If you read through my blog you will find a few references where I say that I’ve thought about what it would be like to be a girl every single day of my life. Since going full time I still think about it everyday but my thoughts have shifted from “what if” to “fuck, I’m doing it; I did it!” I have a post titled Moving Forward is a Necessity where I push myself to look ahead instead of being stagnant. But that is just part of a larger picture that is more complex and nuanced than being rosy all the time.
I truly feel blessed and thankful that my process has been mostly smooth riding. I attribute that many factors like being able to break away from my own limitations, having a supporting family and friends, my own preparation, an overall positive and supportive environment and my set of genetic characteristics.
Doubts and Fears
There are times where my thoughts and emotions conspire against me. Many of these sabotaging apprehensions are based on doubts and fears. I believe the doubts and fears are fairly common not only with transgender people but pretty much everyone. Doubting myself, my capabilities, my preparation… “Am I really ready for this?” And the fears that can all be condensed into a simple “will I be rejected?”
I believe that the source of these doubts and fears is mostly based on our own upbringings where we were told how to do things, what was correct and incorrect, what was good and bad and how all this constant reinforcement helped us create boundaries, boxes and limitations. On top of that you add actual painful experiences when we stepped out of those boundaries and we were reprimanded by society. The same society that helped us draw those boundaries in our heads.
To compound and amplify these apprehensions let me add a transgender dimension and make it even worse by adding an age element. If you are trans you know exactly what I mean, but if you’re cisgender let me try to set the stage.
Why didn’t you do this before?
Funny enough I had a similar discussion with my mum just a few days ago. We were having a chat about my process and somehow she asked me something to the effect of “why didn’t you do this before?” Her question got me completely off guard because I’d think that if someone understands the consequences of stepping of the normative boundaries it would be someone that grew up in the 40s, 50s and raised a family in the 60s, in a conservative and religious environment. But then she made the comment that “it’s so normal now” (for trans people to come out and live openly). Somehow she was extrapolating 2019 to 10, 20 or even more years ago.
It was just a few years ago that the word transgender was not in the mainstream lexicon. Other more demeaning terms, and still not mainstream, like transexual or transvestite were used with terrible connotations, stereotypes and prejudice. Try this exercise: try to think of anyone that had transition from male to female (female to male was even more taboo), say about 20 years ago, so around 1999 or 2000. Can you think of anyone specifically? If you’re not trans, probably you can’t think of anyone and in that case the concept most likely brought you visuals of “a man that tried to look like a woman” in the best case scenario but probably someone involved in sex trade, a deviant lifestyle, marginalized not being able to get “a decent job” or even an education as they would be rejected by most of society back then. So, to answer my mum’s question of why I didn’t do it before it was because I feared being ostracized. For me it was not an option. For fuck sake, it wasn’t even an option for me at the beginning of 2015 (I started my process in late 2015).
Just consider the social uphill battle that people that transitioned 20, 40 or more years ago had to deal with, that their dysphoria and unhappiness with their status quo must have been so strong that it was better to be labelled all those negative things than staying the way they were before transition. Even today, in 2019 when there is so much more acceptance than 20 years ago or even just last year, there is always the doubts and fears that I keep making reference to.
Getting Slapped From Time to Time
Even with all the positive experiences I’ve had I still get slapped by these doubts and fears. They manifest on a regular bases in a couple of very different ways. I am constantly evaluating my gender presentation and expression. That is partially based on doubting myself and my preparation. An example where my fears are present is that now I’m reluctant to tell people that I’m trans. I do have fears of rejection even when the other person has known me for a year or two. Most likely it’s an unfounded fear, but nevertheless it crosses my mind.
I consider this to be one of my weirdest thoughts pondering that I’ve had no mayor issues throughout my process, but there are often times when I wakeup in the morning and my first thought is “what the hell are you doing” (presenting and expressing as a woman). It’s a complex mix of emotions where doubts and fears about the day that is about to start bathe me from tip to toe like a bucket of ice cold water. To the point that for half a second I consider regression (going back to presenting as a guy).
Good news is that the blow goes away as fast as it hits me. It only takes the second half of that cold second when the thought inundated my head to figure where I am, how much I’ve progressed, how happy I am with myself and how trivial have been any miniscule issues I may have had. Looking at myself in the mirror erases the faint memory of the lightning fast thought of regression and makes me smile and often laugh of joy.
Stupid Doubts and Fears
These doubts and fears are most often groundless since I have proven to myself in the past that I’ve been able to overcome much bigger barriers. In fact, I have physical proof that any trans person that has sought psychological support can do anything. Removing all doubts and fears to go and speak with anyone about being trans, let a lone a psychologist, proves to me that person can get rid of any doubt and fear; any barrier.
In my case I just have to think about what I did yesterday to prove to myself that any doubt or fear is so much less important than it may appear at first. The reward of learning what’s behind whatever I’m curious about, even if it bites me in the ass, is way more powerful than sticking behind the lines of those doubts and fears, behind those boundaries.
Regression is Always an Option
Here’s the kicker that t-bones me when it seems to me that the doubts and fears will take the upper hand.
Even in the ultra unlikely event, regression is always an option.
Yep. Even with everything I have done, the option of regression is there, always. It’s when I think of this option that I see how dumb, after everything I have done, would be to regress. For heaven sake, I already have the full acceptance of everyone I deal with. I have been presenting and expressing myself as a girl since 2016. I’ve changed my body with incredible results in how people perceived me. I have trained myself to express in a feminine manner and all of this has worked for me.
So yes, regression is always an option and the few times that I have got to the point of considering it my instant conclusion is that whatever triggered my doubts, it’s not worth it.
This idea that regression is always an option came from one of my very first meetings with the psychologist before starting HRT. I had my doubts and fears about HRT and while discussing HRT with her she said something like “well if you don’t like it you can always stop”. Holy smokes, that is true! And has been true every single step of the way. It’s as if the option of regression were a kinda security blanket.
Writing all this has made me even more resilient and determined to move forward, whatever that means. It is time to raise my chin and feel more empowered. Next step… Here I come!
Having regression always as an option has helped me move forward. By knowing that the implications of my decisions regarding modifying my gender expression and presentation, can be somewhat undone makes it easier for me to make what would appear as super tough decisions. For example, when I had FFS I didn’t get my head wrapped around the concept that after surgery I would have no option but to live as a woman even if I didn’t like doing that. Rather I thought that even after surgery, if for any reason I thought that it would be better for me to regress, I would still have the option. This way of thinking lightened up the burden on my own decision process. It’s not a do or die situation. It’s more like “I’m going to try this that I’ve always wanted to try”.
I’m not trivializing the decision of a surgery as something to try out. My point is that even after something as complicated and complex as a surgery and living with its results, I still have the option to do what I want to do without being as locked down by self imposed boundaries, boxes and limitations.
After making the original post I revised a few sentences here and there to present my ideas clearer and added the “Take Away” section.