It Got Better

My name is Wendy Jean M. It was William (Bill) M, and in the eyes of the government it still is. This will be corrected soon enough. I am 56 years old, and am transitioning from male to female (MtF).

Those of you who know me are already aware of the killer depression (literally) I went through. If not for the love of family, whom I love more than myself, I would be gone now. I’ve beat the depression, though traces still remain.

Too many transgendered people commit suicide. The exact reasons vary, but the depression is all too common. In my case I was an Air Force brat long before don’t ask don’t tell was a formal policy. At age 12 I became aware I was different, though there were lots of clues before then. I thought I was disgusting, a pervert, and buried it deep. It rots the soul, and I carried this for over 40 years. When the crisis hit I was a real mess.

I have been living full time as a woman for over 2 months, socially for 5 months (same time I started HRT). It has made all the difference, I still get read, but it is happening less and less. There is a learning curve associated, a steep one. Where I was tormented, I am now at peace. It feels very good.

I’ve decided I will be an activist because of this. I don’t intend to carry a sign on my chest, but if anyone wants to talk about it I am willing, and no subject is off limits. Too many people when they finish transitioning disappear, and try to live normal lives. I don’t fault them for this, but as a result there are too many ugly stereotypes that are allowed to persist and have no basis in fact. So, I won’t disappear. I will try to help new transgendered people starting out.

I thought I would share some of the experiences I've had along the way. I am still very much a work in progress, but the final outline seems to be taking shape. I am learning to talk with a new voice, makeup, and a dozen different things I've always dreamed of doing but kept buried.

While I was almost at my worst in clinical depression I started with an endocrinologist that was a horrible fit for me. Even though she was transgendered (and passed admirably) she was hyper critical, blew off my depression, and lost her temper because I mentioned I did not have time to cook from a recommended diet book she was pushing (that was the depression talking). It also didn't help that when I came out to myself it was more like a mental breakdown. I have not been able to read books every since, my attention will not stay focused. My therapist says this is probably temporary, I hope so, since I was a avid reader before. The doctor knew this, but it didn't matter. I had to diet her way or I was a failure. I started at 240 pounds, am under 165 with the intention to loose more, and I did it my way and in a healthy manner.

The lesson I got from this is do not try to stick with a professional who is a bad fit. It is not worth it. Someone can be competent and still not be good for you.

You will need a gender therapist. They will provide the documentation you will need long term, for the endocrinologist to one of the letters you will need if you go before a courts for a gender marker change and a name change. In my case it was much more, I needed this person, badly. I also carry papers for police in case I am pulled over. Some people find this offensive, but it is better to be pragmatic rather than put up with an unfortunate experience from a small town police force.

There will be problem people. I have friends who simply can not accept me as I am. I still view them as friends, maybe someday they will come around. Meanwhile I'm making new friends. The vast majority of people are very accepting, which surprised me (a lot). If you work for a small company and it looks like it may be a problem you may want to start a job search early, or at least start the groundwork. I made it a point to come out to HR first, to prevent people who figured out what was happening from coming up with an excuse to get rid of me. I was incredibly lucky, my company has firm policies on this situation, not all companies do.

When I started the process of transitioning it looked insurmountable. I am now about 70% through the process (maybe more). From this side it is no big deal, most of my fears and phobia's were groundless. This does not mean I am dismissing how people feel when they are starting this journey, frankly it is terrifying. But in the end, how I felt about myself became a lot more important than how other people felt about me. The trick for me was baby steps, a small step here, a small step there, eventually you are there.

When you go in for a service (such as a manicure) be straight up to the person doing the job that you are transgender, and want a feminine style. Otherwise they will botch it. My first manicure taught me that, I went in with a two month growth of nails, told the manicurist I wanted medium length. Withing two seconds (or so it seemed) every nail I had was on the table, the remaining nails almost to the quick, me sitting there with my mouth hanging open. The damage done I sat quietly and watched the rest of the process, learning, and decided not to go back there again. Nail Salon's are everywhere, there is no reason to put up with any guff from anyone.

Look up local support groups, this one is very important. People, even well meaning folk, do not understand what drives us. I don't really either, I just accept it. Other transgendered people understand this. They are a great source of support and understanding, you will find a deep reservoir of respect, along with some very good advice and other peoples experiences.

Mostly, accept and love yourself. You are as God made you, the roots of transgenderism has medical causes. Most of us do not want to be transgendered, but we have to accept the fact we are different and a lot of people will not understand this. You do not have to go all the way in the process, many people don't. The spectrum of transgendered people sexuality is huge, this is also normal. Just be true to yourself.

Here are some pictures of where I was and where I am for those who are interested.

This was me around 10 years ago, at 270 pounds.
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This was me around 6 years ago, nothing had much changed. The young man next to me is one of the reasons I'm still here.
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I was still over 200 pounds, but had accepted I was going to transitioning. I was trying the first few clothes.
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This was me in the last few days as a man (sort of). I was down to 185 pounds.
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This is me a week or so ago. I hate how the shirt makes me look, I still need to loose about 10 pounds. I am under 165 and intending to drop more.
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And yes, the breasts are all mine! Keep taking your vitamins and medicines little girls, so they can grow up big and strong!

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