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Welcome to the Trans Lantern Corp

“You have been chosen for your ability to overcome great fear”, or something like that, came as a disembodied voice informing test pilot Hal Jordan that he was the best candidate to wield a Green Lantern ring. Come on, I know I’m not the only geek here! I know I already talked about courage and whatnot, but thought it worthwhile to advance a few more thoughts on the matter. In my estimation, we would all make pretty kick ass Green Lanterns.

Let’s give ourselves a little credit to begin with. We almost all had to overcome great fear to even begin the transition process. I think the exception are those kids who declare their correct gender well before puberty swoops in and kicks them in the caboose. Their single minded purpose leaves me in awe and wishing I hadn’t wasted almost 40 years struggling in the wrong direction. I’m not saying they have it made, but given a choice, I’d trade them in a second.

The biggest fear to master is that of perception and perspective. Here in Buffalo we have a bridge going over Grand Island leading to Niagara Falls. It’s a truss arch bridge, which means when approaching, there is a magnificent steelwork hump, under which the traffic passes. As kids, it is a universal phenomenon to think the car is going to have to go over the top of that monstrosity of a truss to get to the island; a venture that looks just doomed to a watery grave. We screamed, cried, shut our eyes, and wet our pants as dad would sail underneath and wonder about the hubbub and smell that was coming from the back seat.

Transition is like that as well. Before it is really in full view, we, or at least I, had naive thoughts about completing a checklist and whammo, begin life in the right gender. Marching right up to it, however, the way looked very daunting. Burn or shock my facial hair out? Wait, some of that hair too?  Go out in public, like in daylight? Tell everyone my deepest darkest secret? Tell work? Year-long test, you mean before I do much else? Yeah, I was one of those who went to my first therapy appointment with the vague notion that take a few pills, then snip-snip tuck-tuck, and voila, no one would ever be the wiser. It also never occurred to me that even after all this the strong possibility existed that I would forever have people wondering, “say, did you used to be a man or something?” I had about the same reaction as with the Grand Island bridge.

We break it all down for ourselves to make it less scary. Some create detailed spreadsheets, gant charts, Venn diagrams, or in my case one of those construction paper chains used to countdown to Christmas. Approaching each thing, however, simply created a series of bridges, each as big as the first. Great. When I heard of the Benjamin standards of care, I thought there would be some team of Benjamins guiding me through the paces. Not so. My therapist, for a tune of many Benjamins, simply advised that I should probably talk to others to figure out what to do, and that the proof in the pudding is where the rubber meets the road. Nice, the desert to my Kung Pow chicken told me the same thing.

The toughest part is that it turns out to be just as hard and scary as expected. It’s like dad craned his neck into the back and said, “Yes actually, we do have to take the car up and over those rounded girders. I sure hope we make it!” Midway though my first laser treatment and I was sure I was walking out of there the spitting image of Rocky Dennis. After 9 months of hormones I still have the breasts of an 11 year old. I’ve been stared at more times than I even notice now. I got publically reamed out by a relative at a large family celebration. My marriage is over. I have yet to overcome a reputation as the Grand Deceiver. I spend days riddled with anxiety and depression. But I still press forward. I have to. We have to. If overcoming great fear is part of it, just sign me up for a ring. Compared to this, thwarting evil Sinestro (what were his parents thinking?) seems like cake.

About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

7 responses »

  1. Things are rarely as we imagine them to be. When I started my transition I just had this feeling that its right, things will work out and I will be accepted. At first I thought, OHHH SHIT!! what have I done, I looked back and realized the hormones were working over time and made things seem worst that I knew and excepted them to be. Once I got a handle on my emotions I seen the battle ahead and I knew I had to remain calm and don’t read to much into what people say and do, let them vent, after all their transitioning too. I’ll admit I do go though spells where I just feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, I don’t know why? Things are good I have more control over this than I give myself credit, my outlook on life has to be such that I have to be whole, happy, and love myself first and than I can do the same for those around me, sounds selfish but its not. How in the hell will I be worth anything to anyone including myself if I’m not even able to be me and happy. Courage, I never even thought about it. I knew my life had to change and now, I just couldn’t go on the way I was, I’m a woman and I need to feel good about this fact and today is the day. So from that day forward I have been the person I have always been and proud of it, what else can I really do.

    • You know Tedie, I said the exact same thing to my therapist last year! “So… when is the other shoe going to drop anyway?” I also think you have the right attitude – if you can’t be happy for yourself, and proud, and admit you have the courage to be yourself, what is it all for anyway? The HRT made things fuzzy for me in the beginning as well, but much more evenly balanced now and it sound the same for you too. Always love hearing from you sister!

      Love, Michelle

  2. Just one thing to say – Love you Sister ❤ Big HuGGzz

  3. Ok, now I’m clearly the one who needs to learn from you when it comes to images that illustrate our adventure. (It sounds more fun when I call it an adventure.)

    The scary bridge image is brilliant. Mine growing up was over the Illinois River, but it was basically the same experience. Very good that you maintain the geek cred with the Green Lantern reference.

    You are entitled to a ring for all that you have and will face, and ultimately we do make our own paths. I am at an extreme disadvantage when it come to guidance over here, because when you order Chinese takeaway, it comes with something called prawn crackers which remind me a bit of a thin, bland rice cake with a faint hint of shrimp flavouring. No fortune anywhere to be found.

    Thanks again for expressing this so beautifully.



    • It really is an adventure, isn’t it? LOL That bridge really was the bane of every child under 10 in the WNY area who had the fortune to be dragged to Niagara Falls from the Tonawanda’s on south… not that this probably makes much sense, but you always get my point and I love that.

      I actually know what a prawn cracker is, and agree, it’s a very slightly fish tasting rice cracker of questionable merit. You are deprived then of receiving some of those great fortunes that sometimes make me wonder. My most favorite ever was one that read, “Your success will astonish everyone!” I mean the mere thought of me somehow managing not to royally muck something up is not just cause for surprise, but honest to goodness astonishment. Yes, I understood what they (probably) meant, but it’s more fun this way.

      Thank you always for your lovely words Becky!

      Love, Michelle


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