Christy, negativity is certainly hard to deal with - for everyone - and especially for trans people. We have it internally as we stress about so much, and externally receive it from others. I'm not very good at dealing with it myself. I try to be mindful, to focus on what's in front of me right now, and then to enjoy what I see. Sometimes that works, sometimes it fails miserably. I think we also like to vent with others, to have people hear our stories, our trials, tribulations, and receive encouragement. It's like receiving a thousand likes on FB or here for that matter. It feels good but it's like an addictive drug, we crave more. I don't think there is an answer that gets rid of negativity, even what we generate ourselves internally. It's part of being human. It sucks but so does dieting, taxes, and illness (in reverse priority order). The reason that paragraph spoke to me is that I have a friend who runs a podcast about trans people and she's invited me to be on it. I don't have a firm date for when we'll do it but I hope it's soon. I've thought a fair amount about what I'll say and what we should talk about. It seems to me that my goal is to share a slice of my life as a 60+ year old trans woman, and to joyfully demonstrate that I'm pretty darned happy in my life. Indeed I've suffered a lot to get here and still have ups and downs, and I suppose I'll tell some of that for context. Overall I would love it if cisgender listeners will understand even a little bit more that trans people are nice and decent members of society, deserving of love and respect like anyone else.
This column really spoke to me. Love the writer's name too! :-) This column is about transgender people and it’s perfectly ordinary This paragraph means a lot to me: Howe doesn’t want to sugar-coat the sad stuff. She just wants to read more about the joyful stuff. And she puts her money where her mouth is. When journalism students at the University of Oregon asked if they could profile her for their assignments, she told them:| “I’m happy to have you do a story on me, but no more stories about my battle with the world. No more stories about my struggle to live. Please don’t ever ask me my opinion on the bathroom again because the only one I’m going to give you is that I think more public institutions should be required to use Charmin.”
I can also relate to Chrissy's response. There are a lot of us who carry heavy loads of emotional baggage, perhaps mostly thanks to having grown up in conditions and society that didn't embrace us for what we are. And everyone has their own personalities, some that we bond with and some where for whatever reason the chemistry just isn't right. Frankly while I have some good trans friends and enjoy their company I also like to hang with non-trans people, perhaps even more. We do talk a little about me, etc., but I enjoy just being out and about as myself, and forget that I'm transgender!
Hi Christy, Passing doesn't matter much to me any longer either. I stopped wearing most of my makeup over the last couple of months, as I realized that 1) my beard cover was too orange-y, 2) my foundation never looked "right," and 3) despite going out and buying more/different it was such a hassle. Regardless of my makeup my facial features are what they are and I do have a high forehead. I just try to look nice and dress appropriately when I go out. Today it's black fleece leggings, a blue REI top, and a cute pinkish jean jacket I picked up at The Rack about a week ago. I do love dresses but the occasion has to be special enough to call for it. We all have fears, and trans women I think have more than their fair share. I probably suggested this before but please read this, perhaps even daily: A Guide to Fear Mastery. Maybe with time and experience you'll also find that in general, people treat us quite nicely, especially when we exude confidence in our presence (stand up straight and smile!). Some look at us crosseyed, possibly as their mind tries to sort us out, perhaps with some disdain. I just throw them a smile and often enough they smile back. Even if it's a reflex that they might wish they hadn't done I always wonder if they reflect on it and maybe, just maybe, ponder that hey, I'm not so unusual after all. Yes, there are people who are more antagonistic. So long as they don't resort to anything violent or scary then I just don't give a crap about them. Look at them closely enough without being challenging so they know that you have filed away a memory of them if needed later (such as for a police report). And then move on. I don't like my voice. Like just now I received a call from a man who heard me for the first time. My voice is trained to some extent to sound more feminine but here again it is what it is. I just found that over time I cared less and less. And when I felt my fears (which was often) I would repeat to myself this phrase from the Fear Mastery Guide: Whenever we feel fear, it means we’re up against some kind of wall … on the other side of the wall is some kind of freedom.
