Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for November, 2008


Today is the day the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

I never know how to deal with the TDOR. Should I be proud? Should I be scared? Should I just mark the day as a sort of “Memorial Day for Transfolk?”

I usually end up just sort of using the day for introspection. It impresses me how far the world has come, there was a time when the government and the will of the people would have been for people like me to be put to death simply for being transgender. And yet, there are still places in the world where this is exactly what happens. So, I guess I feel blessed to live in such a place where I can live my life as I choose. And yet, even here there are people who will hate me just for the very fact that I exist. So, I guess I know that there is still work to do even in as progressive a place as this.

I remain perplexed by people; I just don’t understand hurting someone for being different.

Today I will remember those poor souls who have been killed because they are different in the same way that I am; and I will remember that there are still people out there that will hate me; and I will remember that I live in magical and beautiful world where people love and cherish me; and I will remember that there is still work to do so that all transpeople can live in such a world; and I will remember all the amazing people working hard to make that world a reality; and I will remember all the people that hate transpeople and hope that they find peace and love and acceptance in their hearts; and I will remember that life offers no guarantee that we will even wake up tomorrow.

So I will cherish every experience as if it were my first and my last; I will live proudly and unabashedly; and I will love those around me with reckless abandon.

Please remember…

Betty’s Daughter

My mom and I went out for breakfast today; we went to this neat little place where my mom and my step-dad are regulars. My mom and I sat at a table, and the waitress called over: “Betty, coffee?” My mom said that she’d have a Diet Coke. Then the waitress said: “Betty’s daughter, coffee?” I said that I would just have water.

And gradually the conversation, no matter how brief it was, sank in.

“Betty’s daughter.”

I am Betty’s daughter.

In the last few weeks I’ve been having all these triggers that have been making me think about how far I’ve come; it’s been extremely gratifying to be able to absorb my journey at this point; I was just talking about the tagline of my blog this evening: “Just a cute little drummer living her dream.” It gradually sinks in just how damn appropriate that really is.

Being my mom’s daughter is just sort of the latest in a long line of really cool, subtle and profound examples of how amazing everything seems to have become.

“Betty’s daughter” indeed!


Things Never Imagined

In just about 100 days I will go under the knife and have my genitals rearranged into their proper, vaginal, orientation.

My surgeon’s office called yesterday to confirm the date for my Genital Reconstruction Surgery (GRS).  The date is February 24th, 2009.

And it hit me like a wave crashing over me.

It’s real.

It’s actually happening.

The money seems like it’ll work itself out; my weight is not great but acceptable; all the questions of whether this was the right course for my life are an amazingly faint and distant memory; my “real life test,” if it ever were really such a thing, goes brilliantly; and I feel as ready as I suspect anyone could possibly feel for this major change.

I have always wanted this.

Deep down in the darkest, most-hidden, safest parts of my soul I have always wanted this.

I learned when I was very young not only that I had to keep this desire a secret from everyone (even myself most of the time), but also that this was a wish, a yearning that would never be fulfilled; my dream to be the girl on the outside that I knew myself to be on the inside was a dream that I never let myself express; I knew it would remain a forever unanswered prayer.

So I set about the business of living the best life I could, trapped in this incorrect shell. I tried to think of my malformed body as little I could; when I truly pondered my physical state it brought only confusion, frustration, anger, and depression.

I think I did a pretty good job of accepting the fact that I would be stuck with the wrong body for my whole life.

As far as ever having the correct body I had given up hope.

Then, about five years ago, I started down a path that forced me to examine all of the deepest parts of my psyche. Gradually I learned that I could live as the woman I am. Finally I decided that the right course was for me to schedule GRS and finally have the body I had always felt denied. My surgeon had a thirteen-month waiting period at the time (I think it’s around 18 months now), so I made an appointment this past January for my surgery coming up in February.

Every step of the way this has felt more “real;” it’s been a very long way since “this is something that will never happen for you so you should just forget about it and live the best life you can” was how my brain saw things.

Yesterday was another step in accepting the reality that this is happening.

35 years of convincing yourself that the thing you want most in the world to make you feel whole will be forever denied you creates a certain persistence of thought. Realizing that your wildest dream is coming true is really quite amazing.

And I still have steps to go, but it’s all happening so fast now. By my birthday (March 13th) I will have my new body.

I have tried at times to downplay how important surgery is to me – IT’S FUCKING HUGE! It means so much, and it means so much that no one ever thinks about (I can change my birth certificate after surgery – how awesome is that? Up until surgery I still have a freakin’ “M” on my driver’s license – how horrible is that?). And yet, of course, my amazing life is what really matters; surgery at this point is almost like the icing on the cake, but it is so symbolic of what the last five years have meant for me.

I’ve been trying all day to find an appropriate analogy, but all I can say is that I believed for so long that this would never happen, that I would be trapped inside the wrong body forever.

But nope, I was wrong – for all that time; not only ~can~ this happen, it ~is~ happening.

I’m gradually getting used this wonderous world I live in full of lovely and magical surprises.

{and no, it still hasn’t ~totally~ sunk in yet – I figure it will some time after surgery}

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