What’s in the closet?

January 5, 2010 dstevens11

As I stated in my last post; today was “back to school” day and it was just as eventful as I described the other night..not. There are so many topics and thoughts I want to jot down from the responses and feedback I received from a lot of amazing people who have shared insights into their own gender journey. I find everyone amazing, I wish I could have half the courage of some of you. It also makes me feel so blessed already to hear your feedback, and that Jamie will have a lot of support as she gets older. I can sense there is a strong community here, to a magnitude I would have never guessed. I want to be as open and honest I can be, so please feel free to keep the feedback coming. I love to hear all perspectives, trust me I’m a philly girl, I can take it 🙂 Not all the time lol. 

One comment made to me by Lori D the other day, really kind of haunted me since I read it. She said about Jamie “Let’s face it, she has a female gender identity – wearing boy’s clothing is the equivalent of CDing to her.” I have never thought about it in that way, and when I did, my heart sank for Jamie. Today you can almost feel the misery on her face when she came downstairs to breakfast. She never acts jealousy towards her sister, but when Aly come downstairs dressed out in her clothes, you can almost see Jamie kind of sink her head down. Disappointed. Like here I go again, back to my misery. Jamie doesn’t really dress femininely as a boy, even though today you can easily get away with it. With those boys they can get away with it, because of their masculinity. Jamie  just looks like a girl, dressed as a boy because of her femininity.  If she added any feminine touches to her clothing, it would just attract her more negative attention at school, and she hates that. “Mom I don’t want to look a girl who is a boy, I just want to be a girl.” She’s aching to come out and move forward. 

The high school bus basically comes to the end of our street. Several cross streets down, but at the end. Drew  walks with his buddy next door, and Jamie trails behind them. She usually meets up with a girl who lives down the street.If you were walking behind both groups,  (especially in the winter because of the heavy clothes) you would see two boys and the two girls because of Jamie’s size and the way she carries herself. It’s not at all flamboyant or anything, she just has a feminine presence about her. 

We first learned the term “cross dressing” about 6 years ago. Of course I knew it what it meant, but can’t say I ever had much personal understanding of what it is. I work as an executive assistant for a bank, I’ve been in that field for a long time (the banks keep switching names) but my job and the people I work for, generally have stayed somewhat consistent. Because I have always worked in a professional environment, I have collected a lot of clothes. Not that I am a fashion diva or anything, but I like to look nice. It’s kind of competitive with the woman I work with, so I keep up, but I have fashionable taste not an expensive one. If it’s a knock-off or non-brand name, I’m fine with that. 

It takes me long to make a point….Well, I am pretty organized with my stuff, but things get pushed to the back of the closet or never make it up from the laundry room…etc as they do with everybody. But I kept missing stuff, especially some of my separates like shells, tops, a blouse here, a skirt there, nightgowns. I’m like “what the hell”. One weekend my husband at the time and I were going to a wedding, and I had a black dress I recently bought (and never wore) for the occasion. I go into the closet, GONE!. WTF! I’m like I knew I had it in there, where is it? We go upstairs, downstairs, cars (did I ever bring it in), going crazy. I confront my daughter Aly (alyson), “honey were you playing in mommies closet?”  “no mommie.” She would tell me if she did. She was 6 at the time. I settled on something different, but I was angry, like what’s going on. 

A week or so later, I’m looking for some arts supplies for Aly to play with. I go into Jamie’s closet and go diggin for some paints, cant find anything, so go diggin in some more, and what do I find but a pillow case treasure chest full of my missing clothes. Blouses, skirts, nightgowns, nylons, and MY BLACK DRESS!!! WTF! I am like WHAT IS GOING ON! My heart was racing. Should I confront him? I WAS SO MAD. Should I tell my husband? HE IS GOING TO BE PISSED. What’s he doing with my clothes? HE CAN’T BE WEARING THEM Some of the stuff was my victoria secret intimate stuff, that I only wore once, is he just getting curious about girls. He can’t be wearing it. He’s only 10.

