Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Wall

My cousin put up a facebook update yesterday and she hit a relevant point, not only for herself , but for me and pretty much everybody out there.
We all put walls up that impeed our path in life. Some of us have small walls, others have huge ones. Some of our walls are far away down the road for us to run into later, and some of us are up against their own wall right now.
My theory of this is, that we each build those walls, alot of times with help from others. It's how you deal with the challenges in your life that determine if a brick gets added or not. But the bottom line of this is that it is up to each and every one of us to tear down our own wall.
So how can you do it?
I really don't believe that problems can be ignored or steered around, the can only be solved.
Throughout our lives we all experience fears, hurts, betrayals, setbacks and in some cases abuses by people that we trust. Each of those events will help to assemble your wall.
I'm up against my own wall now. I know exactly where I want to go, I just don't seem to be getting there as fast as I would like. I know that I am up against my own wall.
Having something to hide for most of my life has ended up making my wall fairly big, alot bigger than I have previously noticed, but for the last 2 years I have been up against it in a big way.
The first positive thing that I have done is that I have come out of the shadows and into the light, everybody knows that I am transgendered and I am going through a gender change. If they don't know yet they will know as soon as I find them. This action has been tremendously freeing. There is a couple of bricks gone.
The next thing for me is that I have been married before, twice. I have got to put both of those relationships into their proper place. They are relationships that I really shouldn't have been in had I been honest with myself and them. I don't like to go around hurting people this has put alot of bricks on my wall.
I still talk to my first x, funny enough we are still friends, I still consider her family. It wasn't always that way, it took alot for us to get this far, but we got there through alot of healing and forgiving of each other.
The second X I haven't done so well with. I could see our break up coming for a while, but when it happended it really threw me for a far greater tailspin than I had noticed at the time. Things still need to be sorted through there as well, some of those bricks may be there for a bit longer than I would like, but I have been able to assign a better perspective to that whole situation, that helps alot.
When I started my life here on the island, I really started from scratch, none of my old friends are here. I'm not doing much of anything that I had done before, I miss alot of that. I miss ballet most of all. When I left my life in Canada I gutted everything that I had worked so hard for in the last 18 years. I was left to start a new life, having nothing but the contents of two suitcases.
Without acknowledging where I am standing in my life there is no way to move forward, I have been figuring this out over the last couple of weeks. I have been able to take those bricks off my wall, it's been very powerful for me.
After going through a long depression, there is something that isn't really talked about. For me anyway the bad habits that you pick up are amazing. Thankfully I never descended into drugs and drinking, it's just not me, ever. What did happen was I let a serious decline in my person drive and work ethic happen. Normally I have alot of get up and go, I can get amazing amounts of stuff done.
Realizing that this has occured has been the biggest revelation to me out of everything.
Depression can never be and should never be described in light terms, it's devastating to anyone effected and to those around that person. Outwardly it just looks like they have become unrealiable and not good for much, always involved in a pity party, but inwardly it's a million times worse. These have been the majority of the bricks in my wall and they are coming down.
I'd like to think that I can just flip a switch and everything will be better and back to the way that it was, but it just doesn't work that way. Bad habits must be broken and new ones brought in and improved apon. Each bad habit mastered will be another brick out of my wall.
In my old life, because I was not able to be honest with myself and anybody around me, I always felt like everything that I built or had in my life has been built like a house of cards, ready to fall at the slightest breeze. I can remember constantly getting sick to my stomach with the anxiety of it all.
I've changed all that now. Although I am still pouring the foundation of my life, I am grateful for a second chance to get to do just that. I am going to make this foundation strong.
Brick by brick I am tearing down my wall, I can see my path clearly now. I can see who will be with me and who won't, it is how it is.
I have been lucky to find a partner like I have in Corrina. Together we will build a great life together. I can see exactly what I need to do to get my surgeries completed and get on with my life.
My wall is almost gone, there are still things that I would like to repair and improve on to get more bricks out of my wall.
The encouragement of friends and family has been another huge boost for me. For most of my life I was expecting that when everybody figured out that I was transgendered that they'd all just blow me off and leave. I'd be alone. It never happend. The support that I have recieved has been absolutely amazing, more bricks gone.
To the very few people who have been a negative with this whole thing, I am beginning to think that you may have been bricks too.
Why am I doing this? Why am I splaying my life open for all to see?
I am doing it because if I can reach one person, just one person on the planet then everything will have been worth it, my life will have stood for something more than just a mass of collected things that are just going to be divided up and sold off like a giant garage sale.
I plan on living for a very long time, I'd like my lifeswork to be able to lift up as many people as I can.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Face off

