A few days ago, I met up with a transwoman who is preparing to “come out” at work in the very near future. She is in a branch of our military and was referred to me by a friend of mine who works at National Defense Headquarters. I must say, it was a super enjoyable conversation! Well, for me at least…. a few hours with me, maybe not so much for her! Ha ha.
She’s older, around my age so we had a lot in common with respect to life experiences. What I really enjoyed was how well she had, and is, preparing for all of this. While there is no single way to do this and yes, everyone’s journey is their own, I have noticed over the years there are a few things that successful transitions have in common. She is being patient, and for her, that seems to be working well.
I know, trust me, patience is something that is really hard to maintain once the decision is made to transition. Once you pull the trigger, so to speak, you want to be that bullet. You want to get to your target as fast as you can. Your new, authentic life. I get that, I really, really do. But here’s the catch, at least in my case. Sometimes it can be a moving target. You know where you want to go, but along the way, something happens, and you have to take a detour. Set backs hit. Financially, emotionally, within your support network, family, the list goes on and on.
You burst out of the gate, run like hell only to find the finish line has moved….farther away. You sprint again, and nope, not there. Now, you’re getting frustrated, exhausted and generally pissed off. Not a good place to be. And sometimes, for some of us, this is our journey. So what’s my point? My point, or at least what my take away from this conversation with this woman was, it reinforced for me that this is marathon. Slow and steady. Allow for readjustments. Stuff happens. LIFE happens. And if you’re not prepared or ready to make adjustments, it can be a really tough journey.
That is what I appreciated about how this woman was approaching her journey. Careful, thoughtful steps, very few knee jerk reactions. Just like thinking before you speak (which I admittedly don’t do at times – I know you’re shocked, Notm 😉 !!) taking time to consider reactions and possible alternatives/solutions is her mantra. It was refreshing to see. So many people that I meet are struggling. Some for legitimate reasons, be it financially, lack of access to resources, family etc. but for others it is because, in my opinion, they can’t seem to stop getting in their own way. They are so excited and impatient and just want to get there. And I get that. But sometimes you have to get ready for a marathon. Time, patience and prep work.
Now that’s not to say that everything has to analyzed to death. Paralysis by analysis can also be an outcome. And I do know people that analyze the crap out of everything. That may work for them, fair game, but I know for certain that it is not working for many that I know that are susceptible to that pattern of thinking/problem solving.
So what is the point of this ramble? It’s okay to take your time if you can. Stop. Take inventory, check your map so to speak. It’s not a race. Take time to celebrate the small victories along the way. Give yourself a pat on the back when you can and when you need it. It takes a special person to make this journey. And you are special. Trust me. You’ll get there. Do it safely. Do it smart. The finish line will still be there.
And we will be there waiting for you with open arms.