Immediately  I raced to do NOTHING about it. I am like he’s just curious. Did not say a word to him. But I did take my stuff back. I could immediately tell he knew they were gone from his closet, he kind of had this paranoid attitude. I think he was scared that his father or brother found them, but after a while it kind of seemed to go away. About a month later it was around memorial day, and we were gong to a barbecue. I had just bought a new bikini for the summer, and hung it in my closet. But since this was a barbecue and still cool outside, I knew there was going to be a pool there, and just in case Aly wanted to go in, I was going to put on my one piece from the previous year.  Went to get it, GONE! WTF! I go upstairs, downstairs, laundry room etc…Wait a second, I go into Jamie’s closet..nothing. Look around his room, nothing. Ok good. wooh! Go back inside, look in-between his mattress and boxspring, BINGO! COME ON ALREADY! WHAT’S GOING ON? I figured he probably thought since I bought a new suit, I wouldn’t miss the old one. 

Now when I tell some of you ladies how naive I am, I am pretty naive. I was raised in a catholic family, pretty straight-laced Dad who worked for PECO the local electrical utility, mom was home. I am the youngest of three with two older brothers. They both followed my dad’s path, one is working for PECO, while the other works for the SEPTA subway. I was close to my brothers, as I was the baby girl. They are both awesome guys, with great wives and children.

Now I’m thinking, is this normal behaviour, curiosity only. Then I thought, could I ever picture my brothers wearing my mom’s clothes while growing up, GOD NO!! NO WAY!! Why would a boy ever want to wear girl’s clothes. Why is my boy wearing my clothes? Girls are girls, boys are boys. I never thought about it growing up, I wore girl’s clothes, my brothers wore boys clothes. 

Well I took my suit away, got changed, and wore it underneath my shirt and shorts. At the party, like on schedule, of course Aly wanted to go swimming. I went out to the pool, Jamie was sitting in a deck chair a few feet away from me. When I pulled my top and shorts off, his face went into a cold trance. I remember being a little crass and smart with him, like “yeah, we have a lot of talking to do.” in a cold tone. I know I was mean. Not a word was said between him and I the whole night. 

Next, I did the totally wrong thing and instead of going to Jamie first, I went to my husband. I figured it’s his father he should know all of this. When I told him, I was pretty casual, BUT HE FLIPPED OUT. He started screaming to Jamie, “GET IN HERE”, “WHAT’s THIS ALL ABOUT!!!” Jamie was terrified. If I had gone to him first, I may have had a breakthrough then, but that first contact with this issue was all wrong. Jamie just retreated inwardly. 

It effected everything with him personally and emotionally. Just shut down. Wouldn’t really talk to us, or his siblings. So withdrawn, it was scary. I tried talking to him about it, but he did not trust me. This lasted almost a year. I was pretty scared. So withdrawn. I hear so much about suicide with GID children, I can tell you firsthand, the feeling is REAL. He has never said that to me personally, I could just tell.  He has volunteered the thought in therapy. It is so frieken scary!

That was the start of us bringing him to therapy, and when I first really personally learned the term “cross dressing”.

But as Lori D stated, his real cross dressing is everyday when he presents as a boy and wears the clothes to fit the part. I never thought of it in that way, and that hurts me.

Yesterday I stated that Jamie comes home by herself every afternoon and is home alone between like 3 and 5:15. It is her safe zone, I know it. I have given her a section of my closet for clothing she can feel free to wear. I have never seen her fully dressed out, but she is free to wear these clothes whenever she feels comfortable. I bought her the 6 pack of the pink, yellow and white lace bordered fruit of loom girls underpants. When her brother is not home, she is getting more and more comfortable with Aly and I. Primarily with pajamas or subtle feminine tops and shorts.  She just lights up. So slowly inching out. Again does not dare with her brother around. That is a big step for us. I’m working on it.

The other thing I have been noticing is my make-up is getting used. She is experimenting, a couple of times when I have gotten home from work she has had traces of eye-liner and mascara, and lipstik after washing it off before we got home. It makes me happy, I want to offer to help, but I know she will ask me in due time. She has incredible skin, and has not had any facial hair at all. None. Her younger brother has been shaving for a little over a year now. 

