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.