That therapist does sound pretty screwed up. Time to set up a new meeting? Perhaps attend one more of these and accumulate email addresses of people you think would like it, and then go to MeetUp.com and set up a dinner meeting. We have these in various restaurants, with 15 or so attendees, every two weeks. It’s mostly social and we do help each other.
On my Washington state driver's license, that is! I sent in the US Passport revision application last week, requesting (and paying for) expedited service. I don't trust our government (you know who and if you don't what planet are you from?) to not suddenly change the rules, preventing me from obtaining this. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me please!
Hi Christy, You’re welcome! On the blog post, I still can’t understand why it’d be different on your phone, laptop, anything. I often use my phone, iPad, or MacBook. Maybe it has something to do with your browser? On the mirror, what seems to help me is that when I’m dressed and out in the world is that my eyes don’t see my face. I look down occasionally and just see myself, a woman dressed nicely and appropriately. I will say wha can bug me then is my voice. Last week I “graduated” from working with a wonderful voice therapist (Sandy Hirsch) and now my voice is much more feminine than before. Better yet (and amazing to me) is that my voice just comes out that way without thinking about it. I’m just me! Take care, Emma
Very well said, Elsa. We do have real challenges and fears, but with each one we gain momentum and freedom on the other side of those obstacles. I also heartily agree that we must live our lives now, while we can, before we are near the end and expire with regrets of what could have been. Sure, I wish I’d done more and transitioned sooner. Now though, I’m just happy to be on this journey.
Your post looks truncated again. I can’t imagine what happened. I’ve never experienced or heard of such a thing, so I don’t think it’s a bug. I did slightly edit your first post to change the text color to black since it was a grayish color that I could barely read! Anyway: I also have these mirror experiences. Most of the time I’m not too happy with my visage but sometimes for a moment it’s like I see a woman, which is not something I ever saw before. I rather like that!
Hi Jess, Congratulations. I've been on HRT for 7 months so I can well remember how I felt at one month. Yes, the lack of arousal is interesting. I think you'll find that it's not really a big deal. But please know this: the tissue at the head of your penis will be used to form your clitoris during GCS, and will remain connected to all of the nerve pathways and so forth. I don't recall having much/any breast growth at one month. At some point soon you will likely start feeling a soreness and sensitivity. It hurts if you bump them in the shower! I still have to remind myself to take it slow and easy when I'm washing my chest. I wish you well on your journey. To me a part of the good experience was awareness of how "right" I felt on HRT, and knowing that if I wasn't trans I'd certainly not feel good at all. Emma
Hoping no one minds but I'm going to put in another plug for my friend Dara Hoffman-Fox's book "You and Your Gender Identity: A Guide to Discovery." They (Dara is non-binary) has a lot of info about doubts that helped me a lot. Part of what was scary for me is not knowing "how far I'd need to go" and very afraid of taking even the smallest steps. I simply couldn't imagine going, for example, to get my name changed, or my gender marker changed. I don't know exactly what I feared but it was palpable. Well, last week I stood in front of a WA court judge, held up my right hand, and changed my name legally. No sweat, he was very nice. This afternoon I'm headed to the DMV to update my name, photo, and gender on my driver's license. I'm totally relaxed about it. Oh, also sending in a new passport application. Gotta have my bases covered!
I really understand self doubt, and particularly recall the fears of being alone, not passing, not being attractive, all that. I can’t say of course that “it’ll all be fine, don’t worry” but what I can advise is to think about your core needs and feelings, what drove you to this before. I did that and even to this day I recall them. Still, you are on a scary path. You stand to lose a lot. You are on a Hero’s Journey, a reluctant person challenging the unknown and untraveled, on a discovery mission. It’s fraught with obstacles and monsters but also beauty and rewards. Only you can decide if it’s a journey you need to take. I had dinner last night with four other trans women and one trans man. They (and I) have their own trials and tribulations of course, and have been through a lot. Some are more attractive than others. But all are happier in their lives being their authentic selves. I’d also like to emphasize that I don’t only hang out with trans people. I am building friendships with several others, women mostly. We go out for dinner, invite each other for pot lucks, go shopping, wine tasting, bicycle riding, all that. Sure, they know I’m trans but they respect me and care for me as a woman friend.