For the first 54 years I lived as a man and honestly many of those were good years. I did a passable imitation of being a guy, at least a relatively non-aggressive guy. I might have had some odd thoughts but I did enjoy having sex and I was attracted to women.
That guy had a decent career and tried to be a good husband and father. He tried to be a good person. He also was argumentative and has some other qualities that kept people at a distance, as if he were afraid that they’d find out his secrets.
This was phase 1. The last ten years of it got kinda awkward and that led into phase 2.
In phase 2 I started to figure out first that my inner fantasy life wasn’t such a fantasy nor could it be denied if I wanted mental health. Then it became apparent that only actual transition would work. Goal after goal appeared.
First it was starting hormones, then changing my name, coming out to our community and finally coming out at work and being Rachel full time. Then there was a one year hiatus where nothing more could happen and we could breath. But then it became apparent we needed to divorce and with the marriage no longer an obstacle, SRS became the last goal.
With surgery over I now enter phase 3. To be entirely honest I just feel female. I don’t feel so much like a trans woman than as a woman. I’m entering a phase where it’s better to not tell people about my past unless there’s a critical reason for them to know. It’s no longer an important subject of conversation, it’s better to talk about sewing, baking or the upcoming elections, whatever.
If you’re on this path, know that it doesn’t go on forever. There’s normalcy waiting at the end. I go to work, come home, play, shop, go to the theater (films and plays) and every other activity the rest of the world participates in that interests me. In other words I live. Remember that this is your goal, to live.