Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

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Outing to the Darling Boyfriend’s Mom – part 2

So, I’m out. Or, I guess, we’re out.

I suppose it went well, but I’m painfully aware of why so many folks with trans histories keep that to themselves and never tell anyone. The questions about growing up “as a boy” and such are just really painful. I was never a boy. I was never a guy. I was never a man. Lots of people, myself included, mistook me for those things, but I never was any of those things. But explaining that is really Trans 201 (or perhaps even 301), and so when outing to someone with not much experience dealing with trans folk, questions and assumptions like that come up. And some of them did.

We went for a bike ride with the Darling Boyfriend’s mom, and while we were sitting by the beautiful water view, we made our move. Somehow we started talking about sports. I mentioned that I played baseball and basketball – the “tomboy” sorts of sports. The Darling Boyfriend said that at the time I may not have been thought of as a tomboy. He paused, and we exchanged a look, my look basically conveyed, “Go for it.”

And oh he did.

So out he comes with, “You see, Penny was born with ambiguous genitalia.”

Wow. Really? He went right to the genitals? Wow.

Yep, ~that’s~ my boyfriend.

I curled up in a ball (as much as I could sitting on a bench), but his mom was really sweet. She patted my leg and said something about family secrets. We went through the whole thing. That I transitioned about four years ago. That I had a surgery when I was 3. That I was married to a woman. That I went to an all-boys Catholic High School. That my friends were all beautiful and lovely during my transition.

She said, “So when you were little, you were a little drummer boy.”


I hate that.

She also kept saying that it was very interesting. I ~hate~ being interesting because of this.

I’m not mad at her or anything for the few statements like that. She was actually incredibly lovely and understanding. We sat on the bench and chatted for quite a while. The Darling Boyfriend’s father actually went to high school with someone who went on to become one of the first “big famous” transsexuals, which was really ironic (no, I’m not saying who it was). It’s just really tiring to deal with stuff like that. It brings me back to the time when people ~did~ think I was a boy. It’s just pretty painful to remember and face. But seriously, his mom was lovely. The Darling Boyfriend’s impression was that it went as well as it could have. I guess that I’d say that I agree with that assessment.

So, our plan is to have her spread it to the rest of the family. We haven’t asked her yet, and I’m not sure how she’ll feel about being enlisted in the outing process. I think she’ll be fine.

So, I’m out to his mom, and it seems like all is well. Yay.

Outing to the Darling Boyfriend’s Mom – part 1

So, tomorrow’s the day that the Darling Boyfriend and I tell his mom (and, by extension, his family) about my medical history of transsexualism. We’ve decided that it’s time to tell them for a few reasons. Our relationship has reached a point where it makes sense for us to be planning for a potentially long life together. We’ve both starting to seriously consider the possibility of growing old together. This, as the Darling Boyfriend says, is a way of increasing our level of intimacy. There are also day-to-day practicalities. I’m annoyed that I can’t share with them the joys of the camp for trans youth that I volunteered at this past summer, or the Laramie Project panel of which I was a part, or, more so, that my ex-wife is reduced to being labeled as “one of my best friends.” As much as that is true, she is a best friend, it changes the context to know that she and I were married. Finally, and I guess the deciding element is what has been happening to Nikki Araguz. When that story broke I joked with the Darling Boyfriend that I wanted his family to sign an affidavit saying that they know about my history. I do not ~ever~ want to be accused of deceiving anyone. To say nothing of it being just in my nature to be fully open and honest about my life with the people that are close to me. I’m getting closer to his family, so it’s time.

I confess to being a bit apprehensive about this decision. This is the first time I will be outing myself to loved ones in quite a while. I out myself all the time, but nowadays I seem to be outing myself more and more to strangers, and their opinions naturally mean less than those of people I care about. So the stakes are higher than they’ve been in some time. Also, the Darling Boyfriend has never really outed himself about anything, so this is totally new territory for him. He has cutely thought that it might come up in conversation the other times I’ve visited his family; to which I’ve asked the question: “How often do your parents ask about your girlfriend’s genitals?” It just doesn’t come up,and so it hasn’t. So we’re taking the bull by the horns and doing this as an intentional act.

