Friday, August 29, 2008

Flux and Flex

It is really difficult to describe how I feel at this moment. The past two weeks have been extraordinarily stressful and emotional for me. I am sure that I cannot and probably should not describe every detail. In the last post I tried to relay some of the things that have been on my mind and in my feelings. Tonight I am at home with nothing particular to do. It is a rather unusual situation for me these days, but I guess I am OK with it. In the last week I have discussed my life with several friends in various detail. Some things I have really kept to myself, but the sorts of things I have put up here have been discussed.

I am not sure that there is a clear path for me. Most of my friends seem to think that things will become clear to me with a little time. They may be right. Some of my realizations are very new and fresh. I certainly need to explore my physical limitations before jumping into things that might be more than I can handle. Other aspects of my life are still pretty much in flux. Many of the friends I have been talking to are outside the LGBT community and I have been getting a fresh look at things and myself because of that. My emotions are calming down also.

Just think of me as having gone through two weeks of craziness. I wasn't crazy of course, but I was very distracted and at times emotional. I am calmer now though little has really changed. Some of what has been going on I have absolutely no control over. I realize that there are things and situations that are out of my control. Getting distraught over those things will accomplish little.

I do believe that following this weekend I will be attempting to do some new things. there are things I have put off and a few things that I have just avoided. I need to see some Doctors. That may sound strange, but I still have some issues that may need resolving. I really need to see my urologist. I have a long history of kidney stones. I need to see a dermatologist. I have a large area of skin discoloration. It isn't cancer, but there might be something that can be done to make the area look better. I really need to see a dentist! I have dental insurance at long last and I know I have two broken teeth. There are other things I want to explore also. I am in addition planning to go into group therapy for the weight thing. I fully understand that I was heavy for a reason. I really don't want to ever be heavy again! I want to continue to loose weight and feel better and look better. Emotions and excessive weight are a package I think. I guess I have a lot to do.

I also want to explore what I might do to be more than a blob on the couch. Visiting doctors can be time consuming, but it isn't very fulfilling. I have work to do. Life happens, but I am tired of feeling like it has been happening to me and dumping on me.

You might have figured out the Flux in the title but what is the Flex? Simple, the weight group therapy is called the Flex Group.

Until next time my Love and God's Peace,

Monday, August 25, 2008


Quandary- Noun
a situation in which it is difficult to decide what to do; predicament; dilemma [origin unknown]

Many things are currently right at the surface of my consciousness. I have some time since I am tied down doing laundry. I'm going to write more about my current life. If you are not a transgender person then you may have a great deal of difficulty in appreciating some of my present problems. In some ways my problems are very much like many people's problems with one great big complication. I was born with a male body. I state it that way, because I have now accepted the fact that my mind has always been female. This conflict between mind and body is a really difficult one.

When I was a child my parents and those around me could not see into my mind, but they could see my body. I was raised as a boy. There wasn't a lot of understanding or acceptance of this situation sixty years ago. My parents were wonderful to me and my father still is (unfortunately my mother is dead now.) I can't say that I was overly punished or chastised or even suppressed by them. If anything, it was other children (playmates and schoolmates) that were tough on me. I have always learned and adapted well and I learned what to do to prevent being tormented. I did soon learn though that boys shouldn't feel like or act like girls. I tried to make myself into a conventional boy. Unfortunately, that really doesn't work very well. Expressions of the female broke through periodically with varying intensity. I mostly was able to hide what I looked on as my shame very well. There were very few mistakes.

Everyone thought I was a conventional boy and later a man. I had even managed to convince myself of that fact. When boy - girl interactions began happening I wanted to be with girls. I liked girls and later loved girls and then women. I was never attracted to men (sorry guys.) I married, had children but always in the background there was this knowledge that my life and body were very wrong. I denied the situation to myself and felt shame and guilt and above all I suppressed. To top it all I am a priest and have been one for many years. It turns out that you can only suppress for so long and then bad things happen. I put on weight, felt depressed, and let relationship matters slip. It all exploded and within two years of exploding I went from a hetero man to a lesbian female. The physical and living change was complete. A very quick and total change of life like that is tough to manage, tough to live and I am finding now takes a very long time to fully finish.

In my life, this all was complicated by the fact I developed cancer and then other physical problems. I also found that the people around me who were supposed to be the closest and most supportive rejected me. I have to say that my father was great from the first moment he knew. My long term spouse, some of my children, my employer and some of the people in the churches I served were not at all accepting or supportive.

