Two years have gone by.... and in that time of those two years, I have carefully kept close track of my own sense of being. I've allowed myself to be myself for the first time in over 40 years of my life. I've expressed as I feel natural and without the constraints I had unconsciously engrained into my own psyche over the years of self repression. And with my allowing myself to be myself, I have come to shed the shyness I once had. The panic attacks and anxiety which resembled some horrific cross between complete catatonia and a heart attack disappeared, as did the nervous cold sweats and involuntary twitches and spasms which had become a sullenly accepted facet of who I was.
In expression of the feminine, I became aware, for the first time in my life, that I was truly happy with myself. I was careful to try to understand if it was a reality or if it was just a means to escape from my former self. This took time and a perspective of observation which only each person can determine for themselves. I felt immediately at home in my sense of being, in my socialization with others, and in my perception of the world and in the world's perception of myself. The interactions felt right. The feedback felt appropriate. In switches back to my "guy" mode, the feedback was there to affirm it as well. Everything was wrong, and now I had a vision of what was right for me all these years. It was something I ignored.
Ignoring my own sense of true self, I had created a parallel path in a male world and set out to control it as best I could. I affirmed and denied my femininity dozens of times in my life... maybe more. At times when I affirmed it yet felt trapped, I considered how I might move forward, or, in frustration and shame, end it all. Being too much of a coward to do either, I simply boxed and re-boxed my feelings... and put them away in a dark closet within my mind. I focused instead in setting goals and tangibles to achieve things that I could safely control....and safely achieve.
The key word here is control. In trying to control my world, I obtained what I had set out to do... my American Dream.... yet in the process, I failed to be human, failed to be empathetic, failed to listen. I was trying to control everything and realizing that something was out of control. I was not happy and I was not always pleasant a person to be around for it. I was miserable inside for much of my life, but found that setting and achieving other tangible goals which were societally considered non-threatening was the perceived salvation to my inner misery and torment. I was wrong....
Feeling gender dysphoric is no cake walk. It can go from seeming to be a fun dress-up and playtime realm and morph into something that can irreparably alter one's life, their relationships and their own and their family's economic status. It becomes the thing that many cannot run from any longer yet which begs relief only if they do. And as a result of seceding to the very thing many have denied of their selves and run from, they come to behold a sense of oneness of themselves...all in exchange for a plethora of pernicious problems to plague them in its stead.
I've met a large contingency of transgender women who oft have no clue as to what this dysphoria feels like... no conception.... nor the price is to acquire the physicality of what they envision will be their salvation. I've had some of the most blank looks from a contingency of those I have tried to relate to and find comfort and empathy from. For some it is for the sheer fact that they are happily bi-gendered and perfectly content in the bodies they were born with and the primary gender in which they live the predominant part of their lives. Many find a balance within themselves which others cannot seem to find or to convince themselves of.
There are also many I have met in my travels who feel that they are more a woman through the surgeries they have, and the hormones they take. It almost seems a coveting of the material and of the body parts which they feel will make them somehow more congruent. It is, for many who do undertake such bodily changes for these reasons who come to tell me in later years, that it was but a false panacea for them to believe that in so acquiring, they have "become" a woman. Who one is truly, is not defined by what one wears, how they deport themselves as the gender they believe they are, or by what surgeries they have; it is defined from within. It is a range... an infinite range that spans from masculine male to feminine female and every one of an infinite number of points between. As for myself, I tried to compensate to be more-so like the male that was expected of me by everyone and, over the years, it took its toll, leading to a complete nervous breakdown.
So now I have been able to live a portion of my life as who I am inside and to allow that person to be set free. The difficulty becomes the inability to continue to play the smoke and mirrors role of male once acted out.
The veil is withdrawn... we see for who we truly are
Once the truth is known, the challenges change. Gone are the frustrations of repressing a person who for decades never lived as they felt inside. Now the frustrations are replaced with a game of playing the person who never really was to begin with... a person who was a social construct derived to try to please parents and friends and a list of expectations by them and by all to be what was expected. And so then, thoughts of what costs lay ahead in changing a life constructed and lived as the person envisioned by others when one can not even believe the act themselves any longer......
Transition comes with a price tag that is seen only through the haze of jaded eyes and whose full price oft becomes only visible after the final sale has been completed. The reality of what it means to live as female is often lost by many a weekend cross-dresser as they amble from one transgender convention to the next in a fantasy-land bubble of accepting and skewed alter-reality. Then... each person who completes the journey and who tries to warn their fellow person of the concerns they must judiciously face ahead are met many a time by a headstrong valiance which only the ignorance of a myopic vision can yield. And so they too thrust headlong into the maelstrom, only to repeat the cycle.
Those who know, advise those who do not, to take care and think through who they are and what they want or must have of themselves to be completely whole as a person. Still, though, many leap before they listen... listen to what only they can answer within themselves... and answer only to what they bring upon themselves as a result. If the scales balance in the favor of those who do choose wisely, then they have met a net gain. But in almost every case, that net gain comes with with it's own set of losses..... and only each person who charts their own unique course in this world can say whether or not it was worth it.
I'm choosing not to choose..... at least right now. You see... my choice is one made by two.... for I cannot fully 'be' without the spirit who allowed my wings to spread to accompany me. We have flown too many miles in formation together and know each other like our own selves. We are moving, but slowly, together. We both take each day at a time... assess and reassess. We are both growing and learning; of ourselves and of each other in the process.
The human spirit is an immutable driving force which leads us to do and be more. Change is a powerful agent of that force. We grow and we change as a result. We become self-aware and we gain perspectives in age that we do not and cannot oft have in youth. As for my own journey.... WE shall see. We take it one day at a time and hold fast to what the two of us share together, each other.