I expect it will go fine. His mom is a lovely and intelligent woman. His family is quite liberal and supportive of gay civil rights. They are open-minded and not bigoted in any way that I’ve seen. Blah, blah, blah. And yet, I’ve been surprised before. The thing I’ve learned through all of my experiences with coming out is that it is unpredictable. People will have their reactions to knowing about my trans experience; sometimes the reactions are visceral, emotional. The Darling Boyfriend has two sisters and a brother. Each of them have a son. His nephews are every conceivable age: 2, 12, and 18. It’s quite possible that could color his family’s reactions. Still, we have to do the best job we can of telling my, and our, story, and then let them react as they will. That is what it is, and I can’t help that. I can only be me.

It’s possible that they will wonder why we waited so long to share this news with them. I guess to that I would say that, as the Darling Boyfriend says, this is about my personal medical history, and that’s not always something that people reveal instantaneously. The Darling Boyfriend feels that now is the time, and as this is his family, I have been letting him drive the bus on the timing of this decision. It’s also possible that they will wonder why they needed to be told at all, and I guess I feel like I addressed those reasons in my first paragraph.

Now’s the time.

There is also the irony of October 11th being National Coming Out Day. We’ll be a day early.

So, wish us luck.


Ultrasound Update

So, I haven’t had tons of time, but I felt like that last post needed some sort of closure. So, I saw my doc for the follow-up to hear the results from the ultrasound. Essentially, they didn’t find anything “unusual.” The way the report was worded, I could just ~feel~ that what it said was: “normal ~male~ innards.” It didn’t, of course, but it said “40 year old individual” in a way that made me feel neutered in a way that I’m not used to. But, so, whatever, no ovary, no fallopian tube, no uterus. Barren. Closed playground. Worthless.

What else would there have been to find? At best there would have been dried up or malformed bits that certainly would never have produced a child anyway. So maybe this is better. I’m honestly not sure.

A friend suggests I insist on an MRI, as it might offer an image with better resolution. I’m not sure if I have the energy. Every step I take to try to find the answers to the mysteries of my youth is extremely draining. I do still have the sort of unexplained pain/cramps that I’ve had since I was ten years old, so further exploration may be justified.

I am going to see an endocrinologist, which, amazingly enough, I’ve managed to never have done before. Maybe they’ll have some answers. I dunno.

It’s pretty annoying feeling so defeated and so hopeless, but lately that seems to be all I can muster.

Wearing The Cross

My mom and I went through some of my Gram’s jewelry a few weeks ago.

I could probably get more in-depth with this subject, and maybe I will at some point, but for today just the observation seemed interesting. Anyway, I picked out all the crosses from Gram’s jewelry, and I’ve been wearing a cross since then.

It’s been another way that I’ve felt connected to my Gram. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her. I miss her very much, and her presence is always with me. (I’ve worn her engagement ring since she died, and I always feel she’s with me.)

And something interesting has happened; people see the cross and they make assumptions about me. I know that wearing a cross is a visible statement that I am a Christian. And I know that many people have suffered at people doing bad things and claiming to hide under the guise of being Christian. But it’s still been interesting to me the reactions that I’ve gotten from people since I started wearing the cross. I won’t lie, it’s not like the entire world has turned to stare at me, but there has been a noticeable difference. I guess I’m wearing something in a prominent way that expresses a belief; people learn something about the way I feel just by looking at me in a way that wasn’t true before I began wearing the cross.

It’s weird. And lovely, actually. I know I’m a sort of unorthodox Christian, but I claim the label proudly. When I was in my religion class in my Catholic High School and we were asked what person from history we’d most like to have lunch with and I said Jesus, the other kids called me a suck-up, but I meant it. I find Jesus the most fascinating and special person ever. He is my most important spiritual teacher.