As far as an update: we have two big appointments coming up. Her  endocrinologist is this Friday. It’s is annual real thorough exam, basically they do a few things. They check the levels of gonadotrophins and testosterone, to make sure the lupron is doing it’s job. I know they check stuff like cholesterol, insilin, glucose, and also check the liver to make sure there is no damage there.  They also check her height, weight, hip and waist circumference, sitting height, testicular volume and what puberty stage she is at. Annually she gets her skeletal age estimate, they do this by taking an x-ray of her hand. They also check bone density, since there is risk of bones not developing properly while taking the hormone blockers. It’s interesting and amazing. Jamie gets a little nervous, but the guy has a real good bedside manner, he’s really good with her. 

Then the 18th we meet with her psychiatrist. My husband is scheduled to be there. We’ll see. We should be starting a timeline from there for the rest of the year. Should be interesting. Wish us luck. Love, Dana

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Entry Filed under: transgender

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lori D  |  January 5, 2010 at 4:17 am

    I’m terribly sorry if what I wrote caused you to feel bad for Jamie. You have enough of a burden to shoulder and you’re sorting through these complexities like a champion.

    You’re learning and growing, and you’ll soon see your child blossom into a magnificent display of color. Good luck on the appointments!

  • 2. Kim Pearson  |  January 5, 2010 at 4:39 am

    Dana, if you’d ever like to talk I’m here. 928.486.7824

    Kim Pearson
    Executive Director
    TransYouth Family Allies
    Mom to Shawn, 17 year old FTM

    • 3. Abby  |  January 5, 2010 at 9:53 am

      Dana, Kim is the friend that I told you about, who is the executive director of TYFA. She’s “good people” with a heart of gold and will do everything she can to help trans kids and their families live in peace. I urge you to contact her. She has resources and experience that can be of great use to you as you plan for Jamie’s transition this year. I suspect that Kim could be especially helpful in planning for the meeting with Jamie’s psychiatrist and dealing with your ex.

  • 4. Sherry Ann  |  January 5, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Dana,

    I cried reading your latest post. It is so typical and so close to what I went through, only my mom or dad never confronted me. You are the brave one. But it may time to let Jamie be more who she is. You and her brother and sister should be ready to allow her to be Jamie at home. Kudos to you for giving her space now but she is ready for more.

    I was awake last night thinking about the school problem. I transitioned on the job and there were some good things about that but also some ugly things. I worry that teen girls, and boys, will not be real kind. I don’t have any advice, I just wish she had a couple of strong supporting girl friends her own age. She needs that peer socialization to complete her growth into a woman. Reach out and find some peers for her. Just some thoughts.

    Sherry

    • 5. dstevens11  |  January 5, 2010 at 10:11 pm

      Thanks Sherry, we’re going to explore and really think thru all options. I misquoted myself in my earlier response to you, she does not want to attend the school she’s at, I think I said she did. She would rather go the home schooling route, which there is no way I can not work, so I would have to reach out to my mom to help pull that off. The funny thing for me is, she has always been a high performing student, I actually have no worries she would properly dedicate herself daily with her schoolwork. Which would be most parents worry with home schooling. I am with you, I am most worried about the social aspect, but there is really none today either, so there is not she is going to lose a ton of friends or anything. I think she will have enough going on with the physical transition, that laying low during the day, but venturing out socially and with family may be a good plan. I agree with you people can be cruel. She seems to socialize real well with my younger daughter Aly’s friends. So we’ll see. Thanks for your thoughts. Love, Dana

  • 6. Jo  |  January 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Good luck with those appointments 🙂

    No point looking back…you’re on the right track now. Sure, you went off the deep end when you found out but you have had the courage and the insight to review your position completely, and that says a lot.

    Parents who reject their trans children end up with no children. Simple as that. Either because their kids grow, and eventually find their own way once they leave home – acceptance or not. Or the other, much worse, scenario.

    You could have gone down that road, but you’re not. Good for you.

    • 7. dstevens11  |  January 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      Thanks Jo. I don’t know how parents can reject their children either, at the end of the day it’s their life they have to live. I do want to be a good example, even with her father, that she just needs patience, I believe sooner or later people reflect, and probably understand that they did wrong by their rejection. I just want to make sure the door is wide open from Jamie, when he does come around. I just want happiness for her, and I sense for her wishes are coming. Love, Dana

  • 8. F. Lloyd  |  January 6, 2010 at 5:22 am

    I loved “What’s in the Closet”. Not only are you an excellent Mom, you are also an excellent writer. I look forward to your next installment- keep doing what you are doing! You’re the BEST!.

