When I decided to come out and make the first steps into finding my true self, I had a lot of ideas of what I assumed my future would look like. I just knew I wanted to feel like myself. I wanted to look like this imaginary picture I had of myself, but really didn’t have a clue how or when that would happen. I got caught up in the day to day parts of transition and coming out, rushing from the therapist to the hair salon to the electrolysis appointments, all the time keeping up with my friends in real-time about the progress I was making. So many daily victories. So many seemingly huge setbacks. My future seemed like a distant place where I’d be this new, beautiful, gorgeous female. I’d be loved and cherished. Men would fawn over me; women seek out my sage advice. I knew it would happen. It would just take time.
It is July, 2018.
I came out to my spouse back in 2004. I came out to my family and friends in the next few years. Then came therapy, hormones, moving, name changing, surgery. The years flew by in a blur of ever-changing circumstances, battering waves against an immovable object of my coming out. So many new learning curves. So much time and explanation.
So now here I sit. My life before coming out is just a history with little or no real context in my world. I am the person I am. In the years since I came out, my kids have grown up with me. My real life has taken a very normal cis-style bent to it in that I have no real connection to other transgender people. I live and work in a small rural community where I’m pretty certain I’m the only and perhaps first trans woman anyone here has met on a personal basis.
My spouse and I made it through the years of turmoil. Our relationship is much different than it was years ago. We learn and adapt. We’ve found friendship stays even if romance leaves. I guess that applies to my other friendships. Slowly and without notice, my friend group began losing men. I have a few male friends now but most of my friends are other women.
Every now and then, I’ll get a piece of junk mail with my old name on it. I take that as a sign that some people out there still haven’t gotten the news. At this point, I have no interest in letting them know about my personal status. I do the same with anyone I meet. I’m comfortable with myself. I’ve grown into myself and my style (or lack thereof).
Somewhere along my path, I was able to find my dysphoria. I resolved those feelings. I came to that space where I could recognize myself in the mirror. I was me. Being able to see myself allowed me to understand where my personal dysphoria lay. It was my body. The sense of freedom from dysphoria let me move past my inner conflict of not fitting in my own body. And so I found myself.
Life…just went on. And still does. Physical transition ended years ago. Social transition slowly grinds on. I look at myself in the mirror. At age 60, I love my body. I joke about my style (Vermont Hobo). It’s real. I’m real. My life is real. Am I that beautiful young debutante I thought I’d once become? No, but as I move through my day with no doubt or second thought of who I am, I can own that feeling. I’m here. And I’m back for my seat at the table.