I'm home sick today, I've been sick all week with a cold. I'm getting better, but I have a ways to go. The cold has migrated to my sinus's , that today's development anyway. My voice is also still shot, but it is getting better, I still sound like Marlon Brando, Hardly feminine.
On the brighter side , today I booked into to have a consult with a facial surgeon. My appointment is for late January in Vancouver. I have quite a few things that I would like to have done, so I am going to break it down into three surgical sessions, This will also allow me to pay for it a bit easier.
The doctor that I am going to see is Dr Bowman. He is apparently from Switzerland, and he trained in Belgium. I spoke to his staff at length, they seem quite nice and they have a good idea of what I need.
So for now I have to concentrate on getting well and getting back to my training. I want to be rid of this muffin top of mine.
I just put a new mirror on the dresser beside my bed, I was getting ready for bed and realized why I hate mirrors, they are way too honest. Anyway I am using that as postive motivation to get back to my morning runs.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

lending voice

I'm at the stage now, where I get to change my voice. I never realized just how much the various aspects of speech contribute to how the world views who you are.
From Pitch and tone to the what that things are said, there is soo much to learn.
So if your around me, bear with with my as I sort this out. I was considering a surgically implanted clip on my vocal chords, kind of a lazy persons approach. However I have to think about upcoming surgeries, and other medical emergencies down the road. The clip actually can make to process of intubation difficult. I'd rather not be in need of dire help and have some doctor having a hard time intubating me and not knowing why he can't.
So voice coaching it is. I've though about it alot, and traditional voice coaching seems to be the most effective and the safest way to go. So no it's not your ears playing tricks on you, it's actually me learning something new

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kicking down self imposed barriers

For most of my life, since I was 8 years old, I have had a secret, that I am transgendered. I guarded my secret for a long time.
Now I am very open about who I am. I'll tell anybody who'll listen.
Even though I feel comfortable talking to anybody about it I was hearing back that people were supportive, but weren't feeling it. I battled with this for most of the summer. Why couldn't people fully "get it" with me. Then it occured to me.
Even though I knew who I was, even though I knew where I was heading with this, my presentation didn't match up to my being. This is where I realized that I was the cause of people not "feeling it".
Looking in the mirror one day, I could see that I wasn't presenting myself as I should. What was I expecting. To be honest I spent most of the summer dancing around this all summer.
This leads me to the second half of the problem, I know very little about female presentation.

For most of my life this had all been a strongly guarded secret, so it was strange for me to think of asking anybody for input, let alone help.
Thankfully I have really cool friends. This week alone I have been given so much help with appearence and other matters that it's filled me with a new confidence.
Alot of people, although they are supportive, never really have to think about just how much goes into a transition like this. I guess they didn't or don't feel like they should be offering guidence. Let me just state that it's needed.
My friend Rika helped me alot last night, going through my wardrobe and helping me to put together some different clothes for work.
My problem isn't that I don't have clothes so much as a complete lack of knowledge in how to put them together.
I was talking to my friend and Editor Bonnie about this today as well. Bonnie is my Sage, always full of good advice. I explained the conclusions that I have reached and she gave me more great perspective.
Now I fully understand why people weren't feeling it. Carol at the Stitcher's Muse in Nanaimo was the person that really switched the light on for me. I always had my hair in a ponytail. A few days ago I came in with my hair down. Her comment was that my hair looks more like where I'm going rather than where I have been. Lots of guys with long hair put their hair in a ponytail, leaving my hair down looked far more feminine.
It's these little signals that I send out that really help people to " feel it".
Thanks for your help everybody, and especially to Corrina who puts up with me sorting all of this out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


