one bite at a time

Sometimes I think that the best way to describe myself is as a woman who had to learn to be a man. Today I have reached a place in my life where I consider the best and most sincere version of myself lives as a woman named Joanna who crossdresses to make a living.

But first the psyche must make this leap of adjustment and then have the courage to admit it to others. As hard as this second leg of the journey is, the first leg is even harder: admitting it to yourself.

Presently I am in the throes of figuring out how to come to a public equilibrium so that there is nowhere left to hide. Do I have the courage to live the rest of my life as a woman? This is what I must answer and do so without reservations.

It would be easier if one could just start from scratch and not have to face the scrutiny from people who have only known me one way; the way I was taught to be and behave. This remaking of oneself is no easy task in your mid-fifties and anyone who underestimates it is not thinking about all facets. For there are a myriad of little wrinkles which when combined sometimes fashion themselves into mountains which can seem insurmountable. To succeed one has to get back to the roots of identity and separate the public persona from the true self.

It is said that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time which I think in this case very much applies.


  1. Yes, munch munch! Many bites, small and large. The transition journey is full of twists and blind corners that one learns as she goes. Almost every day there's something. Like yesterday I had some time to kill (while waiting to call a GCS surgeon's office) and phoned GEICO to update my name, gender, and drivers license info. And then I called the GCS office to learn what they had to say and book an appointment to visit them in early August.

    Obviously coming out to all is a very big step. Your mileage will certainly vary from all others. But it's like taking a dive into the deep end. It's thrilling too. And then you just have to swim. I suggest not trying to have every last detail figured out. For example I had no idea I'd be actively investigating GCS and yet, here I am, and it feels right.

    I used to worry that transitioning would be like uncontrollable sliding down a slippery slope. As if I'd get so caught up in the euphoria that I would be unable to take it slow and easy. For me it's not been that way at all. More like each step in the journey presents itself as I need it. But it is a heck of a journey, that's for sure.

    One thing that's interesting and nothing I could have ever predicted is living as a lesbian. In general, women are much more friendly and warm to me than they've ever been when I was a man. Now it's all too easy for me to misinterpret their friendliness as something more, perhaps romantic, than what it really is: women relating naturally to me as a woman. Wow!

    It's just so rewarding to go about life authentically. Honestly I can't imagine ever even wishing to go back.

    1. I am glad that you are finding your way in these complicated waters Emma. I suppose you never thought you would be where you are and I did not either. But such is life with its unexpectedness and twists and turns. I wish you all the best in this next step...

  2. C.S. Lewis said: "You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." That's where I am-actively changing my own narrative, consciously choosing my future path. Emma is exactly correct, coming out has been thrilling. Every single person (with the exception of my ex) I have encountered on my coming out journey has been supportive and affirming. Every new client has not cared. I'm out to about 200 people so far. The other thing I have discovered is everyone has their own story. When you speak your truth to someone while looking them in eye, you discover that everyone has their own story. when I came out to a recent new client, tears welled up in her eyes as she told me the coming out story of her lesbian daughter. Another shrugged and told me his niece is now his nephew and has never been happier. I sometime get hung up on the "forever" nature of my decision to transition and live full time. Then I remember the prior 58 years have been the only "forever" I have experienced and those years were filled with dysphoria and anguish. Then I snap out of it and move on. Praying you make the best decision for yourself!

    1. Thank you so much for this wonderful feedback Marcia I so appreciate it !!

  3. I like to think of it as a matter of honesty; first, to self and then with others. I had wasted so much time and energy manipulating people and situations in the effort to protect everybody from knowing my "secret" that I eventually became a different person - not a good one, either. So, in my attempts to avoid any hurt, I actually caused more pain for everyone; myself included. When I finally realized that I was like a spider caught in her own web, I came to the conclusion that being honest with myself about my gender identity meant that I had to drop the facade. After much rationalization and prayer, though, I could not be fully honest with myself if I wasn't also honest with the whole world.

    I started with quite a large mouthful, and then I just slowly nibbled away at the rest. As the saying goes, don't bite off more than you can chew, but, then, you also have to be able to swallow it. Honesty is much more easier to swallow than were the lies I used to hope would be.

    1. "much easier" Not "much more easier" (I still can't swallow my own grammar mistakes!)

    2. Thank you for this Connie 😊

  4. "Presently I am in the throes of figuring out how to come to a public equilibrium so that there is nowhere left to hide. Do I have the courage to live the rest of my life as a woman? This is what I must answer and do so without reservations."

    Congratulations on crossing a major threshold! You appear, to my eyes at least, to have discovered what you want. Through the process of determining who you are. The word "awesome" is bandied about with such regularity its meaning has been diluted, but I use it now in hopes of conjuring actual awe - this is awesome, Joanna!

    Courage can, will, and even must be summoned. I don't imagine you would be sharing these thoughts right now if the thought of reaching your death bed without ever fully actualizing and living as your true self were not at least an equally frightening proposition.

    "It is said that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time which I think in this case very much applies."

    Indeed. You will begin with baby steps. But, you know why we invoke that metaphor? It's not because they're easy. Quite the contrary. I imagine you watched your children take their first steps. Babies strain and struggle mightily to balance, and finally walk. A baby's first steps are extremely difficult, but it is what they are meant to do. And funnily enough, once they get it, oh, they get it. Cuz the next thing you know as a parent is that they're suddenly running around your house like as though the struggle has been forgotten while they're filled with the instinctive joy of accomplishment as they literally grow into themselves.

    Ours is an arduous journey, to be sure. But a beautiful one as well. A splendid blend of self discovery and self creation with attendant lessons in confidence, acceptance and love which most people do not have the privilege to learn, at least not so acutely.

    So, as you eat that elephant, try to enjoy each bite. It will eventually become a delicacy.


    Caryn Bare

    1. I don't need to tell you how much I appreciate your feedback Caryn but there I said it again...thank you!

    2. You are most welcome, Joanna. It is always my pleasure, and I learn from you and your writings daily myself, even if I don't have time to comment and participate.

      By the way, I don't know if this is the most appropriate way to offer this, since it's public and on your blog (no offense will be taken if you remove the comment), but I'm not the most tech savvy person in the world, and don't know an alternative at the moment. So here goes . . . if you ever want to reach me privately through email, you are more than welcome to. You can say hello whenever. The best address is the word "write" followed by the letters "kjm" followed by the numeral 1. It is a Gmail address. No pressure intended. Just a friendly gesture.

    3. Thanks Caryn and I most certainly will take advantage of the offer..😊


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