Chrissy just had gender-reassignment surgery and says: “For the longest time in my transition I was often so desperately concerned with “Passing” that it was almost crippling.”
As I write this I have a few weeks of being Post-Op under my belt; long enough to start looking for some independence.
It’s going moderately well but I’m still pretty much under house arrest.
It’s not been without some small successes though. At the weekend I managed, with a lot of assistance, to get out and visit my oldest female friend and, although I only managed an hour, it still felt pretty triumphant.
I am definitely making inroads to recovery.
But I’ve had to reluctantly acknowledge that I’m somewhat weakened and that my recovery will dictate it’s own time-scale and I’ve had plenty of time to ponder my new life from my living room. What will it be like when I’m totally healed? Will all my problems be over?
Arguably too much time.
Not that there’s anything wrong with pondering. Some of it has been immensely useful. And some of it very surprising.
For the longest time in my transition I was often so desperately concerned with “Passing” that it was almost crippling.
I didn’t expect to discover so soon that even the notion of needing to ‘pass’ has, in fact, passed itself.
I’m very much still settling into life as a woman but somehow that pressure I felt to be an adequate facsimile of a female has pretty much evaporated.
I’m simply myself and with that has come a tremendous feeling of being at home within my own skin.
I’m a long way from the frightened little creature who first met the public in 2014; terrified at every turn.
I had very little sense of self back then but I’d somehow made the commitment to make changes and somehow…there I was just doing it.
It was an exciting time though because it brought with it the freedom to start over. I’ll admit I had no real idea how much I’d have to face then or I might have thought twice. Becoming a new you brings a level of scrutiny from strangers that might easily shatter you.
It wasn’t uncommon to hear unflattering commentary from passers-by from as little as a foot away.
I was definitely not for breaking. I had to adapt and gradually that same scrutiny helped shape the woman I became.
I grew to understand how to blend in better and slowly my female self took shape. I eventually became less obvious to the casual observer and most importantly, I learned to care less about what that observer even thought.
This was helped by the fact that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, people generally see a duck.
I did start my journey a little unprepared though.
Nights out in LGBT friendly venues were helpful in gaining confidence but did little to help me learn to navigate the real world as a woman.
You can be a six foot Glamazon on a Saturday evening and it might even go down relatively well with boozed up blokes in the taxi queue but try converting that to your daily commute in the cold light of day.
Unless you are exceptionally lucky, it generally doesn’t wash. For the record I wasn’t that lucky but I worked it out in the end. I found a way to make my transition work for me and I found out how to like myself in the face of all that had happened.
And because of that I have absolutely no fear of including a photo from my first post-operative trip out with this post.
Even a casual glance will have revealed to you that I look as rough as toast but despite the pallid face, unflattering light and the worst possible location choice, I absolutely love that photo.
It’s the first ever taken of the new ‘Me’.
And that’s enormously empowering to me. I made it all the way there from my first faltering steps as a full-time female and it represents proof of my achievement.
So it’s not at all hard to show you myself because of that.
My recovery is definitely not all rainbows and unicorns. It’s a hard enough slog for sure but it’s also exhilarating and sharing that photo is at least as real as I can be in front of you.
That feels absolutely OK to me and at this stage, that’s just a great head-space to find yourself living in.