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from the Jessie Hart Archives
For many years as I started my transition from male to female, I felt as if I was an actress just trying to fit in with the world. In many ventures into the public eye I felt I needed to concentrate on having a feminine walk, among other important things. In many ways I was creating my own problems as I began to settle into a public presentation which fit in with other women. As I was having fun exploring all the new aspects a woman takes for granted, I was feeling guilty about my progress.
All along I wondered why. After all I was beginning to live a life I previously could only dream of doing. Perhaps it was because I was still experiencing my age old guilt I suffered in my lonely, dark gender closet as I was growing up. In other words I was experiencing the same old problem expressing my true authentic self. At times the struggle seemed to be to much to bear. As the saying goes, what doesn't kill you, just makes you stronger, did make me stronger in many ways and hurt me in others. I overcame by trying my best to explore ways to power through my gender issues.
By powering through, I attempted many less than successful opportunities to express my new self. I ran the gamut of reducing a young grocery bagger to a stutter all the way to be snickered at and or stared at in public when I tried too hard to be sexy. I found when I did that, I never had the chance to experience impostor syndrome because I was attracting the attention for all the wrong reasons. For awhile, one of my favorite activities was making sure my short skirt was even shorter when I slowly passed a semi truck on the highway. When the driver responded with a horn blast or the flashing of the lights, it validated my femininity. Which I discovered was all wrong.
My impostor syndrome really began to kick in when I found myself in situations when I needed to communicate one on one with other women. All of a sudden I needed to evaluate what I should talk about and how I was able to voice it. Often I would be talking with another woman feeling great then the doubts would set in and I needed to try to encourage myself to keep going. If you are familiar with bowling at all, it is similar to bowling three strikes in a row then overthinking the next attempt and totally messing it up.
It took me many years to overcome my impostor syndrome by primarily realizing I had as much of a right to be a woman as the next person. As with every other female I had earned my socialization rights. I can't stress enough how difficult the process was for me. My deep seated paranoia (from childhood) that somehow living as my chosen gender was wrong took almost as long for me to completely overcome it. But I did and these days my primary response to impostor syndrome is to get over it. Especially if I encounter any out spoken gender bigots.
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