My transition continues to progress, every day I’m living more and more as my authentic self. However, I’ve not yet reached the date where I plan to go full-time. There are still aspects of my life (work, other hobbies) where I have not yet transitioned and thus must return to a fully male presentation. Last night I was thrust into one of those situations. While painful in the moment, in retrospect it was a really good experience for me that taught me a few lessons about myself.
I am a soccer referee. While the administration is aware of my situation, I chose to wait until after the fall season to transition in that role. As a result, my presentation when working games is still fully male (or as male as I can present these days). I had my first game of the fall season last night, and so I dutifully donned my old male referee gear and headed off to work the game.
The referees I worked with are not yet aware of my transition. I got the many comments from them about how different I look with longer hair and no more facial hair. They also mentioned my weight loss. I thought about addressing my transition right then and there but since we only had 30 minutes before game time, I didn’t feel it was the right time or place. So instead I reverted back to my old techniques of vague statements that weren’t lies but didn’t expose my gender transition.
Using the bathroom before the match was a terrible experience. Presenting as male, I of course chose to use the men’s restroom. I would later realize that this was the first time in 4 weeks that I’ve used a men’s public restroom. It was awful. Standing at the urinal, I literally had to fight back tears. It felt foreign and awkward, it just wasn’t right. When I went to the sink to wash my hands, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror. It was a decidedly feminine appearance and I started to panic. OMG I’m in the wrong rest room!!! I washed up quickly and got out as fast as I could.
During the match, I found myself reverting back to old habits. Men’s soccer matches are a testosterone fest. To survive it as a referee, my approach was to meet or exceed the level of testosterone on display while remaining in control. This meant puffing up my chest, using the biggest most booming voice I could, and basically giving off the aura of “I take shit from no one”. It has worked for me for 12 years, but not anymore. I just can’t do it. I felt phony, I felt like everyone could see right through me and I simply wasn’t comfortable trying to give off that level of “masculinity” when I know now that it simply isn’t me.
All in all it was painful. I hadn’t felt dysphoria like this in a really long time. I’ve been doing so much to be visible as a trans woman, to present authentically even when not presenting to “pass”. It felt like I was regressing by now attempting to fit back into that male mode again. After the match, I called my one of my dearest trans sisters and we talked for over an hour. She let me vent, she listened to my pour out the pain of the night, she no doubt heard as the tears began to fall. I told her all I wanted to do was get home and go back to being me.
When I got home, I rushed in and the very first thing I did was change. Off with all the male clothing and I threw on a bra. OMG, the feeling!! I was finally back to my real self. I ended up putting on a Wonder Woman tank top I had bought but not yet worn as I thought it would be empowering. It was. As I laid in bed, still on the phone with my sister, I was filled with a sense of well-being and contentment. It was a familiar feeling. Oh yes, this was that feeling I used to get each time I put on female clothes. It was a reminder to me of just how awful things have felt playing the male role and how freeing and wonderful it is to finally be authentic and true to myself. I’m ashamed to admit that I had already begun to take that feeling for granted. It’s been becoming my new normal and thus I’ve become somewhat desensitized. I think I needed the pain of the dysphoria, returning in a way that it hadn’t in months, to remind me of what I’m fighting to shed and what I’m striving to achieve.
So while in the moment, the pain was real and very raw, it served a much greater purpose. I woke this morning with a whole new energy. I feel spectacular, ready to take on the world. I got up and, despite having worked a game until 10:30PM last night, I got out and did my morning run. Starting the day with an accomplishment, now its time to press forward and continue to accomplish things.
As a final thought, I have an announcement to make. I am officially out publicly on Facebook. Last Thursday I made a lengthy post to my friends, family and neighbors explaining the full situation. So far the response has been great. As a result, you can expect to see pictures of me on this blog from now on. Starting today with the obligatory before and after picture. I’m so close to being completely free from the need to hide and to be secretive. Just over 2 months to go until I’m living full-time authentically and will completely shed this male persona that has shielded me for the last 39 years.