Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Opportunity or Challenge

Image from UnSplash

During our often long and torturous gender journeys, we often face many difficulties.

The first obstacle we face happens simply because we faced the problem of having no chance to really experience the world as a youth as the gender we really wanted to be. Transgender woman or trans man, both have to catch up with what we missed as a youth. Not being able to socialize with others as our authentic selves really would come back to haunt many of us when we first ventured out from our dark and lonely gender closets. Of course, in the case of trans women, we needed to learn the basics of makeup and wardrobe before we could seriously move forward in the world. 

In my case, moving forward meant saving my meager allowance and adding it to my paper route money (I had a rural newspaper delivery route) so I could purchase my own make up and even was able to buy my first pair of women's shoes. I learned quickly, just having the money was one thing but having the courage to spend it was another. I needed to gather my funds and courage then try to sneak out from where my Grandma lived to visit a nearby Woolworth store which featured (among other things) an intimidating section of makeup supplies. I do not  remember now how I was able to maintain any sort of composure to buy anything but I did and was able to slowly build my own small collection of makeup which I was able to hideaway from prying eyes at home.

It turned out I had faced the challenge of purchasing my own makeup and then had to face the opportunity of how to apply it. I was on my own and had no peer group to question me if I was doing it right. I only had the mirror to rely on. During this time, I only tried once to come out to a male friend of mine who was my age and was completely rejected. So back into the closet I went. The only relief I had that there was anyone remotely similar to me was another young male friend of mine who sued to dress in his mother's clothes. However, before our explorations moved ahead too far, he ended up moving a couple states away and I was alone again.

Much later in life did the challenges begin to disappear and the opportunities began to become very relevant in my life. The days were upon me when the term "transgender" was becoming widely used and more importantly I could apply the word to myself. In addition, my trips into the world became less and less anticipation and more and more realization. Step by step I was learning who the real me was and she felt so natural. 

I was able to keep my thirst for change up and kept finding ways to meet new people (primarily women) who accepted me for the trans woman I was and with them at least, they had never met and had no knowledge of my old male person at all. Challenges became fewer and fewer until it was time for me to consider taking the step and starting hormone replacement therapy or HRT. The changes in my gender hormones provided me with opportunities I had only previously dreamed of. As my skin softened and my hair grew, I was able to present a more natural version of myself to the public. 

Now I look at all my gender challenges as opportunities to grow and do better in life. I ended up living my dream and succeeding in experiencing both sides of the binary gender border. Not always fun but always satisfying. A place I never thought I never could achieve.  

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