Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Interview with MikaelaVille


Monika: Today I have invited a special guest. Most of you know her as Mika or MikaelaVille - The Adorkable Girl Next Door. She is an American social media influencer, YouTube vlogger, parent, digital artist, gamer girl, and transgender advocate. Mika and I are going to talk about being trans and the challenges related to her parenthood and fascinating journey towards womanhood. Hello Mika!
Mika: Hi, thank you for having me. When I opened your message on Instagram and saw that you wanted to interview me, I couldn't be happier. Let me tell you, to open a DM and NOT see a stranger's genitalia is a real treat these days. So, I was honored and thrilled to receive your message.
Monika: Haha, so we have a nice introduction to our chat. Could you say a few words about yourself?
Mika: Oh wow, let's see. I'm 36 years old, which means I'm officially at that age where I can't get off a couch without grunting. I have 2 amazing kids who are quickly becoming more intelligent than me. I'm an Artist with a passion for creativity, and I've been a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service for the last 15 years. It's not my dream job, but it gets the bills paid. I've been on social media for the last 4 years, and I recently started a YouTube channel.
Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments via social media?
Mika: I felt very alone when I first started my transition, so I looked to social media to find others like myself. I was hoping to find other trans parents, or people transitioning at work, or recently divorced individuals to connect with, but what I found was very disappointing. Perhaps I was looking in the wrong places, but the majority of accounts I came across were trans Women who were oversexualizing themselves for popularity and attention. It was very discouraging.

"I felt very alone when I first started my transition, so
I looked to social media to find others like myself."

I knew there had to be others out there looking for the same thing I was, so instead of searching for THEM, I decided to create my own page in the hopes that they would find ME. My very first social media account was on Instagram and what had first started off as a timeline of my transition and mental health quickly evolved into a page to entertain and inspire others. With comedy and self-deprecating humor, my follow count grew pretty rapidly. To this day, it still surprises me how many people clicked ‘follow’ on my account, but I'm grateful to have an audience that accepts me and all my dorkiness.
Monika: I love your Instagram. Whenever I launch a new interview on my blog or come across other blogs I am amazed about the size of our transgender community. On her Second Type Woman blog, Annie Richards talks about a transgender explosion. She indicates that in the entire world in 2000, there were roughly 60,000 post-GRS women whereas in 2020 we reached a million post-GRS women, which is probably an underestimation, with the number rising by at least 10% a year. When we add other women that do not wish to undergo GRS, we probably talk about millions. Do you have those numbers at the back of your head when you prepare your Instagram or YouTube channels? 
Mika: Honestly... No, not really. Sure, I'm a part of the LGBTQ+ community and I'm honored to be followed by so many of my Trans Brothers and Sisters, but the content I share on my social media is intended for ALL to enjoy, not just Trans People. Yes, I'm a proud Transgender Woman, and I've overcome so much throughout my transition... but being Trans is only a small part of my identity. I am so much more than JUST my gender. 
When someone looks at me, I want them to see a Woman, not a "Trans Woman." An Artist, not a "Trans Artist." A Parent, not a "Trans Parent." I want to normalize being Trans, so no, I don't often post something with Trans folks in mind.

"Yes, I'm a proud Transgender Woman, and I've
overcome so much throughout my transition... but
being Trans is only a small part of my identity. I am
so much more than JUST my gender."

In fact, if you look at my content, I very rarely post specifically about being Trans at all. I usually only have ONE goal in mind when I release content - I want to make people smile. The world can be an ugly place sometimes, and while I am aware of serious issues going on around me. I choose to share mostly lighthearted and inspirational content. I want people to know that when they visit my page they can take a small break from the darkness and find something to feel good about.
Monika: Do you get many questions from your followers? What do they ask for?
Mika: I get a lot of requests for feet pics and nudes, as well as offers from "Sugar Daddies," and an occasional marriage proposal. But every so often I'll get a sincere question from someone who wants advice on coming out, or how my kids handled my transition. I try my best to respond to questions if I feel they are truly seeking help, but I think I've become a little jaded over the last year or two. I've opened up to many people who turned out to be fabricating stories in order to gain my trust and then turn out to be creepos. It's gotten to the point where it's hard to tell if someone is truly being genuine or not. I feel bad for not responding to as many people as I used to, but as my following grows, I feel I need to be warier of people I trust on the Internet.
Monika: We all pay the highest price for the fulfillment of our dreams to be ourselves. As a result, we lose our families, friends, jobs, and social positions. Did you pay such a high price as well? What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Mika: The hardest part of my transition wasn't the transition itself, but what I lost in the process. As a male, I had a perfect life, a loving wife and kids, a dog, a house, and a handful of lifelong friends. I just wasn't happy on the inside, I wasn't happy with myself. I was truly hoping to come out and continue living THAT life, only as my authentic self. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

"The hardest part of my transition wasn't the transition
itself, but what I lost in the process."

