Dum Dum Dum, Dummy Doo Wah

by
DeckChairs

My weekly therapy session with Nancy this week ended up being mostly about companionship — that is, my lack of it and my desire for it. I can’t say that the conversation left me in an optimistic mood.

This all came up in session because I mentioned that I was lonely. Which is am. It’s not a huge deal, I’m more of a loner anyway, but I am generally surrounded nowadays by people in stable relationships and it’s hard not to look at them and wish I had the same. Call it jealousy if you like. I wouldn’t deny it.

It was weird to be asked a question like “what type of guy do you like?” The honest answer is I just don’t know. I spent most of my life hating maleness in general, and so I never really thought about it. And now, I don’t have enough experience to articulate it. I know I hate dudebros — that is unequivocal. But beyond that, do I have a ‘type’? Search me.

And let’s be honest, in the best of circumstances I’m firing an impossibly long shot in a very small target population in regards to companionship. A straight man who’s secure enough with his sexuality to look past my transgender nature is a rare breed, indeed. And for that man to also be decent and interesting and smart and funny and not some tranny chaser just looking for the thrill? Now you’re talking one-in-a-million. I only know of one such man, and he is already taken.

The sexuality of trans women is interesting. It seems like most of the women I know fall into one of two camps. Some of them consider themselves some variety of LGB and they either date cis women or other trans women. In fact, the number of relationships I’m aware of which involve two trans women is surprisingly high. They seem to be all over the Internet, but I also know some women locally who are in such relationships.

The other kind are the ones who have remained in a relationship with their spouse / fiancee / girlfriend even after they begin transition. They will generally claim that the relationship they have is above sexuality, that labels aren’t important, and that therefore they wouldn’t classify themselves as straight, gay, or whatever. Jenny Boylan is in this camp, partially, though she’s gone so far to say that she’d be a straight woman if she didn’t have her wife.

I don’t fit in either of those camps. I am a straight woman, albeit one saddled with the wrong plumbing and a body misshapen by testosterone. I’m also closing in on forty; I also have three children that are an active part of my life. I am, in other words, a hard sell.

As I finish typing this, I’m sitting on my front porch with my laptop. Daylight is fading; crickets have started chirping in the quiet dusk; and next to me is an Adirondak chair, the twin of the one I’m sitting in but for one difference: the chair is empty.

Post soundtrack

 

Having Daddy Issues

by
Daddy Issues

I’ve taken the step recently of doing something I said I would never do: I’ve started asking my kids to stop calling me ‘Dad’.

I didn’t want to do it. When I first told them about my being transgender in December, I vowed at the time that they could call me ‘Dad’ for as long as they wanted. But in recent months it’s become almost unbearable to me for them to keep doing it.

Here’s the thing: I like to think that I am making at least some progress on the ‘passing’ front. I do get ‘ma’am’ occasionally, though whether it’s because someone perceived me as female or someone was just being polite in regards to my gender presentation I never can tell for sure. But it’s progress, nonetheless.

That progress gets undermined when I’m in public with my kids. My kids don’t just occasionally say ‘Dad.’ They say it all the time, often loud and with feeling. “Dad! Dad! Look at this new LEGO set!” “Dad! Can we buy ice cream? Please, Dad!” “Dad, make him stop touching me!” Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad!

People are always looking for cues to gender someone, and three kids calling me ‘Dad’ gives people permission to view me as male. It makes me horribly uncomfortable and, lately, has led to me leaving stores because of the anxiety and dysphoria that it causes me.  I have even left public places early, much to my children’s displeasure, because the anxiety has gotten so bad. I literally look for excuses to not go out with the kids right now because I don’t want to deal with it.

So I’m forcing the issue. I don’t want to do it, and I feel horrible for doing it, but I just can’t function as a parent anymore if it continues.

My oldest is trying his best. He’s starting to be aware, and I’m getting a lot of “Dad — I mean, Mom” from him. My youngest is 3 1/2 years old and doesn’t really understand what’s going on; I’m just hoping that she picks up on it when the other kids do it consistently. And my middle child …

Oh, the middle child. Dawn is my firecracker, my spitfire, my willful one. She has not only pushed back against the idea of calling me ‘Mom,’ she has actively said she will never do it, and then she’ll proceed to chant “Dad! Dad! Dad!” deliberately. My ex and I both have talked to her, tried to reason with her, but she’s stubborn. In recent days she seems to have softened her stance a bit, especially since I won’t respond to her requests if she prefaces them with ‘Dad,’ but I know she’s got a long way to go before she accepts it.