When I left Ireland I remember looking out the window as we took off, watching the farm fields of county Antrim passing beneath me, getting ever smaller. I remember how it felt to be leaving Ireland, leaving the comfort of what I had for alot of unknowns in Canada.
I'm feeling the same thing now, in this transition. I can feel myself getting farther away from the guy that I have tried to be. I'm watching old habits and vesteges of being a guy fade away.
With my name changing, I'm rarely hearing Mike anymore, and when I do I just sounds foreign. The hormones are doing their job as well.
The funny part for me is that throughout this transition I really haven't had much stress about it, but I'm starting to feel a bit of it now.
Like me on the airplane leaving Ireland, I'm getting farther away from the known and I'm heading to the unknown. Just like then the stress of facing the unknown is tempered by the adventure of starting fairly fresh.
I know that I am fairly far along in this whole transition to be finally noticing this, but for me I'm just really noticing that I'm not a guy anymore, and the world is not really seeing me as a guy anymore. It's great, it's exactly what I want, but wow is it strange to feel.
I guess if this journey was a flight from Ireland to Canada I'd be past Greenland and entering northern Canada.
I'm definitely now ready to get on with some of the more major changes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Adapting Presentations

So here I am some 16 months into all of this and I've noticed a couple of things. Some people don't yet have a clear picture of how things are proceeding.
There is a distinct order to follow for a transition. The order of changes is designed to provide a system of checks and balances in the entire process.
For the most part transgendered people who are going so far as to seek gender reassignment are whole heartedly convinced of its nesessity, however they , like me have to follow a process that gives you time to change your mind.
For me, I almost always new about this coming up in my life. Ever since I was 7 or 8 years old. Since tolerance in society in the 70's and 80's wasn't near what it is today I knew that I had to keep it to myself. Now approaching 40, I don't want to stall around anymore.
The first thing that I did was to let a few friends and family in on my secret. All were supportive, quite a few weren't even surprised. The Next thing I did was to talk to my GP followed by aquiring a counsellor.
One of the first big steps for me was to realize that I was in control of this, I was the project manager. With this attitude I began to assemble my team, gp's, counsellors and specialists.
The next step came with beginning to phase out my male existence. I gave all my guys stuff to my brother.
This is where I noticed that what I was doing was reaching the edge of peoples comfort zones. Nobody says anything, but I see it and hear it in the way that they respond, subjects get changed in conversations or somethings just don't get talked about. I let it slide because I know that these people are trying their best to be supportive, they are just teetering on the edge of their expierience. It's not everyday that people get to witness this type of transformation. This is really where I have fallen off the rails with some people, it's my job to bring them along. Too often, as trans people, we expect the support of others, however we provide no leadership to help our friends and family through the transition. We need to remember that our transition includes them, they are an integral part of the process.
I have fallen off at this point a bit because I have been adapting myself to fit into their comfort zones rather than simply leading the way. I'll alter my mode of dress, how I conduct myself and what name I'll use, all for their comfort. All the while I'll grow frustrated that my transition has seemed to bog down.
So I've repositioned myself at the lead again. I realize the mistakes that I have been making there is no more being stuck in both worlds.
The next stage that I started about 10 months ago was to see the endocronolgist. This is a crucial step for any transpersons. The endo is their to get your hormone levels right. It's important to use and endo for hormonal issues, simply because if mishandled hormones can have lethal side effects.
So the endo got my hormones corrected to what they need to be. It felt great, like coming home after a long time away. The changes are beginning to mount up now. I am more or less past the point of no return. The interactions with the Endo were fairly simple, from blood tests to follow ups as we ramped up the hormone levels, all the while choosing the safest possible routes.
I am now starting to use my new name, Mikayla , at work and all around. This is a hard one for everybody to get their head around, firstly because I haven't presented myself well enough to get people past the "old me" issue, and secondly 39 years of habits are hard to break for both me and them.
The magazine I take pics for , publishes my images as being from Mikayla Weighill, that's really cool.
I like to feel like I am not only a male to female transgender person, but also an emabassador for trans people. My theory is that if the people who are watching me and supporting me see this transition as a strong, positive and healthy move that I may be able to change the way that trans people are viewed by people. Since I work in the media I think of it as a duty and priviledge.

