I’ve never been the type of person to put off decisions. When presented with a choice, no matter how difficult, I systematically narrow the options down to the best possible outcomes, and then if there is no remaining reason to pick one over the other(s), I pick a direction and run with it. Through much life experience of doing this, I’ve developed a good sense of danger, because I’ve ended up with both good results and bad results.
When going through a journey as large as transitioning, there is always the looming worry that transitioning is a mistake for me. Before you jump to the conclusion that this looming worry is an indication in and of itself that transition is a mistake for me, you should also be aware that I had this same looming worry about not transitioning being a mistake when I was at the point in my life that I was trying to make the decision of whether to transition or not.
Whether I had decided to transition or not, I was making an irreversible choice. The male body goes through multiple stages of masculinization, and in the late 20s, the body goes through another irreversible phase. At the beginning of my transition, I could feel the onset of these changes, and even in this year that is so full of feminizing changes, I could tell that I was fighting a war in my body to halt what the testosterone was working so hard to accomplish. This situation created a very real urgency about stepping forward in one direction or the other, committing to a lifetime of the fruit of my decision.
Faced with this choice of whether to transition or not, I carefully considered every outcome I could think of. I asked myself many questions. I spent many days and nights pondering every side of this that I could think of. If I didn’t transition, did I have any reason to think that my gender dysphoria would change in a powerful way that it hadn’t in nearly 26 years of struggling with it? Could I live with this for the rest of my life without it changing? If I did transition and regretted it, would I be able to live with myself? What if it actually solved the problem that it was the supposed solution for? Would I really be happier with the gender dysphoria problem solved even in the face of so many new problems that would be created? What do other people who have been through this have to say? What do other people who know me have to say? The list goes on, but I’m sure you get the idea.
Unfortunately, there is just no way to know the answer to all these questions without living through it. I would have to choose to move forward in one direction or the other. I decided to start transitioning, but I started with reversible changes and avoided permanent changes at all costs. I knew I was moving quickly, so I wanted to give myself as much time as possible to really feel what I was doing and to give myself ample opportunity to experience doubt and regret. One step at a time, I would select a change that would expose me to what I was doing without forcing me to make the permanent commitment.
There was a notable exception: facial hair. My hair is quite dark, and as such, even cleanly shaven, it has always been a major challenge to achieve a feminine appearance. Early on in transition, I discovered that it takes upwards to 2 years to fully remove facial hair permanently. I made the decision that even if I reverted my transition, I would be able to be happy without the ability to grow facial hair. I started permanent hair removal just weeks into my transition.
One step at a time, I made a change, and then stopped and asked myself, “How do you feel right now? Are you happy with the change you made? Do you feel regret? Do you feel apprehensive about the very next step in front of you?” I never committed to the whole process at once. I never once said, “I’m going to transition from male to female.” I had only decided that I liked what I had done and was going to take another step in that direction.
Over time, and not even very much time, I had changed quite a lot. Right from the start, I picked my new first name, Kelsie. Just two weeks in, I never presented as male again except when I had to grow facial hair for electrolysis. I built up a new wardrobe, learned how to do makeup, and began growing my hair out.
After about 2 months, I told my family what I was doing. Their responses were quite varied, but for the most part, everyone was very surprised and/or upset. I did not get the recognition, support, and approval that I had sought. They were so upset about it that they couldn’t even manage to really talk to me about it and express even the legitimate concerns they probably had. It took many months to even get to the point where we could talk about it. I couldn’t wait for them to come around, and frankly, I think them seeing me living as a woman was the catalyst that finally helped them accept it. If I had waited around for them to catch up to where I was before I continued my transition, I’m not sure it ever would have happened.
After about 3 months, I was running out of non-permanent changes that I could make. I was quite satisfied with myself. I was happy with every change that I had made. I was even happier with how my inner Kelsie had been released by these changes. At this point, there was simply no way I could justify not going further. So far, everything that transition had promised me had come true, and I was the happiest I had ever been in my life. My therapist was very much in agreement; she could see how much transitioning had done for me. I felt very alive for the first time, and it was shining powerfully.
I started taking hormones around that time. I knew hormones would take a while before any physical changes occurred, and I wanted to get an idea of whether I could handle the emotional and mental changes that hormone replacement therapy would cause.
Two months later, I changed my legal name to Kelsie my middle name to Nicole. Three months after my name was changed, I had a major facial surgery that changed two features of my face that absolutely inhibited my ability to appear feminine: my enormous brow ridge and my nose.