  • 9. Sherry Ann  |  January 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Dana,
    Thank you for responding. Just wanted to impart a little more information. I am at an age where I feel I can speak with some insight, and having gone through coming out and transition and hormones, I have an added perspective. These are just my thoughts. Take them with a grain of salt. If they help wonderful; if not, just discard them. It is O.K. There is also no need to answer. You have a lot on your plate so don’t spend too much time blogging. This isn’t about me.

    And it is not just about Jamie. It is also about Drew and Aly, and very much about you. You, and your other children, are going through a transition too. You gave birth to a boy, and without a thought you considered him male, treated him as a boy, changed his diapers, loved him, gave him boy gifts and dressed him as a boy. Now, as a mom you are having to change all that. Your transition is not easy and you will find yourself questioning yourself as a mother and questioning the decisions you are making each day. This is natural. Never forget you are a very wonderful and courageous mom. You must also make sure you have a support system too, over and above therapy. You are spending so much of yourself on Jamie, and your children but you also must take care of yourself. If you have not already done so, find a friend who does not have a stake in the outcome (not a family member or friend of a family member) and open up your innermost feelings, fears, and joys with her. You will need that in the next few years.

    While you are doing the right things now, the road is not easy. There will be difficulty and drama, as well as great triumphs. Normalcy will be difficult to come by but the result will be wonderful.

    The sooner Jamie gets to practice being a girl, with family, or friends, not just at home but in public, is critical. She needs to get comfortable with who she is in a safe way. Give her opportunities. Let her gender flourish. Teach her make-up, dress, styles, and mannerisms. Let her hair grow longer, if she wants. The only way she has learned girl stuff up to now, mostly, is through observation and practice alone. She needs chances to bond and be accepted in a girl’s world. This can be gradual, but it is imperative that it begin. Some of us who transitioned later have realized that while we are female between our ears, it does not follow that we have all the skills to easily make it in a woman’s world. A crash course when older is problematic. Jamie needs to learn as early as possible.

    I read where you haven’t seen her “dressed out”. You, and the rest of your family need to be ready to allow this. Jamie needs to understand you are ready to accept her completely so she can present herself when she is ready. She is still dressing in secret so from her perspective, she is not yet fully accepted. I’m sure you have covered this in therapy and I hope both Aly and Drew have been included in the therapeutic process. But to be repetitive, all of you share in a transition.

    You also said Jamie doesn’t want to transition to the school she now attends. That is probably good but please think more about the home schooling. I would be concerned that she will be more isolated. No you shouldn’t force the issue but explore other options for her if you can. You said you would have to reach out to your mom to do home schooling. Is she o.k. with Jamie being Jamie? Would she reinforce Jamie as a girl or would she be more inclined to still see and interact with her grandson. Would Jamie be home schooled as a boy and play girl at other times? Is that a healthy, positive transition?

    I hope this is not too intrusive. The motive is pure and I hope you can take something from it. You, Jamie as well as Aly and Drew, should know that so many people are thinking of you and sending you all the best. Because we have been through similar trials, more or less, we love success stories. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Love,

    Sherry

    • 10. dstevens11  |  January 7, 2010 at 8:36 pm

      Hi Sherry – Really appreciated you comments and insights, I get that a lot of my friends and family who tell me the same thing that I have to find some “me” time. Being a working single mom, it can certainly be overwhelming with the amount of stuff going on, as it is with million other mothers. Trust me, I’m doing fine. This weekend I’m actually being a little Macaulay Culkin, and being “home alone”. The 3 kids will be with there dad all weekend. I hate the empty house, but it will be a nice break for a couple of days. If it was the summer I would be heading down to my girlfriend’s house on the jersey shore, and doing a little Margaritaville. Since it is really cold and wintery here, I may just hang out in PJ’s all weekend. We’ll see.

      I was recently asked out by a VP in other department I work in, who’s real cute and seems like a respected guy. He’s recently divorced. But in the most part, at this point in my life, I’m just not that interested. Not that I don’t want to find love in my life, of course I do! I have dated a few guys since my divorce, but nothing has clicked. I may do a happy hour with him on Saturday, but I doubt it. I am real careful not to date people at work and be a part of the assistant gossip trail. So far I have been able to accomplish that.

