It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like I feel now, and that is comfortable. I don’t mean comfortable with a new couch or a new mattress, though I do need to invest in a new one of each. My life is taking shape and is starting to look and feel like Olivia’s life. I open my thankfully gigantic closet space and they are all MY clothes (Olivia’s, not his). They range from pretty dresses to cute blouses. I have jeans in many colors, shorts of every style, socks for cozy days in or to go under boots. The far-right spaces are saved for my “date attire” (for whenever that happens). Shoes from boots to high heels are lined on the top shelf all along the entire closet space. My bathroom has all my skincare products, from moisturizers to toners and masks. My towels are pretty and a beautiful purple. My robe is nice and white, and I have my blow-dryer and my straightener in the bathroom closet along a whole slew of towels, beauty products, and hair products. I wonder how all these things appeared, they slowly appeared, and I didn’t realize when my house became even more mine. I have minimized furniture, so all throughout it doesn’t feel clumpy and there’s more space available. I want to work more on my garden but that will have to wait for the spring and summer. I can’t wait to finally plant a tree.
"LOOKING BACK AT 2017, IT FEELS LIKE THE TIME FROM JANUARY TO AUGUST WAS EXCLUSIVELY SPENT AT HOME, HIDING FROM THE WORLD."
Depression, thanks to much counseling and a week-long stay at a behavioral health clinic, is starting to morph as well. The news of the President persecuting me over the summer did hit me hard, but it was part of many things that piled up all at the same time against me. Of course, I still have terrible days where I get home and an invisible force pulls me to my bed and doesn’t let me go. Overall though, I’ve picked up some tools at the behavioral health clinic to help put the demons away. Looking back at 2017, it feels like the time from January to August was exclusively spent at home, hiding from the world. I would go to work, and return home. It was such a contrast of feelings alternating between smiles and happiness at work and frowns and fright when not at work.
At work I was happy and cheerful. I had successfully applied to have my gender marker changed, and I could wear a female uniform while finally starting to grow my hair. When I wasn’t at work, I was incredibly self-conscious to step one single foot outside my house. The base had become my safe place. My military uniform became my armor. Even getting my name changed officially through the Utah courts, though it was an amazing feeling, was still not enough. Many of us struggle with different things. For me, it was my looks. Even though I’d had my name changed officially through the military and through the civilian courts, I struggled so much with my own self-esteem regarding my short hair and my face. It’s one thing to feel that you are passing, but for the most important person to convince of passing, myself, I was not succeeding. In August, my hair was finally long enough for extensions, and those have helped tremendously. I continued with my hormones and tried to stay focused on work and my son.
It was sometime around November, I didn’t even notice it, but my self-esteem started improving. I was able to leave the house without being crippled by fear and doubts. I started making new friendships, ones that only belonged to Olivia and not my past self. At work, I was rarely misgendered, and I was never called sir in public any longer. I was confident to go out by myself, to the mall, to look at women’s clothes, try them on, and not get stared at funny or any of those things that we are used to receiving. I went out to a nightclub with some friends and it was such an amazing time to be out and about as myself, to be the real me dancing, and having fun with my girlfriends, and of course get checked out by guys and girls. In December, I attended a work holiday party, wore a beautiful gown, and had an amazing time. I am not saying these things to gloat; I wasn’t even aware that I was just freely moving about without being weighed down by doubts and depression. What I want to celebrate is that if I can learn to live with my insecurities and learn to overcome them, then so can anyone.
"IT’S STILL UNBELIEVABLE HOW PEOPLE I’VE PICKED INTO MY LIFE, SUCH AS FRIENDS, ACQUAINTANCES, RELATIONSHIP PARTNERS, EVEN PETS, HAVE ALL BECOME PART OF THE POSITIVE SIDE OF LIFE"
Of course, it hasn’t been all rosy, and the non-rosy parts are with family. It’s still unbelievable how people I’ve picked into my life, such as friends, acquaintances, relationship partners, even pets, have all become part of the positive side of life. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten to choose them, and with our blood relatives, well, I didn’t get that opportunity. When I’m with my “selected family" they get my sense of humor, they support my lifestyle and are compatible with it. They also support my decisions regarding my gender and my presentation. When I’m with my “blood family” it feels odd. There's always tension between them, something happened where my Aunt got offended by what my other Aunt said, so now they are both at the gathering but aren't talking to each other. Or my Uncle who just got out of jail for beating his wife, and everyone is whispering about them. And of course, the questions about why I’m doing what I’m doing and the misgendering along with the unbelief and the threats to disown me from my grandparents. Just typing all of this is depressing and annoying.
Transitioning can be incredibly overwhelming and our impatience to reach our desired look can make it seem even more far away at times. When you get to that desired point, you won’t even realize it happened, but you will look in the mirror and see the change. There is a different person staring back at me, and recollecting the past two months, I realized I had arrived to that desired point and I didn’t even know it. I believe I’ve started to turn a new chapter in my life. I am more confident than ever, my friends support me, and I am feeling more comfortable as whom I was always supposed to be on the outside. I’ve taken a few steps into dating, but I will save those for another time. For now, my brothers and sisters, be patient. There’s a reason it’s called transition, and not transformation.