I have spent a great deal of this last week worrying if I am doing the right thing – having made my phone calls and booked my appointments to speak to someone about my Trans feelings all I could ask myself is the question, “is all this stress worth it?”
The mirror is not the friend it pretends to be – when dressed as Dee I keep looking and taking photos because for a short while I feel uplifted – free of the weight that seems to sit on me the rest of the time, that invisible weight is sucking my natural enthusiasm or desire to do anything.
I know that it is probably depression more than dysphoria, I truly did love my ex and losing her was painful, even though I know that she did not share my feelings and that most of the time I was the doormat in the relationship fourteen years is a long time to be with someone and no matter how hard I compartmentalise everything I need to acknowledge that not being good enough for the one person I gave everything I had for really hurts.
So my mood has not been great – barely scraping by in my work duties – there if not really present and then restlessly switching between Youtube and Netflix to dull my senses and pass enough time to go to bed before starting the cycle all over again the next day.
On Friday evening I drove down to my sisters and we spent the whole night chatting – our daughters were born on the same day and are extremely close in temperament and style, I hope they continue to be close as they grow older. Having my older sisters to talk to is great but I do not want them to burn out – I deliberately do not share every time I am dressed as Dee or practising my makeup or have come out of a counselling session because I do not want them to get bored or overloaded with the dross in my life when they have enough dramas of their own to contend with – if I wanted to be insulted or complimented (it could happen) then I could use tinder or grinder or whatever those apps are – but as you can tell by my vagueness I have no real interest in that sort of thing and even the thought of trying to be romantic with someone just fills me with dread – I miss the intimacy, the cuddles, the kisses and the physical closeness all of the things that looking back I did not get for most of my marriage.
Dating just feels like being asked to step on an unexploded land mine and see what happens..
My sister has been doing a lot of reading to try and understand my current journey – one of the questions she asked was whether I had looked at those who had detransitioned – she did not ask out of malice, but because she wants me to be sure that I am doing the right thing for me – I need to come out happier than I was before I started questioning or the process is simply not worth it.
I have watched a couple of videos and tried reading a few blogs early on into my questioning but as far as I could tell the ones I saw who detransitioned did it because they had either transitioned very young and then as an adult in their late 20’s started to want to express themselves differently or because they could not take the hatred and almost daily abuse they effectively got for being their preferred gender – it wasn’t that they did not feel trans but that having been known as wee Bobby they were not accepted as wee Barbara and just got worn down, whether by fear, ignorance or intolerance both religious and cultural. For a society that likes to tell everyone how enlightened we are, we suck at being non judgemental and accepting of anyone who is not the same for what ever arbitrary reason.
Not one of the half dozen or so that I looked at detransitioned because they stopped believing they were transgender, so I stopped looking – I may have had a bad sample, but they were not helpful when I was trying to ask the question of whether I had trans feelings at all.
Looking in the mirror the main question I have asked myself is W T F am I doing?
Asking myself if all of this stress is actually going to be worth it – asking myself if becoming female is actually going to make me feel more like the real me or less – especially if I have to teach myself to talk differently and walk differently and wear a wig to disguise my shiny testosterone created dome… am I going to be more me or less me?
One of the things about worrying if you are the wrong gender is that it is very lonely – people will either support you or they wont – but no one can tell you if you are right or wrong you have to reach those conclusions all by yourself and then live with them. Putting yourself under a microscope like this is just absolutely terrifying and exhausting.
The more I have shared the more others have said they can relate to my feelings and concerns, which has been genuinely comforting and lovely to hear, but I think part of me was hoping that no one would have had the same thoughts or experiences and because they could not relate to me I could tell myself that I was not transgender and just stay a slightly kinky or effeminate bloke forever.
It was in this frame of mind that I turned up for my consultant’s session at the beauty Spa that I had booked myself into to talk about getting my facial and body hair removed.
I had a brief medical form to fill in and sat waiting for my consultant to arrive, just me – bald guy with stubble in a jacket using his male name, the twenty something year old lassie in her ripped jeans surgically attached to her mobile phone beside me and two much older ladies across from me and nobody saying a word or looking at each other – the ladies soon went off to get their nails done and the lassie was then called leaving me on my own and very much feeling out of place.
The receptionist bless her did offer me a cup of tea but I have read online and been advised by others that caffeine can somehow make you more sensitive to the pain so I was doing all this without my morning coffee… Next time I am having my coffee.
The consultant breezed in with her own steaming mug of coffee and I was shown into the room while she moaned about the lack of parking outside and being blocked from her space due to a classic car collection parked outside while their owners fawned over each others cars – I made a comment about the men showing off their new toys to one another and she made the usual must be compensating for something joke and then we got down to business.
Which areas do you want done? and then why do you want your hair removed – initially I talked about having experienced being hairless for the first time in my adult life last Halloween for fancy dress and realising I preferred being hairless and that I just really was getting fed up of shaving, but in a few more moments she asked again why I wanted all my hair removed, and so I took a deep breath and said that I had been questioning my gender.
Talk about saying the right thing.
