Anita's Journey

This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Anita Watkins Anita Watkins 2 weeks, 2 days ago.

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  • #40235
    Profile photo of Anita Watkins
    Anita Watkins
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    Registered On: October 23, 2016
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    This is a continuation of the topic “A Month into this Journey”.  It’s been almost two months (tomorrow) and my intention is to post periodically throughout this journey, both as a help to me (getting the thoughts down on “paper” of sorts) and anyone else who happens along who is going through the same confusion.

    The last 10 days or so have been chaotic.  Both my wife and I got sick with an intestinal bug, my daughter came home to visit, and my mother-in-law ended up in the hospital because of a series of tiny strokes.  I was able to take care of my wife for a couple of days before I got sick.  As Anita, I was more patient and attentive both of which I could pull into the male side of life.  With my daughter, I was “Dad” as I’ve always been.  With my in laws, I was my wife’s husband.  By the middle of last week I was convinced that all I needed to do on this journey was to be who I had always been and just cross dress from time to time.  Why do anything more?  It would be more disruptive and frankly probably not realistic.  I’m not a good candidate for HRT due to a history of blood clots and high blood pressure.  Just cross dress from time to time: that’s the ticket.

    The next day though, my sense of being a woman was stronger than ever.  For the first time I could visualize myself as I am now only as a woman (a little sketchy on the hair since I’m bald).   Not only that I could visualize myself twenty years from now as an old woman.  I like being Anita: I’m more caring, more sharing, and much more open.   But to be Anita, the visual cues used by society to judge outliers  as perverse or threatening are all wrong.  So is the feeling of a need to be a woman simply a way to change physically to match societal expectations?   Somehow it seems more than that.

    One thing I feel fairly sure of at this point though, is that this is not me changing, but rather me being more myself.  I feel more comfortable as Anita.  I feel more normal.

    That is why I want to go to a counselor with my wife; to explore those feelings and how they can be integrated into our relationship in a creative and beneficial way.  But that is on hold until we see how her mother does.  I think my wife’s anxiety level is going to shoot up when I talk to her about counseling, and it is already high with her mother’s health issues.

    There is a book by Dara Hoffman-Fox about determining one’s gender.  I have a pdf version and will be going through that (and the free workbook) in the meantime.

    On a road to who knows where but willing to share the journey supportively with others making the same or similar journey.

    Anita

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  • #43974
    Profile photo of Anita Watkins Anita Watkins 
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    I had my first meeting with a gender therapist a couple of days ago (and have been euphoric since).   I now have a place where I’m free to be me and it is exhilarating.  Still I know that as this journey really proceeds now, there are going to be difficult and uncomfortable times ahead.

    I’m meeting one on one with her to start and then my wife will join us.   My wife and I are going to have to transition together so we don’t lose touch with each other.  Where we will end up is uncertain, but I’m very happy that now the journey is in  the open and real.   After 65 years I’m feeling whole for the first time.  I’m just hoping that my wife can accept me the way I am.

    So what did I do to celebrate?  I went shopping today at a thrift store.  Two more tops and a pair of jeans.  And a purse!   I’m happy now, not euphoric, but really happy.  This is a time to remember  when life becomes more difficult later.

    On a road to who knows where but willing to share the journey supportively with others making the same or similar journey.

    Anita

    #43643
    Profile photo of Rose Rose 
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    Kudos, Anita, for having the courage to delve deeper into your true self while also having the conviction to consider and honor your wife and her feelings. *hug*

    A Rose by any other name...

    @}~}~~~

    #43528
    Profile photo of Anita Watkins Anita Watkins 
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    I’ve decided that mirrors are my worst enemy.  When dressed appropriately I start feeling very comfortable in myself and then, upon seeing my reflection in a mirror, am reminded how far I am from who I should and want to be.

    I have an appointment with a gender therapist in less than a week, next Wednesday.  I’ve talked with her over the phone and the conversation was actually fun.  I’m super excited; my wife not as much.  I will meet alone with the therapist at first, but my wife will join us later.  We will make decisions together as we go through this process.  She and I have been through a lot together in the 25 years we’ve been married.  I can’t imagine giving the relationship we’ve formed over those years up.

    On a road to who knows where but willing to share the journey supportively with others making the same or similar journey.

    Anita

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    #43212
    Profile photo of Rose Rose 
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    Glad to hear your MiL is recovering, and that in turn has helped your wife’s stress levels return to more manageable levels. Congrats on the changes, and once again your wife shows everybody she’s quite incredible.