Being a Christian is complicated, and there are many right ways to be a Christian. There are also ways in which and times when the teachings of Jesus have been used to harmful ends. Though I refuse to blame Jesus for the errors of people claiming to act in his name. I can’t throw out the baby with the bath-water like that.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to turn this into a spiritual thing. I just wanted to say that it’s been interesting to witness how the world has started to change its vision of me since I started wearing the cross. I didn’t expect it, though I guess it’s not very surprising.

Accidental Stealth

So, as I’ve mentioned, I spent Christmas and New Year’s with the Darling Boyfriend and his family in Maryland. We stayed with his parents, and his big brother and his family stayed there as well for a few days while we were there. The Darling Boyfriend also has two older sisters who live in the same area as his parents with their families. So I got to meet and spend time with his whole family.

It was a great time. His family is all just sweet and lovely, and were super-warm and welcoming. I got to have pretty in-depth chats with most of them one-on-one, and I feel like I really got to know them, and they me. I think it went as well as I could have hoped. They said they hoped to see me again, and invited me back, and other lovely stuff. His oldest nephew even said that he felt like I’m already part of the family [yes, that made me cry mad tears of joy].

And the question on everyone’s mind ever since I started dating after my divorce seems to be: “Do they know?”

“Know,” of course, refers to whether or not people are aware of my medical history.

It’s sort of interesting that my medical history is so fascinating and all, though it does get tiring.

And the answer is that they don’t know, though they probably will at some point (and I did tell one of his sisters that I had surgery last February, and that it was genital surgery to correct a congenital birth defect), but they don’t know now. The Darling Boyfriend didn’t tell them before I met them, and we didn’t tell them while we were there. Who knows, maybe they’ll find my blog, which is rife with details about my life.

I actually felt the conversation veering in the direction of me telling them about my medical history a few times, but then the moment passed. I felt like it never really seemed relevant. If I had told them it would have been forced, and I saw no need to force it into a conversation. And as opposed to it feeling like an elephant in the room, which it used to feel like, it now sort of felt like some inconsequential piece of data that wasn’t that big of a piece of getting to know me.

We hung out with his best friend a few times, and the same thing happened. It almost came up a couple times, and I even talked about my church being GLBT-inclusive, but my own connection to the issue was never explored.

It was incredibly relaxing, just being a person for a change. Not being an identity. Not being a statement. Not being a controversy. Not being fascinating. Just being Penny. Truly.

The Darling Boyfriend’s acceptance and understanding of my past never ceases to amaze me. At this point I almost think he does a better job of explaining it than I do. And I think we both sort of decided to let it happen organically, or not. I think we were both fine with the way things progressed, and that it didn’t come up.

And yet it’s impossible for me to erase my life in the before time, and I would never want to. My ex is my ex, not my “friend” (I mean, she is my friend, but if someone asks how I know her, I’m going to tell them that she’s my ex, and not give some evasive answer), and a million other things like that. I went to an all-boys Catholic High School, and so on. I’m not about to re-write my life’s story. And yet, it is amazing how much of life happens in the here-and-now, and how history can be something that isn’t referenced all that much.

I mentioned to the Darling Boyfriend, toward the end of our stay, that I had sort of been “accidentally stealth.” I guess, since I knew we were staying for about ten days, that I had just figured it would come up at some point. The fact that I never ended up telling his family about my medical history, save for that brief mention to his oldest sister on our last day, surprised me.

It’ll be interesting to see when/how/if his family learns about my history.

But, just to reiterate, it was an incredible stay, and his family is all sorts of awesome and lovely.

Meeting the Family [part 2]

Here I am in Maryland, about to go to bed after meeting most of the Darling Boyfriend’s family. They’re lovely. I walked in and was greeted with hugs and felt right at home. We chatted a lot, and I got to know each member of his family a little bit. We ate Chinese food for dinner, and just had an overall wonderful time.