She had been pleasant before, but the change now while quite subtle went from all business, to calling me sweetie and dear and she instantly asked a lot of questions about if I had attended the local clinic or been to my GP because she is on first name terms with the woman there and that she has lots of other girls come in and I literally got about 15 minutes of sage advice about getting all my ducks in a row before coming out – how wearing female clothing can still be done subtly without the need to wear a miniskirt and become a tart (I am paraphrasing somewhat) although my response was that with the best will in the world I would not suit a miniskirt even if I wanted to!
She acknowledged that when we are feeling bad about ourselves we can make poor choices and be quite destructive – I had shown her my chest hair, so my comfort eating was quite obvious to her.
I had to remind her that I have not even had my initial meeting yet, that I was not on hormones and was not even close to claiming sessions on the NHS – but I was there because I have never grown a beard and have always hated my facial hair and the chore of shaving so even if I never went through with transition it is a good investment to never need to shave again.
There were many other quickfire conversations mostly prefaced with a comment about how she probably shouldn’t say anything, but I told her that other than my two sisters she is the first living person i have told face to face about questioning my gender and that I will always appreciate honesty over back handed compliments.
While she still f’ed and blinded her way through our meeting it was like a breath of fresh air – she talked freely and confidently but without judgement and I visibly relaxed and showed my softer more animated side in my responses – she volunteered to put me in touch with the local support group when I was confident enough to give her my number and confirmed that in her opinion I am right not to say anything to my ex or my children until I am much further a long as women can be vicious, and that we will talk about make up and where and how to get my eyebrows done and all sorts of things that women talk about when they get together – it was amazing if I could leave hugs for people wherever I go she would have been left at least two for being so wonderful to me!
Apparently I will not be straight forward – but in my life that is a constant and so I was not expecting anything less – she went through the two types of laser she uses – IPL and NDYAG and said that IPL was like a weed clearer – it would kill of the darkest hairs but be useless against the red and white hairs that my Scottish caucasian genes have blessed me with.
The YAG laser is much more powerful and will kill off a lot more, but is far more focused and covers a smaller area, which means it takes longer and is almost twice as expensive, and then finally all that should be left would be the white hairs for electrolysis.
I talked about whether laser was a false economy as I did not want to throw good money after bad for a temporary solution and she assured me that the thermal reaction is permanent if done right, she has promised to keep me right and will let me know when the best times are to go in and for which treatment – The lasers have improved since she first started working with them, but if you use it on the wrong pigment type it will not get down far enough to excite the hair root inside the follicle to detonate and then pretty much just becomes a fancy way of waxing as the hair is not destroyed.
The good news for me is that the YAG laser seems to be pretty good, at least for my jaw line, the IPL one she knew was pointless on my face but felt that it wold work well on my chest and back hair where my Pili Multigemini is actually a blessing.
The test patches were like being flicked with an elastic band in the face repeatedly – unpleasant but not unbearable, and the smell of burning hair I already know from years of throwing my sisters hair brush contents onto open fires.. my skin just looked like I had a shaving rash which on a male is not even worth noticing.
I am going back for my first hour of treatment next Saturday – it is going to cost me an absolute fortune, but by the time I am down to electrolysis hopefully the NHS will help stump up for some of the bill. The knowledge and openness and understanding of this woman not only put me totally at ease but I was positively floating when I left.
I no longer felt out of place but totally accepted.
When I arrived at the lobby and met my other sister I was beaming with happiness and proceeded to try and recount the session for her. The only thing she had to do in town was get her shellac nail polish removed – I had thought they were false nails so was very impressed, but as we were still putting the world to rights and it wouldn’t take long I walked with her to her appointment, sat and enjoyed a cup of tea while she was being taken care of and eyed the different nail colour samples enviously out of the corner of my eye while I looked at my phone. My sister did say she had’t planned on inviting me along but it wouldn’t hurt for me to see what went on anyway.
For the second time that day even though I was presenting very much as a male I was accepted and welcomed into an all female space without so much as a murmer. Apparently the owner has a nonbinary son who is part of the LGBTQ+ community and so if I want my eyebrows done she would be a good person to speak to.
That was the second comment about my eyebrows in less than 2 hours – I have fairly faint and not very wild or fuzzy brows, they are neat for a man but they have never been sculpted and when I am feeling braver I will want to keep them cleaned up but keep them looking fairly natural – I do not like the ultra thin pencil line, or the more recent thick sharpie look, but if I am going to spend money anywhere it would be getting decent lashes – I love long eyelashes… with the right eyes you just feel like falling into them forever.
I may have been feeling rotten and tired and confused, but it was an incredibly affirming day for me as Dee – the happiness and contentment of being able to just not try to be male regardless of how I looked was exactly the same as those moments I try to capture in my camera.
Today I am typing this as Dee – wearing my real clothes (some plain cream jeans and a teal butterfly t-shirt) but with my man costume ready beside me in case the doorbell rings, knowing that my lipstick will have already smudged off on my coffee mug from earlier but content to risk that if I need to but not worried about my reflection at the moment.
Certain that if I feel as good as I did at the weekend whenever I take steps forwards, then I am definitely on the right path.