The last few years have been a rollercoaster ride. I got married to an amazing woman who was my partner for 8 years, then just shy of two years into our marriage we split up. We remain very good friends and we are tremendously supportive of each other, but without going into detail and as I’m sure you could imagine, separating was deeply painful. It was in part due to my transition, but honestly it was a combination of things that slowly crumbled due to a few major catalysts. Jen and I are still amazing friends though, so for that I am grateful. She is a wonderful person and I am lucky to have both been married to her and to still call her my friend.
Before our separation, I followed Jen out to Portland, OR (from Philadelphia, PA) as she pursued a career move. I had never been to Portland in my life and knew nothing about the city, but I am always up for an adventure!
It was hard moving across the country, though. Much harder than I thought. This again had a small part to due with my transition. We moved in 2012 – I had top surgery in October 2012, started testosterone in November, and we moved across country in December.
It was hard being in a new place that I did not know, and having nothing aside from Jen and my cats to represent any sense of familiarity. Even my own face was changing daily and I was excited, but still I had no sense of anything familiar for a while. Also, for those of you who live in the Pacific Northwest, you know moving to Portland in December is a really rough time of year. It was a particularly rainy and dark winter that year, and I first got a job working overnight when I moved here, so it was really quite literally a pretty dark time of uncertainty.
That was 4 and a half years ago, though, so obviously I have moved on and made friends and made a life for myself out here, even beyond my separation from Jen.
I am lucky to have wonderful friends all over the United States and even elsewhere in the world. The love I feel is really spread far and wide.
It was a blessing moving to Oregon because I was able to access bottom surgery here through my insurance, something that is pretty rare on the East Coast. The West Coast (best coast!) is obviously very liberal and most organizations are doing the right thing and providing comphrensive trans coverage and care.
I also found my own career out here working in non-profit community education. This was a field I had been trying to break in to for a long time, but didn’t have any experience. Finally, I was given an opportunity to work for Parks and Rec out here, which was an entry into what I am currently doing, which is managing an office that provides education and social services to families of an elementary school in outer SE Portland.
I am one of the very lucky ones who loves my job and has supportive, amazing coworkers who are 100% behind me and I can be open about being trans and it is seen as a benefit to my skills of empathy and understanding systems (though I am not open about it to families at school – which makes me sad but hopefully I can get there one day. There is a lot of cultural differences and I haven’t found the best way to explain it yet).
I have also indulged in the outdoors here in such an amazing way. Oregon and the West is so incredibly gorgeous it’s ridiculous. I have been into the outdoors since I was a child growing up in rural Pennsylvania, and moving out here has blown the lid off things. I have hiked, climbed and kayaked my way all over this beautiful, majestic place. I love it.
Overall, in the last 4 and a half years I have just simply grown. Obviously I moved here in my twenties and as I write this, I am just over 31 and a half years old. There is a big difference just right there. (omg I am glad my 20s are over. That shit was rough).
For the first time in my life I have truly found my spiritual center for myself that is deepening every day. As of lately prayer and meditation have become very important to me, and I feel that God is all around me and guiding my path. (Note – I am not Christian, I am spiritual. To me, God=Universe).
My life is currently experiencing some big, wonderful shifts and I am embracing them. It is a wonderful place to be.
Thank you for reading. I am going to post more about my bottom surgery and other insights on being trans, so I hope whether you are trans or not, you can educate yourself a little from my experiences.
Ps. Follow me on instagram: trans.mountaineering
July 2017 on a walk in beautiful San Anselmo, California.
Photo credit: A special lady 🙂
tags: trans – transgender – ftm – transition – gender – transman – grs