Okay, on one of the trans sites I belong to there was a poll asking if you woke up as the opposite sex would you love it or hate it? I vote yes to love it. I also commented that to have female primary sex parts without surgery would be good. After some more thought I changed my vote to no, and I added a new comment stating that I felt it would be better to earn it. Meaning here the whole transition not just bottom surgery (vaginoplasty). So, I would like to explain more on why I feel this way in this post.
What do I mean by earning it? Doing all the things I desire or deem necessary to make myself look and feel my feminine best. A lot of these things I wrote about in The Trials of Being a Gurl. I wrote on makeup, nail polish, body care (shaving and other things), and clothing, of course. Some more serious adjustments needed are my voice, mannerism, hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Also add going through gender confirming surgery (GCS), specifically bottom surgery.
Learning to do my own makeup feels like an accomplishment, something to be proud of. Body care takes a lot of work: hydrating body wash (Oil of Olay product), shaving, and putting on lotion (Suave Almond and Shea Butter); face care takes a great deal of effort: hydrating facial cleaning, shaving, lotion, plus day and night cream. With the work and effort combine in doing these things I definitely feel like I am earning it. Now add, just recently, using a laser hair removal device; it is both time consuming and tedious. So, it is a definite earning it. I also put effort into buying clothes and picking out my outfits for the day. As my wardrobe has grown, and grown significantly, it now takes even more thought on what to wear. So, I can be proud of the effort I put out to dress and how I look to a degree (sometimes I do question my look – what woman doesn’t).
My voice feminization training is on hold during the covid-19 pandemic with the need for social distancing. Regardless, this might take the biggest effort and time to achieve. Hrt I will say, accept for appointments, blood work, and going to pick up my prescriptions at the pharmacy, is a breeze. At least at first, as all I have to do is take my pills. I have heard that breast development can be uncomfortable in the beginning.† Bottom surgery would be a whole other story. It would be one of the hardest surgeries I will have had to endure, and I have had several. But going through it and recuperating from it is something I will definitely be most proud to have done.*
But, why is having the feeling of earning it so important to me as opposed to just automatically getting the results I aim for? I believe a healthy sense of pride is good for a healthy self-esteem. The pride I am talking about is the kind felt after doing a job well done, not the kind that puts down or demeans others. From a personal perspective if I am proud to be a good cook, I am not any less than others who might be better cooks. And vice a versa. In the present context this is quite important. All I need ask of myself is if I am doing my best to feel and present in a feminine manner. I realized fairly early on in my transitioning that I would never look young and beautiful, whether the woman I had been comparing myself to was trans or not. So, I now don’t have a skewed idea of how I should look. I decided I would shoot for the nice mature woman look. I can be proud that now I am not doing these comparisons (see Why Can’t I be Pretty like Her?), or to be honest, most of time.
Okay, you might understand why I put the need to present my feminine best, but really feelings; I am certainly not responsible for my gender feelings; they just are. Not from my view of feelings. A bit of differentiation first. Emotions are immediately sensed or can even be unsensed. They are not at are beck and call, although they too can be influenced. Feelings on the other hand is something that comes with some analysis. And a lot of feelings use the same words to describe them as we use for emotions. You maybe angry and not know it, but you might, and what is usually the case, you may also feel angry. We are to some degree responsible for are thoughts, which come along with our feelings. Thoughts in combination with emotions are what make up are feelings.
Some people feel like they have no control over their thoughts or feelings. Whose forcing you to have them? We even have an inborn sense of them being our own. This is the feeling I call free will, ever hard to deny in our lives. Quite different from that usual meaning as a choice maker after a period of deliberation. Regardless, of how you view free will, it is hard to deny that your thoughts and feeling are not your own. Ownership implies responsibility. Hence, we do have some responsibilities over are feelings.
So how does this make a feeling of being womanly something I can be proud of. Something that gives me that sense of accomplishment. First, I chose to explore my femininity in the first place. And, though I did not know it at the start that it would lead to where it did, I put a lot of time and effort into it. The feelings produced by this exploration would eventually wind up as having the sense of being a woman. So how could I not be proud to have become Stephie (I Became Stephie).
Another thing I think I can have some pride over is the cultivation of my feminine sensibilities. Some of these come to me naturally without much effort or even much thought. But, gender expression is in a large part socially learned, and I think it is the same for some aspects of gender feelings themselves. An example would be females are taught (way less often these days, thank goodness) that they should show deference to men. You can’t very well present that way, if there is no feelings of deference internally. Less sexist perhaps, but closer to my own situation is that I have learned to appreciate and pay attention to my intuitions. Intuitions depend on feelings; without feelings there would be no intuitions. That is not usually something guys are encouraged or taught to do. While my intuition can certainly be overruled by more so-called rational thought processes, I am finding they are more in tuned to my situations in life then I ever thought would be the case. It has served me well in all my coming outs to others, starting with my girlfriend, where I trusted it as to the time, place, and phrasing.
For me it is important that I take pride in what I do. This is not exactly a new thing for me, but it is now being applied to my transitioning to living my life as a woman. This is why I would rather earn my feminine life than just be miraculously transformed. From taking care of my body, to choosing my look, to changing my voice, and changing my body through hormones and surgery, I want to say I did a job well done at accomplishing these.
* I am now pursuing this surgery actively.
† I can now testify to this.