“When did you know you wanted to be a boy?” I haven’t been keeping careful track; but, I’m quite certain that this question is in the top two most asked by people who have heard about my transition and feel the need to ask questions. What I couldn’t do if I’d thought to collect a dollar for every time someone asked me some form of that question! Not so strangely to me, I’d never asked myself that question. You see…it wasn’t so much that I wanted to be a boy; rather it was that I knew I was a boy. To some males born in a female’s body, I suppose this can be an important distinction. I am one of those people.
I was two years old when first I knew that I was really a boy. It was 1966. Girls were gifted Barbies and tea party sets while little boys played with G.I. Joe and dressed in cowboy outfits – complete with fake leather fringed vests and guns with holsters. Girls wore bright yellow dresses and tights and boys donned jeans topped off with t-shirts. I was far too young for any autonomy when it came to shopping, but I knew what I wanted and more importantly what I didn’t want. It was short hair for me – no pony tails or braids. I preferred canvas tennis shoes over shiny black buckled shoes, and there wasn’t a dress made that could make me smile enough to pull it over my head. Despite all attempts to steer me into the female fashions of the decades of my childhood, the last time I ever so reluctantly wore a dress was in 1974.
Living on a small farm in rural Iowa made it challenging for me to be anything more than a tomboy. So a tomboy I was. You see…it was always clear to me. I was a boy. I was supposed to be a boy. Clearly, a mistake had been made and despite all appearances, accepted behaviors, and expectations to act accordingly; at a very early age I knew that the girl body I got stuck with wasn’t right. I don’t recall making a clear choice to ignore that everyone else saw me as female, but I do remember making every effort to prove that there was nothing I couldn’t do. I would be and could be every bit of the boy I knew I was – even if it was never obvious to the others. So, I dressed the part and played the part. Until I couldn’t.
Full disclosure – I’m a 54 year-old trans man who had top surgery this past August. I’m also still in vocal therapy to strengthen my voice after an even more recent thyroplasty surgery to drop my vocal pitch as part of my transition. But this isn’t how I thought things would go.
I had a plan.
As we’ve been conditioned to know with pretty much everything, one must find a jumping off place – one must make a plan. As with many things, I don’t always go about things the same way that others might. Often there is a natural progression or a set of steps that, for whatever reason and by whatever means, have become the expected. While, I recognize process and respect others’ propensity for sticking to the norm, that hasn’t always worked for me. This was never more obvious than when I decided to transition and had formulated my plan.
Yes, I had a plan. It was well thought out and I knew exactly what I was doing – until I didn’t. Yes, that’s correct. Things did not go according to my set in stone, all according to schedule, this is what I want and you can’t tell me any differently, blueprint for transitioning. That is such an understatement. My path really did not go the way I thought it would.
We’ve all been told that no two people take the same journey when it comes to transitioning. From the day that I decided to take the first step, this could not have been any clearer.
And this is my jumping off place…
I will share with you the story that is my female to male transition. But, first let me introduce myself.
I’m an international mixed media artist, writer, musician, sometimes activist when it comes to LGBTQIA issues, and am frequently vocal about my political views; but I will shut down anyone that wants to talk religion. My name is Terry Willits and I grew up on a farm outside of Cedar Rapids, Iowa but now live in St. Louis, Missouri with my partner and 2 ½ Labrador Retrievers. I say half because one is half Beagle – and she is half the size of the others. There are also two cats, but they don’t want to get involved.
Bring me a cup of a good fresh, hot, black coffee and you will have my attention – at least for as long as it takes me to drink that cup dry. Truthfully, even though I’m pretty much a coffee snob, I’d even take a cup of not-so-great coffee. Give me a pot of coffee, a book, and my dogs on a rainy day and I’m set.
I have one of those “real” parent-approved adult jobs which has me on the road quite a bit – usually to places you’d never consider visiting. My favorites as a kid were my Etch-A-Sketch and Charlie Brown, and they still top my list. I like breakfast for supper, I say “pop” not “soda”, prefer cooking over open fire rather than charcoal, advocate for continued use of the Oxford comma, believe the sandwich is one of life’s greatest inventions, my favorite word – which I use indiscriminately and frequently – begins with the letter “F”, and wear cargo pants because then I’ll never run out of pockets. I have no known allergies to food or medication – this has come up surprisingly often lately. And you will never hear me say the word “ain’t” because I don’t accept it as a word despite its 1993 addition into the Merriam-Webster dictionary. That’s me in a nutshell – the walnut is my favorite nut, by the way. The more you know…right?
I am also author of www.thewritetrans.com. It’s where I blog about my transition and other stuff and I do hope you will check it out.
I especially hope that you will return here to www.planettransgender.com where I will be sharing with you as well. I welcome your feedback and input.
Hello…and it’s great to meet all of you! Top off your cup and let’s get started…