Oh sure, I still find some things hard and I don't laugh in the face of evil. Having those feelings in the past that my life was useless and wishing it could end, makes life seem ever so sweet now.
Am I particularly gifted, feeling life is sweet now? Absolutely. Nobody else has my particular combination of joys and sorrows and, yes, I've given up so very much and from time to time I am reminded of those losses, too.
Recently two things have happened:
1. there have been some blogs around the topic of transition regret, and
2. I was reminded that it is human nature to forget the bad and hold onto the good.
So, I do know about regret, and it seems to me that if I didn't have much to be happy about right now, I'd likely be dwelling a lot on those losses. I also know that everyone has regrets in their life. Everyone.
This isn't an advice column, so what I'm about to do goes a bit against the grain, but here it is, for what it is worth -
Halle's advice on transitioning:
If you don't have to, don't.
If you do have to, document why you have to ... write down how you feel, what you think, and anything else you can to remind you in the future that the thing that drives you forward today is real.
Know that after transition, you will feel better; dysphoria done and soon a distant memory. Because you feel better, you are likely to forget how incredibly driven you were to find congruence. After a while, you will remember those things you had, but don't have any more such as male privilege, some people you thought of as friends, and, maybe, family too. If so, read what you documented. Don't allow yourself to forget who you are and what brought you to this point in your life.
Write down all the things that may, or will, go wrong when you take the path you are contemplating. Include losses that are likely to happen. Include possible things that might go wrong with the process, particularly surgical difficulties. If you don't know what those difficulties might be, find out and believe it. You are going to be in pain and it will be inconvenient for quite a while - maybe the rest of your life. Make a good decision - yes, this is a decision, whether it feels that way or not. More importantly, know that you are making a good decision.
Need I supplement with platitudes?
Know and Be Yourself!
Move forward with conviction, armed with the wisdom that comes from having examined your life fully. Hold nothing back from that examination.
Plan for the worst. Hope for the best.
Strange how the few, very few , negative bloggers have such a disproportionate effect.ReplyDelete
Your advice is very sound, if I had not blogged about my changes and thoughts along the way I would not have evidence to fill in the blanks which form rapidly when you head full tilt into your new life.
The thing I would add to your post would be about that new life. Do people think and plan hard enough for that life with realistic expectations?You will be living a totally different role with untold decades of missed training! GRS is tough, hair removal can be tougher and possibly more expensive especially if you have pale hair but unless you have planned a role for your new life that could well be the hardest challenge of all.
Do I have any regrets? Only that I put off starting my real life for fifty years!
Yes, in my case too, this blog has been a great record, allowing me to visit those feelings from the past. I also agree wholeheartedly that we have to try to prepare ourself for life in our chosen sex.ReplyDelete
Could not agree more, Halle. I finally accepted that I had to transition when I simply couldn't fight any longer. And even then - like you - I worked extremely hard, with my therapist and on my own, to be sure I was absolutely certain and that I was as prepared as I could possibly be. Happily, all of the hard work and sacrifice paid off. But I could not have succeeded if I hadn't done it all. That being said, it was the best thing I've ever done - yea!!! :c)ReplyDelete
I was thinking of discussions we have had on this subject while writing this piece.Delete
Definitely the best thing I've done in a long time too. I can't beat myself up too much for the way the world was fifty years ago and how I reacted to it then.
Big Hugs Hon!
Thank you Halle for sharing your advice. As a wife of a male to female partner, I agree whole-heartedly with documenting the reasons why one must transition. It will keep anyone on the right path when those doubts start sneaking back in. My partner has had no regrets and because of that, neither do I!ReplyDelete
As time goes on, it almost seems hard to believe I was ever in pain.Delete
So happy to hear another story of a happy transition with no regrets.
All the best to both of you, Mary, and thank you for your comment!
I was first a little alarmed at your statement about transitioning: "If you don't have to, don't." I imagine you've already written a post about this but for me 'transition' was never a binary either-or decision. It's been a long and steady progression, testing the waters as I go.ReplyDelete
Some steps were very big: I attended the Gender Odyssey conference in August 2017 fully dressed, out and about. Lots of make-up of course. I had a wonderful time and met some who remain friends today.
All along I never expected or planned for HRT or GCS. I came up with an experiment: could I take a low-dose of HRT for a couple of months (with no permanent effect) and see how I felt? Indeed, yes, an endocrinologist advised: good idea. So, I started and yes, it felt good, right. For the first time in my life I felt good in my body. I then started dressing full time, starting my own RLE if you will. Also, went wonderfully. Thank goodness I have some cis women friends who gave me gentle advice to the point where today I hardly wear more than lipstick and eyebrow pencil.
What I'm trying to say is that I could never have predicted all this way back when, never sorted out what I had to lose or not for transitioning. And what is transition? I came "that close" to successful suicide: now that made things clear to my wife and I that some sort of transition was called for. But I had no idea what that might be.
"if you don't have to don't" is very sound advice but if you do just go realizing that not everything will be perfect is the way to go. Know who you are and find that balance that you need disregarding what everyone else wants for your life. These are big lessons to learn!ReplyDelete
Amazing that Joanna and I responded at the same moment! Also, that our comments might seem to be in conflict, at least at first reading.ReplyDelete
I'd like to add that at the start of any big journey, such as marriage, college, career: we simply don't know what we don't know. We go in with all good intentions, and perhaps with age and wisdom we are better at determining the consequences (good and bad) and weighing them. Still, there is so much that is learned along the way.
I've written many strategic business plans for companies: we do analysis of where we are in the market and our business, forecast the future as best we can, and then create an execution plan based on our best information and combined wisdom. And even then, in a month or two, we learn about our assumptions and forecasts. All impossible to know ahead of time.
But maybe "transition" should be defined as something as private as coming out to one's wife. For me I built up resentments and she built up defenses and hurts, that neither of us could ignore.
I guess I'm struggling with "If you don't have to don't." I suggest reading Joanna's comment carefully!
A good post, Halle. Clearly, a great deal lies beneath the surface of your words. How many times can I congratulate you on your courage?ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Tom. You are absolutely right. Courage or folly to take on such a topic. There is a reason that I don't usually give advice!Delete
I think of you often and hope you are well.
Emma and Joanna, thank you for asking for clarification.ReplyDelete
I see how my use of the word transition has created some confusion. Of course, there is a long process that leads to, and is called, transition. And it is impossible to predict all the things that might go wrong with those stops along the way. There is only one part of transition where I intended my advice to apply, and that is gender confirmation surgery.
In my preface to the "advice" part of the post, I mentioned that what prompted me to write was first of all those who regret transition. The thing they regret is the action that is irreversible. They clearly were not well enough prepared.
So, maybe I should have written, If you don't have to have GRS, then don't.
And, always, we need to remember that not everything is going to be perfect.
Aha! Well, that makes a lot of sense to me. I’m 62 now and I well remember reading (surreptitiously) about Christine Jorgensen way back when and over the years about others. I always thought I could never be 100% sure and would never risk the regret.ReplyDelete
Now, though, I’m still not 100% sure nor do I expect to be. But I’m 99.9% and while I don’t relish recovery and all the dilation and all that I’m comfortable. I’m sure there are downsides. But at this stage in my transition I’m confident that I’m making a calm decision.
I am confident that I’d never want to de-transition, such as returning to a masculine lifestyle and so forth. I look forward to living my life as myself, warts and all.