I know that I had mostly suppressed any sexual urges I might have had and most feelings and needs for intimacy except friendship. I think I had reached a place in life where any more rejection would have been intolerable. I am now a distance from those events and I think the need to keep everyone at a distance. I may be ready for something new, but truthfully I am clueless and clumsy. Gracefulness is something I still need to learn more of. I also don't know how to moderate my feelings. It seems that I am either open or closed. I don't know how to filter my emotions and I certainly don't understand what I need to do to fix things.

I had a wonderful surgeon and I am capable of most physical things a woman can experience (except for having a baby of course.) That said, my biggest need isn't for sex but for intimacy and companionship. Friends can help with the companionship but intimacy is a much deeper thing. As a consequence of my weight loss surgery and program I have become aware of the fact that I may have a personality type that tends to convert all relationships to friendships. If that is true then I am in for a very tough journey indeed. Added to this all is the fact that I have never been able to have casual relationships. When I was young I really didn't date. I met women and developed relations with them and then more developed. My spouse was one of the few I actually dated.

The quandary is trying to move off of dead center and to live with feelings I had suppressed. Feelings I suppressed enough to be very powerful last week.

I know this has been long. It has been therapeutic for me though. I have been told that I over analyze things. Actually I think what was said was "You think too much!" I resemble thinking too much.

Peace and Love,

Sticky Wicket

It is a very strange thing, but somehow in my planning I forgot to calculate the possibility that I might survive. Yes, four years ago just after the cancer surgery I was given a 50-50 chance of survival without chemo and 70 to 75% chance if I had chemo. It was a no-brainer, I had chemo. I had complications, kidney stones, additional surgeries, infections, anemia, blood clots and new problems, an aortic aneurysm. I had additional surgery for my gender issues and then I put on lots of weight. Somewhere I just got caught up in surviving. A then friend (who I haven't seen or talked with in almost four years, sadly) wisely advised me to concentrate on surviving. I appear to have survived.

No one knows what will happen next in life, but I kind of forgot to even think what my life might be like if I survived. I didn't think of the fact that I might need something meaningful to do and that I might eventually be healthy enough to do that. I didn't think that I might eventually have needs beyond survival, needs for companionship and possibly affection. I really didn't foresee that possible future. Last week that shortsightedness bit me big time ( I sincerely hope I didn't make a complete ass of myself.) I suddenly discovered that I am alive and have some rather normal needs. Details beyond that are not really important. What is important is that I really need to figure out what I want out of life and what I might realistically have in life. My father will be 97 shortly, my mother's sister is 93 and if I continue to survive the cancer and the aneurysm I might live a very long time still. That is almost as scary as not surviving. I have only been marking time and taking care of survival.

I am young enough that I could still do something significant, the big question is what? I have Masters Degrees from Yale, Professional Computer certifications and years of experience in both Parish Ministry and Computer Networking. However, the Computer industry is predominantly a young man's industry and I am an older woman. I am not sure I fit anymore. In a way I barely fit when I was younger. It has been years since I was a full-time Parish Priest, though I had until a few years ago done regular part-time ministry. I don't know that I have the will to go back to a full-time ministry. So what do I do?

Even stickier issues exist for me. My children are grown and I am now divorced from my partner. I had worried about health and survival. I never really thought too much about the fact that I might need some form of intimacy and companionship. Women my age, even straight ones, often find making new connections hard. I guess I am saying I am a bit lost and bewildered. I somehow need to regroup and find direction. I could say that life would be easier if: I was younger, I was prettier, I was thinner, I had money, I wasn't Lesbian, I hadn't lived part of my life as a man,...... I could make those excuses, but they would be just that, excuses. The reality is that I face more uphill battles in my life. I kind of hope I am up to the challenges and I certainly hope I won't have to face it all alone. That's all yet to be seen, though.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

It was time

I thought it was time to change the picture on my blog profile. I generally do not like pictures of me, but the one that was there was several years old. I was wearing a wig post chemotherapy. This picture was taken by a friend last night so is quite new. (And no wig!) I can't say that I like it all that much, but it is current. I might have had a better smile, but it is what it is. I will be looking for new pictures of me to post that kind of reflect the "new" me. Of course, no matter how I look, I am still the same person inside with the same personality. Pictures so tell only part of the story of a person.