    A Rose by any other name...

    @}~}~~~

    #43190
    Profile photo of Anita Watkins Anita Watkins 
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    The dust has finally settled on our time of chaos.  My mother-in-law is finally recovering and stable and my wife less anxious.  I told her yesterday that I wanted to have a conversation with her and she told me that there were things she wanted to ask me.  So we set aside some time and I let her go first, thinking that we would end up in my conversation naturally.  That happened.  She was asking why I had stopped cross dressing earlier and whether I felt differently this time.  I told her that I was starting to ask questions about my gender that I had never considered before and asked her to go to a gender therapist with me so that we would go on this journey together.  She’s agreed and we will start looking for a therapist probably in a day or two (today and tomorrow are busy days).  I have some that I have found who are close, take our insurance, and work with older people on transgender issues.

    Prior to talking to her, as I knew that I would be bringing up the conversation with her that  day, I started having cold feet because I realized that this step somehow makes this journey more real.  It’s official now; not something that I’m fantasizing about or thinking through on my own.  In working through that reluctance, I realized that it was just another sign that this is the right step at this point.  Things should start moving forward soon.

    On a road to who knows where but willing to share the journey supportively with others making the same or similar journey.

    Anita

    #43175
    Profile photo of Rose Rose 
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    Thanks for sharing, Anita. I hope your mother-in-law is doing OK, and your wife is finding ways to keep her stress under control.

    A Rose by any other name...

    @}~}~~~

    #42930
    Profile photo of Anita Watkins Anita Watkins 
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    Yesterday I went out to lunch with some friends.  This is the first time that I’ve gone dressed as I wanted; woman’s turtleneck, jeans, and stockings. Only the shoes were male (I had to walk a fair amount and they are the most comfortable that I have) and a jacket.  Granted, the outfit was fairly gender neutral, but still a radical departure from how they have seen me dress in the past.  I’ve also shaved my beard and mustache (36 years since that happened) and have lost some weight.  That is what they focused on.  I felt wonderful even including the two hours spent riding the metro in DC.

    On a road to who knows where but willing to share the journey supportively with others making the same or similar journey.

    Anita

    #40764
    Profile photo of Danni Danni 
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    Anita,

    Seems we’re on the same regarding wanting to integrate and end up with just one life.  Being more than one person has been exhausting for me!

    I apologize if it seemed that I was saying I felt you should move toward a FLR.  I was only saying what seemed right for me.  It sounds to me like you’ve given it a lot of thought and are comfortable with the path you’re on.  In that case… stick with it and, you go girl!  🙂

    As for me…

    My wife grew up in a home where the male figure (her father) acted abnormally masculine and was emotionally abusive.  He suffered from “little man” syndrome.  He was 5’4″ and grew up in a rough neighborhood where he caught a lot of grief for being small.  When WWII came along he enlisted in the Marines but was discharged after a medical at the end of boot camp turned up a heart defect.  He was honorably discharged so officially he served.  But… everyone he knew understood that he never went and fought.

    Bottom line – my wife has always seen the “man of the house” as she did her father.  When we were dating I wasn’t the man of the house and she was comfortable with my less conventional sexuality.  However, after being married for a while she’s pulled away when I express as feminine.  I believe it’s because of her confusion over what makes a male a man caused by her experience with her father.  Post traumatic stress doesn’t always require physical violence to have an effect.

    So, I would prefer that she lead and she has a hard time being with a man who doesn’t.  We’ll work it out.  Therapy is definitely right for us.  🙂

    In the mean time… I just don’t rush anything.  I enjoy myself as I am and don’t push her.  Together we’ll figure it all out.  Life is good.  🙂

    Peace,

    Danni

    #40751
    Profile photo of Anita Watkins Anita Watkins 
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    Danni,

    I love what you wrote.  Your feelings are quite similar to mine.  I have realized that part of the reason I married my wife was that she was less feminine than many of the other women that I had dated, and that fact opened up my ability to be more expressive of the traits culturally associated with being feminine.  I’m very much aware that this journey is not my individual journey, but one that my wife and I have to take together.  My hope is that the exploration will create a closer bond and happier relationship.