I was always afraid of hurting my kids with my transition, and I don’t want this to be that moment. I only hope we make it through without any lasting emotional scars.

New URL — What Do You Think?

by

I’m finally here! I finally got the new URL up and running. Hooray!

And I am 95% happy with the design right now. I know, never satisfied, right? But this is close. It wasn’t what I had in my head, but it’s something I can work with for awhile. I might change the colors a bit, rescale the post font some, probably redo the logo at some point to fix some (to me) obvious issues. But for now, this is my new blog home and I couldn’t be happier.

If you followed me on WordPress.com, your subscription should have migrated over. At least, I hope it did. Let me know if it didn’t. Also, ariamythe.wordpress,com should be redirecting here automatically. I hope.

Anyway, I’ve felt a little writer-blocked while I tried to finish this up, so posts have been rare of late. I have a lot to write about, though, so expect more content this week.

On the Job Front

by
GiganticScreenshot-Naga

So here’s some good news: I got a job. It’s not the kind of job that will put food on the table, pay the mortgage, and cover health insurance, but it is a job nonetheless.

More importantly, it is a job writing. Specifically, I am now a contributor to Gamer Headlines, a video game news site. It’s sort of a “work as much as you can” job, without set hours or an hourly salary. I get paid by pageview, which is common in Internet writing. You can follow the articles I’m writing here, though I don’t know that they will be the kind of articles of interest to readers here.

Of more interest to this blog, I think, is that this writing job means I am still able to work as myself and not as Him. I’ve been writing under my own name since last year and this job was not a reason to change that. In fact, I applied under my real name, acknowledging on the resume that some of my writing had been published under another name, and sat back awaiting the questions. They never came. Experience and writing samples — that’s what counted.

If this job  shakes out over the next couple of weeks, I intend to go ahead and legally change my name. No more fear, no more half-steps. I’m embarking on a new career, and I want to be myself as I do it.

Being Alison Hudson

by
deadparrot

So it’s a day later and the decision’s been made. I’m retiring Alison Edwards. As a nom de plume, she is no more. She has ceased to be. She’s expired and gone to meet her maker.She’s off the twig. She’s a stiff. She’s bereft of life. She rests in peace. She’s curled up her tootsies and shuffled of this mortal coil. She’s run up the curtain and joined the choir invisible. She fucking snuffed it!

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

So for readers who did not know (and I think I’ve mentioned it on here before), by legal last name is Hudson, and that’s the name I’m writing as now, too, for all the reasons I stated in the last post. It’s just easier this way, at a time when I need things to be a little less complicated all around. So …

HI, I’m Alison Paula Hudson. Pleased to meet you.

I would like to think that Alison Edwards isn’t dead, merely resting. The name may come back in come capacity in the future, for some purpose, somewhere. But for now, she is an ex-Alison.

exparrot

 

Being Alison Edwards?

by

It may be time to kill off Alison Edwards.

No, not kill off my authentic identity. But to kill off this pen name / pseudonymous last name I have been using for the last year and a half online. It’s making my life more complicated than it needs to be right now and it’s feeling to me like the easiest solution is to just drop the last name Edwards and use my legal last name.

Here’s the thing: I am applying for writing jobs online. I have done all my writing in the last year and a half as Alison Edwards, and all the writing before that as Him. Which is great, but that means I have three names to juggle when I apply for jobs — my given legal name, the name I’m writing under, and the name I am legally changing to. Applying for jobs as a transgender woman is already a complicated enough dance of “what name to use and when to tell” without tossing a third name into the mix.

On the other hand, I have come to like the last name Edwards. I’ve grown an affection for it. Honestly, if it weren’t for my kids I would consider keeping it legally. It’s the last name of my grandmother, whom I loved dearly, and the maiden name of my mother, whom I look like. But my children have my legal last name and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Their mother already has an altered last name (hyphenated her old and new married last names) and if I were to change mine completely it could make everything from insurance forms to PTA meetings even more confusing than they might already start to be as this transition continues.

