Reply To: I feel different

#116940
DeeAnn Hopings
AMBASSADOR

Rachel:

Glad you are here! I hope that your experience here will be helpful as your journey continues.

So, a few things in response to what you said…

I don’t know how old you are, but to this point, you have lived in a world that expected you to behave and respond as a male person. This is independent of how you feel internally. Some trans folks have said that they always knew that their physicality did not match their mentality. No problem with that, but we have to remember that the environment in which they were immersed did not fit their perception of themselves. In order to try to avoid hostile reactions, people usually tried to assimilate; to varying degrees anyway.

The point of saying this is that we all have behaviors to unlearn. Even though we didn’t like those behaviors or had difficulty in doing them, they are still a part of us. In order to fit into the same environment, but from a female instead of a male perspective, there are things to learn and unlearn.

However, one thing that will always be important, and is actually foundational, is to RELAX. If we show our discomfort and anxiety by being fidgety or continually look around to see who is looking at us, it will almost always attract the kind of scrutiny that we don’t want. Even if they don’t recognize you as a trans person, they will wonder if you are up to something. I realize that for many this will be easier said than done, but it is a worthwhile goal.

We must always remember that women tend to function very differently in social settings. They tend to be less assertive, less demonstrative in the context of being assertive and more deferential towards others. This is all part and parcel of how girls, and later women, are socialized by learning from their mothers, aunts, grandmothers, older sisters, etc. and that we as trans women didn’t get. It is all counter to the conditioning we received as males, so we need to unlearn the prior conditioning and adapt to new ways of being. As is said: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice…”.

Said another way, what we need to do is look at the world through different eyes. As I mentioned, women behave very differently in society and society responds very differently to women. One less obvious thing that I experienced was to graciously accept assistance when offered. It took some getting used to as it was just a foreign feeling. As Scarlett O’Hara said: “I have always relied on the kindness of strangers.”. Well, not relying on it, but not being taken aback by it when it happens.

How do we settle into this very different state from the bulk of our experience? We can observe female relatives, friends and co-workers. We can also observe upstanding female characters in TV shows and movies. But, know that this isn’t the work of a minutes. We first observe. Then we think about What we saw and the Why behind it. Next we think about How to integrate those actions into what we do. Lastly, we Just Do It!

Anyway, a bit of conscious thought goes a long way!

I encourage you to complete your Profile page. It helps other members to understand your situation and what’s going on for you. Also, remember that your Profile page is readily accessible and can be updated at any time if something changes for you.

So, your journey has begun and remember that’s what it is. Think Marathon and not Sprint…

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