Actually, it began before I started to live my life as a woman. Even before I fully identified as a woman. I remember during the four years of exploring my femininity before identifying as a woman how I look forward to every chance I could get to get dressed up and explore my body sexually.† I had such a drive to be dressed and to play. It ended up I wanted more in my life. And, I had finally reached the point where I wanted more, and I started to wear my panties 24/7. I had not as yet fully identify as a woman, but I began thinking that it could possible. Then, bingo it happen and I identified my gender as female only 5 months after my 24/7 wearing of my panties began.
This change literally took over my life. While I basically remain the same person inside, and my personality is about the same, major changes in my life have occurred. A total shift in gender perspective drove these changes. I no longer want to be seen as a male, but for about a year, I had to present as a male. My solace was I still had some private dress up time where I could express my new gender identity, or recognition of it there of. Unlike some gurls I know my self play had nothing to with the notion that I was having sex like a ciswoman, even though I practice penetrative self-sex.
I recognized myself as a transgender woman in November of 2018. Soon after I felt I no longer wanted to hide myself inside so I decided to come out to my girlfriend before the New Year came, but didn’t actually do the deed until spring time. At that time I had no plans to transition and outside of some discussion time with my girlfriend I was not openly discussing my gender identity as I had not decided whether to transition or not.
But, more and more of my thought began to focus on transitioning and by summertime 2019 I had made the decision to start my transition to live as a woman socially. I am not sure if I had decided on cross hormone therapy‡ and had definitely not made any decision as for surgical interventions (meaning having a vaginoplasty, commonly called bottom surgery). By July I had made the decision that I wanted hrt (see note), and decided to seek a gender therapist after coming out to my therapist because I thought getting a letter from one was required for receiving hrt.º This was done on July 10. Coming out to my therapist also marked the beginning of sharing of my transitioning life with my girlfriend. Soon after she called me obsessed. But, I told her it was normal for people in my position to think a lot about our transitioning.
Fast forward a bit, and I finally admitted that transitioning had indeed taken a large part of my thoughts. I still don’t call it an obsession because it is not outside the realm of normalcy with transgender people like me, who are transitioning, especially. Something of this nature does require a lot of talk. And I talk about it with my closest friend (girlfriend of 33 years and the love of my life). The same friend that made the comment. Back then though she really didn’t know a lot about trans issues.
Still being a transwoman has taken over my life. Although, my life is more than being a trans person. I can’t judge the percentage of time I spend thinking about it. But, I would easily guess it is probably 50% or maybe more.
What occupies my mind during all this thinking and talking and doing:
- Taking care of my face and body. Now I have to shave all over, so I am occupied with the shaving. Ciswomen may have to shave some parts of their bodies, but I as a transwoman, I have to shave a lot more of it—all of it. Most ciswomen don’t need to shave their face every single day of their life. Shaving is a necessity so that facial hair does not show when presenting as a woman. But, it not just the shaving thing, it is also skin care, which many ciswomen do as well. I wash with a hydrating body wash and facial cleaner everyday, and I apply lotion to my body everyday. My face too after shaving and after showering if they don’t occur at the same time gets lotion on it too. A lot to do, and hence a lot to think about.
- Dressing is another activity in which I fuss and cluck over. I went to look good in my clothes, so fabric care (e.g. ironing) is a consideration I never faced. When I had dressed as a guy, all I cared about was that my clothes were washed regularly. Picking out what to wear is another time occupier. In the beginning of my social transitioning it was easier as I had fewer things in my wardrobe, but now I have a nice size wardrobe, so the choices on what to wear have multiplied immensely, and hence the time dedicated for dressing has increased along with it.
- As an adjunct to dressing, there is clothes shopping, and I certainly do a lot more of it then I ever used to. I shop online and in stores. For awhile it was exclusively online as the covid-19 medical crisis shut down physical stores. Amazon is my prime online place to shop, and I can browse for hours. With physical stores, now open, I like to shop at goodwill, and can easily spend an hour there. And, I just snagged a pair of high heel wedge sandals from “Shoe Dept. Encore” at a local mall.
