Transitioning genders, contrary to what some may believe, is NOT a choice. When it comes right down to it, why would anyone choose to upset the entirety of their lives in so doing? So then if I am saying this is NOT a choice, then why do it? Well, the reason is really as starkly simple as it is complex.....it is because the choice NOT to transition would result in greater pain and in many cases, as in my own, a likely slow, cancerous demise and a spiraling dance downwards until death.
I would never choose to see my spouse watching her husband "die" before her eyes as the vision of "he" becomes slowly and steadily "she". I would not willingly wish to risk my job, my friends, and the potential loss of acceptance by those around me simply to fulfill some fantastic notion or desire. I would not choose in an often hidden yet silently misogynistic society still known in many circles as "a man's world" to "become" a woman and to struggle for equal recognition, pay and status where I already enjoyed that "privilege". I would not choose to submit myself to over 150 hours of an electrified hot needle painfully being inserted into every one of the hair follicles in my face just to remove that hair so that I would be able to have an outward image that would allow me to not face the potential ridicule in not doing so. I would not choose to spend the tens of thousands of dollars and time invested in achieving this just for fun.
What I did choose is to live my life truthfully to my own sense of self. I have chosen to allow who I have always been in spirit to flourish in being. This has nothing to do with something just so trivial as the presentation and the clothes. Truth be told, the media standards which dictate how a woman should look, how thin she should be and how much makeup she should wear is a huge box that no one, not even most women, want to subscribe to. Shaving legs and pantyhose are a pain. Bras suck but bouncing breasts are just annoying.... so bras become a lesser evil born of necessity....besides, not wearing one can prompt quite a few unwanted stares which personally I would just rather avoid altogether.
Yes, I chose to live my life authentically to my inner sense of self. I knew who I was internally as a very young child. I never said I "wanted to be a girl" at those early ages. Heck, I just knew that I was me, not thinking of the concepts of "boy" and of "girl". I just enjoyed having friends that I found were closest in personality to me.....and that just so happened to be that they were the girls. The variances between who I was on the outside and how I emoted, related, socialized and acted were just so atypical of almost all the boys that it became obvious to them before I ever admitted it to myself. I, in fact, denied who I was inside for over four decades just to live a life that was expected of me and for others.
Forty five years is a long time to live your life playing an acting role for the benefit of others. I had done it all and achieved all I had wanted in this world that would normatively be called "The American Dream". I achieved all that and realized that my fight to have it and find happiness brought me no closer to it. The reason became clear that I was avoiding the ultimate problem and issue at heart of finding happiness within my own sense of self. And because I was not happy with myself playing the actin role of a male, I was not able to give others the best of my own self. I LANGUISHED as a human being.
As a woman, I find myself for the first time in my entire life, truly happy internally with who I am. I am outwardly content and I profess my contentment of self in my actions and outward personality towards others. Of course when one is happy with one's self and opens one's self up, others respond equally. I have made more wonderful and amazing friends as a woman than I EVER had as the strangely odd and introverted man who really didn't act like one. It's like finding that the mass of puzzle pieces laid out on a table have just suddenly come together. I couldn't see what the finished picture of my own puzzle was until I started to put those pieces together. As a woman, I am my own completed puzzle and the picture of that finished puzzle stares me back in the face as the world does for me as a woman.
Yet still, this "coming of being" as the woman I am is not without pain. Just today my spouse related to me how sad it was in having to see her husband going away only to be replaced by a woman who still had the characteristics of her husband. And it was just tonight that I broke down in tears for the pain I knew it caused her and for the permanent changes it has made within our own relationship. While we love each other as much as ever, it is not the same now and there has been much we have lost in as much as we have gained as friends and close sisters. It was tonight that I broke down in tears and cried my eyes out murmuring "I wish I could have my old life back!".
My spouse, who was with me at the time thoughtfully replied back, "But you were so unhappy inside before. I can see how much happier you are now. There is no way you could go back". That was a very astute, very honest and very selfless thing to say.... and it was the truth. You can't live with someone for over two decades and NOT know when they are unhappy or when they are happy. She saw in me, as a woman, that I WAS happy and content for the first time in the many years that she has known me. Still, the loss of what we once had reminded me that in life for all of us, we can rarely ever have "Have Our Cake and Eat it too" for whatever we choose in life, there are always consequences. The choice I had in deciding to transition was simply remembering the adage, "To thine own self be true". To live a life otherwise is to lie not only to oneself but to all around us. I chose and will always choose to live life honestly and with honor and respect to both myself and to others around me. I don't believe anyone could argue with that ideology.