I came out as transgender over a year and a half ago, I've been perceived as female by others for almost a year, and I've been on hormone replacement therapy for almost eight months. And, to risk sounding like a cliché, I'm starting to feel like a different person from who I was before; my perspective on life has changed so much that it's becoming increasingly difficult to relate to my older self. The way I think of myself, the way I relate to others, the way others relate to me... my thoughts about the future (something I'm finally not terrified of), and what it means to be a good person or a happy person or the sort of person I want to be. But feeling like a new person after a period of substantial change isn't a feeling unique to people who transition.

In fact, for quite a few months now I've felt like my "transition" has turned into more of a general ongoing self-improvement project. My gender dysphoria has lessened to a massive degree and allowed me to finally feel connected to the world in a way I wasn't before. It's like I've stopped being a robot and everything feels real for the first time ever. I feel actual motivation to work on myself, to mature and grow as a person, rather than just a desperate scramble for anything to make the pain stop.

Obviously HRT has been a significant factor in making me feel better, but there's lots of other factors too. Some of them are luck -- my genetics made "passing" (being perceived as female by others) a non-issue as soon as I got over my fear of expressing myself that way -- but lots of other things I can attribute to myself. Of course there are the so-called "superficial" things like the way my voice sounds (something that triggered a lot of dysphoria in the past, thus something I worked on a ton), but I think even more important has been my introspection. I have mainly female friends and spend time in female spaces (on the internet), and this has caused a lot of reflection about what it means to be female, the diverse experiences of womanhood, and what exactly this all means to me.

Basically, I've started feeling like a valid member of my gender instead of a wannabe. It's not super uncommon to hear trans people try to teach other trans people how to feel this way, but in my experience it rarely seems to have much effect. Getting over your internalized transphobia is something that, like all significant personal growth, has to come from within. And it's easy to trick yourself into thinking you're there when you really aren't yet.

I definitely have a lot of personal growth left to do, but nowadays I'm confident that I'm on the right track. Transition is definitely the greatest decision I ever made, and I've become a much, much better person. Life finally isn't hell! And growing breasts is pretty cool too :P

Two days ago, it was gorgeous weather. Uncovered the Miata and drove with the convertible top down to an eye exam, which I'd had to cancel twice. First time, no coverage for my husband; sons had a business meeting they forgot to put on the calendar. Second cancellation due to five-day stomach flu, during which time I gave up coffee, most foods, and red wine. Slept a lot, felt horrible. Former neighbor came into town to hassle me about our Hurricane Sandy damaged fence. Her major mistake was getting Edith involved, then persisting despite my polite explanation for the fence being low on my list of priorities now.

So, driving to eye doctor, felt like flying or freedom or whatever that is when you feel like the world is incredibly beautiful, trees blooming white and pink, flowers everywhere, birds singing. My vision isn't bad although I wear glasses for driving and watching television. I had filled out the forms, arrived on time, had the exam...and then the opthamologist asked if I could drive if he put the dilation drops in my eyes. Sure, I only live ten minutes away. (Note to self: DO NOT REPEAT THIS MISTAKE.)

I sat in a darkened room while he had assistant put on an eye allergy short video, where people sneezed on popcorn, cats, roses, and feather pillows. Towards the end of it, the room began to look a little trippy. Doctor returns and shines really bright lights into my eyes, tells me my eyes are healthy, then leaves. I'm seeing suns and moons; everything and everyone is glowing. I give the prescription to the optician and feel like I really shouldn't drive. Things are way too bright and I'm not even outside yet. The lady gives me a dark roll of plastic to put underneath my prescription sunglasses, making the world a weird dark orange.

It was rush hour, but I drove home slowly, much to the annoyance of cars behind me. I thought of several signs I could have attached to the back of my car, if I had sign-making materials in the trunk, which I didn't. Arrived home to my husband who was worried SOMETHING BAD HAD HAPPENED and sons who laughed at how dilated my pupils were. Told them to make their own dinner, then watched dumb tv, wearing my sunglasses. Couldn't wait for sundown, feeling like a grouchy vampire.

So, taking care of the caregiver, lots of fun. Got a call this morning from zoning officer that former neighbor called and says I'm refusing to fix my fence. What she doesn't know is that I had spoken with him and several officials at town hall regarding the situation. The fence is on our property and my stance is that I have no problem with them installing a fence on their property, but that I don't want her picking out a fence, installing it in the same place, or "gifting" us a fence just so she can keep a wider driveway, which technically currently encroaches onto our property.

To end on a positive note, I had two pieces of writing published, one in a book and one in a poetry anthology. This coming weekend, we'll be celebrating my mother's 90th birthday. I'm looking forward to a gathering of the clan, some of whom I haven't seen in 8-10 years. My older brother is making the biggest effort, flying from California with his wife and two of their adult children, one of whom is autistic. They will be staying at the place where my daughter and her family live and work. My daughter is arranging for a small refrigerator as well as a TV/DVD. I'm excited and know my mother will be very happy. What I've learned since January regarding family, is that some people love to carry baggage, create drama, make things difficult at every chance. And then, there are those who are helpful.

I am leaving Washington again, this time for Portland where Auspice and her unindicted co-conspirators are having another housewarming party. For reasons of time and money, I am leaving Dulles at 0600 and spending seven hours with the good folks at Southwest Airlines before arriving at PDX, where Auspice will pick my jet-lagged ass up at the airport and drop it off at her place so I can recover. Goodnatured hijinkery will no doubt ensue over the course of the weekend until Tuesday, when I will be dropped off at PDX for a ten-hour hegira back to Dulles -change at Denver with a 3.5-hour layover, ugh.

If for some unfathomable reason you'd like to spend some time with us, you should probably contact Auspice since she is controlling the horizontal and the vertical; I'm just going to be the guy in the passenger seat smiling vacantly and waving to the confused pedestrians as we pass. Looking forward to seeing whatever noders turn up.

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