Lets be honest, dysphoria is a bitch! One that can ruin the most amazing moments of your transition. Your mind can truly be your greatest enemy, or you can turn it into your greatest ally. In a world full of people who are more than willing to stand against everything you are, why wouldn’t you want you on your side?
Your Mind and Dysphoria
When you are stuck in a dysphoric moment, it can be life numbing. You don’t want to go out. You don’t want to be seen. You don’t even want to look into the mirror because the person that you really don’t want to be seen by, is yourself. You sink into a space within that is all too familiar. The space in which your true identity has been imprisoned in for years. It’s a cold, dark, and unforgiving place, a place of sincere self-loathing and self-pity. So, how do you escape it? How do you move forward when you don’t even want to move at all?
You have that constant voice in the back of your head. The voice of pure fear and anxiety. That voice that has been your constant enemy all throughout your life. The one that tells you, “What the F**k are you thinking? You can’t do this. You’re never going to actually be a man (or woman). You’re never going to pass in this world. Everyone will always know what you are. You’re an idiot for ever thinking this was going to solve anything.”
I’ve been here more times than I care to count. The worst part about it was, I would feel perfectly fine the previous day. I would love how things were progressing in the mirror. I’d feel proud and as if everything, in my life, was right on track. So, how do you go from that one day, to waking up and hating everything about yourself? It’s a sort of dark cloud that covers every part of you. You want to escape it, but you can’t escape yourself. That’s something you’ve learned a long time ago. What do you do?
You stop. I don’t me stop transitioning, or stop taking hormones. I mean, just stop. Take a breath. Force yourself to look at yourself. I mean, REALLY look at yourself. Look right into your reflection’s eyes, into your own eyes, and remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Imagine how bad it could be. Think of the worst possible situation for yourself, and how horrible you would feel if that was your reality. Then, feel grateful that this isn’t the case. This is the ultimate F**k you to that little voice of fear and doubt. It takes the strength out of those previous words. It resets your mind and allows you to remember what the ultimate goal is here, to be happy in your own skin.
Its Better to Be Moving Forward, Than to Be Not Moving at All
Do you remember what it was like in the beginning? In that first moment that you decided you just can’t live like this anymore? Some of us have known, for years, that we were transgender, and some didn’t have a clue. I knew I wasn’t a girl from the age of 3. Some of my first memories were of knowing that someone made some sort of mistake. I didn’t know how, or why this happened to me. I didn’t know that there were others out there that were just like me. I didn’t know what to do. All I did know was that I couldn’t tell anyone. Are you kidding? They’d look at me like I was crazy. How the hell could I tell the woman that carried me in her womb, changed my diapers, and named me that I wasn’t her daughter? I was scared. So, instead, I went numb.
I suppressed everything I was to the point that I truly started to believe that I had beaten it. Even, as years passed and transgendered people started to un-surface in society, I stilled believed that wasn’t me anymore. But, I was absolutely miserable, and for what? I had everything. I was doing great in every other aspect of my life. I had a good job, a great woman by my side, amazing friends, I just bought a new car, and I was looking into buying a house. I was doing great, so why the hell was I still so miserable?
I started looking at transition videos from trans-men who had documented their changes. I saw a difference in the before and after images that a “normal” person wouldn’t see. I didn’t care so much about their physical changes. I was looking in their eyes. The before images carried that look that I was all too familiar with. That look of complete emptiness. A look that carries years of self-suppression, guilt, fear, anxiety, hate, and hopelessness. They had the same look in their before images that I’ve carried for over 20 years.
Then, there were the “afters.” That look was completely gone. There was an intense happiness in their eyes. They had a look as if they were completely reborn, as if they were starting over. As if, the whole world was in front of them, and they could be and do anything they wanted. It’s kind of like the look you see in small children before reality completely destroys them. I wanted this look. I wanted to feel free like they felt. I started to imagine what my life would be like if I went through with it…..Then, I couldn’t image anything else.
It consumed me. Everything that I suppressed for so long came back at full swing. I was stuck in a point of my life where I knew that I only had two choices. Going on, like I previously had, was no longer an option. There were only two roads I could take. One was long, dark, cloudy and filled with unknowns. A road that contained ridicule, judgement, along with the possibility of losing everything and everyone I’ve ever loved. The other road was much shorter and much less unknown. It’s a path that consumes far too many of those in the LGBTQ community because its one that seems so much easier than the lather. The choice was simple, but also the most difficult one I’ve ever had to act on.
Coming out to everyone in my life was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I could barely accept who I was, so how the hell could I expect everyone else to? I was fortunate to have the majority of them stick by me. You need a support system in these times. I don’t know what the hell I would do with out them because this is not the end of the battle.
During my transition, I froze on several occasions. I spent too much time, stuck in my head, overthinking everything. What if I don’t look the way I want to? What if I never pass? What if this is too much for everyone to accept? What if they all leave?
Then there was the guilt. The feeling that I had been lying to everyone my whole life. I felt as if I was killing off the person they’ve always know, replacing her with someone they never expected….A stranger. I was taking my Mom’s only daughter from her. I was replacing my father’s first born little girl. I was changing the aspects of my whole families lives. I was forcing my girlfriend to fall in love all over again with someone she didn’t know. This was no longer my pain, or my problem, I was making it theirs as well. The fact that I was causing them to feel a portion of what I’ve carried around my whole life, killed me.
There are points in your transition that you just want to stop. You want to lock yourself in your room and curl up under your covers. You just want to hide. There’s so much that goes into creating this new life and identity that has lived inside of you. It all becomes too much. It’s mentally and physically draining. There’s the new batch of hormones that start to battle your natural ones, the reactions of people that you held close, the fact that you are living as two separate people in one life and one body. Somedays you can be yourself, and other days you have to push yourself back into your little cage and be what they’ve always known you as. But, when these days come, this is when you need to persevere the most. You need to remember how far you’ve come, and even though you have awhile to go, any step forward is a step closer to your new life.
Keep Your Spirits Up
During my transition, I have read a lot of self-help books to help get my mind right. In order to get through this, I believe your mind, body, and soul need to all be on the same level. If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent years hating yourself, and because of this you have conditioned yourself into this way of thinking. You believe you’re worthless, or that you’ll never be good enough, but this is not the case. It takes a massive amount of strength and courage to be able to transition. People will have their opinions and judgements. During those times, you will be your biggest advocate. How can you do that when you’re tearing yourself down harder than they are? A positive mind and spirit can disarm even the harshest of critics. Even if the harshest of critics are yourself. Here are some of the books that changed my perspective a great deal:
“Living Life as a Thank you,” By Mary Beth Sammons and Nina Lesowitz
“Zero Limits,” By Joe Vitale
“The Secret,” By Rhonda Byrne
“The Power,” By Rhonda Byrne