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There's a search for approval period you go through. You look in the eyes of people you deal with for hints you are passing and the slightest trace of doubt betrayed by their expression sends you into disappointment.

Of course this works against you.

It wasnt until I relaxed and abandoned that search for validation that others relaxed around me. They drew energy from my behavior and, as a confident woman, I was able to blend in with ease. It turned out that my own doubts had been conspiring against me.

Make no mistake that this is normal because after being socialized for decades to suppress any trace of femininity, trying to bring it to the fore injects great trepidation and worry. You are disappointing everyone around you who expect better. This mindset can be pervasive and takes energy to defeat but, as you see the difference when you relax, you can't believe you didn't see this sooner. It is akin to an epiphany.

I eventually learned that the only person you need approval from is yourself and, as someone who struggled greatly with this, it turned out to have been the far bigger challenge.


  1. This is so true for me. I try to internalize Brene Brown's words:

    "Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you."

    If only it were easier for me to truly believe her! I'm pretty good these days at not looking for approval or caring (much) about a raised eyebrow. But when I'm misgendered - which happens all too often - it cuts to the quick.

    I think you're so fortunate, Joanna, that you're able to just be yourself. Sure, you monitor yourself in social situations. I think everyone does. It's part of being human, perhaps especially for women. You keep testing the water and find that it's warm and inviting, ready for Joanna to be part of it.

    I'm lately considering FFS, for later this year if possible. I'd dismissed the idea last Spring because I didn't want to need it, didn't want to deal with the pain, and sure, anxiety over what the results will look like. Perhaps my need to simply pass through the world more seamlessly is what is driving me to the far right of Benjamin's scale, and for you, you're happy enough toward the left that, on balance, surgeries and so forth just aren't needed. Lucky girl!

    1. You are lucky yourself Emma that you have found your answer which is no easy task. If you are going to do one surgery I might be so bold as to suggest that FFS is the most pivotal because it's the face you present to the world 😉

    2. Emma have a look at the 2pass clinic videos on YouTube. The work being done in Belgium is extraordinary...

  2. Thanks, Joanna, I will check out their videos! There’s a lot to learn, certainly. A friend went to Spain for FFS last March (I think) and is very pleased with her results. But gosh, talk about expensive. I’m really hoping to have insurance cover it. I’m talking to them this Wednesday... cross your fingers.

    About FFS as a priority I can’t argue with you. I have several reasons why GCS and BA are coming first. I look forward to the day when it’s all in my rear view mirror. In the meantime, I’m glad that a month from tomorrow I’ll be under anesthesia most of the day.

    Last, I now have Chrome on my iPad and anticipate that this comment will be posted seamlessly!

    1. Great ! The team in Spain is called facial team. Personally I have been a little more impressed by the Belgian clinic. Perhaps their price is more competitive??


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