I included a second one with a strange smile, just for good measure. What was I thinking? Actually I have been asking that question of myself a lot recently. I really have no answer to that question. I wish I did.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday Five: When is the Fourth Friday not the Last Friday?

I have been so tense recently I thought this might be a little therapeutic. Shel

Friday Five: When is the Fourth Friday not the Last Friday?

It's Friday afternoon, Eastern Time, and this is your faithful Songbird with a calendar-related Friday Five. Due to some confusion with our dates, I'm stepping in today, although I am usually here only on the 5th Friday, when there is such a thing.

Here are five things to ponder about dates. I hope you'll play!

1) Datebooks--how do you keep track of your appointments? Electronically? On paper? Month at a glance? Week at a glance?

I now use a Blackberry. It is wonderful and totally addictive and yes I am a techno geek!

2) When was the last time you forgot an important date?

I didn't so much as forget as I came close. I almost forgot to pick my son up to bring him to work this morning. I had some digestive difficulty last night as only a person post Bariatric surgery can have. I over slept in spit of phone calls and alerts. I did get him to work in time though.

3) When was the last time you went OUT on a date?

I don't really know if you could call it a date, but I was out with a good friend last night. I really hate dating and the awkwardness of it. Think 30 + years since I last truly dated. The dinner out and the talk afterwords was quite good, maybe as close to a date as I would ever get these days.

4) Name one accessory or item of clothing you love even though it is dated.

I have a pair of sneakers that are several years old and they are comfortable. I also have several favorite purses that are kind of out of style, but work for me still. I actually don't fit into a lot of my old cloths any more because I lost so much weight.

5) Dates--the fruit--can't live with 'em? Or can't live without 'em?

I can take them or leave them. They tend to be a little over sweet. I think that as a kid I remember liking them. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat a date though.

Life is strange and wonderful

I have been under internal stress all week. It is something that I have done before and I am sure will happen to me again. It turns out that much of the stress was self generated, but there is no denying I experienced a great deal of emotion. I can't say that the cause is totally dealt with, but things are substantially better. This means that I feel substantially better not necessarily that anything external has really changed. I guess I am old and foolish and sensitive and I tend to over think things. There is so much in life a person really cannot control. Sometime those things are internal. It is the internal things that are the most treacherous in the end.

If there is anything I know and can be certain of it is that life isn't simple and most hings change all the time. I guess I am saying I'm having a better day today and that yesterday didn't turn out as tough as it might have. I am, though, looking forward to a much simpler day today. I hope your day is a great one.


Friday, August 22, 2008

All is not.....

All is not what it seems very often. My life has moved from a very staid and straightforward one to a very uncertain and somewhat precarious one. In the process I have been very sick and healed. For much of my life I appeared to be one thing while I was actually another. I am now largely conformed so my inner self matches my outer self. That is a wonderful thing, but really does bring with it new problems. Before most of my difficulties were inner struggles with myself. Now I struggle with life issues that are long ago settled in most lives. These issues aren't different from the ones anyone else has. I struggle with aloneness. I am not closeted or a hermit (God forbid) but I often do feel very alone. My children and I live apart now(they are grown adults)and I live with friends. In one way I am surrounded with people all the time, but in another I am alone.

Enough of my junk for the moment. I had my hair done this morning, always an upper, and I bought a new pair of glasses. It will take about 10 days for them to arrive. They are much like my current ones, but of course the prescription will be different. I have at last succumbed to multiple vision glasses(not bifocals but the progressive lenses.) They are more expensive but it is only money(snicker.)

I managed to get some sleep last night. The previous night was mostly sleepless so the sleep was very welcome. Nothing has really changed in my life I am just too exhausted to write about things much more.

You take care.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I may have misjudged how powerful my current emotions are. I barely slept last night and I have a perpetual feeling of nausea. Say a prayer for me. Things are tough!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I just don't know

I guess The title sums it all up. For some reason my whole world seems turned upside down. It is an illusion that lets us believe that life moves along smoothly. I feel whatever it is that I feel a little too much at this time. I probably shouldn't write in this frame of mind, but here I am writing anyway.

I am an adult woman but I feel so immature, developmental even. Five years ago my whole life took a very abrupt turn. On the whole I have adapted quite well, but not completely. There are still big gaps in my life that I have been trying to fill. The problem is that I have been trying to fill them with the skill of a sixteen year old girl. Believe me I am no longer 16 and probably most 16 year olds handle things much better than I am right now. What am I to do? I wish I knew. I so fear that there is nothing I CAN do.

