Sometimes, things just "feel good" to write down - but you wouldn't actually say them to anyone. Blogs can be dangerous in this regard. Mine is no exception. Over the years, I've been on both ends of the barrel when it comes to "stepping on and stepped on" family toes. I think I may have mentioned this before, but its been on my mind again, so I want to bring it back up.
Being a man, for me, was difficult. But in fairness, it's difficult for ALL men when it comes to not "appearing weak." Admitting that you are NOT a man, is the ultimate white flag of surrender. The worst nightmare of any REAL man is, appearing or making ones self "vulnerable" in a non-masculine way. Men protect themselves at all times from looking non-masculine - but thats what society has trained them to do. Even their mothers, and other women, protect masculinity by ensuring their sons don't paint their toenails pink, or appear feminine in any way. If it weren't a big deal, we'd have skirts and panties for every little boy under the Macy's Day Parade Christmas Tree... but we don't. Why? Read on!
Prior to the year 2005, I was just some guy named Ted from Hartville Ohio, working for the Phone Company, married and the parent to 2 little baby boys. On the surface, I was "the average Joe." You would think having an adorable wife, great job, beautiful children, security and respect, would have been enough for any man... Right? Well, I think you'd be right in most cases. But see, thats where the problem was - I wasn't the average man. I did't know it at the time, but I wasn't even "a man."
*dream sequence flash back*
Growing up, there were 2 people in my family I loved and adored most of all. My mom's bothers... my uncles. I really miss them most. Its been, well, 6 years since I seen or spoke to them... and our last visit together was my grandmothers funeral (their mom)... she died on Christmas day that year. That holiday just hasn't been the same since, for any of us.
I really screwed up when I began all this in 2005... you see, I felt like I had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. So, I began this here Blog. The very one your reading now. I started it at the suggestion of a friend in a support group. And when I did start it, my legal name was still Ted. This Blog was for "Chloe"... Chloe was just a raw concept of something I was sorting out from the echos coming from the dark corners of my mind at nights... and during the days, it took the form of Cross Dressing in a spare bedroom which may or may not have include a session of "physical" relief.
Well, thats where I was at with "all this" in 2005.
My Blog was ment to be an online journal for support for these feelings. It was never intended to be found by "Ted's" friends or family. The blog was ment for other Transgender people to help me piece all this together.
One night, someone sent me one of those JOKE chain email letters to "Ted's" email account. Now, I normally do not send or forward these things out, but, this one joke in particular was something I thought I would share with the rest of my family members ONLY. So I copied and pasted the part of the joke into a new email and selected all the people I wanted it to go to, and hit "Send". Only one problem... I forgot that "MS Outlook" had "Chloe's" email set as the default account.
Everyone of my family members just got their first email from "Chloe Prince"
My sister was the first to respond. "Is this you Teddy?"
I panicked. I concocted a REPLY letter that I tried sending back that looked like one of those AUTO Response letters when an Email is undeliverable... lol "...Sorry, we've tried delivering your message -its timed out - we've given up... " lol "Please check the number and try your call again" lol "Sorry, no speaky the Engly"... lol
...My sister was NOT fooled. Niether was anyone else. My blog was quickly found. Eeeek!
That was it - I was out.
Looking back, I see many different ways I could have avoided all this from happening - but the truth is, there was a large part of me that wanted to get caught. I was a coward that just couldn't say the words... that didn't want to face the truth of what I was planning to do.
Getting caught was just easier.
And since everyone was already mad and not talking to me, it made it even easier to just dismiss everyone as unsympathetic, bigots, haters and good old fashion a-holes... While there "may" have been a little bit of truth to "their" short comings, most of it wasn't. The larger part of the truth is, I was a coward.
I just couldn't face the truth and tell my family... "I'm a woman."
I wanted to tell them. Many times throughout my life, I felt like coming forward and trying to say something. The closest I ever got was in 1990. I was 18, and my girlfriend left me. I was feeling depressed and wrote a stupid run-away letter to my parents, confessing the truth that I DIDN'T want to live anymore and that I was not the person they thought I was - that I had been secretly wearing women's clothes for a while...
...that letter I wrote them in 1990, was one of those letters I was talking about at the beginning - the type of thing you write down cause it feels good, but don't intend to follow through with. I had hid the letter away in my room among the usual mess I kept consistant throughout my teenage years. Well, a few days later, I had got to cooling down about lossing my girl friend, and I decided to destroy that letter. However, that day, as (luck?) would have it, when I got home, my mom had cleaned my room! She never cleaned my room!
