During the strenuous years of trying to achieve a passable feminine image, I never thought I would ever come close to feeling the transgender impostor syndrome. In fact, I know for certain for the longest time in my gender transition it wasn't a term at all. Before we go any farther in this post, here is what the imposter syndrome means to me.
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My interpretation is when you have arrived at a certain point of your life which you have worked diligently to achieve, all of a sudden you feel you don't belong for whatever reason. The closest example I can come up with was when I was promoted to a executive general managers restaurant position I had worked years to secure. Once I did get promoted I always felt I belonged there because of all the work I had put in plus all the success I had achieved. Ironically, I never felt the same when I transitioned to a full time life as a transgender woman.
As my life unfolded, I always wondered why I wasn't more satisfied with the results. I mean, hadn't I earned my spot in the feminine world by doing a ton of experimentation which led to learning what worked and what didn't as continued my often lonely path to gender fulfillment. Even though through much of the journey I had my doubts if I was going to make it at all, still I pushed forward. The one thing I never considered was what would my ultimate gender destination look like.
I also never considered once I arrived as a full time transgender woman, would I ever feel as if I didn't belong there. Most certainly I have paid my dues over the years learning the feminine life experience. None of the learning came easy but on the other hand it all felt so natural. The first nights I went out to be a woman, not just look like one was the huge unveiling of what my life could be like if I continued down the difficult path I was headed. Again, after that first successful evening, I knew deep down I could never go back and sooner more than later my life as a male would be over. It was about that time, I began to feel twitches of what I later learned was imposter syndrome. Even though I knew I worked hard at making it to where I was in my gender journey, did I belong there.
It wasn't until much later in my life when all the new internet/social media driven terminology began to appear did I notice the transgender impostor syndrome. I saw seemingly more successful and attractive trans women and men who had their doubts concerning their journeys also. So I knew it wasn't just my own paranoiac self taking control. In my times of doubt, I was fortunate to have my relatively new feminized body and my wife Liz's reinforcement to get me by. My coping mechanism was I had as much of a right as the next woman to occupy the space I was in. The world could always use another woman and she was me. I just arrived by a different path.
For the most part, any trans impostor syndrome I suffer from is a figment of my imagination and a part of my past. To be filed and put away with so many other often unexpected circumstances from my long and eventful gender journey.