When I was finally brave enough to come out, my world came crashing down on itself. My wife tried her best to be supportive in the beginning, but she did not want to be married to a woman. I never blamed her for that. As the effects of hormones became more and more visible, she began to grieve the loss of her husband while I was still living with her. She went through the 5 stages of grief but settled on ANGER the longest. She began to resent me. Things got really bad so I decided to move out. I didn't want my kids to see their parents argue all the time.
I was suddenly alone and lost the most important people in my life. Moving away from my kids felt like a thousand daggers to the heart. I became depressed, and I still deal with my mental health to this day. My kids are the only reason why I'm still alive. Without them, I would be nothing. It took a few years, but things eventually got a lot better with my ex. We get along quite nicely these days and still make a pretty good team when it comes to co-parenting.
Monika: Being a parent, were you afraid of your children's reaction to your transition?
Mika: Coming out to friends and family was one thing, but coming out to my kids was a completely different emotion. I knew that adults had the opportunity to remove themselves from my life if they chose to, but I would be involved in my kids' lives forever. They were pretty young when I started my transition, my oldest was 5 and my youngest had just turned 1. My first concern was that I would be taking away their Father. I was their male role model, now all of a sudden I would be wearing makeup and dresses. I couldn't fathom how confusing that would be for them.
My next dilemma was not knowing how others would treat them knowing they would have a Trans Parent. Kids can be so cruel, and I didn't want bullies giving my kids a hard time in school as they grew older.
Finally, I wasn't sure what title I wanted to go by once I transitioned. I absolutely loved being a father. I can't think of anything else in this world that I am more proud of, and I didn't want that to go away. I also didn't want to take the title of "Mom" away from their mother. She's earned that title, and I felt she deserved to keep it for herself.

"Well, it turned out my kids handled my transition better
than anyone else in my life."

Well, it turned out my kids handled my transition better than anyone else in my life. I explained my transition process to my oldest son when he was 5, and he understood right away. He quickly became my biggest supporter, correcting people on my name and pronouns, even in public. And my youngest never even realized I was once a man until only a year ago.
Today, my kids still call me Dad and I couldn't be more proud. I tell them, if they ever decide to call me by another name other than Dad someday, I would be honored to have any title they choose to give me, as long as it came from a place of love and respect. I'm still a bit concerned about bullies in their future, but I'm pretty confident my boys are strong-willed enough to handle any judgment thrown their way.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Mika: I am. I found out about hormone treatment only a year and a half before starting them myself. I would watch videos on YouTube of this "miracle pill" and just be mesmerized as a man's face would become feminine and soft. As their masculinity slowly faded, their smiles became noticeably bigger. I wanted that for myself but was unsure of my own results.
I’ve been on hormone replacement therapy for nearly five years now, but by the end of my first year, my changes were very apparent. People would correctly gender me as "Miss" or "Ma'am" in public even when I was still trying to pass as male. It was pretty cool. I still considered looking into facial feminization surgery for a long time, but eventually decided against it as I accepted my new changes.
The effects are so gradual and subtle that it's impossible to see major changes from one day to the next, but when I would compare side to side photos of myself after some time, I was quite happy with the differences.
Today, the only procedures I have undergone have been my breast augmentation. Any femininity you see in my face is all from hormones, with a little help from makeup and unwanted hair removal of course.

"People would correctly gender me as "Miss" or "Ma'am"
in public even when I was still trying to pass as male."

Monika: We are said to be prisoners of passing or non-passing syndrome. Although cosmetic surgeries help to overcome it, we will always be judged accordingly. How can we cope with this?
Mika: I'm guilty of this myself. I used to say "I hope to just blend in with a crowd of cis women someday." I wanted to be just "passable" enough to never get a questioning second look or Judgmental stare in public. But, I think being concerned with passing or not plays a bigger role in our own heads than it does to those around us.
I receive messages all the time of people reaching out and saying "I want to transition, but I don't think I will ever be pretty." Trust me, I get it. Those same thoughts went through my mind too. Of course, most of us would love to transition and look like supermodels, but you really don't know what the outcome will be... and that can be scary.
In the beginning, it can be intimidating walking in public and not knowing if you will stand out in a negative or positive way, but as time passes, and you become more comfortable and confident being yourself, you start to not care so much about what others may be thinking about you. Feminization surgeries are important to some people, but they may not be for everyone, and that's perfectly okay. Eventually, however, you have to realize that it's less important to transition because of how you want to LOOK, but rather, how you want to FEEL. And believe me, it feels AMAZING to finally be yourself.

END OF PART 1

 
All the photos: courtesy of MikaelaVille.
© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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