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Second Spirit  

    Some of my first memories are of being “different,” of not fitting in.  I did not get along with my male peers.  I was not interested in competitive male things, baseball, football, etc.  I am still not.  I got along better with the girls and enjoyed more cooperative activities.

     My first memory of cross-dressing was a silk slip that I found in a trunk.  It was a peach color and felt so fantastic.  That was about five or six.  There were of course many other incidents but I will not bore you with them.  They felt so right, and yet guilt was a part of the experience.

     Through elementary and junior high school I was with great regularity in fights.  I have a very slow burn temper, but when the fuse hits the end, the explosion is truly spectacular, hysterical strength is probably the best way to describe it.  In first grade, I broke a kid’s elbow I was being bullied and  I deliberately bent it the wrong way and pushed.  I learned early to fight to disable.  That way they did not have a chance to hurt me. During this time, I developed a shell a pseudoself to protect that sensitive self, that easily hurt me, that real self.

      In junior high (middle school), the frequency of fights increased.  I was 6’2” and every short testosterone-enriched teen male seemed to feel that they had to prove their masculinity by beating on my kneecaps.  The dean (and my mother and father) knew that I never started any of the fights and the dean would give me 50 push-ups and would give the other kid detention, thereby improving my punch.  Lest you think I came out unscathed, I still have problems hearing in one ear that had the eardrum burst in a locker room fight in junior high.

      Due to the constant fights, my parents decided to send me to a private boarding high school, owned by the Presbyterian Church in Utah. 

        During high school and college I was not crossdressing much, but she was there in the background throughout.  During college I was seeking something.  It was the late sixties.  Who wasn’t?  I did not know that it was a God-shaped hole.  I had been raised in the Presbyterian Church and always thought of myself as a Christian, but just because you stand in the garage does not make you a Saab (that is what is there now).  I do not ever remember anyone saying there was anything you had to actually do to become a Christian, and I wasn’t.  I looked for something to fill that hole in my life.  I had had a comparative religion course in high school, and through a number of years of college, I became involved in the occult.

      During this time I went to a coffeehouse run by a Christian college where I met an intelligent, good-looking redhead (though I did not know that she was a redhead till our first date [too dark] ).  The first time we held hands was at the Renaissance Faire in Agoura, California.  We dated and discussed.  She brought up John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”  This was hard to argue with.  That night I prayed and accepted Christ as my Savior.  The God-shaped hole was filled.  The salvation experience was amazing. 

      I proposed, she accepted, (There was a seven month period in-between). I am persistent.  I was not CDing at this point and thought that my second self would disappear with marriage.  Most of us make the same assumption.  She did not, and during college she acquired a name, Sandra which had long been there.  It felt right! 

     Through twenty-five years of marriage, there were times when she was very much in the background, sometimes driven there by guilt and the sense that it was sinful.  There were a couple of purges when I would get rid of the few things I had acquired (I still regret one pair of shoes that really fit) and I prayed for God to take it away.  I would rather be nothing than this.  Just taking communion was a painful experience “knowing” that I was sinning by having to dress.  The consequences of not dressing were devastating.  It wasn’t until I got onto the internet that I found out that there were only two verses that were used to condemn us, Deut. 22:5 and I Cor. 6:9.  There was quite a bit of information that indicated there were some problems with the way God’s Word had been translated.  This was largely through the web site of Jade Devlin and the group Transgendered Christians for which she is responsible.  I was able to connect with other T* Christians who had been able to go back to the original Greek and Hebrew. 

       It was at this time, in May, 1998, that I told my wife that I was T*.  This was followed by three days of tears.  Thanks to the material that I had found through the internet, I was able to answer her questions and to assure her that I was definitely heterosexual and that I still loved her, and that this was not going to go away.  We talked for a very long time.  I had been moved to second shift at work, so we had that time.  We spent hours each day for months in discussion.

      This was God’s timing.  A few months before, I would not have known what to say.  Some weeks after I told her, we were in bed early one morning talking about how most of us are born of pain and suffering our guilt and separation from God, or, influenced by those that do not know that being T* is not inherently sinful.  At that point the guilt and pain that I, and many of my sisters, really hit me; and I wept for us all.  This was second only to my salvation experience in feeling.  Since that time, Sandra has been a constant part of me as well as my male self.  (Talk about a unique insight to the Trinity!)  There have been some very radical changes.  I now tend to be more emotional, loving, and communicative.

      My wife was rather offended that I had lied to her for that long, but understands that it was out of the fear of  losing her that I did. On top that was the persistent feeling that it was inherently sinful so I was not dealing with it at all well and why on earth would I want to share that with her. She understands that the reason I did not tell here about my second self prior to marriage is that I felt that it would go away with marriage.  So there has been a period where I have rebuilt that trust.  I much prefer telling her the truth.  What a relief, what a luxury being able to share my feelings!

      Reality hit when she found out that my second self had a name, she was reading one of my replies to someone on the TG Christian list and saw the signature.  I understand that from that point she realized that there really was a second spirit involved. 

       I still find that both sides of my personality are present.  I am more comfortable with myself and Nancy.  I am more physically and emotionally demonstrative and loving with her and others.  Things have in general settled down a lot.  T* issues tend to be a secondary topic of discussion.

