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fitting ourselves into this world

There comes a point when you will feel like you will literally implode. I remember when my dysphoria got so intense in my early 40’s and after years of trying to ignore everything, it threatened to consume me. I had to suddenly explore it and, in my naiveté, try and cure it.

Many of us have hit that wall and it is very unpleasant. For me it was the realization that I wasn’t a hesitant crossdresser but instead a gender dysphoric deep in denial. I was someone who needed guidance and so I reached out for it in desperation.

Being screened at the gender clinic and undergoing therapy that would eventually lead towards self-acceptance has been one of the most difficult things I have ever had to go through. Add to that my stroke in my mid 40’s and my divorce and everything was falling apart around me. I had to slowly rebuild from scratch. There have still been bumps along the way and unexpected things have happened but I am still standing and probably far richer for the experience for I have learned more about myself and about human nature along the way.

My ideals on romantic love have been fractured however arriving at a level of peace around my gender dysphoria has been supremely important.

In the end I have come to the conclusion that being trans must be interwoven into the fabric of your life and whoever shares it with you must wholly embrace it. This is why I now counsel trans people to be proud and not to accept being tolerated for it is far better for us to be fully realized beings and alone than to hide such an important facet.

You might be a square peg in a round hole but you can still advance in life with both grace and dignity intact.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree, Joanna: we must go where we are celebrated, not merely tolerated. That same thought came to me this past summer as I considered which community I should settle into in the greater Seattle area.

    I would have loved to live in several more remote places, such as the islands (which are marvelous), or northeast or northwest of Seattle. At some point it occurred to me that to be merely "tolerated" potentially has shades of distaste and exclusion from within the community. Sure, I suppose people wouldn't have bothered me to grocery shop, go to the bank, or do other mundane things. But I wanted to be part of a community, and not just whatever isolated group of trans people I could find.

    It's fair to say that I'm not exactly "celebrated" to be where I am now, and I feel sure that for some I am merely tolerated. But where I ended up (a couple of miles south of downtown) offers me almost daily positive exchanges, at the drug store, with neighbors, or just receiving welcoming smiles as I walk down the street. Those smiles give me a lot of strength!

    1. Emma, maybe, someday, we can meet and celebrate each other! :-)

    2. Connie, I’d certainly enjoy celebrating with you!

    3. Emma, ask Joanna for my email address if you'd like to get in touch with me. I've given her permission.

  2. If I can change the minds of those who may, at first, merely tolerate me, we can all celebrate! I have purposely taken jobs over the past few years that put me right out in the middle of people. One of the things I decided when I began this transition is that I must accept the responsibility along with the challenge. I've been chastised for saying that by other trans people. who say that it is the responsibility of others to accept all trans people - not ours. They seem to be very unhappy and distraught, though. I'm too old to wait around, angrily, for that, and I choose to be proactive in my approach. I am, by no means, a typical trans-activist, but I have become more of an ambassador. After waiting so long to finally be happy with myself, why should I not show the whole world (well, at least, Seattle) that I am, as well?!

    1. I’m lucky, Connie, that I also don’t feel like others must confirm and appreciate me. I do worry at times how people will accept me but so far no one has dissed me. I did see a woman slightly scowl at me the other day as we approached other on a sidewalk. I gave her a big smile, and she reactively smiled back. I don’t know if she meant it or it was an automatic response but regardless she can reflect that she saw a middle aged trans woman, presenting very appropriately, who simply smiled as nice people do. I hope that through experiences like these we will gradually show the world that in fact we are people just like them, living our lives.

  3. Everything in your post and the comments resonates with my experience as well.

    The best surprise after transition has been arriving at the next part of acceptance: being appreciated for other things by those who either don't know, or don't care that I am trans.

    That might have something to do with showing the world that I am (as ConnieDee says) happy with myself.

    1. I am really looking forward to meeting up with you in the new year Halle and have that lunch!


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