To Anyone In Their Pre Or Early Transitions, It's Not A Competition

To Anyone In Their Pre Or Early Transitions, It's Not A Competition

Here's all the advice I wish I received when taking the plunge in transitioning.

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As a transman who is extremely open about his transition, I find myself getting messages from other transmen. Some are early on in their journey or are about to take the plunge and they ask for advice. First and foremost, I am extremely honored, privileged, and humbled to be someone others come to seeking advice or guidance. Especially regarding a topic so near and dear to my heart. Nothing in the world makes me happier than seeing others come to terms with their authentic self and start taking the steps necessary to show that person to the world.

Giving advice on how to come out or take pride in yourself as a transman early in his transition is never a simple answer, no matter how often I do it. There is so much I wish I could go back and tell my younger self while I was getting started. Yet, there is still so much I continue to learn the further along I get in this process. Therefore, my answer is always growing and adapting. When I started testosterone and finally began this wonderful yet chaotic lifelong journey to becoming the man I am, I was alone.

I didn't have any other transmale friends I could talk to or seek guidance from. I didn't know where to turn. I felt like I was a baby bird that had just been thrown out of the nest, it was either fall or fly. It hurts my heart to think of anyone else in the position I was in when I first came out. I was extremely scared, I had questions and I didn't have the slightest clue where to go for answers. I think this made me overthink absolutely everything I was doing in my transition. I didn't know what to expect or when to expect it. I didn't know how any of it worked. I was walking blind. If I could offer anyone advice so they can avoid feeling the way I did, I'd speak all day long.

I try to tell them what I wish someone would or could have told me. I try to be the person for them that I wish I had. First and foremost, what everyone starting their transition needs to know is that the only acceptance or approval they need comes from within. It may or may not come as a surprise, but when you come out, there may be multiple people in your life that don't accept it and may try to sway your decision. Don't listen to anyone who isn't encouraging you to be your very best self, no matter what that is, transgender or not. Time is an extremely valuable thing and one thing we all have in common is that our time is limited. You cannot waste your precious time and energy trying to fit someone else's mold.

It's your life. The path you are paving is yours and yours alone. I promise you won't gain anything beneficial by trying to please anyone other than yourself. I wholeheartedly believe the people who criticize others for taking their lives into their own hands, only project their hate and negativity because they lack the courage to do so for themselves. Don't listen to your critics, listen to your fans. If you know who you are and you're confident enough in yourself to own it, you will remain untouchable. Everyone else is background noise.

Secondly, and this one may be a tough pill to swallow, but you have to be patient with other people when you first come out. Particularly in regards to using your preferred changed name and/or pronouns. Yes, beginning your transition is an extremely drastic change to your life, but it also is to those close to you as well. While some people will be able to immediately make that permanent change, it may not be so easy for some others. They might accidentally slip up and use your "dead name", as we call it. I still find my grandmother recalling old stories from when I was a baby and using the words "she" and "her." Not because she thinks of me as female, but because at the time in those memories, that's what I was to her, a granddaughter.

As long as you know that person is truly trying and making an effort with that adjustment, be patient with them. There is a fine line, however, between being patient and being a doormat. There comes a point in time when you can no longer let it slide; when you get misgendered or called by your former name, you have to be assertive and adamant. Correct them. You have to make it known that that's something you no longer go by and you won't allow yourself to be disrespected like that. By defending yourself and refusing to falter, that shows others that you're serious. Again, this stems back to the most important takeaway; confidence. Own it, sister.

It's just as important to be patient with yourself. I wish I could go back in time to visit myself literally one month on testosterone and grab myself by the shoulders while shaking me back and forth saying "stop examining yourself in front of the mirror!" There I was, at not even a full month on testosterone, scrutinizing every inch of my body. Where was my deep voice? Where was my thick arm pit hair? Where was the face masculinization? Where was my full beard?

I thought I wasn't developing as quickly as I should've been, so I beat myself up over it. I convinced myself I was falling behind or failing at transitioning. Do not look for changes. The more you analyze yourself and search for physical changes, the longer it will take to spot them. You won't notice a change that you monitor every second of the day. Instead of keeping yourself under your own microscope, photograph yourself and record your voice every couple of weeks. It feels a hell of a lot better to look back and be able to see how far you've come. Be patient. You need to enjoy the ride. When I got my top surgery date, I would wake up ecstatic to change the countdown I had written on a whiteboard. I didn't get to do that afterwards.

Of course, having my surgery felt a lot better than the excitement, but I didn't have anything to look forward to anymore. Enjoy the process while it's happening before it becomes something that already happened.

Speaking of examining and overthinking yourself and the progress in your transition, one thing I wish every transman would realize is: transitioning is not a competition. Honestly, just don't even search the hashtag "transgender" on Instagram until you're at least a year on testosterone. I would always find myself looking at other transmen on social media and then being extremely disappointed when I saw pictures of myself. I would see pictures of transmen who were on testosterone longer than I had been at the time and think "when do I get to look like that?"

Even worse, I'd see pictures of transmen who looked like they had been on T for much longer than me, only to find out they weren't on it as long as I had been. Coming across a guy who looks extremely naturally male, who you'd never expect to be transgender had you not known, who was on test for less than you were? The absolute worst. What a low blow to your self-esteem. I wish I could go back to my younger self and made sure I understood that transitioning isn't a competition. It isn't a race. I wish I could drive home the point that there is no right and wrong timeline, there is no right and wrong way to transition. Everybody blossoms at their own pace, and each one of us are beautiful in our own unique way, that's what sets us apart.

Never ever use the fact that you're transgender as an excuse. What I mean by this is, if something goes differently as planned, never say the words "it's because I'm trans." Contrary to what your head might try to tell you, you do not start lower on the totem pole just because your genitals don't match that of a cis male. The expectations of others as well as your own shouldn't be lowered just because you're a transman. You are equal. You are a man and you are valid.

Being transgender isn't an excuse for anything and you have absolutely nothing to apologize for. If you find yourself yearning for the affection of anyone who won't give it to you and you think "maybe if I wasn't transgender they'd like me," stop yourself right there. If you think someone is going to like you if you weren't trans, you don't want them to like you in the first place. It isn't a favor or a sacrifice to others to love you for being real and true to yourself.

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

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One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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