echelons

It’s all relative.

Some people can dress once a month and be happy with that and consider it progress while others cannot abide one more day without transitioning.

I dress every single day even if it is only for an hour. Sometimes it is because I have gotten home late and need to get some groceries and, because it doesn’t take me long anymore and can be ready in 15 minutes, I do it without hesitation. It really represents an important part of my identity which brings me much peace and comfort.

I came from a long way back and how I live my life now would be an unacceptable situation particularly for those of you who are married and whose trans identity is not exactly welcome. But there is no going back and what I have attained now is the best compromise I can muster and still live an honest life which reflects who I am. The only possible variation left would be to work as Joanna; something which is still under consideration.

The process has been so slow and organic that I cannot point to one significant step change. Instead it has been a lightly graded ramp such that change was hardly perceptible unless you look back to measure progress.

The reality is that we are on our own here with no guidebook. The hard and fast rules of being transgender are not written down but must be worked out through experimentation. It involves asking a question and then trying out a series of possible answers to test our mettle. As each new echelon is reached we check our comfort level and then decide whether to climb to the next with the price of not acting the risk of not being your true self.

Some people wonder how they know they are trans when a good part of the answer lies in the very fact they are asking the question.

Comments

  1. There is no guidebook for being trans, a parent, or for life. As you wrote several days ago we develop judgment, with trial and error, observation, and introspection. My process for finding myself hasn’t been a straight line or easy path. Over the past four years I’ve:
    1. Studied, consulted, and investigated everything I could find to determine and convince myself that to be transgender has a biological basis. I readily admit to confirmation bias but tried hard to be objective.
    2. Okay, but am I trans? I met with a gender therapist, attended her group meetings, and devoured Dara Hoffman-Fox’s book “You and Your Gender Identity: A Guide to Discovery.” I patiently and thoroughly worked through all of the exercises and eventually created my own history of my life, of things I did around my gender. In the end it’s really undeniable that I’m trans.
    3. Fine, but what do I need to do, how far do I need to go, to be okay in my skin? About 12 months ago I started coming out to family and friends; last summer I came out to everyone I know. I started little experiments to see how I felt, slowly exploring dressing and going out. I realized that I had to be myself full time. I started HRT (five months in, now), voice training, electrolysis...

    I can’t say if I’ll need GCS or FFS. Probably. I suspect that my next big step is legal name and gender change. No rush, maybe early 2019.

    They say that all transgender people are different. Is that such a surprise? We’re human after all, and all of us are different. My story is a unique to me but likely very similar to others. I’m happy to say that I’m much happier these days!

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  2. Looking back, I laugh at myself for all of the analyzing and carefully measured steps I took to get where I am now. It was such a "guy" thing to have done! I used to tell myself, "Don't let Connie take over," because I knew that I (male-self) would be losing control. All of the "what ifs" that I asked myself came from my male persona, even long after I knew who my true self - my feminine- self - was. My male-self was asking, "What will happen if I do_____," where my female-self feared "What if I don't ______?" The funny thing is that the more-positive "do" question led to a more-negative outcome, through my analysis. I was allowing that guy to control me (such a "girl" thing to do)! I, therefore, became totally honest with myself only after allowing myself to be totally honest with everyone else, and the first one I became honest with was my male-self.

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  3. it is a fascinating mental exercise that each of us goes through to rationalize what we need to do. Being trans is complicated and we are fighting deeply embedded messages from outside to get to a place where each of us needs to be. Thank you both for sharing your thought process on this..

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  4. Hey, I have made it to the 2018 posts. Slowly working my way through. Joanna, hope you aren't getting tired of my comments on your old posts.

    I am working through my echelons. Since coming out to myself 2 years ago and subsequently telling my understanding wife it has been a journey. I started CDing every couple of days, at home, finally without doing it in secret. Then the frequency picked up but all the while constantly communicating with my wife too check how she was doing with all of this. She knows how happy this makes me to dress.

    One big echelon moment came when I asked her about being ok with my uptick in dressing and she told me "Actually right now I get concerned when you don't dress. Like if there is something wrong." WOW. So, yeah, from that point forward I started dressing femininely every day at home. It has been about 2 years now. I haven't progressed to makeup/wig yet. My wife looks past my clothes. She knows makeup/wig are coming and she is ok with it. But I am not rushing. Just taking baby steps.

    I am fully aware I am lucky and in the minority of this situation. I have been doing introspection on if I am trans. I currently identify as gender-fluid. My wife actually asked me if I was GF when my CDing picked up to a daily thing. I was glad she saw it before me. I have had doubts about being trans because of the side thing that there is arousal. Seems like all of us have run into that and it has caused doubts. That said, for me, I have fantasized about dressing femininely every day since puberty. And now I am doing want I dreamed about, wearing a skirt and blouse every day. It just feels right. Am I trans? I don't know.

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    Replies
    1. its a long journey and you need to take time. I accepted myself as trans and in particular transsexual (primary) quite a while back. The introspection will take you where you need to be :)

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