This time of the year (September to November) is anniversary season for me. It’s a very special time because I remember the very first steps I took to the way I am now.

On 11 of September 2015 I had my ears pierced. I know it doesn’t sound like a major milestone, but it was for me. It was the very first physical permanent change I made after I made the decision to move forward; it meant action. In just a few weeks I went from “yes, I want to do this and I’m doing it” to opening up to my family, my HRT assessment, the first appointment with my endocrinologist, my first laser facial hair removal session, starting HRT, started presenting female openly part time and opening to my friends.

It’s pretty incredible to look back and see how much I’ve grown since late 2015. On the other hand I find breathtaking to note the neck-break speed at which I moved in late 2015.

2 Year Evolution

Lots of things have happened in the past 2 years. Here are some of the more impactful I can think of.

Decision Making

At the beginning of my process making a decision was more complex than now. Not just about my process, but any decision in general. There was always a big component of “what would others think” clouding or slowing my decision process. Now, after truly learning that to do or try something I just have to go do it, decision making is quicker if not simpler. I always still have the shadow of the “what would others think“, but it certainly is not as important as it used to be.

To do or try something I just have to go do it.

Different Thrills

Everything regarding my process was new in late 2015 and early 2016, so every little detail was intense and I was experiencing almost everything for the first time, again! For example, riding the bus, using the washroom, packing for a weekend get-away, shopping, experimenting with the attire, opening up to people, etc. All of that was extra thrilling to say the least. I still get awesome thrills and new experiences, but compared to the beginning, specially the first few days and weeks, now they’re far apart. I could say that things are normalizing to a good extent making for a different kind of thrills.

Change in Assumptions

At the beginning, when I went anywhere and I met new people I always assumed people would read me (that they figured I’m not a cis woman). First I used to open up and share with people about how crazy the whole experience was for me at that time.  Now I don’t assume I’m being read; I assume people have no clue of my background. For that same reason I don’t share my background as much anymore. Regarding my interactions with other people, those haven’t changed too much. People have always treated me with respect regardless if they know or not. Rather what has changed is my perspective. I now feel more confident keeping my past to myself and just interacting with people assuming they have no prejudice.

Bigger Challenges

In late 2015, small things like getting my ears pierced for me were big challenges. With each challenge I conquered the next one would be as difficult but much larger in importance. As an example, the courage that took me to get my ears pierced and the excitement I felt was comparable to what I felt almost a year later when I had FFS. I know that the challenges themselves are not comparable, but what I’m trying to say is as time progressed and I got over every challenge, each built me up to withstand the next stronger more dramatic challenge.

Rate of Change

Looking at my calendar and my notes from September 2015 and the months that followed, I am still amazed of how fast things progressed.  Back then changes and challenges were measured in days. Then, as weeks progressed and things normalized, for example getting used to go to work presenting female full time, the challenges and changes didn’t happen as fast or as often. In effect the rate of change slowed down, though the changes or challenges were greater, like having surgery.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Probably a combination of all of the above, as I’ve gotten more experience with mundane things, like my wardrobe, makeup, speaking, etc., I feel more relaxed. At the beginning all these things required more attention and energy, but with practice and repetition life seems to have settled somewhat. As I said before, I still get lots of new, often unexpected experiences but they feel different. In essence I feel I’ve grown a lot!

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