More observations from crossing over to the other side of the fence

As time has moved forward since my coming out a year ago to begin my adventure into the magical world of living my life in a female reality, I have been witness to behaviors that I have acquired that have seemed to be quite natural to living as a female rather than from being taught to me.

It is really hard to explain this to those who were born content to be of either gender within the gender binary of male/female, because there is no common experience from which to draw even an analogy to explain what is going on within my unique point of view to both gender realities.  It is often even hard for myself to get what others, like me, go through on their own journeys, as I have learned from being in a support group with other transgender women for the last couple of months, who are in such different places in their journey than I even imagined.

Suffice it to say, I have been given this wonderful gift, which is indeed, full of wonder, as that of an innocent to the world, in being able to understand why these complimentary genders are often all but a mystery to each other.

I have spoken before, that since I have been on hormone therapy, I have noticed that the male side of the fence has become more of a mystery to me than I would even had guessed could be so.  I think that this could be because I have always presumed to know the male experience throughout my life by virtue of my assigned gender at birth.

In many ways, I believe the presumptions we make are based on outmoded conventions of both gender identity and sexual orientation, two notions that did not even exist in the common lexicon until quite recently in the human experience, to how we are socialized during our childhood and young adult upbringing.

One example of an observation that I have noticed in my new reality  is that we women often either sit with our knees together or we sit with one leg crossed over the other in a way by which we can sometimes tuck one foot behind the opposite lower leg.  In a manual I found on the internet targeted to transgender women or even women impersonators who are attempting to “pass’ as women, it explained that while men will sit or stand in a way to feel bigger, women conversely will sit or stand in a way to feel smaller.

When I first came out to my men’s group, the first community to which I revealed my desire to live as female. I asked permission of the men if I could come to the group the following week as Deanna instead of the man they had known as David.  While I hadn’t begun to shop for women’s styles of clothing, I did come to the meeting in “girl mode” instead of my usual “boy mode.”

I sat in a chair so that I was sitting slightly apart from the circle of men and so that they were facing me from a semi-circle opposing me.  I noticed right away how uncomfortable I felt in that setting to one of the men sitting directly across from me with his knees and legs spread wide apart, while I was sitting with my knees together.  As I looked about I noticed that all the men sat with either their knees and legs wide apart or crossed one leg over the other by resting the lower leg or shin on the opposite knee.

At another group of both men and women, mostly women, including my late beloved partner, I spoke to the group about how I had noticed this phenomenon which I had never really thought about before beginning to live in the female reality and one woman said simply that “we were taught that way since we were little girls.”  I accepted this explanation for the time being but as time went on I begun to question whether these different ways of sitting between the genders was by nurture or by nature or a combination of both

As I had been living my life, so far, in the male reality, with the external genitalia of a male, sitting with knees together or crossed tightly, knee over knee as women often do, was at best, either a physical impossibility or at the very least very uncomfortable for men.

About six months after my full-hip replacement surgery in July 2011, I began hormone replacement therapy, delayed until that time because I was taking a “blood thinner” because of a Deep Vein Thrombosis that developed shortly after my hip replacement surgery and which my doctor told me added an unnecessary additional risk to beginning hormone therapy. As time went on my testicles began to shrink and I lost both my male sexual libido and the ability to be aroused at the least provocation. I practiced the gesture of crossing one leg over the other, first right over left because the rebuilding of lost muscle mass around my hips were unequal between the two hip joints.  There were other exciting changes, not the least were a redistribution of fatty tissue, including an increase in my bust, and a general softening of the skin.  I also had all but stopped hair growth on my breasts and abdomen and not longer required to shave those areas.  Over time, my waist narrowed and I was pleasantly surprised to see developing, a real girlish figure.

Within a month or so I noticed that crossing my legs actually seemed the most comfortable way to sit and to be able to relax and “settle in” to sit for extended periods, such as in the Sunday services at my spiritual community.  It was very interesting to me because I had never been taught to sit that way although I had read that one of the ways that I could “pass” as female was to learn to sit like a female would.  Yet for me, the urge to sit that way now seemed quite natural.

The other major difference I have noticed is in my habits to satisfy my urge to empty my bladder.  When I reached the ninth grade in school, it  became the habit to visit the boy’s room between every class because I felt this tingling in my penis. I also had this problem, that as long as other boys were in the bathroom with me, that I simply couldn’t go. I mentioned in another post that it got me into trouble and resulted in not only I, but two of my buddies to have to sit in detention after school one day. It also resulted in my mother taking me to a doctor for several visits, for a battery of tests to find out what could be medically wrong.  After many tests were conducted, the doctor concluded that it was simply the result of anxiety, that he surmised had to do with the passing of puberty.

When I began my new job as a pizza delivery driver a couple of months ago, I often had to stop to pee whenever I felt rushed in getting somewhere where I would not have convenient access to a women’s restroom. When the job began, the new business was going through the usually growing pains of starting a business and I often had periods of inactivity and would often check my watch to see how long I had left in my shift.  I also had time and opportunity to frequently visit the women’s restroom.

Now that business has picked up and I have been learning all the tasks that need to be done, not only an expectation that the store manager said that we would be tested on in a month or so, but as a result of one day coming to work and finding that only myself and one other girl were on duty and she was doing everything from taking orders and then going back into the kitchen to make and cook the pizzas while I was feeling sorry for her and upset at not being able to help her.  I had resisted being proactive in learning these tasks, as it was not my habit to take on other responsibilities other than the minimum through my entire working life as a male and because I was in the throes of grief for the loss of my beloved partner of thirty years.

Anyway, as the job began to pick up in speed and intensity, I would often have these urges to pee which I surmised was because of the stress of the growing demands of the job and for both the fact that taking the time to use the women’s bathroom and having the added task, as a female, to undo my clothing because I simply couldn’t or at least wouldn’t simply walk up to the commode and open my fly to pee in the usual male fashion and because it seems to be a habit in frequently taking breaks and using the men’s restroom which seems to result from the way I used to feel, as a man, as a result of their urethra and the sensitivity of the tip of the penis that is the male equivalent of the female clitoris being the the same place and because of a man’s tendency, as I felt as a man to be sexually aroused at the least provocation which is a constant distraction to men more than they would probably like to admit and is the cause for them to take such frequent breaks.  As these feeling were no longer a part of me in my female experience, I learned to put the urge into the back of my mind each time the sensation came up and sometimes even forgot about it until I could no longer hold it in.  I told one of my female coworkers about how I would sometimes forget to pee until I was about to “pop.”  She laughed at this and I had to laugh as well by the infectiousness of hers and because of the shared experience of being female.  I had not told her yet that I was transgender and she told me she really liked me because I was so easily prone to tell on myself so unabashedly that it made her laugh out loud.

I really am so enjoying being the girl and woman I have always wanted to be and these observations are just some that I have been able to notice from my crossing over from the other side of the fence.

Deanna Joy

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About Deanna Joy Hallmark

I am a post-op transgender woman who has now completed transition and living my life as the woman I was born to be. I have been writing my blog, now titled "A Spy in the Enemy Camp - A transgender woman’s perspective from having lived as a man among men" since December 2011. Originally a record of my process and feelings in transition, last summer in 2013 it took on observations from both sides of the gender binary and now will also be looking at my past life pretending to be the man I never was and how it finally brought me to where I am today, the beautiful intelligent woman I had always believed I should have been since I was little.
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