My sister Tanya just left. Jessie had invited her over for the weekend, and I said at first I wanted her to visit, which is very true. I haven't really gotten the chance to talk with her in nearly five months, only briefly when
she came to pick us up at the airport and bring us home from the surgery trip. I thought, at first, that it would be good to have her around, but very rapidly I went to hell. Not things in general, but me personally.

Two nights before she arrived, I exploded all over Jessie in the local supermarket, saying all manner of impolite and unwarranted things very loudly. Jessie was understanaably shocked by the vehemence of my response, but zie did zir best to mollify me and keep me from yelling too much. I wasn't happy with my reactions, but at the time I told myself that I was justified in my actions, and in some fashion I'm sure I was, as nothing I had said was untrue, though much was probably exaggerated.

Then Tanya arrived at the apartment, and instantly I was on edge. She didn't do or say anything to make me feel uncomfortable; I just was. From the first moment she was there until Jessie told me she'd walked out the door half an hour ago, I felt completely uncomfortable, even in my own bedroom. It was everything I could do not to hide in the bathroom when we went out to dinner, and then when we came home I nearly ran to the bedroom
to hide. She and Jessie went for a walk, but I begged off saying my heel hurt too much.

This morning, the two of them went to lunch and I again excused myself, saying that I shouldn't eat at a buffet while I'm trying to diet, which was the truth, but only half of it. I spent almost all the time they were gone in the
bedroom, most of it in the bed, playing Civ3. Then, when they got back, I hid some more, until Jessie called me out to come watch something, which I did for twenty seconds before discounting it as stupid and returning to my
sanctum sanctorum. After another few hours, Jessie came in to ask me if I wanted to watch a movie, and I said yes I would after I got a shower.

I nearly had a crying fit in the shower, and then when I got out I got back into bed and did have one, during which Jessie came into the bedroom and held me while I cried myself out, mumbling to myself about how much I
hated being this way and how I wished I could face interacting with her. I couldn't even go to the kitchen for a soda because I was afraid of being stopped in the living room to socialize and the very thought of it made me
sick to my stomach.

This has been as long standing in my head as my gender issues, but I've been able to avoid having to deal with them, just like I did the other, by clever manipulation of my environment. I never had enough friends at any one
time to make me uncomfortable being around them all at once, and I would avoid every party I could. The ones I couldn't I either wandered about the whole night aimlessly, stood at the snackbar and noshed myself into oblivion
or monopolized the attentions of a few people the entire evening. In the times when I couldn't do that, I became the Grand Observer, cutting myself off emotionally from the scene and laughing cynically at everyone around me
scurrying about and partaking of their silly social rituals. Now, one by one, facing my gender issues has forced me to discard the barriers that I used to protect myself from my worst secrets, and this has come back to hit
me square in the muzzle.

Tanya didn't do or say anything wrong to upset me. The problem was entirely mine. Five months of silence interspersed only with a few bouts of what felt at the time like her dumping her problems on me led me to feel like I wasn't safe around her. I know that she never meant to hurt me, and I know that she was as scared of talking with me because of how poorly I reacted to her that I was of trying to talk with her about anything, but I didn't and still don't know how to overcome that. Every time I thought about trying to speak with her and explain how I felt and what was wrong in my head, I tensed up and felt nauseous. A part of my brain rose up in indignation proclaiming that it was her job to speak with me about the things she did wrong, and another part panicked and froze solid at the idea of having her speak with me at all. I became a total wreck, and the time I tried to force myself into interaction with her and pretend that it wasn't a problem only made the feelings worse.

I've sent an e-mail to my doctor asking him if he knows any therapists qualified to deal with social anxiety disorder or if he can prescribe any medication to help me deal with this. He's about the only one I trust other
than my mate right now not to try to tell me that either my gender problems caused my social anxiety or vice versa. These are both problems, and maybe they're both symptoms of a third underlying cause, but they're not related to each other as far as I can tell.

I just hope that I can find some way of dealing with this. It hasn't gone away in twenty years. I don't think without medication that it's going to go away now.


I've been sitting in my cube at work falling apart for the last hour, so I figure I'd better write some of it down before it passes and I try to tell myself and everyone else "it's nothing, really." It's not nothing, I don't think, or maybe that's just the frustration talking. 

I hate free-association socializing. I've never felt comfortable in large groups of people without direct purpose. I can sit in any sized meeting or lecture without a problem. I can even lead such an event if I have a reason to be there, but just "hanging out" with more than a very few people makes me feel isolated, alienated and exposed. I don't know why. I don't like feeling that way, but I don't know how to make it go away. Also, the number of people that I can handle in this fashion drops rapidly when people I don't know are involved. I don't even know if it's insecurity or self-consciousness or what. I can't fix the problem if I don't know what the problem is, and I have no way of telling what it is. I just... don't feel safe.

