It occurs to me that while I have begun to settle back into a somewhat regular writing schedule, I have not stayed true to the premise of this journal lately. Well, as the journal is intended to share stories from my experiences through transition, I am on track in as much as I am sharing stories and events from my life; but I have not spent much time discussing my actual transition. So today, dear readers, I will humbly attempt to update you on my progress.
I think one of the reasons my focus has shifted in recent months is that transition has been primarily background noise. In many ways, life – outside of work, anyway – has settled into a very normal feeling pattern. Kate lives. Kate cooks, Kate cleans, Kate goes to the grocery store, and runs errands. Kate goes to parties, Kate goes to bars, Kate goes to restaurants, and even uses public restrooms (sparingly). Kate attends sporting events, goes to recitals, and school functions. Kate has even entered a church building and did not burst into flames!
Okay, all of these third person references to myself are starting to freak me out. You get the idea.
In almost every way, my existence has taken on a feeling of ordinary life. I do not freak out at the idea of leaving the house. When the doorbell rings (usually because I skipped cooking for a night and just ordered pizza), I feel no apprehension about answering. I make eye contact with passers-by and smile, no matter their demeanor – they usually return the smile... or fail to notice. I do not always wear makeup, nor do I always wear the nicest outfit. In fact, it is quite normal to see me strolling the mall or the grocery store in jeans and a t-shirt or casual knit top (I usually wear makeup to the mall... I guess I am funny that way). I am more likely to throw in a headband or clip my bangs out of my eyes with a barrette, than I am to spend hours in front of the mirror doing my hair (my arms get tired). Yet, everywhere I go and in virtually every interaction, I am addressed appropriately, and there is no sense of awkwardness in any way or from any person. For the most part, I have arrived.
The one and only gap is work, which is becoming a problem. I mentioned recently that the tide has truly turned. My life now is close to being a single path, and opposite from a year ago, switching to be a boy – even for just a few hours, much less all week – is a monumental effort both physically and emotionally. I thought when I started on this path that, one, I would be able to handle an “in place” transition, and two, I would be able to manage that split in my life until after FFS. It is becoming increasingly clear that neither idea is still true. Of course, several things have changed since I started this adventure about a year ago. There have been a number of material changes surrounding my work life, but those are irrelevant.
I think the most significant change, and the one thing driving my discomfort (ironically) has been the change inside of me. A year ago, I did not believe I could live happily as Kate until after surgical intervention. I believed no one would perceive me as female until I corrected the features that erode that image. I was also extremely uncomfortable in public settings. I was afraid to leave my house as Kate. Those attitudes have drastically changed. I am not suggesting things are perfect; for example, I know that I still “get read” occasionally. My experience has been, though, that in those situations, at least half the time; it makes no difference to my interaction with the person. More importantly, the fact that someone reads me as genetically male just does not matter to me, as long as the reader does not make an issue of it.
I know that I am a woman, and I am comfortable in my skin. I still have a few “to dos” to check off the list, certainly; but I am happy with who I am inside. One day very soon, I hope also to be happy with my external life. I do not mean post-surgery life; I mean post- “still pretending to be a boy sometimes” life. I am still planning to engage the same surgical options I planned a year ago; in fact, I have even made the decision that I do want to go all the way. That is something I had not worked out until just recently. I am also still very excited to bring all of that to fruition, and even more excited to finally have all of those milestones behind me. The difference is that I am not waiting for any of those events to kick-start my life.
While I await the final milestones, I am comfortable, and I am happy. I am not in a hurry to get things done, I do not rush until life is no fun. All I really have to do is live and die, but I am not in a hurry, and I know why (Sorry, that was a terrible play on song. I am still a huge dork – that will never change!)...
The life I have always wanted is the life I already have. It looks a little different from how I first imagined it, but if anything, it is even better than what I first imagined. It is funny how that can happen sometimes.
Ciao for now!