The IRL Puzzle

 Last night….I mean this morning, moments before I passed out……I mean fell asleep, I saw a tweet from an English transwoman I follow and know from a super secret message board we both belong too. She said that a bunch of teenagers in her neighborhood started yelling “Look, she’s a man!” at her while she walked to a convenience store.

 Me, in my behind-keyboard bravery, sent her a reply to just “fuck ’em”. That they are teenagers. And what do they know. I was trying to provide some support in her very stressful situation. But, this evening as I write this, I know it could easily be me in her situation. I don’t pass. I know that. When it comes to the real world, I’m still in the closet. What can I say? It’s comfy in here. 

We ended up exchanging a few direct messages. She expressed fears that she would be beat up. That it was inevitable. I was fading rapidly. And I don’t really know her that well. She’s 7 hours ahead of me in the great time zone game. So, she had the advantage of having her sleepy time behind her. My last message to her was to stay safe. 

It was the only thing I could think of. 

I have total respect for anyone who can go out there and tackle the world as the person they know inside they are. Last Thursday, I sat in a room full of transwomen and men who told me they don’t have the same problems that I fear. At one point, the moderator, asked everyone to back off. There’s one big thing that everyone in that room had, outside of me. For the most part, they pass. I don’t. That’s why I am where I am right now. I’m stuck. 

This past week, I backed out, yet again, from a brunch because the organizer was using the name Rebecca in email correspondence with the group to see who was going. It’s something I honestly go back and forth about. Sometimes, I feel strong enough to tackle it. Most of the time, I fear that moment when someone would ask “Is Rebecca running late?” 

Last year was such a momentous time in my life. I let so much fear and anxiety just wash off of me as if I had been bathing in mud for 20 years. It felt good to be rid of it. But, now the hard work of offline access to my real self becomes the problem.

Ever since I came out to family, friends and aquaintances in email and on Facebook and Twitter, people in the know are under the impression that I’m ok being known by that name in real life social occasions. Last year, while sitting outside during an intermission of a “thing” I was enjoying, a guy I know stopped to chat and say hi. A woman, I’ll call her a tech community groupie, approached the guy I was chatting with and wanted to speak with him for a second. Half way through her diatribe of resume rambling, he introduced me to her as Rebecca. My heart stopped. Not because I feared this waif of a female standing in front of me. Not at all. Because it was out of my control. I didn’t see it coming. She, apparently didn’t catch it and stopped very briefly, to say hi before continuing with, I have to admit, impressive stream of consciousness about why she moved to this particular city. The vocal resume and thinly veiled “I want to sleep with you” talk was like a Phalanx gun being let loose on an approaching Exocet missle. Before she left, she turned to me and after a brief pause to catch her breath, let out “I’m sorry. I didn’t catch your name.” I looked up and with a smile said “Robert”. 

 I don’t blame the guy I was talking with. He and everyone else have been over the top supportive. I blame myself for letting the assumption that I was ok with things festering. I thought, when I came out online and over email, I wouldn’t have to handle this. I mean, every sane person seeing me would see that I’m not even trying to present as female. And to do so at this time would be an hilarious joke.

I guess they are just trying to be supportive. And in that, I thank them. I do appreciate it. I still have a long ways to go. But, I’m getting there. There was a time when I would have fled if confronted with the name we don’t dare speak. If, somehow, I would be able to maintain some composure, I would try to laugh it off. I’ve also learned from observing male behavior for so long, that the appropriate thing to do is throw the jab of an insult back at them. But, I know that’s not what is going on here. Not from my friends. 

I need to, somehow, find a way of letting things like this not rattle me. To ignore it. That is, until I’m ready. I have an appointment with a counselor next week to find the appropriate PTSD treatment. Once scheduled, I’ll be running through that until well into Spring. A friend has told me a form of this treatment was incredibly beneficial to a friend of hers. 

Who knows. Maybe, I’ll come out of that willing to transition w/o passing. I doubt it. But, I know in the back of my head I’ll continue being stuck while I look this way. Like a man. The hormones have had plenty of time to fix things. It’s just not happening. I’m going to have to find a way to save up enough money for facial feminization surgery. 

I think it’s my only hope. 


About Frogtosser

A former sailor and pizza maker who is done hiding from the world and is now living life to it's fullest extent. I'm a single speed bicycle commuter who enjoys writing and photography. I'm a voracious reader. And a huge geek!
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