Transitioning is a journey. So far, mine has been great and awful and wonderful and terrifying. It’s been 2 1/2 years since I started and I’m the same but so different. It’s not always easy but it gets better, you get stronger because everyday you get closer to really being you. Patience with yourself and others is so important in this process.
The things that infuriate you now will probably only annoy you in a year.
For me, so much of this journey has been a lesson in confidence and authenticity. I thought I was so confident in myself and who I was but I wasn’t. I was just really, really good at being ok with things being ok. I think I just lived always perpetually asking the question ‘what could I do about it?’ I was making it, my life wasn’t bad and I had good things going for me.
It took 36 years to figure out why something was always off.
The clarity from my self-realization has been life changing. It hasn’t been without its challenges though. But we have to remember that it is a marathon and not a sprint. That goes for the people in your life too.
For example, I had a mental grace period for people to make pronoun mistakes. When the people closest to you fail to use the right pronouns purposely or not, it hurts, feels like a gut punch and you feel disrespected and pissed off. There were times that I would come home fuming about something that happened or being introduced the wrong way. Now, if it’s a botched introduction, I handle it in one of a few ways; I either laugh it off and continue because the person’s confusion is apparent and the person that introduced me corrects themself or I offer a swift and stern correction, sometimes followed by an icy glare because I mean, do better. I’m not upset because I know who I am and am perfectly comfortable in my skin.
Sometimes I also just respond like this:
The other day, I was at a family gathering and was walking by and one of my aunt’s said, “hey niece.” I could have kept walking and not acknowledged her or I could have let it punch me in the gut and ruin my day but instead, I rolled my eyes, because it’s annoying and said hi. I don’t think she did it maliciously; I think she saw me and said what has come to her mind for the majority of my life. It didn’t resonate with her that I have a beard (with chin strap might I add). It didn’t infuriate me because once again, I know who I am and am perfectly comfortable in my own skin.
It takes time though. Things that bothered me a year ago just really don’t anymore. That doesn’t mean that I welcome disrespect or am ok with people not using the correct pronouns; it just means that their lack of respect doesn’t get to phase me anymore. If I want to say something about it, I will. If I don’t, it doesn’t define me at all. If they are having a problem, that’s what it is, THEY are having a problem. True confidence and being your authentic self is powerful.
It’s happening and you’re going to really like how you look in a couple years.
I know what it’s like. You’re just starting your transition, maybe you’ve been on hormones for a couple months and some things have happened but a lot of things haven’t. It’s tough not to get discouraged and impatient early on and it’s even tougher to keep yourself together during the moments of sheer jubilation you feel when you see something different for the first time. When the first lonely, straggly hair appeared on my chin, I swear I was walking around talking about I had beard. It’s a whole thing. When my voice made the first drop, it was a fiasco – like puberty. It’s not awesome. Especially when you pride yourself on being a show-stopping karaoke singer.
I thought I saw something different every month but what you’re really seeing when you look in the mirror at first isn’t necessarily big, physical changes though, it’s confidence, truth and validation. It’s being able to finally look in the mirror and see that you are becoming who you are. You can see what others can’t, the outside matching the inside. And that feeling is worth savoring. It feels so good because you remember what it’s like to look in the mirror and be disconnected from the person looking back at you.
I say all of that to tell you – be patient. It’s really coming and you are going to like it. It’s funny to look at pictures of myself from a year ago because I really thought I was doing something and I WAS – it’s just that now, 2.5 years in, it has actually happened. I mean I know that it’s still happening and there are still many things that will likely change but this place that I’ve made it to is everything and more. It’s worth it. The pain, the worry, the stress, the journey – is worth it. YOU are worth it and it is happening.
So again, let me be really clear: if you are transitioning, there will come a point in time when you start to really like the way you look. This is going to happen and you can celebrate a little, just don’t get ahead of yourself (like I did). I swear had it going on – ha, but pictures don’t lie. I tried a ‘long hair on top’ look – was so pumped when I had enough chin hair to get my beard trimmed up.
But hey, you can walk with a little hop in your step if you want to; you can poke your chest out – IT’S HAPPENING! Just know that most people aren’t going to be at your level of excitement so be careful with your newfound confidence. Don’t be like the people that you don’t like that are so obviously feeling themselves. 😊I’m with you though. 🤘 It’s exciting and it feels good. Soak it up, don’t look in the mirror, gaze into it lovingly. Flex – and I mean actually flex. Turn to the side, do the Hulk, whatever. Get real close to the mirror and examine your face from all angles; check yourself out.
You’re doing it – it’s happening and you are becoming you. It is a great, great feeling. Enjoy it.