Making it through the struggles after coming out…
When you come out, a lot of your world changes.
For me, that was especially true as I came out as a trans woman then moved to a new state to start a new job in a new career field. To put it mildly, its been a time of transition in so many ways that its kinda a horribly laughable joke.
But through it all, I’ve been working through the day to day and finding new places where I struggle. As I’ve always committed to in this blog space — I want to be open about this journey and what I’ve been facing.
First: The Beauty Culture
I wasn’t ready for this.
Transitioning gender is an intense experience full of surprises you honestly do not expect to face.
For me, one of the the biggest things I’ve really had to face head on has been the absolutely difficult experiences of seeing beautiful women everywhere you go in advertisements and feeling completely and utterly inadequate.
This is definitely true for women, but add the trans layer on top of that and you get a really intense, and tough experience to deal with. Staying confident in myself and in who I am is toughest when it feels the world is constantly telling you, “You really aren’t pretty enough unless you can do this one thing or buy this expensive product.”
Second: The Loss of Privilege
As a former white male, there were actual and serious seats of privilege upon which I used to sit.
There are multiple angles I could attack with this and (honestly) it's a whole blog post upon itself. But the one thing I’d like to really tackle is the loss of safety.
I used to do things like wander back country roads by myself searching for great photo opportunities without really thinking much about the possibility of a passerby except that they’d be pretty annoying in breaking up the pace of shooting imagery.
Now? The thought of even doing such a thing is atrociously difficult to comprehend. There are real and serious threats against me just for who I am — and that is magnified when I am in vulnerable (aka solitary) situations.
Hence, there are real things I truly cannot do anymore for my own safety. This has resulted in a grieving process I didn’t fully expect to have to undertake.
Third: Transition Never Ends
There was a moment not long ago I realized that while I’m still seeing the HRT regimen I’m on do its work, I’ll never truly be done with transitioning.
Medically there are a lot of steps you can take if you so choose to transition, but there are countless more options to transition socially.
The cues you learn growing up as a child in the wrong gender don’t go away, perfecting a voice to ‘blend’ if you want is a constant work in progress, how to dress for this event and not that one, which restaurants can I go to without having to worry about myself — the list of transition items literally never ends.
Transition never ends.
Fourth: Intentional Self Care Can Be Exhausting Too
This is especially true when you have introduced multiple stressors outside of just the transition aspect to your life.
Initially, there’s a lot of work to be done to ensure that you are being kind to yourself and doing what’s right for yourself.
Thriving post transition (again this is another post) is something that takes intentional work that isn’t always easy. You have to have self-honesty about situations and be willing to fight the negative voices and feelings that are going to crop up.
It’s real work and on top of the other stressors trans people face — it's a lot to deal with especially when you don’t plan on that initially.
However, self care is super important and you need to make sure you do it if you are transitioning — letting yourself fall down into rabbit holes of depression or anxiety is not going to end well when you choose the journey of transition.
Facing any negative feelings with intentional self care is important as they will come up — I couldn’t imagine someone NOT facing them going upon this journey.
Last: Remember It's Worth It
Life is truly good on the other side of transition!
I have had more moments of completeness and contentment this past 1.5 months than I have had in the previous 5 years combined for sure.
A part of the reason why has been I set up a serious self-care plan to ensure that through the stressors of moving and changing careers, I have had outlets to ensure I am able to do things which invigorate and rejuvenate me.
There are multiple hells one can go through during transition, from losing family and jobs and spouses and children — and I cannot say that those are things that I fully experienced.
In that way, I’ve had it far easier than others and it's worth noting everyone’s journey looks different. But, I truly believe the secret to surviving this in every instance is ensuring you can undertake the journey with radical and intentional self care in mind.
And the last thing for allies, friends and family members of trans people reading this and wondering what the best thing you could do for your loved one going through transition, my best advice is this: be a real friend.
The transition journey, even for me, hasn’t been exactly easy. There were multiple surprises and stressors awaiting that I never expected. Being a real pal to someone you care about is super important throughout this entire, neverending process.