And the letter? gone... (note to self: Insert smily-icon shitting pants, here)
In 1999, I found out from my sister (9 years later) that my mom had indeed found that letter, and actually held on to it for a while. Coincidently enough, I found out THIS little tid bit from my sister, the same week my other girlfriend Jennifer, of 7 years, left me... I was confessing (again) to my sister that I liked to Cross Dress as the possible reason why she left me. Thats when she told me about Mom finding the Drama Bomb in my bed room all those years ago. Now fast forward to 2011, and if I ask either of them about ANY of this, neither of them remember ANY of it.
And while I'm being honest here: Cross Dressing Wasn't the entire or even the major reason my girlfriend Jennifer left me. My girl friend Jennifer CHEATED on me with 4 different men over the course of 7 years and used my cross dressing as one of her many excuses. That being said, she left me because I was a complete ass (about her cheating on me, that is!) Her cheating on me made me paranoid. I know now I had a low self esteem and stayed with her cause I thought "no one else would ever accept me being a cross dresser." I know from talking to many other Trans-people, this is very common.
You know, come to think of it - I actually had told my mom I liked Cross Dressing on thee day that my girlfriend Jennifer left me. She asked me, standing there in my apartment, "why do you think she left - what was the problem?"
Just as I would later confess to my future wife Rene, I walked my mom into my bedroom of my apartment and showed her my "girl" clothes. I pointed... She said "so, your a cross dresser?"... I nodded, and then wept as I lay my soul naked for the first time out to my mom... I waited for judgement... but nothing more was said. Instead, she said, come on, lets go back to the house for some dinner.
Another time in history that should have thrown up the red flag for my family, was when I was about 15. I had "collected" a stash of women underwear and bras.
Now you may be asking, how did a 15 year old establish an entire collection of "stash"? heh... thats another story altogether!
Anyway, my sister Laura found my stash, and had brought it to my parents attention. When I got home from school, it was sitting on the kitchen counter. A lot of things were racing through my mind at that moment... but admitting the truth wasn't one of them. "Deny it?" I thought... The looks on my mom, dad's and sister's face were priceless. They could see that I was solving the secrets of the universe in a blink of my eyes. lol
My dad was the one to ask the million dollar question... "so, who's are these?" My throat went dry. The best I could come up with was "..a panty raid?"... lol Their stares of inquisitive anticipation turned themselves to each-other as if they were going to check a bingo card to see who had covered THAT excuse square! lol
My mom said, "Then why are some of your sisters things in there?" ...again, I felt the walls pushing in on me as I reach for the highest limb of the "liar liar pants on fire tree"... "the guys were going to play a joke at school - I was elected to hold the stash, and everyone had to put something in the pile."
In my own mind I just hi-fived myself and thought, "GOD DAMN... you really ARE good!"
I'm not sure if they bought it or not, but it sounded good?!?! *shrugs*
They asked me to get rid of them, so I said, "I'll just take them up to the garden and burn them." So I grabbed the pile and put them in a shopping bag. On my way out the door, my mom said, "do be sure to burn ALL of them..." Thats the comment that has left me wondering.. I think she knew "something" was going on. Even back then.
*Back to present day...*
Many in my family were upset when they found out I had been blogging about all this behind their backs. They weren't so much upset that I was turning into a woman (they were), but also because I was putting it all out there for the world to see, along side the same family name we shared.
If I could go back and change something, I'm not sure things would be different between me and other people or family members. But, it would be different in the way I feel about it. I wish I could of had the courage to just talk to my family, before I accidentally outted myself. I can only guess at whether this would have made any difference or not - BUT - I have heard from my mother that some family would have appreciated that, and not had to find out about it on the internet. I agree. I'm sorry too. I just felt so frightened to talk about it. I didn't know where to go or even how to open up about the subject. My Blog was my way of being able to have some place to come and "bleed". In some ways - it still is.
This all being said, that doesn't mean I'm giving everyone a "free pass" on what they said and how they behaved in light of what happened. Somethings said and done to me, were plain horrible. But you have to live with that. The guilt I feel about how I handled the situation, is gone... because I truly AM remorseful for how I mishandled the gravity of the situation. But mostly, for being a coward and never "owning it"... until now. It was just easier to be angry and make excuses... and, I am sorry, for that.
Your probably wondering, "if they were upset with you blogging, why are you still doing it?"
I can't go back and fix the mistakes I made - and I won't apologize anymore for them. I'm done. This blog now serves those who are looking for an example of a human-being... flaws and all ... Sharing my story over the years, has saved my life. It has also empowered many others the same way it empowered me to find a voice when, in that moment, life was testing our courage, and we were leaving foot prints wider than the ones we were following.