- Let’s talk makeup. This is another of my daily presentation tasks. It used to take me more time in the beginning, since I was learning, and then even after that it could take awhile. Today I am more efficient of course with over a year’s practice. But, makeup choices have multiplied. While, my foundation, powder, blush, and mascara don’t change on a day-to-day basis, what can and does vary are my eyebrow pencil with a choice between brunette and soft black, depending on my wig or head wear I may be wearing out that day, my eye shadow choices are many differ shades of pink and some purples too, and my lipstick or lip gloss with about a half a dozen I use regularly. I do try and choose an eye shadow and lipstick that works well together.
- I mention wig and head wear under number 4 above. Head coverings of some kind are definite must. I have androgenic alopecia I own 4 wigs. I own a curly past the shoulder length light brown one, which I rarely ever were now because it is all synthetic and a bit unruly. But, I have three others that I wear when going out or doing provider tele-visits or tele-groups. Two are human hair and are black. One is wavy and is just to the shoulder, and the other has straight hair with bangs, and it’s length is on the shoulder. My other is brunette, part human, part synthetic, it is like the black one with the bangs, but I did not trim them and wear it with barrettes to hold them back. I give the details to show you the different looks I can present. Then, there are my head coverings. They range from chemo head scarfs, knitted winter caps, a few baseball caps (one pink and one black with a red rose on it), and one cloth cap with a flower on the side. I do fuss a lot over which one to wear. lol.
- But, my real hair as I said is suffering from extensive but not complete hair lost. I have a serious receding hairline and the crown of my head has some significant loss as well. This causes significant instances dysphoria. If I am not looking in the mirror I am fine, and from the front it is not to bad, but the crown is so horrible to see. To deal with this, of course, by wearing my wigs, but they are not something I could wear all the time. So, I am growing my hair long. this is so it can hang down below my femme head wear, which also covers my hair loss.
- Then comes more transition oriented thoughts, like being misgendered. This can bring on dysphoria, sometimes intense, so it causes an increase of concern on how I look and sound to others who do not know my trans status. For most who know me are pretty good any slip ups are easier to deal with because I know they were not on purpose, but with strangers you never know.
- Of course, there are other areas of dysphoria that occupy my mind. Hair and misgendering I have cover, but voice can be super problematic. My dysphoria over it ramp up when I started to do voice feminization training, but now has subsided to a more manageable level after it was suspended because of covid-19 concerns. But, it may ramp back up when I restart via tele-sessions soon. In the mean time I have gotten little mini gender euphoria moments when gendered correctly over the phone, as I do try to soften my voice when on the phone and in person for short sayings, like thanks and your welcome.
- Then, I can not fail to mention my clitty.¨ When I first identified as a woman, I had very little dysphoria other it, but I did know it was different than what I should have, but the desire to change it was not very strong. But, as time has gone on, it has become an unwelcome part of my body. When, I had been able to see it sexually, I was alright, but those times are growing rarer. It seems that the action of seeking bottom surgery (vaginoplasty) has put my clitty dysphoria on high alert. Peeing is about the worse as I am handling it in a none sexual manner. So, this too occupies my mind along with the other stuff I have written already.
- Have I mentioned my name? No. Well, fortunately for most people that I know know that I go by Stephie use it when speaking to me or about me from my girlfriend to the neighbors to my providers to my friends. But, I want to make it legal so I have submitted my petition to legally change my name along with payment to the newspaper that will print a legal notice of my name change petition. So, now some more waiting begins. It seems like I play the waiting game a lot. But, such it is when you are going through as many changes to get to a more comfortable state.
