These are questions you often see in blogs as transgender people second guess themselves and determine their path forward. The standard narrative of woman trapped in a man’s body is no longer used by most of us because it doesn’t sound or feel authentic. Instead you now read things like ‘something wasn’t quite right growing up’ and this is definitely true - something wasn't. We couldn’t put our finger on it and didn’t understand why we needed to raid our mother’s closet at such an early age.
Some of us like me got derailed by the sexual feelings. For years I couldn’t understand how my pull towards expressing a female identity had been charged with erotic overtones which, in my view, disqualified their authenticity. I have since come to realize that this is not true at all.
What happens is that our psychosexual identity is formed during a period when we are still grappling with this desire to be female while wanting to attract one. That fusion now permanent we are left with an abnormal sexuality which must be dealt with. Our wish to be ‘normal’ must then be abandoned and replaced with self-acceptance if we are to carry on living with a sane spirit.
We don’t have an understanding of what forms those initial childhood feelings but more and more the evidence is pointing to biological causes. We read that “Gender is between the ears and not in our genitals” and increasingly we understand this to be correct. The next question that begs answering is: what do I do about it?
Groupthink here can be a dangerous thing because there are different schools of thought that have formed over the decades. Older androphilics stuck to the medical condition narrative and, in a sense, they weren’t wrong because their dysphoria was for some deeply intense, debilitating and not self inflicted. The mistake some of them made was using that argument to invalidate other’s people dysphoria in order to retain exclusivity of the term "womanhood". For them, failure to transition proved your inauthenticity since the only possible alternative left was suicide.
Today we know it's not quite the way they painted it.
Your identity must be defined by you and you alone and I think that human being should be your first answer. You should also abandon the idea of “normal” because that doesn’t really exist. Instead you should think in terms of statistics because to do otherwise makes your current life situation into an untenable dilemma which is only resolved via trying to shoehorn yourself into a schema that may not suit you.
The fact is that not everyone benefits equally from transition. Some thrive spectacularly while some are left with lingering regret and ambiguity. For others transition has helped soothe their dysphoria but then introduced a whole new set of challenges that has left them despondent.
So yes, being happy can include a set of circumstances that are not normative but then to use blunt and colloquial language: who gives a shit since it’s your life.