      But I do try to find my quiet space 🙂 I’m ok.

      As far as Jamie goes, if it was up to me, I would of have allowed her to express herself early on. But we have stayed disciplined to the therapy that our psychiatrist (Drew and Aly are both a part of that therapy) has layed out to us. The whole purpose of delaying puberty was to give Jamie physically a timeout, but to also allow her time to figure things out. I know I may be in a minority with many of the adult women who have transitioned, but I do agree with the therapy recommendation that even during this “timeout” that the male gender is still considered but she is allowed space to explore her feminine persona. I feel a lot more comfortable today pursuing the next steps now then I was several years ago. I know her father wanted the opportunity to strengthen the male in him, and I know he is feeling remorse in who she is. But it is who she is, our son Drew is the boy he always wanted, and they were both raised in the same manner. So the argument of nature vs nurture, I am definitely on the nature side of the argument knowing what I know now.

      I was going to save this for a blog tomorrow, (we have her endocrinologist appointment tomorrow morning), but she and I are going to spend the afternoon together just talking after the appointment. One of the topics was going to talk her about is her confidence. She needs to start feeling comfortable expressing herself, and be able to take more risks and not care what other think about. I can already tell she is going to develop into a beautiful young woman; she just does not have that self-esteem yet. If it was just me and Aly at home, I would guess wholeheartedly things would be different (it already is when it is just us 3) but when Drew is around she just shuts down. I’m sure it is a lot of his influence, but at the same time the more comfortable she becomes he will become with her I’m sure. I will 100% ensure of that. Her father is just going to have to face the facts that it is coming. We are meeting Sunday night when he drops the kids off about the endo appointment. Cross your fingers there.

      As far as the homeschool, my mom (being Irish catholic) is a little slow to the alter. Her heart is 100% in the right place, but before we consider the homeschooling option with her, she has to be supportive of Jamie’s gender change. I think she will be, I know my mom obviously really well.

      Again, REALLY appreciate your thoughts, please keep them coming. The only way I learn is when people challenge or enlighten my thinking. Love, Dana

  • 11. Sherry Ann  |  January 8, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Dana,
    Just a quick note. Thank you for responding. I am behind you 100% and am so glad you are in a good place with everything. Yes, you probably are in the minority with those of us who went through it as adults, but some of that may be just our feeling that the longer a truly GID person waits, the harder it is. I think we just want Jamie not to suffer, as I know you do. I do have some experience with teen girls with three daughters, the oldest is just a couple years younger than you, and now I have three granddaughters. I don’t know much about boys but girls, I think I know. (I’m thinking of starting a blog myself called “Ask Sherry” – advice for teen trans girls and their moms).

    Good luck with the endocrinologist and with the discussions. Know that you are not alone and that you are doing so very well.

    Sherry

    • 12. dstevens11  |  January 10, 2010 at 7:56 am

      Hi Sherry – I think you advice column or blog is a great idea! I know it would be something I would certainly utilize and any helpful advice/resources that young girls can get is great as well. Thanks for the well wishes. Love, Dana

  • 13. Calie  |  January 8, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Dana, it kills me to read some of this because it brings back so many memories and reminds me that I was not given the opportunity Jamie has today.

    Nevertheless, it also warms my heart to see you, as her mother, beginning to understand her needs and desires.

    I also love that you have opened up your heart to the trans community.

    Calie xxx

    • 14. dstevens11  |  January 10, 2010 at 8:08 am

      Thanks Calie – I am so thankful and grateful the trans community has opened theirs to mine. I have already met some amazing people, it’s been very helpful. It also helps to hear adults like yourself understand and validate Jamie’s concerns and feelings, you hear example and example on why it’s important to treat at a younger age. I know we’re doing the right thing. Thanks for your support, appreciate it. Love, Dana

  • 15. Jerica  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Yes, since I began living as a woman full time outside of work….when I find myself having to get up and put guy clothes on for work, I definitely feel like I’m crossdressing.

    It was very very hard to go back to work after my 10 day Christmas vacation. I have a VLOG on YouTube that I made the night before going back to work…it was very hard emotionally.

    Nowadays I can at least get away with wearing women’s underwear and girl jeans without anybody noticing.


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