Author Topic: Mapping My Journey  (Read 1460 times)

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Offline Daylight

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Mapping My Journey
« on: May 24, 2020, 10:14:43 am »
I'm 39 years old and trying to get a clear picture of my gender identity. Here it is, really: do I want to transition to live as a woman?

I will try to give it time and do the work to be confident in whatever I decide. I talked to a therapist about these issues for the first time just last week, and the hamster wheel in my head has really been turning since then. In a week I've gone from "it will never happen" to "it's probably not what I really want" to "I think I'd like to convince my therapist I should" to "this is definitely going to happen."  I don't think I can just trust myself on something so big evolving so fast inside me. 

"You and Your Gender Identity" by Dara Hoffman-Fox was mentioned by @Ellie_Arroway in her blog, and I picked that up because it looks perfect for figuring this out and getting a better picture of who I am. One of the first exercises is creating a logline - a sort of narrative summary of the situation as if you are a character in a novel. You put together a few sentences about who you are, what you are dealing with, a possible solution, and possible costs of not doing it. Then keep it as a reminder and motivation. Here's what I ended up with:

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A thoughtful and sensitive man that has been lost for years without purpose, his life seems to exist only to avoid the pain that his death would cause those he cares about. He is sick of his empty life and drawn to exploring the exciting possibility that he could be something different, something more. By learning to live as his true, female self, she can escape his sad, wasted existence filled with regret and despair, where the only thing he has to look forward to is the day he doesn't wake up.

It's a bit stark, but I do feel it connects me with my experience in life and gives me hope for a better future. I'm not open with friends and family on this yet, so I created a little totem/symbol to go with it that I will put places to remind myself. I think I'll set that as my avatar when I get the chance.

Hopefully this all leads me in the right direction. For now I'll try to put in the work, give it time, and not make any hasty decisions.

Love and peace!
39 years old and learning to be Megan :)

Offline Northern Star Girl

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2020, 10:52:03 am »
@Daylight
Dear Daylight:
I recall Welcoming you to the Susan's Place Forums several days ago on May 22nd..  I am happy that you have been actively posting in the various threads around the forums.

I am so glad to see that you have started your own BLOG-Personal Journal which will allow you to enjoy more interaction with other members ...  a place that you can share your happy moments and also share your disappointments.
I use my personal threads as my personal journal where I can chronicle my transition journey.

Your BLOG-Personal Journal is  a place that you can post anything regarding your life endeavors and journey details.  When you report good news we will rejoice with you and when you report not-so-good news we will lend you our ears to listen and our shoulders for you to lean on.   We are your biggest fans, and we are always rooting for you.

Certainliy you can expect reply comments and exchange of comments and thoughts from your readers and followers.

I will be eagerly looking for your postings as you feel comfortable sharing.

HUGS,
Danielle
***SEE MY LINKS BELOW
The Ramblings of a Northern*Star Girl
A New Chapter: ALASKAN DANIELLE's Chronicles
I am the HUNTED PREY: Danielle’s Chronicles
Things change re: ALASKAN DANIELLE
Positive Mindset... put away negativity

Started HRT:   March 2015
Went Full-Time    December 2016
Quit my male-mode job and relocated to a very small town in Alaska in January 2017
I'm a blonde, blue eyed woman, Age 40

Offline Ellie_Arroway

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2020, 11:57:28 am »
@Daylight, I remember completing that exercise.

I'm not comfortable sharing all of it, but the bulk of it I can share:

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An intelligent, athletic, kind and sensitive software engineer who is somewhat socially awkward [redacted material], he would like to learn more about who he is and explore the possibilities that are normally denied a man by societal convention. This may make him happier and help remove his depression, though it may heighten his anxiety. If he doesn’t do this, he will still be preoccupied by thoughts revolving around that, and he will not learn to know himself.

