In speaking with a number of people who have transitioned, along with anecdotal evidence on numerous sites, trans people have made comments regarding life after going “full time” that have a common thread. It has to do with the second year of full time. Many, not all, but many, have commented to me and others, that there is something that goes on during the second year. Being that is where I am right now, I was quite interested.
What they notice and comment on has to do with a general sense of malaise and discomfort in their lives. This I find to be fascinating, if not concerning. I am always concerned about how this all impacts our journey and appreciate hearing about any potential for emotional “backpedaling” so to speak, to prepare for it and hopefully avoid it. I mean really, after all this work, the last thing I need to do is go back to a darker, unhappy time. So of course, I wanted to know more about it.
Many don’t really know the reason for it. Most also comment that it went away on it’s own. So here I sit, with my own quiet thoughts late into the evening, trying to see what I can glean from all of this. How does this impact me? Is it happening or going to happen to me? Why does it happen? What can I do about it? So many questions. And here is the location that I have decided to try to figure some of this out. It won’t be all come at once, trust me on that. My furry little brain can only do so much. So I suspect this is going to be something that comes up again in future posts.
My current thoughts are these. For many, the first year of full time is full of “firsts”. Coming out as your true self leads to feelings of genuine happiness and contentment. A realization that your worst fears did not come true. While there may have been some loss, a huge loss in my case of my partner and marriage, there have also been many “wins”. You may still have your job, many of your friends. No issues in going about your daily life. And for some, yes, their long term relationships are still intact. So lots of positives.
For many, it is also a time of a great deal of validation. Many are telling you on a regular basis how brave you are, how much happier you appear, how you look so great, etc, etc, etc. You are getting used to hearing your proper name. People start to settle in using the correct gender. You are welcomed into your new tribe. One can see how easily that can “go to your head”. It’s pretty heady to hear that on a regular basis when you first come out. Your ego gets stroked, you feel really great about yourself and you are constantly being acknowledged for all your hard work. And justifiably so. It is hard work. And for many of us, it’s the first time that we are hearing those words and feel good about who we really are, so I get it.
But as time passes, these comments become rare. People get on with their lives and expect you do to the same. Friends no longer make a fuss over you. Co workers are back to talking about work etc, and just want to get the job done and expect you do do the same. The novelty of “being trans” in their eyes has worn out. You are the new you. Done. You are no longer in the spot light. Welcome to year two of being full time.
So is that the issue? Is it a sense of not feeling special anymore? No longer any external validation. It can be, I imagine, a shock to the system. I can see how one could become a bit sad, probably unconsciously of course, that all the fuss is over. We are not egomaniacs. We are now expected to be just like all the others of their correct gender, and get on with life. We still think this is a big deal. The culmination of years of pain, suffering and hard work. Maybe we don’t want the party to end yet? I don’t know. Pure speculation on my part.
For me, I don’t have any of those feelings. At least not yet. The pedal came of the rose quite some time ago. People were immediately so accepting, which is great. For me, my life went to the “new normal” pretty quickly. All I ever wanted was to go about my life as me, the woman I was meant to be. And that is exactly what has happened. I work, I play, I laugh, I cry, as me. No issues. I shop, pay my bills, go to movies, dine out alone or with friends, and people around me are just going about their day, focusing on their lives and not concerned with me, at all.
And isn’t that the goal we all want? For me yes, so I assume every trans person wants that as well. Maybe not? Regardless, it is happening. Personally, I’m good with it. This is all I have ever wanted. Just to move about the world as me. Do I get anxious at times! You bet, particularly in new or first time situations. But that doesn’t keep me from engaging. This is my life, and I’m going to live it, full speed.
Next time, part two, when things don’t go well…