’d be doing about my hospital bills and insurance since my telling him off. He’s been speaking with the “risk management” department at the first ER I visited, because when I finally got my gallbladder out they strongly implied the first ER should have caught the gallstones.

So my mom called my dad. She said she’d thought things out beforehand, and opened by asking him, “Rebecca asked me to talk to you about the insurance situation, and if you need to return any of the paperwork to her.” (My mom knew he didn’t, as I’d provided him with copies, but wasn’t sure how to say “So are you continuing to help your daughter while refusing to speak to her, or not?” without sound like she was judging him. Which she was, but didn’t want to sound like it.) He replied, “Nope. She’s fine to speak to the hospital herself,” and said goodbye.

Continue reading 'Oh father of mine'»

I think I just broke up with my dad

By , May 26, 2010 11:55 pm

Oh Daffy. He gets so close to understanding where he goes wrong. And then, inevitably, he ends up getting shot in the face.

Just about ten years ago, I came out to my parents. For a long time, that didn’t really mean anything: no changes, no transitioning, just them having the knowledge that I’m trans.

About three years ago, I started on hormones and mark that as the general beginning of my actual transition. While I spent about a year presenting as male some of the time and female some of the time, both of my parents knew I was transitioning and (at some point during that “in between” year)  I had a chat with both of them about wanting to be called Rebecca, and referred to with feminine pronouns.

Last night, my dad – who is attempting to help me with some insurance stuff from having my gallbladder removed – called to ask my about my social security number. “It’s still under [male name], right?”

I paused, surprised he would even ask such a question. “No, I went to the social security office and had it changed.”

“Oh. But do you have a new card?”

Frustrated, I told him, “Yes. A new card. With Rebecca on it. Sitting on my desk at home. Same social security number, different name.”

“Oh, OK.”

It wasn’t until reflecting on the conversation that I realized how upset it made me. After ten years of being out to him, does he not understand how important this is to me? It wasn’t that he wanted to double-check about the name associated social security number. I could understand if he said, “I just wanted to double check that your social security number is under Rebecca now.” Or even, “Hey, what name is on your social security card these days?” I might be a little annoyed, but not really upset or hurt. But the way he did phrase it, assuming it wasn’t important enough to have gotten changed, really made me feel like he still, after all these years, is just as clueless as he was when I came out to him.

Continue reading 'I think I just broke up with my dad'»

Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 5)

By , April 26, 2010 2:28 pm

It’s been a while, I know, but I figured it was time to finish off some of these questions. Lets go!

  • Do you want to have “bottom” surgery?

“Bottom” surgery usually means sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and I think “want’ is a tricky word to use here. If the Vagina Fairy came through my window (no, not that one) to wave her wand and give me a pussy, I’d say “Yes!” in a heartbeat. I’d also say that I do want to have had SRS, in the same way I want to have learned a foreign language: I want the results, but don’t want to go through the pain and suffering to get there. But do I want to have surgery at some point in the future?

I’m not sure.

Continue reading 'Questions on being trans, from highschoolers (pt 5)'»

Apologizing to myself

By , April 13, 2010 8:39 pm

This post was prompted by an article in Yoga Journal, given to me by my mom, calledForgiveness Heals.” There will be a companion post, a writing exercise about forgiving myself, sometime soon.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I stayed silent too long, spoke too softly to be heard, gave in too quickly.

My kindergarten classroom stretched along an endless hallway. There was a finger-painting station, a corner with cardboard building blocks, a book nook, a playhouse with a kitchen. Trim along the ceiling had numbers, one for each day of the school year, and we would hold a little classroom celebration every time we hit a number ending in zero. We sang, and drew, and played tag at recess. Once a week, I would leave the class and go down the hall to talk with the school psychologist. Even then, my parents knew something was wrong.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell her – in her office with reassuring colors and a calm far removed from the kindergarten class – that there had been some mistake, that my bowl-cut should have been reserved for a boy, could I trade in my button-down shirts for pigtails, please?

Continue reading 'Apologizing to myself'»

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