Dropping Edwards isn’t as difficult as it sounds. On the articles I’ve written, all I need to do is change the name in my profile and it will automatically re-tag every post I’m credited for. Sure, there’s also all the website accounts I’ve created with that last name, but again that’s just a matter of a computer switch. And the important thing right now is my writing. I need a job, and dropping Edwards will make that marginally easier.

I know, the obvious answer is staring me in the face. But I’ve grown so fond of my pen name. :(

Ah! Decisions, decisions! I have a job app that I really want to send today, but I may wait a day until I can talk to Nancy about this. I don’t think the delay will hurt me, and talking it through with Nancy will probably help. At the very least, she will help me convince myself to stop being sentimental and just do it already!

Being Alison

by
alifaces

With all the things that have happened in my life the past few weeks, I’ve been unable to appreciate what is, in many ways, the most important thing to have happened: I’m living as myself now full time.

It’s odd. I had a plan; I had a date. September 1 was going to be an orchestrated event. It was going to be announced ahead of time, and I was planning to celebrate that evening (though with whom or how hadn’t yet been thought about).

But when I lost my job I was thrust unexpectedly into a life where I’m not going back and forth anymore. Suddenly, the “big event” of transitioning to full-time living happened without pomp or circumstance. I simply don’t have to wake up in the morning and decide who I need to be that day. I just wake up go about my day.

I am beginning to appreciate the relief in this. I’m breaking more old habits, ones that still lingered as long as He lingered. I’m beginning to get used to hearing my name spoken aloud all the time, and I’m responding to it naturally when it is. When I go grocery shopping, I’m Alison. When I visit the Post Office, I’m Alison. When I went to by a new hot water heater at Home Depot, I was Alison [more or less -- I was wearing grubby jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers, because removing a hot water heater is a messy job, and I know I read as male, but damnit I didn't mean to]. Of all the stress I’ve felt myself under recently, this was one thing that definitely has de-stressed me.

But then, am I really living as myself? Or is this just a temporary reprieve from my back-and-forth lifestyle, a weekend stretched out into weeks and weeks? There’s still the spectre of having to return to work as Him looming ever over my head. He is still on all my official documents, and I must identify as Him whenever I call the cable company or pay the water bill. My authentic life feels just a little bit like a charade even now.

Still, it’s progress. And though I never got my big announcement or my evening to celebrate, and though it may end at some point, I am Alison now. Finally.

Happy Fourth of July!

by
firewoks

It’s the Fourth of July, and I’m glad for it. I could use a relaxing shower of explosion and sparks this week.

This has been a pretty shitty week overall. Had to replace my hot water heater AND the exhaust chimney; had to clean up the water that flooded out when the old one broke; got into a tiff with my best friend over a stupid game; plus, I started having panic attacks again over my employment situation and life in general.

On the bright side, I have been doing some writing. It’s mostly game-side this week though, either over at Ali Rolls for Damage or App Saga. I am also getting back into my weekly groove over at the Skeptoid blog, and I am particularly happy with the article I posted this week. That hasn’t left much time for blogging here, sadly. And I have things to talk about. I will find time over this weekend, for sure.

Also, there’s going to be movement on the fiction front. I’m about ready to formally direct people to some things I’ve been doing on Wattpad, and when I do I would surely appreciate feedback. Stay tuned. In the meantime, happy Fourth! Unless you’re outside of the Untied States. Then, just have a great day!

 

Holy Crap, Leviticus is Scary

by
HobbyLobbyBanner

So, since I last checked in with you all, I have been doing what Nancy and I discussed: writing! Well, specifically, I’ve been going over all the projects I’ve never finished before and deciding which ones are worth picking back up and which ones are worth leaving in the reject bin. I’ve been revising some work of mine and doing a thing with them on Wattpad, but I’m not quite ready to officially share that one yet. Soon.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I planned on doing more with the Wattpad thing. So I got some coffee, stretched my fingers, and did my usual “browse the Internet for an hour until you get inspired” ritual. Unfortunately, it was during that ritual that the Supreme Court released their terrible, horrible, no-good decision in the Hobby Lobby case.

Twitter exploded with both outrage and joy. There was gloating. There was arguing. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth. And there were hastags galore. Seeing as how I hadn’t been inspired yet, and seeing as how I was very ticked off about the decision, I decided to jump into the cacophany of tweets about the case.

