What has been the hardest part?

I was asked an interesting question about transitioning by a friend last night – “What has been the hardest part?”  The first answer that popped into my head was coming out to my friends, especially the first few.  I took a night to sleep on the question, and I can better expand on my answer now that I’ve had more time to think about it.

So what has been the hardest part?  Learning to open up about myself.

I spent years convincing myself that one day the dysphoria would go away, and nobody would ever have to know about it.  I made a habit out of dodging questions and flat out lying to keep people from knowing what really goes on in my head.  I feel bad about that know, but avoiding talking about anything related to the transgender world was a defense mechanism.  I was completely terrified of how people would react if they knew.  Would I be fired?  Would nobody talk to me ever again?

Somewhere along the line I realized that if I couldn’t talk about my issues, then I couldn’t transition.  I had to be able to tell people what was going on, why I was changing and what that meant.  The last thing I wanted was to abandon my old life and start fresh as somebody else.  I love my friends, I love my job and I stubbornly refuse to give anything or anybody up.

I’m a geek, and I reacted the way any geek would during a crisis:  hop on Google.  All my “why do I think the way I do?” kinds of questions kept leading to the same trans support site, so I made my own account thinking that I could post and ask questions anonymously.  It took almost two months before I made my first post.  I had a cold a few days before, and I had told my brother that rather than taking medicine I would just ignore it until it goes away.  He reminded me that I should know better than that by now, and that the last time I ignored a serious issue I ended up in the hospital with a massive infection on my intestines.  Two days later I made my first thread.

Everything started “snowballing” from there.  Scheduling my first gender therapist appointment took a couple of weeks to force myself to do.  Telling my first friend?  Only a couple of hours.  Coming out to people got easier and easier as I got used to it.  And the things I was afraid of?  They didn’t happen.  I still have my job, I still have my friends.  Unsurprisingly, now that I’m not withdrawing in on myself anymore I feel like I’m much closer to everybody in my life than I ever used to be.