    I actually was having a hard time going to sleep last night because I was thinking about this.  I’m happy in my life, why explore these feelings.  This is the answer that I’ve come up with this  morning;
    <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>I have a feeling that in order to be honest to my self, to be faithful to myself, I need to live as a woman (whether physically changed or not). It seems to be based on a need for others to identify me as a woman so that I no longer feel hidden or secretive; so that I can feel fully me. If, as I believe, our individual identity is more socially constructed than individually constructed (we are who our relationships show we are), then being a woman in relationship seems to be a more accurate reflection of my identity than being a male even if the other attributes stay the same.</p>
    <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>I love the fact that you’ve taken consideration of your wife into your decisions.  My goal is to do the same thing.  Keep caring and loving.</p>
    <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”></p>

    On a road to who knows where but willing to share the journey supportively with others making the same or similar journey.

    Anita

    #40746
    Profile photo of Danni Danni 
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    Anita,

    I’m certain that everyone’s journey is unique. So I won’t claim to know what you’re going through.  However, I can say that the feelings of confusion, resignation and a desire for integration resonate deeply with me.

    I’ve discovered that while the idea of becoming a woman is appealing to me, I now understand that there are a number of aspects of being a man that I don’t want to give up.  One of the biggest is the simple fact that my wife loves me as a man.  I know that she identifies as a female and has no erotic or romantic interest in other females.  Asking her to love me as a female would be asking her to love me as someone who is fundamentally different than the person she fell in love with and committed her life to.

    So, I’ve come to realize that the best choice for me is to continue my journey and see if there is meaning that is even deeper than my feminine urges.

    As I’ve done so, I’ve discovered that my understanding of what it means to be feminine is multifaceted.  To be the feminine me I want to be I’ve discovered that I need to feel attractive, soft, gentle, patient, understanding, kind, loving, compassionate, and caring.  I find I can feel these ways as a man, but I feel them more intensely when I’m expressing feminine.

    I’ve also discovered that I have a strong desire to NOT take the lead in my relationship with my wife.  I’d much rather love her by caring for her and doing as she wishes.  I realize that this type of relationship was modelled by my parents.  I would like nothing more that to live in a Female Led Relationship, romantically, socially, sexually, and in every way.  I believe that in such a relationship style I would find that I would feel “feminine” even as a man.

    I’m there will be many that would point out that being feminine doesn’t mean being subservient.  I know that.  But, we all have our own journeys and express them as best we can.

    I wish you great joy in your travels and the journey you’re on.

    All the best,

    Danni

    #40435
    Profile photo of Cookie JessicaLynn (Irish) Cookie JessicaLynn (Irish) 
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    Hello Anita,

    Thank you for sharing your xperience, look forward to reading the next chapter, I guess is the term I will use.

    I will say this, I personally identify as both male and female, my female persona being the dominant one, I have learned to use both personalities wether coming across as Jessica, or JT.  There is a very fine line that seperates, yet combines both of those to form one person. My outward apperance weyther Male, or female no longer matters to me….it is a sureal feeling.

    Cookie  🙂

    Smile and the world smiles with you! Live, Love, Laugh! 🙂

    #40253
    Profile photo of maddie whitman maddie whitman 
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    hi anita , i would first like to say thank you for sharing and i know where you are coming from. when my wife and i met her mother was put into a nursing home with advanced huntingtons disease . she has since past , but that is not the point i would like to make. instead i would like to share a short story about an encounter i once had with  the president of our housing assoc. president while taking my dog for a walk one evening about 18 mo. ago . anyway,cheyenne and i were out for an evening stroll around our nieborhood when we encountered another person. as we passed each other he said to me , you know you should not do that. i took a few steps and then it hit me,as to what this person was talking about, so i spun myself around and told the dog to wait (she’s a good dog) anyway i went to this person and said, what should i not be doing? walking my dog off lead? he said you know what i’m talking about,well after he said this a young girl of about 5 was riding past on her bicycle so i stopped her and asked if i could ask her a couple of questions , my first question was if i looked like a bad person to her, her response was no. i then asked if she thought that i would harm her in anyway,again her response was no.my last question was do you think that i am dressed inapropriately,again her response was no,i thanked her for answering my questions, and she rode away, i then proceeded to let this jerk-off have it,this lasted about 10 min. after i laid into this guy and sent him on his way with his tail between his legs, i turned collected the dog to start back home, when all of a sudden i begin to hear applause from about a half dozen people.  it was awesome to know that i have people on my side. so my advice is be you , do what makes you happy , as long as you are not hurting anyone else.   hugs Maddie

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