So, of course, one of my friends in the area is keen on turning all of the little get-togethers that had been happening in the area into large get-togethers, with lots of people I don't know present for no reason other than to hang out. Monday nights have traditionally been one of these regularly scheduled meets, and for a long time they were restricted to five or six people. Restricted's the wrong word, but we never had more than that many show up at once, and I had a blast. Over the last three weeks, though, more and more people have begun attending, including a lot of people I've never met before even online, and I've been more and more strung-out and stressed coming home afterwards as a result. It's nobody's fault, except my own if you can assign blame to it, but even there if it were something I could just fix then I would. It's something I don't know how to cure, or even to treat.

Last night, a number of things had all gone wrong over the course of the weekend prior. It had been the third weekend of not having any time to myself with Jessie, and we had just finished a thirty-six hour roadtrip to Michigan to rescue a friend from potential homelessness. I'd forgotten to pack my hormones for the trip, so for two days I was off my pills. I woke up yesterday morning and tipped the scales at 280, which is the highest I've been since before I started my diet two years ago. Then I went out to eat with a bunch of people, including a host of people I didn't know very well and one person that actively irritates me.

I didn't handle things very well.

I didn't yell or shout or scream or make a scene, but I did hunch over feeling vaguely sick to my stomach most of the night, nervous and uncomfortable. I kept feeling exposed and vulnerable, for no good reason. Nobody made any unkind comments, nobody did anything to hurt me, and I don't think anyone would have tried to do anything, but I just didn't feel comfortable. I felt unwelcome at a table of close friends and family at Thanksgiving last year
because I was the only one not eating an appetizer, so I
know it's my problem, not anyone else's, but that didn't make my hasty departure last night any more comprehensible or acceptable.

Jessie asked me last night if I wanted zim to try to talk with the one that originally organized the dinners about what had happened and explain that I wouldn't be making it any more, and I said yes. So, of course, this morning
zie did, and then zie called me on the phone to say that the organizer had gotten very upset and to inform me directly that I
would  would continue to go to Monday night dinner with the rest of group, until either I learned how to handle being around large groups of people in a social setting or I ran screaming into the night, whichever came first.

For the life of me, I don't know what to do now.

I hate being like this. I don't want to feel uncomfortable around people I like. I don't enjoy feeling so vulnerable, and I want to get over whatever it is that's causing me to feel this way. However, I don't even know what the real problem is, and I can't solve what I don't understand. If I don't know what's wrong, I can't make it right, and right now all I have is the sense that something is broken in my head without indication of how to repair what's damaged.

Now, though, I feel like anything I do with respect to Monday nights is going to make things worse. If I go, I'm going to feel like nobody wants me there because they all think I don't want to be there. If I don't go, I'm going to
wish I had and feel even more isolated than I already do. I'm caught, and I don't know how to get out. The problem is in my own head, and I
know  it is, but I don't know how to fix it.

I want things to go back to the way they were before, but that's not going to happen now. The only way for them to go back to how they were would be to tell other people they're not welcome, and I'm not going to do that. I wouldn't even if I had the power, because it's not fair to them. The problem is with me, not with them, and I have to be the one to fix it, not them. 

I just don't know how.


I never quite seem to manage unmitigated good news or bad news any more. I think the sign that life has hit the long stretch from maturity to the grave is the realization that everything evens out on a long enough time scale,
and that positives and negatives will, in any life, happen with equal frequency. The secret to happiness isn't avoiding the bad stuff that can happen; it's focusing on the good stuff instead.

Of course, that doesn't help those of us who are by nature pessimistic worriers and perfectionists, but it's a nice idea anyway.

I missed Jessie's birthday on Monday, and I didn't even realize it until zie said something to me last night. Zie'd been out of sorts for a few days, but I couldn't figure out why and zie didn't really tell me until we were curled
up in bed last night, and suddenly zie reminded me of that and I felt like a total schmuck.

Now, in my defense, I don't have a good head for dates. Not only do I rarely remember what day it is, I don't place "today is the nth of xtember" with "the nth of xtember is a special day for this reason" until at least the (n+2)th, sometimes not even until the middle of ztober. It's kind of embarrassing, really; I don't even remember it's my own birthday some years. 

So, on top of everything else, for me to have forgotten such an important day—important because I say it is, and always have—was seriously bad juju. I'm still upset about it this morning, though at this point anything I do to correct the mistake will make me feel worse, not better. Now that the damage is done, bandages on the wound will only call more attention to the wound; they won't help it heal.

On the up-side, I finally had the proof that everything through which I put myself, all the torment and abuse I faced going through my transition, proved a few nights ago to be worthwhile. I had my first post-operative orgasm.

Something of such phenomenal importance, one might think, would get mentioned as soon as it happened. It would, but the truth is that there's absolutely no way for me to describe it. It was... it was right. My body responded as it felt like it should. I felt at that moment like I could've pushed myself into damn near anything and succeeded. I probably could've gone for two or three of them, in fact, if sleep hadn't claimed me almost immediately afterwards.

Like I said, the ups and downs tend to come in even measure after a while. It's focusing on the positives that makes life worthwhile. "It isn't that I don't suffer; it's that I know the unimportance of suffering." My mate will probably get pissy with me for quoting from That Damned Book, but I think this time it's more than reasonable.

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