Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Today is a celebration for me, it marks the first anniversary of being me! A break in the road, a time to ponder on achievements, disappointments and set new goals. This journey has a long way to go and many more adventures await, but for now some reflections on my experiences throughout this year. Please excuse the long post, have much to say and express. Also excuse all the pictures, I am a lot less vain in real life I assure you!
After checking my notes for this post I felt it best to split the whole thing to different sections to not only shorten it but to make the information easier to digest.
This time last year I was depressed, not in a traditional way, but just fed up with life and unable to capture any sense of happiness or calmness. Albeit having a positive outlook towards a future. I was full of anxiety and sadness that had been present since my late teenage years. Happiness was something others enjoyed, I would people watch admiring their smiles wishing the same for myself. Full of hate for the world and everything seemed stupid to me. I had survived a suicide ride the previous summer and was working towards getting better inside. The anxiety was waning and a new set of friends was really allowing me to be myself, even if just for a night or two a week. I knew something was close and was hoping for a new life, an actual life.
Modern medicine is fascinating at the best of times and after securing my name change, passport and plan with work, Faith was ready for her new life. Sitting on the bed, starring with anticipation at the little blue pills, I knew this was it. I had spent the last year working up to this point. I had achieved my goal of getting to the medical side of transition within one year of starting my journey. So it begins…
My has mind switched from a total train wreck filled with aggression and hate to a Buddhist meditation temple with flowers and incense. The clouds of despair had parted to reveal a burning and intense sunbeam. I flew where I had once crawled and sprinted where I once plodded. The energy that flows is incredible and my eyes are open to what I had always been missing. These little bursts of happiness and delight have started to sprout and creak through my bones. Mesmerising and intense, a shock-wave of colour explodes from within. Is this really me? The cogs have certainly started turning as the rust of cobwebs that had plagued my thoughts begin to fall away.
Since this magical moment I feel as though I have been reborn. Sounds silly and romantic but I do really feel like a new person, just a new person with a ready made personality. Growth and experience have become my new mantras and I revel and indulge in life for the first time. Just LIVE LIVE LIVE! Before I was on the sidelines watching and celebrating others without anything for myself. People cared and respected me but I was going nowhere. Now I see, for the first time, and the world is not a desolate place but full of scented roses that call to me. I have made it to Happyville!
Content and thankful, relief from my burden. Able to enjoy what life brings and endure sorrow with compassion instead of divisiveness. I now know what it is like to be a person in the world and give back to it without reluctance. The little smile that I have for myself has been long in the making and is for everyone not just me.
I am sometimes lonely though, I find myself sitting pondering on my own in coffee shops and strolling through the park without anyone to share my life with. I have friends of course but nobody yet to call my own. It is a hole in my happiness, a blot on an otherwise perfect reflection of contentment. I do not worry about it all that much though because I am still growing and have not blossomed yet. When I finally resolve all the rusty innards of a mind that suffered for years with depression I hope someone else will reach and grab me.
With only being on the hormones one year the changes have really only just begun. There are definitely notable differences from before I started. My skin is so much softer to touch, more sensitive and with a vibrancy from the tough male skin that wrapped me. It is lovely, enjoyable even, sensation is more intense with tingle and expression. Hair is slowly becoming finer and softer as well. I do not need to descale anywhere as much as I needed to before. The daily chore of looking after my outside has become natural and less. It leaves more times for the fun things and life and has aloud my body dysphoria to fade away. I am now confident showing more flesh and feel no self-consciences like I did before.
My hair has grown considerably and not only has this year been about starting hormones but also learning a very difficult skill. Creating beauty from your head mop is a challenge. So many products, tools and styles. Where do you begin? I now have a very healthy collection of brushes, some that did not work and some that are only needed for certain things. My hair has now grown to a length that I am happy with and my confidence has grown. My hair is very thick but very, very frizzy. It is a real nightmare trying to keep it neat but I find the process enjoyable at times and at others quite distressing. It is the only part of my outer image that I feel lets me down. Some days at work I just know the frizz is having a moment and it means I go to the safe place of ponytails. I shall leave it to grow and grow until I learn to control it properly or its own weight simply pulls the frizz to acceptable levels.
