A Texas Butterfly

A Texas Butterfly

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Roadmap To Transition - High School and Beyond

When I was a Senior in High School in Albuquerque all my friends wanted to go out drinking all the time. And of course, I did my share of that, too, as long my family was home and I didn’t have a chance to dress up. If they were gone, I preferred to spend my time alone, well, except for Lin’s closet. I was working at a fast food place then. Once the rest of the family went up to the lodge, our vacation cabin on the Pecos River that my family built. They were to be gone a couple of days and I couldn’t get the time off to go with them. It’s true, I couldn’t get off, but I wasn’t too broken up about it. It gave me the whole weekend to myself. One of those nights I went to the movies on base. What nobody else knew was that I was wearing one of Lin’s light georgette sheath dresses under my regular clothes. As I was walking home a car load of my friends drove by, both girls and boys, and they wanted me to go out with them to party. I declined because I knew that if I went, something would happen. Either I, or one of the girls, or both would be a little tippsy from wine or beer, we’d start getting a little frisky, and she would see or feel Lin’s dress and I would be found out. That was also the year that we had “Hippy Day” at school. I borrowed a pair of Lin’s purple velvet hip-huggers and wore one of my own pink and purple flowered shirts that went well with the pants. I was on cloud nine all day knowing that I was wearing girl’s clothes to school, even if it was just pants. I felt great wearing girl’s clothes to school and nobody cared.

It was in H.S. that I realized that when I dressed up I didn’t just feel like I was Chuck in a dress. There was more to who I was, who I am. It didn’t seem right to look at myself in the mirror wearing a pretty dress and say, “Chuck, you look pretty.” The girl in me needed a name that was female. That’s when I chose the name Lindsay. That was long before my niece was even a thought, so I didn’t name myself after her. Lindsay is still who I am now, who I have always been. Then I thought that I was Lindsay just when I dressed as a girl. I would later realize that I have always been Lindsay, regardless of what I wear. I am not Lindsay because of what I wear. I am Lindsay because of what is in my heart and mind.

In college I continued to dress. Most of the time I had my own room, even though I had house-mates, and I managed to keep my secret. My best friend back then was Rick. His girlfriend was Debbie. When I moved into the apartments that Deb’s father managed, I worked security there. Rick and Deb and I had a friend that was getting married and we went to a party for the Bride & Groom the week before the wedding. While we were mingling Rick and Deb had gone off someplace to visit with friends and a girl I didn’t know approached me. She introduced herself and told me that she had been to the apartments to visit one of her friends who lived there. Her friend was a male and she had a female friend with her that night. She and her girlfriend had talked the guy into letting them dress him up as a girl and they had taken him out driving around. They were all giggling and having fun when they drove back in and I checked them at the gate. I knew that something was going on but I also knew they had been in numerous times visiting the friend and had never caused any problems so I let them in without knowing the third girl in the back seat was the guy. When she was telling all this at the party I remembered the night she was talking about and thought that the guy didn’t make a half bad looking woman and I told her so. Then she floored me. She told me that I would make a good looking woman also and she could help me like she and her girlfriend had done to that guy. It took me by surprise and all I did was blow her off saying I was too ugly to make a pretty woman. She said “your loss” and walked away. Regret #3. I wished that I had taken her up on her offer. But, if I had, I probably would have found a reason to stay in Albuquerque, I probably would not have moved to Texas, and I wouldn’t have met my future wife, Diane, and I wouldn’t have a beautiful daughter, so even though it seemed like a regret at the time, it seems that I made the right choice.

When I moved to Texas and met Diane, I thought being married to a beautiful woman would cure me of this curse. Regret #4. I didn’t tell Diane, my future wife and soul mate, that I thought I should have been a woman. I fell in love with her pretty quickly. At first I was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to handle me being femme, and I was sure she would leave me. Then I found out about Michael, her first husband, and how hurt she was finding out that he was gay. Me hurting Diane like that was the last thing I wanted to do. I was already in love with her and knowing about Michael only made me feel MORE GUILTY. I couldn’t tell her then, that would have crushed her. So, I didn’t tell her. I should have. Making the arbitrary decision not to tell was, in retrospect, selfish. She should have been given the information and had the chance to make the choice to either stay and marry me and my femme side, or run for the hills. I didn’t give her that choice. I took that choice away from her because I was afraid that she would leave me if she knew. That was selfish. I was hoping Diane would be my salvation, and in a way, she has been. Just not the way I thought at the time. I did stop dressing for a while. I was, am, that much in love with her. I was willing to give up the thing that had given me so much pleasure, and pain, over the years. The thing that made me feel whole. It wasn’t until well after we were married that I realized that this is not something you get cured from, it’s part of who we are.

Roadmap To Transition - The Early Years

I’m not very good at writing these things, but I do recognize the value of writing down my thoughts and experiences, even if it’s only for me. I got a little ahead of myself when I wrote my first installment of this blog. I should have started at the beginning and done this in chronological order. When I wrote the first blog I was inspired and wanted to get it down while it was still fresh in my mind. In this blog I will try to fire up Mr. Peabody’s Way Back Machine and fill in some of the things from my childhood and growing up that provide some insight to how I got to the place where I am today. For anybody reading this that is Transgender this may be the same old boring story that many have read before or even lived. It is surprising to find how many of us have similar backgrounds and experiences.