And then some inspiration hit. If Hobby Lobby could do this based on their strong Bible-based beliefs, what other Biblical proclamations might they make store policy? So I took a hashtag that supporters of the decision were using, #hobbylobbyrules, and decided to turn it on its ear. I began writing new rules that Hobby Lobby could impose on their employees, based on things it said in the Bible. For example:

Here’s the thing: I have a serious snark streak in me. And once my snarky nature flares up, it usually doesn’t burn out quickly. So I just kept writing them. Then some other people joined in. Then people started liking and sharing some of them. I was having fun and I was writing.

Ultimately, I ran out of ideas. But since I had amused myself and apparently some others as well, I decided that this was as good an excuse as any to finally use Storify, a website I’ve always liked but have never found an excuse to use. Basically, Storify let me gather all of my Hobby Lobby Rules, and the rules tweeted by others, and put them all in one readable “story”.

You can find the Storify story hereMost of the best ones come from the book of Leviticus. There is some scary shit in there.

They’re mostly in chronological order. Looking back, I can see the arc of my creative burst — the first ones aren’t great, but then I hit my stride for a bit before the idea began to fizzle out for me. Still, they were fun to write, and I hope that some of you enjoy them too.

So Much To Write About

by
Labrys_Banner

There is infinite value in a good therapist.

Since losing my position last week my depression has become harder and harder to keep tapped down. Depression isn’t something that ever just goes away. It’s something that you learn to control through changes to your thinking and to your lifestyle (and also the application of some good pharmaceuticals). I’ve made a lot of changes to my thinking and to my lifestyle since last year. Losing my job disrupted nearly all of those changes to one degree or another, leaving me more or less relying on my daily dose of bupropion to keep it at bay. It hasn’t been enough. My defense are exposed and the depression has attacked.

As such, when I walked into Nancy’s office yesterday I was ready to cry. Two minutes into our session I did cry. I couldn’t help it. I was so focused on all the things I lacked and on how I’ve felt like I’ve been spinning my wheels for the last week. There were no good teaching positions out there, and the ones that were out there required me to apply as Him; I’d had to cancel my application for name change, leaving my identity in a legal limbo; and I had no one else to lean on, no one else to curl up next to when the depression hit. All my own self-assurances about how I was ready to tackle this uncertain future had crumbled before the reality of my own failure.

In response, Nancy asked me one question. “If none of these things were a factor — the job experience, the legal stuff, all of it — what do you envision Ali doing? What is your full time job?”

I didn’t need to hesitate before answering. “If nothing else were a factor, I’d be a writer. I’ve always wanted to be a writer.”

“Okay, so tell me about what you’d want to write.”

I have ideas that I am passionate about; ideas that I have toyed with for years, sometimes even tried to write or share but that I’ve never been able to commit to because of jobs and family and my own fears of failure and worthlessness. And so I talked about them – begrudgingly at first, as the depression wanted me to see the whole exercise as futile, but with increasing energy as I fell into it.

And she just sat back and let me do it. I have friends who have sat through this before – I once trapped my friend Andrew in a Subway for over an hour describing some of this stuff – and they can attest to how I get when I’m talking about the stories in my head. I have no idea how much of what I said made sense to her, or how much of it she was even actively hearing, or how bored she was of the whole thing. But she got me talking, and she kept me talking, and I got how I got when I talk about this stuff: energized, excited, eager.

Towards the end, it hit me what the message was. I was depressed because I thought that I had to just go out and find the same damn job all over again, had to put Him on everyday and go through the motions of a career I never truly wanted in the first place. But I didn’t. I talked about opportunities in a prior post, but I wasn’t giving myself permission to follow through on those opportunities. I have a cushion here; I have money, I have benefits, I have time. Not a lot of it, but enough to say “Hey, what if I could do this thing that I’ve always wanted to do? What if I could actually, really do it?”

Nancy is better than good. She’s great. 

The depression is still here with me — in a lot of ways it never truly goes away so much as goes dormant for awhile at the best of times, and this still isn’t the best of times. But with some direction and a goal I can at least say that I’ve got a plan, one that, if successful, could mean never having to be Him again. I have hope, and I have big ideas, and I’ve got to give myself permission to use the time I have to do more than just lock myself back into an 8 to 5 teaching position.

Ali is not a teacher; she is a writer, and I think she always has been. So I’m going to let her write.