I wish some times I was constructed differently, but alas I'm not. I am just little old me. I can't take things lightly and I hurt all too easily. The problem is that I usually put up a front that says to all that I am in control. It is a fiction. It puts people off and creates a gulf between me and those I care about the most. In the past I have used this front to try and conquer every obstacle. I was mostly successful, but it turns out you don't learn much from success. A few more failure in my younger life might actually have been helpful. Five years ago I dropped the front, but I resurrected much of it. The reasons for this are significant, but I am not going there tonight. I now find that circumstances have forced me to drop the front a bit, not visibly, but internally. Everything is flooding out now and I may be heading to an implosion. Shel is no longer strong and in control is what I am saying. On top of that I think I may be heading for great pain. We'll see. I certainly am headed toward the great unknown and the uncontrollable. On top of everything I am about to make a complete fool of myself and possibly screw things up more.

I kind of wish I could say more, but I think that I shouldn't, so I won't. I am just hoping there will some pieces left to put back together. I am aware of the Humpty-Dumpty thing.

I am totally befuddled. I sincerely hope you are better than that.



Let me clarify a bit. I am not headed to the rubber room. Yes, there are things that aren't going as I would exactly like, but they are not leading me down the road to serious depression. I admit, I am at times a little dramatic. What is happening is just the sort of up and down that happens in life at times. I have known serious depression in the past and this isn't it. I will cope with my son and granddaughter moving when it happens. I will just have to save my meager $'s and visit them once in a while. The other things that are happening will resolve themselves and I will adjust. Yes, some things are crappy right now.

I do appreciate people's concern. I don't want people to think that things are worse than they are though. Life is not constant and everything changes. Sometimes those changes catch us off guard. Living means adjusting though.

I hope to have a better day and I hope you do too.


PS. Just to add fire to the furnace one of the things I am coping with is the current trend to loose hair. It is a known side-effect of the weight loss surgery. It is temporary, but I had to go through this with chemotherapy and it is a really crappy thing. In fact the picture of me to the left was taken just after chemo ended and that hair is a wig. (I really need to update my picture, but I am a little camera shy and with the weight loss I am changing quickly.)I am hoping that the loss will not be very extensive. I kind of like my hair. I do get it permed and colored and if the hair loss continues I know that those treatments may need to stop for a while. This is just frustrating and adds to my current feelings. As I said everything changes.

PPS. I just found this on the web. It is a response to a question of hair loss post bariatric surgery.
Hair loss, and change in hair color and hair quality after gastric bypass surgery are common problems and typically happen within the first year after the operation. Your body goes through a period of severe starvation and tries to divert nutrients toward more vital organs. Although carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, and vitamins (especially the family of vitamin B) have been blamed for the hair loss, the exact mechanism of this problem is not known and multiple factors might be involved. The good news is that your hair loss after gastric bypass is usually temporary and will be improved when you get out of the rapid weight loss situation. Any patient who had a gastric bypass should have frequent doctor visits following their bypass surgery as the procedure is associated with incidence of iron, vitamin B12, folate, calcium, and vitamin D deficiency. You need to be on supplements of minerals and vitamins and you should also be monitored with regular laboratory tests for these deficiencies. Please keep in mind that gastric bypass produces medically controlled malnutrition to force weight loss.

I am told that the hair loss is more typical of bypass surgery, but my weight loss has been rapid and I certainly have been under some stress. I am now taking more supplements and my diet is more varied.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Funky Shel

A good thing to note is that I continue to loose weight. I have lost almost 70 lbs since January of this year. This is positive. The negative, I believe I am headed for big-time depression. There are a number of factors leading me to this conclusion. The first one is that my son and his spouse and my granddaughter may be moving to Phoenix Arizona before Christmas. This is a big-time bummer. My granddaughter is one of the things that make life worth living. Things will be very hard with her so far away. That fact in itself would be enough, but there is more. The more is really too hard to go into right now and may not really be resolved. I am feeling like life is spinning out of control. I've had this feeling before, but not in a very long time. Let me just say right now I feel that things really suck! Maybe tomorrow will bring a new perspective.

In a funk,

PS. By the way did I say I am foolish and old? Well I am!