I thought it might be helpful to review some of the process over the last five years. I’m going to include representative posts and some of the better responses I received. For privacy reasons I’ll remove any names.
End of June 2012
I find myself in this ungendered state. I was talking to our rabbi last night and she was encouraging me to get in touch with one of our congregants who’s TG and a local leader in the TG community and I’ve sent off an email to her (and I believe she knows about me). So one positive step taken. But I’m in a bit of an awkward state as my therapist has been unavailable for a couple of weeks and I badly need a session
The other comment she had was to not ignore my needs. I’m trying to be sensitive to my spouse and her needs and we both want at least our friendship to survive if not the marriage (ideally) to survive, and I’m hardly far enough along to know absolutely for sure what’s going to happen. Still I’m feeling some need to experiment while not making it awkward for her, and then if things do go forward I’m sure that long before I’d come out at work I’d dress on the weekends and such.
And still depression is problematic on the weekend… I don’t see the psych for another week. I do mostly ok during the work week or when I’m with strangers, but I really can’t put on a show for family.
I had just started to see a gender therapist after a few sessions with a general therapist. I had started an anti depressant but was in pretty poor shape (although vastly better than a month before). It is a measure of how bad things were that a vast improvement was still serious depression.
J has been like a guardian angel on the forum for me, then too there are several other posters that have always shown caring.
J: I think at this point in your journey, it might be wise to go slowly, take your time and explore each option fully before moving on to the next. I know that is really hard to do, for myself, or any one else. As I began in my journey, I too, started presenting as myself only after work and on weekends and gradually started talking to everyone in my life about what was happening and what was going to happen. It took time, I gained a few friends and lost a few along the way. In any case, it is really hard to go slowly when the excitement of finally ‘becoming’ begins to take over your life.
Early July yearning for the ability to make it “go away”. I don’t know the percentage of trans folks that have these thoughts, but it must be a sizable minority if not the majority.
On my way home I was looking at some of the guys and thinking how much simpler it would be if I could be like them and just not have this issue at all. Grow old with my wife, not have to consider spending a bunch of money, not have to worry about coming out and the possible reactions at work, our daughter, and the neighbors. Not have to do any of it. And yet this has been with me since I was something like six, so I don’t see how I expect it to just disappear and I had a huge meltdown in April because of it. So thankfully my therapist is seeing me tomorrow and I hope she helps me find more self acceptance, affirmation and peace.
J: Yeah; Rachel. What would it be like not to have to question our gender? I do not think any of us know the answer to that one. This is who we are, the way we were born, like it or not, we have to accept ourselves for who we are and do what we need to do to survive. Many of us have tried in one manner or another to fit into the general society, some for many years. Frequently that is not possible for us, after a time, all that is left is a shadow of a human being hiding ourselves in denial, depression and anger. That is no way to live.
In early August 2012 I started to try what my therapist might call the first stop on the track. Just cross dressing. At the time she thought that was likely what I needed, and if that had worked my life would be ever so much simpler.
Well, at least this was better. I went out shopping yesterday for the bits to make dressing up more like really dressing up. I got some heels, a wig, stockings, some breast forms and a brassiere that has pockets to hold them. A nice little shop where the proprietor is TG and both sympathetic and has an eye for what’s appropriate. OK, I did get a junky eye makeup kit that was only good for the trash – I haven’t actually tossed it yet but I probably will. The shadow just crumbles, the mascara is a joke, etc.
Anyway, I tried most of it on in the shop and it seemed fine for fit. He cut the hair appropriately – might need a little trimming.
I had a close friend over for dinner tonight who knows about my issues so it’s all very safe. He’s always delightful to have over under any circumstances, and insisted on calling me Rachael. It was all a big kick and we had dinner and dessert and chatted for almost four hours. He thought I looked fairly passable, at least that someone on the street or a grocery who wasn’t looking closely at me wouldn’t be wondering who the guy in the skirt and top was (with the exception of some arm hair I have, which is obviously very easy to deal with).
So all very nice for me.
Was I passable? Meh, perhaps barely. My friend R knew what I needed though and really made an effort to make me comfortable at a very delicate time.
Around latish August I had a post that included this statement: “Such a slippery slope. First I dress a little, then a bit more, then I want some hair gone for good. I’m just not sure how far down this path I’m heading. But I might as well dress decently” It says a lot about my state of mind. I had found some relief in dressing but that meant wanting to do more of it. Very tough since I needed to be alone in the house for that.
Indeed, after a hiatus when I went off testosterone and was basically asexual and not bothered by trans thoughts for a while, things got going again like a freight train.
Slightly later in August a post that included this:
I feel like I’ve had to shed a load of judgmental crap I’ve had stored up all my life. Labels galore about what people who CD were or were not. What sexual orientations did or didn’t mean. What my sexual orientation is or isn’t today, yesterday, tomorrow and what that actually means (which as you all know is confusing if you aren’t in agreement with nature’s decision about how you were made). Not to mention really figure out what it would mean to do (not just toy with the idea of) dressing, or doing HRT, or doing GRS and the impacts it would have on myself, wife, daughter, family, job, etc.
A: Yes, it’s interesting isn’t it? Not only do we have to cope with other peoples preconceptions, we have to deal with our own – which often times we didn’t know we held. I think sometimes it’s actually harder to deal with our own preconceptions and judgements.
A had this right on the money. I do think this hit at part of the problem we face as trans people. We internalize a lot of stuff from the society, and that in addition to the fear of consequences can really shut us down. Eventually the top of the kettle blows off though.
After that I had my hiatus, and wasn’t back until late January. There was even a short time I stopped seeing my therapist. However, not much later, perhaps mid-November I restarted testosterone (I had low T) as my psych nurse felt this was not a good way to figure things out. As important was my TG feelings coming back after about six weeks.
When I did go back on T it was at about half the previous dose.
By the end of 2012 I was back with feeling quite dysphoric; I even had this sort of running narrative in my head of “you’re living, dressing and existing wrong”. I remember a particular moment I got really agitated and told my spouse I had to have some space to dress. It really required cooperation to make that work.