Year of the Phoenix III, The rise from ashes

Once I got on antidepressants, I started to get a better grasp of everything. I felt as if I could finally let the weight fall from my shoulders; unburden those immense feelings that were smothering me and lay them down. I felt like I could calmly work through one by one all the things that were clogging up my mind. Think of it like a spring cleaning. I was able to start organizing myself and to feel healthier.

Work became easier; I could finally handle the stress and negativity that previously hit me like a brick wall. I started eating healthier, losing weight, and I slowly got more active. I started taking interest in my own self care so that I at least had an escape when stress and anxiety got me down. I was succeeding again, except for one very important area. I had put any further thought about transition on hold since my last horrible doctor experience. I needed to sort out my gender identity.

I now had some confidence built up; I was feeling good about myself. One of the first things I did was pierce my ears, something I had wanted to do for some time but could never gather the courage to do; two piercings in each ear, and it felt amazing. Not the actual piercing, but the feeling of having jewelry in my ears, even though they were only the start up loops they put in ears to begin with. I also got a tattoo. I decided I wanted to get Odin’s ravens on my front shoulder area. Huginn and Munin, truth and wisdom, caught in a circle around one another. Seek out truth and have the wisdom to accept it.

I decided to give trying to get on HRT another go. This time, I called my clinic and specifically asked for a gender specialist and not a general endocrinologist. I talked with the doctor for quite a bit. Discussed where I was, what I thought about myself, and what changes would occur while on HRT. I got my prescription that day, but had to wait a couple days as my pharmacy had to order my drugs. On May 18, I started HRT. At this point, I was still struggling with exactly where my identity lay, but I figured if HRT wasn’t for me then I would know. It would be better to try and determine if it is or isn’t right for me, rather than wonder the rest of my life what might have been.

The first couple of months brought subtle changes, mood stabilization, and more confidence building in me. In fact, I got to where I knew that HRT was working for me, and nothing physical had began to happen, other than my breast tissue was extremely sensitive. Man, talk about painful, you bump into something, go too fast down the stairs, it hurt, I would rather stub my toe. But hey, HRT was working in physical ways, too. I was happy about that.

I started pushing my limits more and more as the summer passed by. I used makeup more. I’d been quite reluctant prior to this time, but as I learned better technique, I found that I really enjoyed it. I was also really starting to find clothes that I liked to wear. I still only wore them at home or to support group; it made me happy to do so. I even started venturing out with my wife more as my true self. I needed her to be there though; I still felt really vulnerable. While all of this was going on, I felt my depression and anxiety starting to come back. I started forgoing dressing on the weekends so that I wouldn’t have to go through the heartbreak of when the weekend ended. As I became more and more happy being femme, I was becoming more and more unhappy with being male.

I was coming to the realization that I was not in the middle as to my gender identity. What I had feared in my subconscious, I am a trans woman and the need to do something about it became more and more obvious. The tipping point came one afternoon as I was going to my therapist appointment. I tended to dress femme for my appointments, as that was a safe place for me to do so. Most of the time, I changed in the bathroom there, but on this day, I went home early, dressed in what I considered one of my best outfits, makeup, and even wore heels (dangerous I know).

The office where I go has multiple therapists. As I walked in one of the other therapists was talking to the receptionist. I do not know if this other therapists knew who I was, but she greeted me with, “Hello, ma’am, how are you today?” I cannot explain exactly how overloaded with information my brain became, but I do know that I was caught up in processing it all. I didn’t even respond fully, “Thank you.”

Yea, that’s it; I couldn’t come up with anything more than that. That mental wall, preventing me from accepting myself crashed, burned, and no longer existed anymore. In ten seconds I went from a confused gender neutral egg to I Am A Trans Woman!.

I wanted, I needed to be called ma’am more. It was like a drug coursing through my body, hitting all the pleasure centers.

Hmm this is going to be hard… To catch up on the finish read the previously published “Court Adventure” next.

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Stephanie Houck

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Anne Preuss
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Stephanie, thank you for sharing your incredible journey with us. I also read your Court Adventure. It must feel so wonderful to be in a place where you finally feel at peace from a mental/emotional/spiritual outlook along with your physical being. I’ve had two very recent moments where the topic of transgender came up. One party spoke with derision about a new public facility in Milwaukee having three sets of restrooms for men, women, and gender-neutral. She said she was disgusted that a man could walk in dressed as a woman into the gender neutral. I then said what if… Read more »

Jennifer Scott
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Hi Stephanie, I am so glad you wrote this. Like you I questioned and questioned and then finally started HRT a month ago. I, too, feel that I have made the right choice and much like you I go to my counselling appointments fully dressed as it is the “safe” place. It’s weird a little bit when I get called into the gender specialist’s office being called Jennifer but it fits and I am not nearly as self conscious about it as I was. I just think about what others in the waiting room are thinking when I get up… Read more »

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