I look across the table at my friend. I have just met her and I am taken aback with how she looks. She is in her mid 20's, finished transitioning 5 years ago and looks amazing. She admits her voice never broke and indeed it sounds feminine and soft unlike my "in-between" voice that I am still working on. There is absolutely nothing that suggests this lady ever transitioned and I tell her I am envious she did it so young.
"But you did do it!", she tells me, "That's what is important".
And she is right, I did do it! I made it through and out the other side and relatively intact too. There were good and bad times and I have lost in some respects but gained massively more in others. My friend might be a vision of feminine beauty but I also admire who I have become and how I present to the world. I am extremely grateful for the reminder.
It would be great to be able to go back and do all this at a much younger age. Then I think of the disadvantages. Society wasn't so good at dealing with trans people 20 years ago. Treatment options were much less available, GIC's were limited to possibly 1 or 2 and information for GP's was non-existent. Surgery had to be self-funded and the quality of the surgery was not at the level that it is now. On reflection, now was the right time to have done this. I seemed to hit it just right to get through in as short a time as possible and not get too caught up in the crisis that the gender services are now facing.
Today my birth certificate arrived and it shows me now as assigned female at birth. This has slotted everything into place and now I am able to choose who I out myself to. Being trans was just a part of my life and now there is no longer any need to reveal that part of my life to anyone unless I choose to. I am not in denial of the last 40 years but I no longer have to show my birth certificate and a deed poll, both with my old names on them. I can consign all of that to the past.
My medical transitioning is finished and even though I am back working at the Laurel's, a place that has some very bad memories, I no longer have to prove anything to anyone. The last 6 months since my surgery have found this attitude to be extremely nurturing in finding the true me. There is less worrying about hormone levels, particularly the dreaded testosterone. I know my oestrogen is important and that was at a comfortable level a few months ago, but that chasing around of my T levels was an added level of stress and it is nice to be free of it. I notice the lack of T more and more, some tiredness at times as well as a calmer and even euphoric state most of the time. I still get angry sometimes, but I frequently burst into tears when it happens. The red mists are gone and replaced by red eyes instead.
I still encounter hostility within the trans community and I have come to deal with that much better. I have learnt to walk away, something I could never do before. The last word is not so important any longer and I am happy to have my say and move on, no more going round in circles achieving nothing. Even today, I discovered someone ridiculing my blog and what I write about. I know from the (few) messages of support I get, that people are reading, enjoying and learning from what I write. But when I read people being cruel about what I write, I feel like deleting it all and walking away from the community. I am accused of being stuck in the past by writing my post-op updates and that I should move on. Well, one day I will move on and and walk away from it all.
But for now, I want more people to be able to be in the position I am in. To be able to say "I did it" too and enjoy the contented life being transitioned can bring. If I can help by writing and informing, then I will continue to do so.