Thoughts on Transitioning

IMG_3481.JPGCocoon printing plate circa 1991 – T. Thomas

March 25, 2018

I feel like I’m still being reborn. I’ve spun my cocoon and am still transforming. It has been less than three weeks since surgery. Swelling continues to change the shape of my face in minute ways. My upper lip is slowly decreasing in size as my body absorbs some of the fat that was injected, and my nose changes shape as it heals inside. Some days I look like a prize fighter or Hollywood style hit man with crooked face. I am so happy with the changes though . I never get tired of hearing “miss”, or when I’m with my wife, “ladies.” As my endocrinologist said when I saw him last week, “I’m sure you will have no difficulty being mis-gendered now.” And so far he’s right! I’m also carrying myself differently. I’m allowing myself to be more feminine. It’s really a bunch of bull***t that the gestures and way I present myself now are acceptable since I’m presenting female, but if I was still presenting male it would illicit rude comments.  When I “came out” I had a former coworker whom I’d worked with for 10-plus years say “Man, I can’t believe it. You never talked funny or… (holding up his pinkie in femmy gesture). Really?! Is this really that misunderstood? Is it because people are uneducated, don’t want to know, or maybe just haven’t been exposed to a trans-person? Well this blog is about giving people the opportunity to learn and understand.

The thing about this is, I didn’t consider that I was transgender until a friend described me as such to one of their friends. A few days later we were talking and they told me this and asked me what I thought about it. It really threw me. This was after Caitlyn Jenner had made her transition public. It took me a while to accept it and to even begin to take the steps to find a therapist. After I revealed myself publicly I had other close friends ask why I never told them. That’s just it. I didn’t know! How could I say what I was feeling when I was so confused? I was secretly dressing as a woman for decades. I thought I was just mentally damaged, that I was broken, that if anyone found out I would loose everything, my job, my family, my friends… When you have a secret like this you think that you’re a pervert or that what you’re doing is illegal. No matter that this was in the public eye and mainstream media. Hell, Boy George presented such a different image than the norm thirty years ago, not that he was identifying transgender. But none of that meant that I understood myself. It took months in therapy just to accept it in myself. Since then, so much of my life makes sense. So much of my growing up, my feelings, my choices over the years, it all makes sense now.

I began my journey in April 2016, and really started to physically transition in November of that year. But in the past 16 months, seven of which I’ve been living as a woman, it’s been interesting to experience the changes. While I can’t take estrogen I have been on a testosterone blocker and have been slowly increasing the dosage, with my doctor’s direction, to my current level which is the standard for transgender care. This final increase happened just last week. I can definitely feel the change in my body and mind. I think that with testosterone I had this unwanted aggression at times. I don’t know if this is how all transgender women feel it was for them or if this is how men feel without knowing it. It’s seems like there was this short fuse that could be lit very easily. I’m not a doctor or researcher, so I don’t fully understand the medical side of it.. These are just my thoughts.

Observations

Now that I am living as a woman I’ve noticed some things.

  • Men hold the door for me. I kind of like it even though I’m not attracted to men. I used to do the same thing as much as I could when I was still presenting male and it’s nice to be on the opposite side chivalry.
  • I’ve had the experience of being honked and whistled at.
  • I’m a little more cautious of my surroundings and when people are either uncomfortable with me or regarding me with menace.
  • Cisgender women seem to think that I need advice on clothes, or makeup, or other feminine things. I know this is out of love and support, but I have been doing those things for decades just like they have.
  • Another interesting thing I’ve noticed is that women will openly say things like “I hate you because you look better in a dress then I do.” Would they actually say this to another woman that they hardly know? It seems that they feel that it’s OK to speak this way to me because I lived as a male for so long. It’s very odd but I don’t let it get to me. This is just an observation.
  • People think I suddenly became a woman. The fact is that I was born a transgender woman but was assigned make at birth because of the presence of external genitalia. The doctor didn’t scan my brain to determine nuances and differences in determining gender. There were two options in the 60’s, but this is actually a topic for another time

So what’s next?

As I mentioned earlier, I am now at my full dosage for my testosterone blocker. This puts me at the peak of the medication side of things that aren’t related to my chronic health conditions. My endocrinologist also referred me to a new surgeon in Wisconsin that is performing top and bottom surgery. I have begun the process to schedule a meeting with her to learn more about what can and can’t be done, when, and how. I am also planning another trip next year to the surgeon that performed my facial feminization surgery, this time to perform a scalp/hair transplant that he and his medical partner developed years ago. I am missing quite a bit of hair on my crown and my hairline has receded quite a bit. This lengthy process should allow me to regain all of that hair, and abandon the hair pieces I must wear daily.

Near the end of 2019 I will turn 50. I hope that around that time I will no longer be transitioning, that the cocoon will be empty, and that I will be basking my wings in the sunlight.

Author: Tiffany Thomas

I am a 48 year old trans-woman living in the Midwest with my wife and two cats. I was born the year we landed on the moon, grew up in the 70s and 80s, am a type 1 diabetic of 34+ years, and have a bachelors degree in fine arts. I work as an Art Director in manufacturing. I began transitioning in 2016. I enjoy traveling, seeing new things and meeting new people. And I believe that the greatest accomplishment one can have in life is to have a positive impact on another person. This blog is an account of my journey as it happens. I make every attempt at citing correct facts. Every person's journey is different and nothing that I post here should serve as a blanket fact about anyone person or group of people. gofundme.com/bringtiff2life

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