the pic above is from a summer stroll on the Nanaimo waterfront

Thursday, September 3, 2009


One of the things that I have struggled with, in this whole transition, is in giving myself permisssions to make the changes that I want to make.
I'm basically kind of a shy person. I have been the biggest impediment to getting this stuff done.
It's not any kind of subconsious mumbo-jumbo. The basic thing is I am just shy.
I thought that I would write about it because I can't be the only one. It's funny because once I have actually made a change or given myself permission to do something I'm actually fine with it
Most of the permission constipation comes from my outward appearence. Going to counselling is no big deal for me. Going to various doctors and explaining myself is no big deal. I write about this stuff and I talk endlessly about it. I actually have no problem outing myself to anybody. I work in the media, it's kinda screwy.
Don't get me wrong, I am getting better at this stuff all the time and I do press ahead, because I know that once I make a change that I feel all the better for it. I just find it curious that it's some of the little things, like wearing a more feminine shirt or a skirt that I get all shy about. I do wear them , no problem but it is funny none the less.
This is my struggle, oh well things could be way worse I suppose.
PS I'm not in the picture
I have long hair, I haven't worn mens anything in about 16 months, I guess because I really need to find my fashion feet. I watch alot of people to get tips. The funny part is that being in Canada is probably part of the problem too. From my travels I have learned that we Canadians, especially us westerners, are fashion challenged.
I'm doing my best to learn. I like to look good, with some courage I will.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What's in a name

My brother asked me today what he should call me. It's all part of the process, since this is kind of a grey area I thought that I may write a bit about it.
Ever since I decided to go through with the transition The whole name and noun thing came into play.
From my perspective being refered to as she and being called Mikayla, can't happen soon enough. For one thing, to be called Mikayla, to me shows me that somebody gets me and cares enough to use my name. Hearing Mike just makes me cringe, it makes me think that people just either don't understand what I am doing or believe in where I'm going. I know that's not the case. I know that for most people who want to be supportive, they are simply unsure of what to do. My brother for example asked me when to refer to me as Mikayla, not because he was trying to hold off, but rather he wanted to find out the best ways to show support. I have a huge amount of respect for my brother for the way that he is handling this.
A part of me wants everyone to come along with this as they can. It's the part of me that wants to keep everyone happy and make no one uncomfortable. A bigger part of me wants to abolish the name Mike from my life today and forever.
So whats in a name, and what's with the importance of being a she?
The short answer is that I know who I am and I need to be able to stop leading a double life, with some people calling me Mike and others calling me Mikayla. It really helps me alot, it will also help the people around me to get used to the changes by adapting them sooner rather than later.
I don't have any male wardrobe left, my hair is long and physical changes are happening fast and furious. I can be out with friends or whoever and when someone turns around and says hey Mike, I instantly look like a doorknob, because the name does not blend with the presentation.
I've had some people say, I may never be able to call you Mikayla, well it makes me question the value of their friendship that they are not really even willing to try. They are quite happy to make me feel like a knob just so they can stay in their comfy box. Needless to say they'll be people that I once knew soon enough. I will have to do that just to get through this. It's not me with the problem.
For the most part I find that the overwhelming majority want to be supportive and what to help and encourage me. It's a great feeling.
I have great family and friends, I know that they are doing their best.
For the record I am a she not a he, my name is Mikayla, although Miki and Mischa will suffice. Last but not least, if you need a bit of help don't call me over because you need a man's help.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Consolidated Gender Identity

So here is something that may shed a bit more light on this process. It's called consolidated gender identity. It's something that I have to demonstrate as part of my transition regimen.
What it is having the understanding that although I'm female, I don't have to give up things or activities or parts from my previous life. For example, I like to tinker around fixing bikes and things, I'll still be at it. Essentially I have to show an understanding that although I am having a gender change, I'm not having a brain transplant.
I believe the point of this is to ensure that the patient realizes that after the shift that they'll still be the exact same person just renovated.
I've thought about this alot since I talked about it with Rainey last week. It makes alot of sense to me. As I am going through all this I still feel like the same person, just far more centered. It's hard to even fathom that someone could go through this and feel like the same person.
Over the past few weeks I have finally found a couple of people who are struggling with this issue a bit.
Change scares people, massive change can be really taxing for some.
In both cases I can see their points however, they need to understand that when you look at my being as a whole, I'm really not changing all that much. We can still talk about the same stuff and do the same things. I just look a little different.
Another thing that I have realized is that it's ok to have drive again. I guess that all this change , coupled with a complete change in hormones has left me a bit fogged in. I can feel myself coming out of it and returning to my old driven self.
I'm dropping all the procrastination and pushing the throttles in my life back to full. I have goals and plans again, which is more than I can say for myself in the last year and a half. Having to deal with a divorce and a transition has taken a much higher toll on me than I have realized.
I have alot to get done. It's kick off time. Apologies to anyone who I have stretched the patience of.
I'll be back to my same old self now, just in a skirt he he.
PS the pic in this article is not me, She is a friend who I did a photoshoot with, I just like the shot