My first recollection that I was different than boys was around the time I was 5 years old. Before this specific instance I had already noticed that girls had a certain quality about them. At that age I wasn’t sure what this quality was or how or why they possessed it. All I knew was that they seemed special. I admired them, thought they were pretty, and I was fascinated by them.

Dad was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and as such he was a strict disciplinarian. At this time there was something that I was upset about or something I wasn’t getting my way about, and I was throwing a fit. I don’t remember why I was upset, but I certainly remember the result. Dad thought I was acting like a baby or a little girl. So as punishment Dad put me in panties and a dress that belonged to my sister who is three years older than I. I had to stay in the dress and panties for the rest of the day. My sister, Lin and I shared a room back then. When I was sitting in our room wearing the dress and panties my first thoughts were “This is supposed to be punishment?”, “What’s wrong with this?”, “This feels nice!” Then I began to wonder if girls felt the way I was feeling. Was it the pretty dresses and other clothes that made them special, or was it something else. Back then I thought it had to be the dresses. I knew that only girls wore dresses, so I reasoned that if I liked to wear dresses, I must be a girl. I began to wonder what it was like to actually BE a girl. And NO, Dad did not do this to me. He did not cause this, and it is not his fault. I don’t blame or hate him for what he did. Even though my feminine side has, over the years, caused my wife and I considerable pain and heartache, I see Dad’s punishment as a learning experience now and wish I could thank him. This experience confused me for many years to come. I thought, ‘everybody tells me I’m a boy, but I can’t be a boy because I like pretty dresses and other girls clothes. At that time I thought I was unique, and for many years to come, I thought I was the only “boy” in the world that felt the way I did. I would much later find out that we were wrong. Everybody was wrong about me being a boy, and I was wrong about being the only one that felt the way I did. I enjoyed the experience, being punished by making me wear a dress, and thought “why can’t I wear a dress all the time. But, I couldn’t tell my father I enjoyed it and liked the dress. After all, I knew that I was being punished and if this was punishment, then this must be something that I wasn’t supposed to like. So, I hid my feelings and started wearing Lin’s clothes whenever I could.

When I was in about the 5th grade we lived in Salina, Kansas. Halloween was coming up and I had no idea what I was going to go as. Mom suggested I go as a girl. She knew I would be embarrassed about trying on girl’s clothes in front of her. At that time she knew nothing about my dressing, although I’d been trying on Lin’s things when I could for a couple of years, by then. Mom laid out two outfits for me to try on for size and she left me alone in the house. One outfit was the traditional poodle skirt & blouse. It was cute. The other was a very simple blue cotton dress with a fitted bodice, short puffy sleeves, and a full sweeping skirt with a net underskirt. I fell in love with that dress. It wasn’t fancy, trimmed in lace or anything exciting. But, when I put it on it made me look like the other cute girls that I had admired, at least from the neck down. It zipped up the back and it was hard for me to zip, but I was determined that I was going to wear that dress. Both outfits fit perfectly, but the blue dress was THE dress. I felt so pretty in the dress that I didn’t want to take it off. In the end I was too afraid that I would be too enthusiastic about wearing the dress in front of my friends and I would be found out. I told Mom that neither outfit fit me. That was my first big regret, that I was too chicken shit to take advantage of the situation. I think I ended up going as a Hobo that year. After Halloween Mom packed the dress away with some other Halloween things. When I could, I would secretly take it out of the box, wear it for a while, and cry when I had to take it off and put it away. I really cried when I outgrew it. I really think Mom knew that something was going on even though she never said anything.

When I was about 12 years old we were living in Savannah, Georgia. Rick, Dan and I were all in the same room together in bunk beds. Mom and Dad used to have parties a lot. During one of their parties and after the rest of the kids had fallen asleep, I went into the bathroom we shared with Lin. I found some of her panties in the hamper and tried them on. They were nylon panties and they felt wonderful. I then brushed my hair into what I thought was a feminine style and put some hair ribbons in my hair. Then I painted my fingernails a medium pink. I put my regular PJs back on and went back to bed. I didn’t plan on falling asleep, but if I did I knew that Mom and Dad always could drink with the best of them, and being in that condition they probably wouldn’t come in and check on us that night. But, guess what? Mom came in to check on us and sure enough I had fallen asleep. Mom saw the hair bows and the fingernails and called Dad to come in and look at me. Dad woke me up and we went into the living room to talk. Well, that’s not really accurate. He lectured and I nodded my head and listened. It was pretty embarrassing. Even drunk Dad could make you feel about an inch tall. I told Dad that I was just playing around. Regret #2. Maybe if I had told Dad the truth, he might have been able to help me be a girl that I truly wanted to be, but I didn’t hold out much hope that he would understand. After the lecture Mom helped me get the polish off my fingernails and comb out my hair. Nothing else was said about it.