Yours seems to fulfil the point of the statement as I believe did mine. - E
Started seriously questioning: 24 Aug 2019
Referred to GIC: 23 Sep 2019
Full-time female presentation since: 21 Oct 2019, unbroken since 12 Dec 2019
Official name change by deed poll: 11 Nov 2019
HRT: "kind of" started 15 Jul 2020
Most of my story is in the Just another mtf tale thread!
Twitch streamer MusicEllie

Offline madeleine

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2020, 02:41:54 pm »
Hello Daylight and welcome to Susan's Place!

What you wrote here feels very familiar to me and, I'd guess, to many others here. There are also people here who can support you.  As far as your description being stark, it doesn't matter if it's true for you.

I might have to get that book because it sounds like you are doing some great work.  Thank you for sharing.

Offline Daylight

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2020, 05:14:35 pm »
Thank you Danielle, Ellie, and Madeleine! I appreciate you taking the time to check on me and offer your comments & support. I'm definitely here hoping to find that!

Ellie, thank you for sharing your logline. Based on what I've read, it looks like you've basically seen the story you outlined brought to fruition. I'm glad that you have had the courage to know yourself and to share yourself with us here. If I can do half as well following through on my visions in the face of all these challenges I will be ecstatic.

Thanks again, all!
39 years old and learning to be Megan :)

Offline Ellie_Arroway

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2020, 01:53:02 am »
Ellie, thank you for sharing your logline. Based on what I've read, it looks like you've basically seen the story you outlined brought to fruition. I'm glad that you have had the courage to know yourself and to share yourself with us here.

I'm glad, too. My life has changed in so many ways for the better...

One thing that was entirely unexpected was I turned from being a social media refusenik (I wouldn't even use Facebook) to a Twitch streamer, and found many new friends along the way! I don't feel depression right now, but I think had I not taken this path, I would be feeling it a lot during this lockdown. - E
Started seriously questioning: 24 Aug 2019
Referred to GIC: 23 Sep 2019
Full-time female presentation since: 21 Oct 2019, unbroken since 12 Dec 2019
Official name change by deed poll: 11 Nov 2019
HRT: "kind of" started 15 Jul 2020
Most of my story is in the Just another mtf tale thread!
Twitch streamer MusicEllie

Offline Daylight

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2020, 09:06:52 am »
I really need to remember to take a long view of this whole process. Yesterday afternoon I was feeling like it was obvious I would eventually transition. 

Eventually I thought about it and remembered that the real question isn't "how did I get here?" but rather "where do I go from here?" If understanding my past helps me know what I should do, great. If not, I don't need to be defined by it. It helped to see various sources saying that there isn't just one way to be transgender and to remember that I might still find a way to be happy even if it isn't transitioning.
         
Anyway, that really bothered me last night and also reminded me I need to be patient and open-minded. I'm happy to have a place to vent and talk about it.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2020, 01:54:32 pm by Northern Star Girl »
39 years old and learning to be Megan :)

Offline Daylight

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2020, 08:29:12 am »
The rollercoaster continues as last night I was feeling more confident and positive about transitioning than ever. I feel at the moment like things are clicking. I'm really looking forward to talking with my therapist about everything this afternoon.

Right now my concerns seem to be in the practical realm: money, job, living situation, family, etc. Plenty there to be stressed about! But the desire to move towards something big and life-changing and meaningful definitely makes those things appear as problems to solve rather than unmovable obstacles.

I still need to remind myself to take it slow. I'll probably feel differently tonight. And then again tomorrow. For now I feel great :)
39 years old and learning to be Megan :)

Offline Daylight

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2020, 08:17:25 pm »
I had another therapy session today and it went pretty well. It's only my second session with her, and there were a few times I felt she wasn't understanding the feelings I was trying to convey. But she is supportive & helpful. I really needed this chance to talk with someone.

I am paying out of pocket and my finances aren't good. I'm going to spread out the sessions from here on out to make it more manageable. I have a lot I can be doing on my own in the meantime. But for my appointment next month I will be presenting as female. I already bought an outfit. ;D

She also suggested trying out a name. I'm still sorting through them, but I'm leaning towards Megan. I'm going to try using that here and in my sessions at least. So please feel free to call me Megan!