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

how'd I get here

I got to thinking the other night, just how did I get here. I'm amazed to look at the road that I have come down. I'm finally getting to a place in my life where I am starting to feel like a normal person. I'm at the short strokes part of all this transition stuff.
So how did I get here. What drove me to the point of taking the big step, facing up to it all and why am I doing it.
Like I've said in earlier articles I did alot of running, trying to man-up. One thing that I realized the other night is that I would pour myself into things in order to be distracted enough not to think about my trans issues. I'd obsess over things, like business, work or hobbies. I always had to have something new to work at.
My biggest and most successful obsession was ballet. In 8 years I managed to pour myself into it. I always was seeking out challenge. Ballet challenged me both physically and mentally. What I didn't realize was that I was setting a time bomb. Ballet took up a huge part of my free time, since I was always challenged I didn't have the time to think much about the growing and howling trans issues in me. My problem came from the stabilty of my job. I had the same job for 10 years. Although my job provided me with challenge it was so routine that I had plenty of work time to obsess over these issues. My work suffered as did my home life, anywhere where there was routine. I knew what I needed to do, I knew what I had to do. I just didn't have the courage to do it.
Life seemed to be falling around my ears, so when the chance to move to Ireland came up I lept at it. It didn't seem to matter that it made no sense. It didn't seem to matter that it all made little to no sense. I went over there to start a new career in an industry that I hadn't much of a clue about, in a place that I knew nothing about. I needed to make the change to find a challenge so big that I could run for a while longer. I had no idea, just what kinda stupid decision I was making. I spent most of my time paralyzed with fear , fear over starting out over there. I just seemed to hit a wall, I could go no further. I was getting frustrated and it was beginning to show. There was nowhere left to run.
It was about this time that my marriage to Di finally unraveled. I ended up back in Canada, completely screwed up.
I knew what I had to do. I knew that I had to begin to transition. I licked my wounds from the break up of our marriage for a year. Then finally in late spring I got the courage to offically get the ball rolling. I contacted a counsellor and found a dr and started to build my team and my new life.
It's not perfect, but it's alot easier. I've learned to tear down the walls in my life. I've learned to let people get to know exactly who I am. I haven't had much if any negative reaction. The couple the of people will either adjust or they can find a new friend, it's simple. I'm happy and healthy for the first time in ages. I can't and won't go back to living a lie ever again.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

transgender faq, top 30

So with everybody now being brought into the fold here, there are alot of questions coming up. Since this blog is being left to explain alot of this stuff I thought that I might come up with a faq sheet, all answers are from my perspective.

1. What is being transgendered?
(a) Being transgendered is a difference between ones presented gender and there true inner feeling. There are loads of ways how being trans effects people. In my case The division between how I was born and how I think and percieve myself is so great that I am going through a gender shift to bring the mind and body into alignment. It sounds way out there but, this stuff, if ignored can really have some negative effects on your life.

2. How long have you known?
(a) Since I was about 8 or 9 years old. I kept it to myself because at first I didn't understand it, and then I thought that it may have a pretty awful effect on my life.

3. Could I just be gay? (a) NO, is the short answer, being transgendered has nothing to do with sexuality. It sounds funny to say that, but it's true. I have a girlfriend, I'm quite happy with her.

