Acceptance, more often than not, is a journey into the cold hard truth; A place in life where the rawest aspects of someone’s most personal issues are put on display. It uncovers insecurities and forces the conscious mind to acknowledge things that the subconscious mind has worked hard to keep buried. As I came to terms with my own gender identity I began to look at the world around me to see just what I needed to do in order to start my unmasking. At times, going to my very first online support groups, I scared myself with what I discovered. One of the sites I had gone to even claimed that it was “the world’s largest Transgender website”. With a boast like that the information I found had to be accurate, right? These apparent “facts” definitely contributed to the ideas that I would find the most unnerving about beginning my unmasking. I saw that people were discussing being on hormones for 2-3 years and yet they would still have very little real life experience. I read that after 2-3 years they would finally go full time and possibly have to wait for another 2-3 years before they found their self-confidence in “passing” socially. As this information processed I began to feel like I was in the valleys of Nepal looking up at Mount Everest, a huge mountain that seemed so insurmountable to me.
A Massive Mountain
Looking at that massive mountain in front of me had really influenced my hesitation about beginning my unmasking. The thought that it could really be 4-5 years before I would even begin to see my authentic self, much less be seen for who I really am socially, took a little bit of a toll on my psyche. How could I wait for that much longer after finally having found myself? I had thought “OMG, I’ll be 55-56 years old before I’m able to pass!”. My dysphoria had been horribly triggered and I became depressed, thinking thoughts like I would probably wind up on The Jerry Springer show, one of my family members would have me there, saying look at this hideous person! I was thinking the worst kind of thoughts like that being transgender meant I was the scourge of society. My therapist at the time really had to earn her pay to keep me from trying to harm myself again.
Finally I connected with another transgender/transsexual woman who lived in Oklahoma, her story was very much like mine. Both of us had done things in our lives to hide who we were. We both had also played baseball at a high level. The similarities were more and more apparent between us as we discussed things like the fact that we both had very masculine jobs at one time in our lives and we both had been married with two children and were now divorced. She became this amazing, larger than life, woman to me whom in, a very polite way, slapped me upside the head and told me to wake up. I learned from her that there are many transgender/transsexual woman in all walks of life and because of her friendship I was introduced to transgender/transsexual woman who were in construction, the military, fireman, police officers, pilots and every other career one could possibly think of.
All of a sudden that mountain didn’t seem so big
I started to think to myself “I can do this!”. But then fear took over again and worry set in as I started thinking things to myself like no doctor is going to think I’m “transgender enough”. In retrospect, I realize this was just me coming to terms in my own way and facing those cold hard truths. This was my dysphoria talking again with a strong mix of self-doubt. Then, between speaking again with my therapist and this beautiful soul of a transgender woman that had befriended me, I found a renewed confidence and finally went to my first endocrinologist appointment with my letter for HRT.
I remember I had been shaking as I approached the doctor’s office. The whole time I was asking myself “is this what you really want?”. Even to this day, I know that as long as I kept answering myself with a “yes” I will keep on going, but at that time, I had never been so nervous in my life. It was occurring to me that I was about to discuss my being transgender and wanting to start my unmasking to a total stranger. That this stranger had the power to deny me access to HRT. I could barely get my name out when I checked in at the front desk. They handed my some forms to fill out and, to tell you the truth, I don’t even think any of my writing was legible. I took forever to fill them out because I was struggling to focus on thinking about the information they wanted. After what seemed like two hours of filling the forms out I went back to the desk and handed them in along with my insurance cards. After getting my cards back, I returned to my seat in the waiting room and sat down to wait the longest wait of my life.
Just Like That
A door opened up and a nurse came out and called my name. I about wet my pants right there. My heart was pounding I thought everyone could hear it beating. All of a sudden I wasn’t breathing or at least it seemed like I was wasn’t. My mouth was dry and I had a hard time talking. All of my saliva seemed to go right to my hands and armpits. You would have thought it was 110 degrees in the office. The nurse was very kind to me and said just relax as she took my blood pressure, which was high. She asked me why I was so nervous about my diabetes! I had never told the doctor’s office the real reason for my visit as I had said I was there for a check up on my diabetes. At that point, I was too petrified to tell too many people. The nurse checked my blood sugar levels and my A1C. As she left the room she said the doctor would be right in and with that the door closed behind her.
I was sitting there on the examination table fidgeting and sweating, trying to wipe the sweat from my forehead with one clammy, shaky hand. In what only seemed like ten seconds after the nurse left, the door to the room opened again and in walked my endocrinologist. She walked over to me and shook my hand and introduced herself. I was so scared my mind went blank and I couldn’t remember my name. Somehow I managed to give her my letter form my therapist. I felt like I was going to pass out as she read the letter. As hard as it is to believe my heart was pounding harder and feeling like I was running a marathon right then. As she finished the letter and looked up at me she said: “Now I know why you are so nervous!”. Then she started to try to put me at ease as we talked about my medical history. We talked about the pro and cons of the different delivery methods for receiving estrogen. After about half an hour of talking, she told what she was going to prescribe for me. I remember sitting thinking to myself “OMG… I am transgender enough!”.
I was relieved
At that point, I was then given my first prescription for Estrogen and Spironolactone. I was so excited that all the nerves I was feeling leading up to the appointment came rushing out as I was leaving the doctor’s office and I started to cry on my way out. This all took place on September 29th, 2014. With my scripts in hand I rushed as fast as I could to the pharmacy to have them filled. As I waited in line to be taken care of again I was fidgeting again only, this time, it was due to excitement. When it was, at long last, my turn at the counter (it was only maybe five minutes) I handed over my scripts and waited with anticipation for them to be filled. Then, my excitement quickly turned to disappointment as the pharmacy tech came over and told me that they needed to order the estrogen and it would be a day or two before it would be in. On the afternoon of October 1st, 2014, two days later, at 3:15 in the afternoon, I returned to the pharmacy to pick up my scripts. After paying for them and a bottle of water, I left the store and an unbelievable excitement washed over me. I opened up each pill bottle and took out the appropriate amount and before popping them into my mouth I ask myself one more time, “Is this what you want?”. I then answered myself with a resounding yes and popped my first dose of HRT into my mouth and swallowed it down with some water. I had begun my journey into authenticity at a medical level, I had made a commitment to myself to face those insecurities, those scary facts, buried in my subconscious in order to finally be the woman I was always meant to be. I had finally started my unmasking…!Tweet #TransHopeUnited