The most important part of my transition is growing more comfortable with living internally as a woman; as the months roll by, I feel female when I think about myself and the world around me. It disturbed me for how long I instinctively addressed myself by a male name in my head. But now I often think “hey Emily,” “nice move Emily,” or “what are you doing Emily!?!?” This has fostered a sense of authenticity with my true gender. The fact that I never feel like a man anymore has lifted an enormous emotional and mental burden from my psyche. Unfortunately, this development has caused an additional internal strain between myself and those who I am out to.
Spending time with my friends is awesome now that I am out to them; it feels like there is another layer of trust between us. They also, for the most part, treat me more inline with my true gender – but our interactions leave me yearning for more than ‘ for the most part’.While I’ve become more comfortable being me, it hurts more and more each time my friends treat me as ‘me.’ I find myself rapidly approaching the point where I wonder if I will be able to bear the pain of presenting and being treated as a male around people who I am out to. Every time I hear them use my name, I wince inside; Every time I here them say ‘he,’ I wince inside. as a matter of fact, anytime I hear them say man, bro, guy, boy, or even dude, I wince. Right now I may be oversensitive to some of those, but the ‘friendly mis-gendering ‘ is a clear problem. This problem is coupled by the issue that I don’t know how to even think about bringing myself to ask them to call me by proper pronouns and my name.
There are two reasons, I think, for this anxiety: the first is that I don’t want to inconvenience my friends with my transgender-ness and the second is that I don’t feel like a woman externally. Firstly, (its kind of stupid and I know I need to get over it) I find it difficult to impose things on my friends; I don’t like to upset those I care about. I am always worried I will smother them with my trans problems. I’m afraid to make the uncomfortable. But I wonder how they’ll deal with referring to me when around people who don’t know. They’re have to switch back and forth and could get frustrated. I know I deserve to be identified as the gender I wish, but the whole thing holds me up. Of course the fact that I don’t feel like a woman externally really gets in the way. When I ask people to call me by female pronouns in person, I feel like a fraud. This feeling has been fading over time, but I don’t look like a woman and people don’t treat me as one.
My electrologist knows I am trans. But I hear her assistant refer to me as a “he” or “him.” They both call me by my male name (when I first started going, I said to use my male name because I didn’t have a female name picked out, and she currently knows the one I picked out )Now I know this would stop in a heartbeat if I brought it up, but that feeling of fraudulence held me back last time I tried. I don’t even know how to pose the request. I feel like I’d have to start coming to session ‘en femme.’ Now this is something that I’m totally comfortable doing, but I can’t be out like that in other parts of my life. This inability for the different parts of my life to overlap may be the source of my frustrations.
My other big frustration is my current lack of passing privilege. Now I can see loads of changes in the mirror myself, and so can most of my friends. Nevertheless, I am stuck feeling awful about my outward appearance. Sometimes, when the light’s just right, and I squint my eyes, and turn my head just a little, I can see a woman looking back at me in the mirror. Sadly, this is not how I generally care to look at a mirror. Mirrors tend to cause hours of misery over my wide shoulders, or tall stature, or even freaking big ears. This body image issue will likely continue to plague my life after transition. I’ve always had issues with how I looked. But this time it’s causing me to question my authenticity as a woman.
As time goes by, hopefully I can become more comfortable with how I look, and start to insist more people use proper pronounces and my name.
Everyday things get better. Everyday, I look at my reflection and think, that’s more like it.