|Image from Sydney Sims|
When I reached the point where I considered coming out of my gender shell and pursuing a life as a transgender woman, my anxieties went up considerably.
Possibly, the main issue was just surviving in a new world. Everything was different than I supposed it would be when I experimented as a cross dresser or transvestite. The main difference was I was attempted to insert myself into a new world without the benefit of my old male privilege's I had worked so hard to acquire. When my status was in doubt, I couldn't just bluster my way through and had to finesse it. Especially when I found myself in conversations with other men. When my car broke down one day, I found out the hard way how dramatic the gender change could be when the sheriff who responded along with the tow truck driver refused to listen to me regarding how the best way it would be to get the car back to my house. I finally had to just shut up and play the dumb blond. Even to the point of asking ridiculous questions about how the wrecker worked to the driver when we were heading back.
Looking back, perhaps the only thing which was really hurt was my male ego who all of a sudden was shut out of my life.
Through it all, my anxiety continued to build along with the pressure. As it increased for me to be successful on the stops I made on my new gender journey. By stops, I mean the times I tried to slow down my male to female gender transition to reflect on all that I had learned. It was difficult because I was so eager to attain the next step I was seeking. I shouldn't have worried because huge changes were looming ahead which would make me terrified to go forward yet so excited not to. As the cis woman (born female) friends I began to know, told me so knowingly, welcome to their world. Any time for reflection I had earned had to be learned on the fly.
As I added layer upon layer of experiences when I went public, adding communication was the one I write about the most. Learning how women uniquely communicate among themselves was a challenge. I discovered women use a whole different form of talking when men are around or not around. Also, non verbal cues became more important to me as I found myself without the old male privilege of safety. As a man, I could take my personal safety for granted, as a woman the opposite was true. In fact, on several occasions pure eye contact with other women kept me out of possible trouble with men. It certainly took me awhile to learn the new nuances of communicating in the world as a transgender woman.
The other issue which caused me extreme anxiety was the decision to begin HRT or hormone replacement therapy. I knew before I even considered starting the medications, I would need approval from a doctor which wasn't a given due to my age since I was in my sixties at the time. Plus, if that wasn't bad enough, I knew the changes I would go through would make it impossible to ever go back in my world to my my old male self. Since I was already diagnosed with high anxiety and was on bi-polar meds, this did not make my life any easier at the beginning.
Once I started the hormones though, I knew I had done the right thing. I calmed right down, developed in all the right places and went all out to establish a new life. In addition, as I started to feel at home adjusting to female privilege's, I earned my right to play in what I called the girl's sandbox.
These days of course I still have anxieties and worry too much but I can say none of my problems come from my solved gender issues. A welcome relief.