I love meeting people’s families, because I love seeing the context that a person grew up with. I always think it explains a lot. It was very true with today. Seeing the Darling Boyfriend interact with his family (and they with him) gave me even more insight into who this man is.

Yea, it was a pretty freakin’ good day.


Hostessing My Ex’s Baby Shower

So, today was my ex’s baby shower. She’s due toward the end of November. As you might imagine, it was a very interesting day. I am exhausted, but I wanted to write while so much is still fresh in my mind.

First off – ~*WOW*~ I.Want.A.Baby.

There were three babies there, and they were all absolutely adorable. I got to hold my ex’s nephew for quite a while, who is about four months old, and even fed him twice. My very first girlfriend, way back when I was 18, had a one month-old when we started dating. We were together for about seven or eight months. I changed more diapers than she did, and I was the one most often relegated to middle-of-the-night duty. I’m out of practice, but wow holding a baby is just about the most incredible thing there is. I’m aware of the messy and sleepless parts of the process, and God I miss it. Feeding my ex’s nephew just reinforced in my head how special all those little people are (as if I needed to be reminded). I would give anything, ~anything~, to have a baby of my own. If I could trade my drumming for a baby, I wouldn’t even think twice. Anything.

It was great to see my ex-mother-in-law. She and I had a really nice talk and it was amazing to interact with her as a not-depressed person. I haven’t seen her in over three years, and talking with her just made it so clear how much I’ve changed. We were talking about before my transition, when my ex and I were still together, and she said that she knew I was a very confused person (yea, to put it mildly!). I’ve been wanting to see her for a while now, because I always thought she was cool, and I missed her, so it was great to see her. [My ex-mother-in-law has the distinction of being the first person to ~really~ realize that I needed to take hormones and fully transition. It’s sort of ironic, that…]

So, yea, my ex is having a baby. And it’s awesome. I’m trying hard to see the other side, and feel the sadness at the fact that she and I never had kids together as well as how sort of front-and-center my best friend’s pregnancy sort of forces me to consider my own infertility. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m exhausted, or I’m lost in the joy of the day, or because I’m smart enough to realize that it’s probably just as well that my ex and I didn’t have kids together (it only would have ~really~ complicated the divorce – even though I’m not saying it’s not a “loss,” if my ex and I had managed to have  kids, they would have been an amazing blend of genes and would have kicked serious ass), and I also seem to be able to really ~get~, at this moment, that just because my best friend is about to have a baby, that doesn’t mean that I won’t have a baby at some point.

Am I jealous?

Well, d’uh, right?

And yet, I’m also about as happy for her as I could be for anybody. As long as I’ve known her she’s wanted to be a mom about as much as me (it’s one of those things we always had in common – lol!). She is going to be an absolutely stellar mommy, of that I have no doubt. So, how could I possibly feel “bad” about my ex being pregnant? Like I said, she’s my best friend. Hell, I was the first person that she told that she was pregnant. I think it’s about the coolest thing ever. Well, maybe the second coolest thing ever – cooler will be when I’m bringing my baby home from the hospital. 🙂

I’m not sure what else I can say about the day. It was amazing to see my ex’s little brother and niece, as it always is. We roasted marshmallows by the fire last night, and just had tons of fun talking. Being back in my ex-in-laws’ house was a little strange after three years, but they were wonderful and made me feel incredibly welcome. I think the house looked great (of course, I did supply most of the decorations), and the food was awesome. I hope my ex thought the shower was nice, because I thought it was really lovely, and she deserves the best.

Will I wake up tomorrow feeling powerless in the face of my infertility? Will I sob on my boyfriend’s shoulder tonight as I tell him how much I want a baby? Will I rant and rave at the unfairness of having been born without a uterus again in the near future? Maybe. But I won’t for one second fail to celebrate my ex’s pregnancy and childbirth. I can hold both of those realities just fine.

What an absolutely amazing day.

My ex is having a baby!


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