I'm feeling so gung-ho about this right now! And just good about life. I can't wait until I get to my dying my hair pink phase! I've wanted to dye it either pink or blue forever and I'm totally going to when I come out. For now I'll try to remember to remain patient. I guess.
39 years old and learning to be Megan :)

Offline Ellie_Arroway

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2020, 04:58:31 am »
She also suggested trying out a name. I'm still sorting through them, but I'm leaning towards Megan. I'm going to try using that here and in my sessions at least. So please feel free to call me Megan!

I'm feeling so gung-ho about this right now! And just good about life. I can't wait until I get to my dying my hair pink phase! I've wanted to dye it either pink or blue forever and I'm totally going to when I come out. For now I'll try to remember to remain patient. I guess.

Megan is a wonderful name! Do bear in mind though, that whatever you decide to settle on, you may not wish to use that name here. You can do so if you wish, but if you at some time wish it not be known that you have transitioned, being public with your name may be to your detriment.

It's wonderful to hear about the way you're feeling! I remember those feelings at the start of my own transition. Enjoy them while they last! They don't go away, but they do diminish somewhat, in my experience. - E
Started seriously questioning: 24 Aug 2019
Referred to GIC: 23 Sep 2019
Full-time female presentation since: 21 Oct 2019, unbroken since 12 Dec 2019
Official name change by deed poll: 11 Nov 2019
HRT: "kind of" started 15 Jul 2020
Most of my story is in the Just another mtf tale thread!
Twitch streamer MusicEllie

Offline Daylight

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2020, 11:18:48 am »
Thanks for the support, Ellie! I would like to try it out here and see if it still feels wonderful. I'm thinking that it's a common first name and using it here won't leave an obvious trail of breadcrumbs, as long as I don't use my last name. Is there anything I'm not thinking of? I doubt I will want to or be able to entirely hide my past if and when I transition, but I appreciate the reminder about safety.

Unrelated, I mentioned in my last post dying my hair pink. That's something I wanted to do even as a guy, but I was worried about how it would be perceived. I have never thought of myself as being drawn to stereotypically feminine things. But that's not what gender is anyway, right? No one would tell a boy that he was transgender because he liked pink or that he wasn't because he preferred blue.

There is pressure from society to fit in, though. I've noticed a few things like dying my hair have popped up now that I'm exploring. Things I feel are part of who I am but have been hiding to match societal expectations. For example, I want a stuffed animal to have in bed with me! And I like cute things! And sometimes I want to cry when I read a book or watch a movie and not feel like I have to worry someone will see me!

I know these aren't all the biggest things in the world. And they are things men can do. It's not as if these are what it means to be transgender or a woman or anything like that. But I am excited that I am opening up parts of myself that I had hidden before.
39 years old and learning to be Megan :)

Offline Ellie_Arroway

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2020, 12:25:34 pm »
You're absolutely right, Daylight.

Another thing I found was that when I released myself from the shackles of gender conformity, I felt a huge release of stress. I am becoming the person I want to be. I would even argue I'm almost all of the way there; I'm pre hormones and I would probably like GRS at some point, and I hope for some breast development when I do get on hormones, but I don't mind if that doesn't happen for me. I'm not considering any other changes, at least, not at the moment. I know hormones affect the brain, so I can't say what I will want in the future.

