After a while it’s barely worth thinking about anymore. However, the thoughts will still persist. Once trans hits, that’s it – you can forget at times, but it’s still going to bite, even if you ‘pass 100%’ Better to seek peace.
I barely even know what to say at this point that could be helpful for someone beginning their own adventure. I don’t think that’s particularly uncommon, after a while it’s just regular living again. I made a video documenting as best I can of the effects that I’ve noticed:
I keep saying to myself ‘I haven’t changed,’ but then I look at a video of myself from a year ago and wonder who that person is. More has changed about who I am in the past year than has ever changed in my life. Part of it is HRT, part of it becoming more comfortable in transition, part of it is the massive acceleration of personal growth. At this point, I feel ready to leave almost all of my past behind except the lessons I’ve learned and the people I love.
I turned 30 recently, and I can tell you for sure that HRT still does plenty, it’s not too late; it’s never too late. With this I have discovered a wonderful benefit to being trans ‘later in life.’ I read these articles about how it’s harder to make friends after turning 30, but being a modern day transgender person you’re just a few clicks away from encountering another trans person. That’s not to say friendship is guaranteed; I’ve been treated badly by plenty of transfolk at this point, but the opportunity is there.
Being trans is neither a good nor a bad thing; it’s just something that happens, leaving the individual with choices about how to deal with that information. All one can do is try their best, and at one point be able to say, ‘This is good enough [for me].’
A question I’ve been asking of myself a lot recently is ‘What is my gender?’ I light-heartedly labelled myself as polygender months ago and it has stuck. For what limited experiential knowledge anyone has of internal gender, I feel it swishing about like a spirit level in a washing machine, I can’t pin it down. I suppose this makes me genderfluid, I suppose this makes me non-binary, and I’m more terrified of that than I ever was of coming out as transgender to begin with. The more ‘feminine’ I come to look, the more ‘masculine’ I feel to act.
It’s so easy for me. I feel as though I’m transitioning in a way that will hopefully be the norm in the future; that is, transition, move on, without all the real world damage so many trans people endure. I have had the wonderful pleasure of making friends with the amazing Naomhan (tirnanogender.wordpress.com), who is non-binary (them/theirs) recently. That future only comes when non-binary folk can do the same as I’m doing, no matter how difficult that seems. If you are binary trans or cis, go meet an ‘enby,’ ask them about their lives and pronouns, and come to understand the unique difficulties they face in our binary world. Then try to feel humble and gracious, expressing gratitude.
That all being said, I know I’m incredibly privileged. I have a body, a face and a voice now that could carry me through as cis-normative if I were so inclined to put in that effort. I still haven’t gotten any hassle on the streets, haven’t been held back medically overmuch, and haven’t been denied public services. I still avoid a lot of places though – clothes shops, cosmetics stores, swimming pools, gyms, public toilets (whenever possible) – and these are issues that become less urgent as I compromise, and focus on more important life matters.
Passing? Still I refuse to try to pass, although when it does happen I can’t deny I like it. It happens in the strangest situations. I can be all done up, looking great, get misgendered and have my day ruined, and then a few days later, still sad and wearing ‘male’ garb, no makeup and pass grandly. It’s very strange, although as I was warned, as time goes by misgendering hurts more and more, because it can make me feel like I’ve achieved nothing, because I’ve still put in a lot of energy into this.
I understand the contradiction in this and the unrealistic expectations I set for society. Gender is a scam once you figure it out, but the demands of dysphoria are very real. It is a serious balancing act to find personal inner freedom whilst trying to stop society from bringing it down.
Images of water appear once more. Rather than repress what simply is, one can follow a path of less resistance; water flows where it wills, and where it wills is where it wants to, unknowingly.
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
― Bruce Lee
What is in a pretty face? Where will it get you? It will get you noticed, it will get you objectified. It will get people telling you ‘oh, but you’re so pretty’, while you gasp in exasperation at the change in attitude, at the little bodily flaws…or the big flaws between the legs. Thankfully with HRT these flaws are not only physically less, but they feel less. Sure, dysphoria flares up from time to time, but after a while it becomes exhausting and all that matters is finding ways to get through the days, to make them valuable.
