January 25, 2021, 10 am: Last minute packing is done, face is just right. Oooh, Carly, you look great. Feeling great. Trip to the airport, so boring! Shoot, the machine won’t read my passport. “Can you help me?” Her eyes are pretty. She got the passport to work. “Would you lower your mask please, ma’am?” Look at that, she keeps looking at me then the passport. She looks confused. “Umm… Sorry, sir, I didn’t know.” “Oh, that’s okay miss. It happens.” Smile big, Carly. “You’re okay, dear.”
That was interesting. Kind of funny. She was so surprised. TSA guy wants me to remove my cardigan. iPad in the bin. Hands above my head. Wonder how that scanner works? “Wait here please ma’am.” Wow, they’re talking about me. Isn’t that cute? Smile big, Carly. Okay. Hmmm! “We need to pat you down, ma’am. Do you want me to do it, or would you like her?” Ah, uhm, are you a male or a female?” How hilarious. This is great! “Yes.” Look at him, he’s shocked! “It’s, okay sir. Everything is fine. You can do it.”
Everything is different!
Something marvelous has happened in me. I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but it wasn’t very long ago. There are many of you who know how difficult and stressful a gender change can be. There are so many questions, concerns, anxieties, and doubts, especially about how others might accept us. For many, these concerns interfere with living our lives, often preventing, or delaying the change from continuing. I know that it did for me; 66 years in fact.
I look at dysphoria in simplistic terms. It is basically a discomfort at understanding ourselves. It is an awareness that things are not right. Consider it a facial blemish. We see it, don’t like it, fret awhile until we conceal it, and then go about our day. Occasionally, we peek at a mirror to check to make sure that it’s still covered up. Oh, yes, I know—Gender dysphoria is more pervasive than my example. Still, it is a sense of discomfort. Dysphoria is often accompanied by other concerns: depression, anxiety, stress, worries and fear and shame. Those concerns magnify the discomfort in significant ways, but the dysphoric discomfort is the same.
I firmly believe that we are able to resolve our discomfort. I won’t pretend that it’s easy or that it can be done quickly. Nobody can do it for us. It takes a lot of hard, concentrated work and attention. It takes a self-commitment to do so. And, honey, believe me, it’s hard to do. After a lifetime of indoctrination to be fit into scripted and expected roles, our brains are hard-wired to think, act and feel in specific and limited ways. You know the mantras, “Big boys don’t cry,” “Don’t get your dress dirty before we go.” We are, in essence, brainwashed to believe that making a commitment to ourselves is somehow bad, wrong, or misguided. I TELL YOU; THOSE BELIEFS ARE FALSE AND NOT RATIONAL. We accept the script as truth, and then live unfulfilled lives based on those self lies.
We do not have to remain slaves to those false beliefs. We are completely capable of recognizing and rejecting them and replacing them with the truth. The single most important person in your life is you. It isn’t our parents, (they are during the years when we can’t fend for ourselves,) it isn’t the person we wake up with, nor is it the children that depend on us. After all, if we are unwilling, unable to care for and love ourselves, how can we possibly give any kind of genuine love to anyone else? If our lives are based on lies and falsehoods, then all of our thoughts, feelings, actions, and relationships are faulty, wrong. Even our imaginations will be wrong. Let’s face it, we are living a lie before others. Are you okay with that? I was not, so I changed. And for me everything is different now.
Attitude, my dear, Attitude!
Attitude can be described as having an outlook on the present moment. We can approach the present based on false information and beliefs or we can take it on based on learning, exploring, and finding out what this moment is truly about and what it can teach us. We will either wilt and shrivel or we’ll blossom beautifully. And let’s face it, nobody takes a cutting of dried-out weeds and displays them in the fancy vase. We instead gather fresh blooms that are wonderfully scented and bring a hint of happiness to everyone.
We bend over backwards to care for a child or to take care of others in need, but will we do the same for ourselves? I say, “Yes, I will!” I will love and give myself the best I have to offer. I will care for myself to be the best me I can be. I will remind myself daily that I am worth my time and effort. I’ll smile big, wave, and wink. I’ll say hi and strike up a conversation just because. I’ll comfort and reassure others and do my best to soothe their ruffled feathers. And I’ll be content with myself in just being me. This is the attitude I will keep. It’s the attitude we all deserve. And it’s the attitude that allows us to go through life exactly as we are intended without missing a beat. Honey, It’s all in the attitude!
January 30, 2021, 2:35 pm: That guy across the aisle is looking at me. Boring holes thru me with his eyes. Isn’t he kind of cute doing that? It really is funny watching that discomfort. Smile big, Carly and wave at him. Take off in a couple of minutes. Yeah! Then home. My very own bed! Hmm, where’s my book?
More Articles by Carly Holloway
- Strength — integrate and differentiate (Pt. 2)
- A new Direction, a new Life
- Integrate and Differentiate
- Thoughts about “Passing”
- Questions about life