VOICE! I have one now, it is fine and almost feminine. My monthly voice therapy sessions are fun for me and the lovely lady that does them validates my progression regularly. She really helps me refine the little parts that creak and spill back into masculine tones. It is a long slog though, and is something that will probably always be a weak point for many transwomen. I have got to a standard where I get by within society and do not need to worry all to much about how I am heard. I do thoroughly recommend to any transwomen just starting out to go see a professional voice coach.
Breasts and hips are coming along nicely if a little slow. But I knew this would be a long game and I have no real wish for anything massive, shape is more important to me. I will just allow mother nature to play her part and see what happens over the next year or so. I have hopes that my inward vision is realised and I will be happy enough to live a thoroughly rich life once the rocky road f early transition is behind me.
The biggest question I have been asking myself the last six months or so is one of identity and self belief. It is a hard aspect to explain in simple terms but certainly at the forefront of my thoughts. The question is what am I? Not having a thought process or personality that matches my exterior is puzzling at the best of times and downright awkward once you start meddling with the whole thing. My own naivety has come into question recently as well that thinking taking some magic medicine would solve all my problems.
To some degree the hormones give me the mixture needed to create happiness and a body that reflects my inner spirit, but it does not give me the tools to break down years and years of conditioning. It was not something that I had really contemplated before starting transition but my male conditioning has started to crumble around me. This is a very good thing but it is also important to patch the cracks. How do I do this without anything to use as filler? I dig deep into my soul and search for some sense of it all. It is one thing to look the part but to be the part is something altogether different.
Talking and looking feminine is something I have become very accustomed with and have a certain level of success with this. It is now just to reveal my spirit. I spent a summer evolving myself and gaining much experience from discussions with other transwoman who have been through it all. Some had very interesting stories to tell and now have a few tools to use to really discover what I want form all this. I am still a baby in terms of transition and am glad I am asking the difficult questions now instead of blindly skipping down Oestrogen Lane.
I tackle with sexuality on a daily basis as well and my heart is confused by all the new experiences laid out for me to pick and sample. I have decided that labels are not for me and the only way I will make any sense of my feelings will be to stop over thinking and simply be. This is difficult though because we are constantly reminded of sexuality from the media and our own social interactions. Trying to ignore the signals and questions is nearly impossible and I overload on men, women and fellow transfolk all the time. It brings me to a place where I hide from dating to such an extent that I have still only achieved one date since jumping into the world of love. This is something I have promised myself to improve on in the near future. I want a relationship, I want to feel love.
I have been accepted into society with open arms since going full time as Faith. I can only give a huge high five to London for welcoming this fresh faced person back to the fold and allowing me to express myself. I can honestly say the only rejection I have faced is the odd silly comment form passing drunk blokes on the street. Maybe I am just lucky, maybe I pass well, I don’t know. What I do know is my smile is infectious, I have loving friends and a more varied social circle. Although moving house recently has seen me lose a few friends and there have been others over the last year that have fallen by the wayside. This is all part and parcel of transition and I still hold all my close friends tight.
My new hometown is great as well. I walk freely around Greenwich Park and love to absorb all the history, culture and nightlife. My local pub has really embraced me as well, all the locals seem to love me and I am making even more friends with my neighbours. Living now and not just existing around others has its advantages and I laugh alongside them instead of rolling my eyes and tutting like before. I engage more and more as my confidence grows and I find myself surrounded by interested people at times. It does sometimes get overwhelming with all the questions but I would rather this than being shunned.
How others perceive me is slowly altering as well. When I started transition I was already worried I would never fit in anywhere. I would like to be clear that I do not proclaim to be a woman but in terms of a social context I am certainly one of the girls. I mingle well and my chit-chat is coming along very nicely. I do not mean to generalise but there is a gulf between socially interacting with women and men. You notice this to an even greater degree when you are transgender because all you think about is gender for the most part! I will not be satisfied in my own self acceptance through society until I bring together my mind, body and spirit as one for the world to behold…and hopefully love!
So all in all a great year for me. I have successfully taken the first steps in transition and now have some tough choices about my body to make. Nobody ever said it would be easy but it sure is better to have this challenge ahead of me still then be back to the darkness.