- One of those things to get to that more comfortable state is being on cross hormone treatment. It doesn’t happen all at once. For anything to happen it is usually 3 to 6 months. Usually at the 3 month mark they will increase your dosages. I went from 2 to 4 mg estradiol and 100 to 200 mg. These are the normal amount. I have a bunch of things happening to me and my body. The first was breast development. When it starts, they are sore and sensitive, not a thrill, but I am willing to bide my time. To say the least my time paying attention to them is large along with my growing hips. This is because of fat redistribution. I can’t help but noticing my beginning figure. This brings, unlike the breasts, nothing but joy at the thought of it. My emotions are also changing. The other day I was overcome emotionally, but not with negative ones, but happiness and thankfulness at some really good news. These are some of the effects of my hormone treatment.
- I am adding this at the time of revision after conversation with my girlfriend about love in counterpart to sex. She doesn’t understand my polyamorous sexual outlook, but does not interfere at the moment. And, it isn’t something I bring up often or even think about near as much compared to when I first identified as a woman and the four prior years of exploration towards that end. I told her I don’t feel the need to love others and be loved by them in the same way as we love each other. That is such a special love that there is no replacement for it. But, there are lesser kinds of love, and these I have towards others in my life, and even a few of my online gurlfriends. Dating, and specifically play dating was a high priority in the beginning for me. And, I did have one such date. My standards though I still had them, were lower back then. Now I recognized it is much more about an emotional connection, maybe not a form of love, but still a connection deeper than I find with other gurls most of the time. Dating as in having coffee or lunch or going shopping is still on my agenda (and a possible play date), and hence thoughts, but I focus more on my everyday life and other transitioning goals than I do for it.
These are most likely more, but maybe not all of the the things that occupy my time that concerns transitioning as it affects me directly. There are other activities that include these things, primarily in discussion with others. So, it is rare that I am not telling my girlfriend something many times a day. I also ask her questions on my appearance. Then I meet with my therapist and currently with my psychiatric nurse practitioner weekly. Then there is the four mental health groups (3 tele, 1 on-site) I attend a week. Recently I added 4 tele-trans* support groups a month. Granted, not all of these sessions are about my transitioning. Then, you must add in all my chats with my gurlfriends online.
I also do a lot of online searching for various things. I spent hours looking for an appropriate psychiatrist or psychologist to write a recommendation letter for my vaginoplasty. Fortunately, I will not have to call any because my therapist has set me up with her mentor who will be working with me pro bono. I do a lot of transgender studies searches and reading. I also read a few blogs. Speaking of blogs, there is all the time I devote to writing and revising and proofing my blog posts.
Of course, my life isn’t all transgender and transitioning. I still cook and bake and walk. And transitioning is not the only topic of conversation I have with others, mainly my girlfriend. I do read books, which are not trans related too. I do none clothes shopping, like groceries or pharmacies, and also stuff online, mostly Amazon. There is more, but I think you will get the picture. So, I have a full life, and yes my transitioning and my thoughts about being a transwoman makes up a huge amount of it, but I am overall, well adjusted.
This large focus with transgender life and transitioning is from what I have read is common among trans persons, and does not mean you are not well integrated with life as a whole. I have also been assured by both my mental health providers that it is normal and a usual path that we†† go through. But I have also read that one day, it will not have this focus that you†† have during transition. One blog I read said it took three years. Omg, is it really going to take that long.
† This included my asspussy (a come term on some sites I am on), but I had not started to call it that then.
‡ A common designation for this treatment is hormone replacement therapy (hrt), which I feel is not fully appropriate, seeing how one is not replacing any hormones but altering the bodies balance to fit with a person’s gender identity.
º I found out later that the letter needed to be by a mental health provider, but not necessarily by an accredited gender therapist. As it turned out I stuck with my therapist because the gender one I visit twice admitted to not having seen a transgender client before (her accreditation was for sex therapy, which included gender as part of the process), while my therapist had actually had some trans clients before. Secondary to this reason it was less convenient to get to the gender therapist than my regular one, and I still wanted to see my current therapist.
¨ This is in reference to my male (dysphoric just typing this word) sex organ. It is a popular choice with a good many gurls I know online.
†† I am using plural pronouns because I am part of a class of persons that share similar, but far from identical things in our lives.