       Nancy is slowly becoming more comfortable with the whole idea in general and with seeing Sandra dressed in specific.  Three factors are involved.  Time:  She has met in person some of the people who were on the CDSO list.  Primarily we have found a Tri-Ess group in Lansing that we are comfortable with (Lambda Mu).  This includes a number of Christians with very similar backgrounds and concerns. The wives are very supportive of each other.

Up date 8-28-01

 Not too long ago I realized that I now feel being T* is a gift. It is because of that difference that I have been able to be of help to others. There are opportunities to speak and writing has been an interesting experience.  So many times I will write something and not really know why, and I will get a note that it had spoken to a need.

  On a more personal note my wife is becoming more accepting, (up from tolerant), and sees that this is very much a ministry and that she can help. Lambda-Mu is growing and  we have close friends in a way I have never been able to before.

Update 1/10/02

Last year was a trip! I had two opportunities to speak. Once at SPICE the Tri-Ess wives conference, and at Southern Comfort the largest gender conference in the world. The  topics were largely Christian and of course lots of the historical and cultural from the pages you find here in the web. SCC was the first time for me out in public, my overwhelming feeling was being completely comfortable as Sandra for four days. My room mate Sarah was a good match, we are both early risers and went out to breakfast together. The greatest thrill was the feeling of being used by God!

Update 7/1/02

Be All was a great experience, I roomed with Laura Walker a good friend from Toledo it was a trip. I am getting some good statistical data from the telling Children questionnaire and have posted the results. I did a ground up re working of the web site some new pages and just making things neater.

Update 1/8/03

Monday I start classes in, don't laugh too hard,  Mental Health on the way to a Masters and Counseling. Lots has been happening with all the up dates I am beginning to think I really need to re do this whole page so I will keep this short Southern Comfort was also fantastic seeing friends some of whom I have never met in person.

Update 3/4/03

The statistics class is, because of my poor math skills extremely difficult but I am learning a lot. The other classes are going OK to very well. I am out to most of my teachers and some of my class mates and have had not problems and lots of questions.

Update 10/26/03

Been a while since I did an up date, I took two summer classes both masters level. the first was in counseling theory and the second was in group counseling techniques. This compresses a whole semester into six weeks. I figured it was 1500 pages of reading and three fifteen page papers. I did nothing for the six weeks but study! I had the opportunity to learn a LOT and it is of help. I also got to know the department head who is interested in Transgender issues and even loaned her a couple of books. The material from the philosophy class fit in very well with the theories class and it is all reinforcing itself. So much of this is related in ways I find fascinating.

SCC this year was as usual a blast One of the goals I went down with was to talk with the guys (female to male) and had the opportunity to talk with a couple of very neat gentlemen. I talked with Carl Trip from about 11PM to 3AM Saturday to Sunday morning. It was a mutual exchange of information.

Update 5/29/05

I think I lost a couple of up dates some where. OH well. I have had a couple of major changes of direction the BA program in counseling was dropped and we were encouraged to shift in to the the social work program (leads to an BSW) , their thinking was that a BA in counseling gets you about the same thing as a BA in anthropology which I have, (do you want fries with that sir). Funny thing I find it a much better fit, it is much more activist. It is much more an integration of many different disciplines. I am in the honors program and working with a professor on an innovative way of teaching diversity. I have been able to speak (as Sandra) to the OCSWE conference (teachers and students in social work). I hope to do a similar program at the national CSWE conference in Chicago and of course SCC. There are a number of pages on the web site that were class papers [ya might as well get credit]  i.e. the paper on reparative therapy.

Update 3/18/09

I have been having a serious problem with depression and I do take my own advice and I am getting professional help. I did  complete the BSW and started on my MSW and had a melt down. The phrasing is deliberate, trying to do both an internship and the academic work simultaneously was too much and this was related to what was confirmed a couple of weeks ago when I had the official diagnosis in having aspergers. This comes out in expressions that can be problematic i.e. when writing a paper I need to know "everything" about something which means it is a very through paper but took way too much time. It also means I tend to come across as a "know it all", "intimidating"... this partly because one of my aspie things is that I do not use TV standard third grade English.      

Update 11/25/13

Been a long time since the last update, big event, April 5th 2013 I had what is often called a widow maker heart attack complete blockage of one artery, I was working on our teardrop trailer electrical system and started having chest pains, went into the house and told my wife we needed to go to the doctors office (about a 1/4 mile away) he took one look and said he is trying to have a heart attack call the squad. In the ambulance I was thinking "I have a bunch of questions for God, maybe I will get answers soon". They were cutting my shirt and panties off when I lost consciousness and woke up with a machine breathing for me and burns where they shocked me nine times. Echocardiograms from day one indicate there was no damage and while I have a fist full of pills to take life has not changed a great deal.

I am now working on a text book, working title is The Day I Learned To Be Silent.  

Just remember, You are not alone!

Feel free to write.

Love Sandra  Stewart.

I have been blessed with a number of very special friends on the internet and in person I will mention Kathy, Jade. Jeanne, Heather Jae, Nancy, Darcy, Jane Ellen, Tessa, Sharon, Davy  and so many others who make me not so alone.

 

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Last modified: 12/24/13