4. How does it effect you? (a) I've had a secret for most of my life. Everybody that I met, worked with and was related to, I had thought that in the back of my mind, I'd lose them all when and if they found out. So I was always a bit guarded around anybody.
It also made me a bit frustrated, it's tough when you brain says go in one directions and the world says go in the other.
It also started making me really sick. I was getting all kinds of problem from not dealing with these issues. All of the illnesses have gone since I decided to step out from the shadows.

5. Why go through it all? (a) Well, I tried doing nothing, I tried running, but no matter where I ran, there I was. A typical thing that happens in transpeople is that over time the division screams to be dealt with. If you don't deal with it your life can ground to a halt, through sickness and mental issues. So in short it would suck to do nothing.

6. What processes do you have to follow? (a) The Harry Benajmin Standards of Care is what the team of Drs that I work with follow. Its full of checks and balances to make sure that I'm doing the right thing. Google Harry Benjamin Standards of Care to read them.

7. How many Drs are involved? (a) Well there is my counsellor, My GP, my endocrinologist, a shrink and two surgeons all following the same standars of care.

8. Are there medical Standards or can anybody do this? (a) There are strict medical standards including the official diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder by two qualified professionals with expierience in dignosing comorbid conditions.

9. What surgeries are in your future? (a) Ok I get this one alot. There are two surgeries in my future. The first is the GRS surgery. The GRS or Gender reassignment surgery is considered the biggy. The second is called facial feminization surgery, this is where the masculinizing features of my face are altered.

10. Are you on Hormones? (a) yes, I take an antiandrogen and estradiol. My blood chemistry is no diiferent than a natal females now.

11. What are the risks of hormones? (a) any HRT treatment has risks, thrombosis, breast cancers etc, however the risks are nothing compared to the very real illnesses that were starting to set in on me.

12. How do the hormones effect you?
(a) Softer features on my face, different distribution of body fat, softer hair, body hair disappearing, and a much calmer disposition and breast development.

13. What reactions have people had? (a) For the most part they have been supportive and positive, only my ex seems to be struggling, but there are issues outside of this that are at play. I only wish her well. Other than that everybody has been really great, it's been the greatest part of all of this. Everybody from my family to friends and relatives has been great as well as my place of work.

14. How has your family taken it?
(a) My parents and Brother and immediate family are supportive and get on well with it, the farther reaches of the family are good too. Like I was saying there is very very little negative for me.

15. You have a girlfriend and step kids, whats up with that? (a) I let her know from the beginning and I talked to the kids individualy, they know that I am around for the long haul, so they are good with it. I ask the kids from time to time how its going they haven't said anything.

16. How long does it take?
(a) About 2 years

17. What does it cost? (a) About $50,000, is it worth it? Yep

18. Where are the surgeries done? (a) The GRS surgery will be done in Montreal, the facial surgery will be done in montreal as well, but I may switch that one, stay tuned.

19. Is the adjustment difficult? (a) It could be worse, I'm in the shit part now, The time when I'm shifting between genders is a bit awkward, but not too bad.

20. Do people give you a hard time? (a) I haven't noticed, I've only heard one person make a comment, I thought Corrina may come unglued at them, it didn't bother me at all. I get alot of double takes, they are kinda funny to be honest.

21. How does being trans effect you at work? (a) I have the great boss and work collegues ever, my private clients are really cool too. I have told them all.

22. What does the future hold for you and Corrina? (a) a long future, we are developing more and more each day, we are both very happy.

23. How did you come up with your new name? (a) My mum picked Mikayla, my work collegues picked Jocelyn, I like them both.

24. When does your name change? (a) in late July 09, so this year.

25. Will your birth certificate and passport change? (a) Yes, they will change the name in July and the gender designation after the GRS surgery.

26. How will all this effect you personally? (a) It all seems to be for the better. I am happier than I have ever been. I am open with everybody, it's nice to be out of the shadows.

27. What do the kids think? (a)I talked with them, they are cool with it, they ask the odd question. They tell their friends , we live in a very tolerant place.

28. What has this taught you about people? (a) I've learned that people are alot more tolerant and understanding and smarter than I thought. Really in the world it's the people who lack education and sophistication that have a hard time with it all.

29. How Functional will everything be after surgery? (a) I've been told that 100%. Excluding the reproductive stuff.

30. How come you waited so long? (a) Fear of losing everybody in my life, it never happend.