And aren’t I so pretty:
Remember, looking good is not the same as passing. Just make sure to rock what you do! And if you’re feeling insecure, I don’t actually look like that:
Finally I feel like I did about five years ago, when I was single and filled with self-love; my best self living as a seemingly cisgender male. Actually, I feel better than that….in fact, I feel better than I ever have in my life. That doesn’t mean I’m happy, it means I can finally see forward. I see the life I can have without constrictions, and what’s more, I want it. Transition ends at some point, one dream fulfilled so what about those other dreams? Don’t lose them.
I get so much inspiration from other transfolk who fulfil their ambitions. I know scientists, teachers, activists, parents, engineers, videographers, musicians, games developers; people who remind me on a daily basis that being trans does not discount you from living a life of joy, perhaps even in excess of cisfolks.
At the moment, I have little in the way of practical success, but I am hopeful and ready to work. At some point, this transition business will have to take a backseat, and it’s coming sooner than I imagined. In the next few weeks I will have my second opinion to be referred for lower surgery.
My timeline has been working on the assumption that I would be waiting at least two years from referral, pending said second opinion, however the information I’ve been getting from Northern Ireland is that it’s closer to 7-8 months. This depends on how much laser hair removal I might need downstairs but the possibility is that I could be looking at surgery in the first half of 2017.
Scary? Not yet. Until I get that confirmation date, until I’m on that table it’s not happening. I’ve always been scared of any kind of surgery, yet with this I’m Zen. Of course I’m scared of some things – of being put to sleep, of perhaps never waking up, of talking nonsense as I come round from anaesthetic, of the bleeding, of the back pain, of the defecating in a kidney dish, of getting dilated by a nurse, of dilating myself, of having to always dilate, of granulation, of loss of sensitivity, of lack of depth, of disgust of appearance, of long recovery, of complete failure, of urinary tract infections, and lots more. However, as a decision? I was told by myself I should have a vagina when I was 6 years old. The moment I figured out I was trans I knew surgery would be what I needed. When that date does come, things will change.
Through all of this, I don’t actually feel like I’ve even begun transitioning in earnest yet. I’m accepting that I will still assume to feel the same way as I do now emotionally, but in terms of presentation I haven’t bought clothes in months, still with only enough to get by. I haven’t learned any of the tricks about hair and make-up and whatever else, because to be honest I have other stuff going on. One day I may get to all that stuff…but it won’t be me transitioning, it will just be me learning as a woman.
I’m still on the same dose I started at, so perhaps some of the issues may change or disappear as I work up to a functioning dosage. So much as I feel more at peace, this is still a period of flux. It has been over 8 months since my first and only endocrinologist appointment and it is immensely frustrating having to wait over 6 months to have a secondary blood test taken. The monthly T-blocker injections I can feel running out over a week before I get topped up (also administration hurts more each time), and I just feel that I’ve gone as far as I can on 2mg, I’m ready for more.
I’m not trying to rush transition, but constant progress is important in getting this over and done with no later than it needs to. But then, I am patient because I know people who are waiting over 2 years for an initial GIC appointment. I know people who can’t even get an initial appointment. I know people who can’t even come out because of the heartbreak it might cause. So I try to practice being grateful for being able to even come out.
In my recent experience, it’s all a confidence game. When you open the door to doubt it will quickly slither through. In learning to be more confident in accepting my voice for example, I am more comfortable in public and I get a more positive response, even though my voice hasn’t actually changed (except maybe as a result of the confidence!).
I really don’t know what I’m going to discuss regarding the trans experience anymore. It has been so totally normalized for me by sheer good fortune that I don’t feel I have anything to contribute, but I still want to try to help. There’s still a long way to go though, with no doubt a few big setbacks and victories still to come.
So far, this is a story that has love, friendship, acceptance, inner understanding, revelation, growth, change. It has also had depression, heartbreak, loss and anxiety I will remind you, but it is a beautiful thing to truly find yourself and show it to the world.