So it’s been a over a year since I came out and started hormones, and there are a lot of things I wish I knew before I started this journey. Some of them are good things. Some of them, not so much. Knowing them would not have changed my decision, but knowing what to expect would have been nice.
Growing breasts hurts! – Like, all the time. Going on ten months straight. And eventually, you get used to it.
Hormones are magic – But they’re a slow, slow magic. They change things in ways you never would have guessed. Nothing seems to happen for months at a time, and then boom. There’s a curve. Bang. Where did those thighs come from? Woah. I’ve been doing the same things for months, but today someone called me miss. Everything seems to happen in phases. Nothing…nothing…something. Nothing…nothing…nothing…something. And at almost a year in, it’s still exciting.
Doing this won’t solve all your problems – If you were depressed before, you’ll probably still be depressed after. If you had budgeting issues before, well, they aren’t going anywhere. Etc, etc. You’ll be more comfortable with who you are, yes. But you’re still you in a lot of ways.
People will be supportive who you Never Guessed Would Be. And People Who You Thought Would Be Will Disappear – I never guessed some of the people in my life right now would support me so much. People who I really didn’t have that much of a connection with before, even. And I never guessed that after years, people I considered good friends would slowly fade out of my life, all the while saying they’re fine with me.
Cis girls will go out of their way to validate you – Whether they’re you’re friend or not, cis girls who know you’re trans will go out of their way to call you “girl,” “gorgeous,” “beautiful,” and to use your name more often than necessary. It’s well meaning, but it is a double edged sword. On one hand, It does feel good. On the other, we know what you’re doing. It’s okay, but we know.
Everyone Is Not Watching You – You’ll go out thinking everyone is watching you. And some people are. Some people will whisper, and laugh, but most people just don’t care. They have their own lives to worry about. They’re not very interested in what you’re shopping for.
It’s not Cheap – Hormones, hair removal, and all kinds of other things you’ll never think about until it comes up. Makeup is expensive, and in my case, necessary. You’ll have to buy a whole new wardrobe. New jewelry, new summer stuff, new winter stuff, new stuff for job interviews and special events. Everything is thin, so you’ll have to wear undershirts and layers all the time, too. And one day you’ll look in the closet and realize just how many pairs of shoes you’ve acquired. I have dressy flats, i have boots, i have casual flats, I have work shoes, I have heels…8 pairs of shoes in a year. Before, I had 4 pairs for years – all-purpose boots, chucks, dress shoes, and work shoes.
Confidence is key – even if you don’t feel confident, act it. If you look like you’re comfortable in the ladies room, Chances are nobody else will care. Just be you, and the rest will follow.
Don’t take advice from people you wouldn’t have taken advice from before – if peoole are telling you how to do your hair, or what to wear, or how to act, and you never trusted those people before, why are you trusting them now? I took far too much advice from people on the internet telling me how to pass better, but these people didn’t know me. Do what works for you.
Don’t let transition be your entire life – it took me a long time to figure that one out. It is a huge part, for sure. But not the whole thing. Take a break from the gender studies books and read a thriller once in awhile. Think about the other things in life you need to focus on, too. Because sometimes they sneak up on you if you don’t, and that’s not always a good thing.
You’ll be a representative, like it or not – being trans and out means you’ll probably be the first trans person a lot of people have knowingly met. Which means if you want respect, you’re going to have to educate. Chances are, you’ll have to be the one that forces policies/procedures to be made at work, too. Just think of it like this: it sucks, but you’re making it easier for the next girl.
You’ll be asked uncomfortable questions – by people you know, and people you barely know. And you’ll be talked about in uncomfortable ways.
There is no guidebook – there is no procedure or step-by-step manual. You have to figure out what you want to do and when you’re ready to do it. It’s not linear, it’s stressful, and it’s different for everyone.
But I wouldn’t go back. Because despite the stresses and struggles and cost, both financial and emotional, being who you are truly is priceless. And every once in awhile you get to be around the right people who make you feel comfortable, and you can forget that you’re trans, and just be a girl. Or you look in the mirror and realize you see something you don’t mind looking at anymore. Those are the times that make everything else worth it.
So keep bring yourself and fighting like a grrrl.