I often make the following statement about myself:

"It's not about becoming a woman. It's about becoming me." - E
Started seriously questioning: 24 Aug 2019
Referred to GIC: 23 Sep 2019
Full-time female presentation since: 21 Oct 2019, unbroken since 12 Dec 2019
Official name change by deed poll: 11 Nov 2019
HRT: "kind of" started 15 Jul 2020
Most of my story is in the Just another mtf tale thread!
Twitch streamer MusicEllie

Offline Daylight

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2020, 10:44:02 am »
Yes to stress relief! And I feel so much more confident and brave knowing that I was able to take the step and talk about this with someone. Now I have been able to talk about it with multiple friends online, and I think I will end up talking to at least part of my family sooner rather than later. I used to be such a coward! I don't mean just about my gender confusion. I've barely felt like a human the past 15 years as I've been too scared to live my life. What will people think if I take this job or tell the truth about how I'm feeling on social media or share my empty life? If I can leave that cowardly man in the past and live bravely from here on out I think I will feel like the happiest woman on the planet :)

I also feel so much energy it is a bit overwhelming. I need to practice focusing that into positive action. Or I'll just run around screaming happily! :laugh:

39 years old and learning to be Megan :)

Offline Daylight

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2020, 07:57:49 am »
I've been thinking a lot about schedules the past day. It seems my therapist wants me to move faster than I had planned. Maybe that's a good thing? I do feel much more certain about this than I did a week ago. I still have a timeline in my head that allows me to present my best self and be confident when I do come out. I worry too much about things and I like schedules too much as well. But I guess I should stand up for what makes me comfortable in this whole process.

I mean, it's basically three things. I want to lose a bunch of weight. I've been doing great with that, and I'm very confident it will continue. I want to work on my voice. I think that it will take me a long time to even get into the ballpark. I also need to get a job and get my finances in a better place.

I have this worrying thought that if I am not ready to transition without these things being in place, then I don't really want it and it's all just a mistake. I don't think that's right, though. I just have some fears which are probably completely normal and understandable. After all, I already am moving faster than anticipated due to the encouragement of my therapist and the people I've talked to about this. There has to be a balance between not caring what others think and being concerned about how I present myself, right? It will be alright no matter what happens.

Writing about this stuff really seems to help me. Or at least I enjoy it :laugh:
39 years old and learning to be Megan :)

Offline Ellie_Arroway

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2020, 08:38:14 am »
Hi Daylight,

It is for you to determine the pace at which you wish to proceed. Your therapist is essentially an advisor and, to a certain extent, an enabler. Their job is to help you to determine what you want and to provide ways in which you can manage your emotions in order to make it happen.

Obviously, the quicker you proceed, the fewer the number of sessions you will need, but it is entirely up to you how quickly you wish to proceed. Some aspects of transition can be truly terrifying at the start of the process. Nothing could have prepared me for how I felt when I came out to my work colleagues en mass.

It is absolutely normal to have fears. - E
Started seriously questioning: 24 Aug 2019
Referred to GIC: 23 Sep 2019
Full-time female presentation since: 21 Oct 2019, unbroken since 12 Dec 2019
Official name change by deed poll: 11 Nov 2019
HRT: "kind of" started 15 Jul 2020
Most of my story is in the Just another mtf tale thread!
Twitch streamer MusicEllie

Offline Confused1

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2020, 11:35:33 am »
I had another therapy session today and it went pretty well. It's only my second session with her, and there were a few times I felt she wasn't understanding the feelings I was trying to convey. But she is supportive & helpful. I really needed this chance to talk with someone.

I am paying out of pocket and my finances aren't good. I'm going to spread out the sessions from here on out to make it more manageable. I have a lot I can be doing on my own in the meantime. But for my appointment next month I will be presenting as female. I already bought an outfit. ;D



Hi Megan,

Something stood out to me in this post. I discussed the cost for therapy with my therapist. I am on Medicare, which will not pay for therapy with her. She told me that she at any given time allows a few people to be charged less, since they are paying out of pocket. It costs me much less than the $175 rate she normally charges. If you haven't asked, it might be worthwhile. In addition, like Ellie said, less sessions means less cost. You are the one that should be driving this, according to you own needs, whatever they are. Some of the cost of this can be overwhelming. Each of us has different needs and timelines for our journey.

