I have just turned 54. Here are some of my thoughts.
My birthday this year has hit me in ways I did not expect.
- I have grey hair but I’ve had that for a few years now.
- I have body aches, also present for some time.
- Wrinkles? Yes, I have a few.
- AARP? Yeah that age was 4 years ago.
- Colonoscopy, scheduled again.
These are all things I expected. What I didn’t expect was how strong my craving for being complete has become. All through my youth something was missing. I would catch a brief sense of what was missing from time to time but it never lasted. Was it happiness? Yes but at the same time no. I’ve had many times of great happiness through my years. These times have included friends, family, children, and both my marriages. Still a portion of my sense of self was missing. Sometime in my 51st year I began a search in earnest for what I lacked. Those who read my articles and know me are aware this missing component was an accurate sense of my gender identity.
Since accepting that I am a woman I have been on a steady and rather rapid path to correcting how I present to the rest of the world. The first portion of my path went by so quickly, I often felt though as if the changes could not come fast enough. Rightfully so, I had 50+ years of being female to catch up on. This past year I have reached a slow-down section of my path. I changed jobs, and moved across the country. These two things resulted in a change of insurance, finding new affirming health care providers and more. Then the Covid-19 Pandemic reached the United States. Suddenly I was at a stand still on my path. Or was I?
I found myself searching for how I could proceed in my transition when most all services around me were being placed under operating restrictions. I had found a new electrologist for hair removal, but due to the pandemic I could not schedule an appointment for months. I had found the local transgender support group (Transfamily Of NWPA) and attended once in person before restrictions limited attendance. My only visible progress could only be seen in our finances. I had taken the new job as a way to prepare for the rest of my journey. This journey is not only my transition but also my journey through life. I felt as if ALL of my progress had halted. Only recently have I begun to understand that merely existing as Dana was still progress.
The months passed. Eventually restrictions lessened and I was able to resume Electric Stabby Hair Death (electrolysis). During the months of tight restrictions I had made a decision. I would change the focus of the hair removal to my genital area. While I’m still not 100% sure I need surgery, I do feel strongly that it will help with or even fulfill my need to feel complete. My progress had resumed. One hair follicle at a time. Due to the location of the hair my progress is only visible to myself & my electrologist. This results in quite a bit of anxiety regarding my visible progress.
Anxiety for me translates into doubts about how valid my path is. Should I continue? Is it worth the pain? Is it worth the excruciatingly slow pace? Will I be prepared before most surgeons would refuse to operate on a person of my age? I know I have a few years left before I reach this point. My birthday is just another reminder that a clock is ticking down. I spend many hours a week debating these questions and realities in my mind. The process almost always results in asking myself these two questions.
- Am I happier presenting as the woman I am?
Most definitely yes!
- Would I want to go back to how I was existing?
I do miss some components of who I presented but no, I do not wish to go back to a partial existence.
I will trod along, ever so slowly, one birthday at a time.