Like you, I am not open with family or friends about any of this. Only 2 people (my wife and a very close friend) know about my plans for GRS. They don't know the full reason. Of course I have been totally open with my therapist. Unlike you, my need is not social, but physical and just for me. Although I am more non-binary, I can't say that some of what I am experiencing from ADT for cancer treatment isn't pleasant for me. If it wasn't for bone loss, I might want to go hormone free the rest of my life. I have never experienced estrogen, so I can't comment on that.

Offline Daylight

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2020, 07:36:08 pm »
Thanks for the suggestion, Confused1. I did discuss her sliding scale and this is kind of where I'm at. You actually reminded me I have to follow-up with another counseling center. Even though I like my therapist after a couple of sessions, I'm not convinced she's a perfect choice. This other place is specifically geared to LGBTQ+ and is likely to be significantly cheaper per session. I figure it's worth looking, but it also feels a bit like a betrayal if I actually make a switch.

And thanks again Ellie for the support and perspective! :)
 
39 years old and learning to be Megan :)

Offline Daylight

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2020, 01:23:29 am »
I had such a cool moment while out on a walk tonight. I had to write about it here.

I was imagining a conversation coming out to my mom and explaining I was going to transition. I've had this talk in my head before of course. God, I probably had some version of this run through my head decades ago when I was a teenager. This time something shifted and instead of imagining the ashamed I want to hide my head in my hands feeling and barely squeaking words out, I had a tears-of-joy happy smiling feeling. Afterward, I knew I wanted to talk to my mom about this as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, that won't be for a while. She has a surgery coming up in a few days and then will be on pain killers for several weeks. It wouldn't be fair to distract her with something like this or to try and talk to her about it when she can't think straight. I don't need to tell her tomorrow or anything, either. It will wait a month or however long it takes no problem.

I did make sure to tell her I love her tonight. :)
39 years old and learning to be Megan :)

Offline Ellie_Arroway

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2020, 04:28:38 am »
Thanks for the suggestion, Confused1. I did discuss her sliding scale and this is kind of where I'm at. You actually reminded me I have to follow-up with another counseling center. Even though I like my therapist after a couple of sessions, I'm not convinced she's a perfect choice. This other place is specifically geared to LGBTQ+ and is likely to be significantly cheaper per session. I figure it's worth looking, but it also feels a bit like a betrayal if I actually make a switch.

And thanks again Ellie for the support and perspective! :)

You're welcome. May I suggest that if you feel your therapist is not a good fit, that you talk with her about what's not right for you, and be prepared to move on just as you would with any other contractor. It is you who are paying for the service, and you don't want to be wasting money; if transition has taught me one thing, it would be that it is expensive! - E
Started seriously questioning: 24 Aug 2019
Referred to GIC: 23 Sep 2019
Full-time female presentation since: 21 Oct 2019, unbroken since 12 Dec 2019
Official name change by deed poll: 11 Nov 2019
HRT: "kind of" started 15 Jul 2020
Most of my story is in the Just another mtf tale thread!
Twitch streamer MusicEllie

Offline Ellie_Arroway

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Re: Mapping My Journey
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2020, 04:30:52 am »
I had such a cool moment while out on a walk tonight. I had to write about it here.

I was imagining a conversation coming out to my mom and explaining I was going to transition. I've had this talk in my head before of course. God, I probably had some version of this run through my head decades ago when I was a teenager. This time something shifted and instead of imagining the ashamed I want to hide my head in my hands feeling and barely squeaking words out, I had a tears-of-joy happy smiling feeling. Afterward, I knew I wanted to talk to my mom about this as soon as possible.

That's such a wonderful breakthrough!

It sounds like you have realised that there is absolutely nothing shameful about being transgender. I've been in your shoes! (Metaphorically, of course!)

Stand tall, be proud, and be the person you want to be! - E
Started seriously questioning: 24 Aug 2019
Referred to GIC: 23 Sep 2019
Full-time female presentation since: 21 Oct 2019, unbroken since 12 Dec 2019
Official name change by deed poll: 11 Nov 2019
HRT: "kind of" started 15 Jul 2020
Most of my story is in the Just another mtf tale thread!
Twitch streamer MusicEllie

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