Three months after the operation, November 2011, I have been “full time” for most of the year, and was living with zero regrets about the steps I had taken. Hormone replacement therapy had proven to me that I absolutely wanted to always be on female hormones for the rest of my life. I did not have any physical changes from hormone replacement therapy yet, so I decided that it was time to do what I had to do to make that process really start. Because of my particular situation that I’m not going to get into detail on right now, I had already decided that an orchiectomy was the only good way to make this happen. Late November, I had this done.
As I recently revealed in a prior blog post, I now consider my transition complete. So let’s talk about how I feel now. Many of the inhibitions I feel are related to my beliefs about God, so I wrote a lot about it. I know that many of my readers don’t believe what I believe, but I hope you can at least understand the impact this had on me, knowing what I believe.
I realize that a lot of the good feelings I felt during transition was novelty. The novelty of transition has worn off. I’m happy with what I have done, but I would say that it is more like being brought out of the negative than moving into the positive. I feel like I’m functioning properly now, where before I was malfunctioning.
If I examine myself internally and reflect on my own desires, I’m very happy with what I’ve done. But a part of me feels the need to reconcile this with others. I grew up heavily participating in a non-denominational born-again Christian church. I lost every single friendship I had from there as a result of my transition. There are a few people who are still Facebook friends with me, but are entirely non-communicative, and the ones that I’ve reached out to consistently cannot manage to even talk to me. I still love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. It is painful that I am rejected, and treated with contempt because they expect that I “knew better” than to do this.
An always-looming question is whether God accepts me as his daughter or if he still sees me as his son, an idea which I loathe. I am quite fearful that one day I’m going to feel spiritually compelled to de-transition on the basis that one cannot change what they are, and that God did not actually make me female, despite how I feel internally. This would be angering since I so heavily pursued his input before this was a permanent thing. This would be angering since the very people that I needed so badly to help me make the right choice based on our shared beliefs rejected me, so I had to make the decision alone. If there is one thing that I’ve learned over years of pursuing God, it is that two or more people are better than one when listening to God, because it helps sift out our own biases, filters, and selfish desires.
I recently went to this same church to see if I could get an input on how God sees me right now, without revealing to the people who I was. I found a man that has prophesied over me multiple times in the past, and I decided to ask him if he could just listen for a minute and ask God if he had anything at all to say. In my belief system, prophesy is something anyone can do; it is a fancy word for “listening to God and saying exactly what you hear or see in your mind to the person that you are prophesying over”. It is up to the receiving party to interpret what it means to them, usually, in my experience. The idea was that this man wouldn’t know who I was, and that if he referred to me as “daughter”, then I could have the peace of knowing that I was recognized as female by God. In hindsight, that would be a pretty poor foundation to base anything on because humankind doesn’t hear God perfectly, and it is quite possible that even if God said “son”, they might hear “daughter” because the person they are looking at is female. Prophesy isn’t a perfect and exact thing in my experience, and you have to weigh it every time and decide if you really feel that it is from God. My tendency is to shelf anything that is not crystal clear and obviously from God. The man recognized me immediately when I presented him with my request; my cover was blown. He did listen for me anyway though, and said, “God says, ‘I love you, my son.’”. I was immediately distraught, probably visibly so. He could probably see my face change, and immediately began defending what he had said with things like, “The last time anyone here saw you, you were male, and now you return and you are female. You can’t expect people to just accept that immediately. By doing this, you are basically saying that God made a mistake.” I immediately regained my composure when he said these things because I realized that he himself was so extremely biased that he could not be trusted to have really heard God clearly. Honestly, I should have walked away as soon as he realized who I was, because I expected that sort of response from anyone that knew who I was. Also, there is the fact that “I love you, my <son/daughter>” is a pretty damned generic thing. You could say that to any person on the planet. There is no check and balance in the message that resonates as confirmation that it really was God talking to me. So I shelved that experience, and I regret pursuing an answer in that manner.
I had a dream the other night where I was pregnant. In the dream, this was making me quite happy, and it was just a complete joy of a dream. When I awoke, I somehow retained the understanding of this desire. For the first time in my entire life, I suddenly know what it feels like to want to be a mother, to carry my child, to birth offspring, to raise them. This is totally out of nowhere. I have never experienced anything even remotely like this before, and I have zero understanding why this just happened now or why a dream is what brought it about. I’m not sitting here “wishing I was pregnant”, but I understand the desire now, and I simply cannot rule out the possibility that this might grow into something serious. I cannot bear children (yet? Medical science has some exciting possibilities in this area…). But that doesn’t mean I cannot or should not experience a normal and healthy desire (this is not to say that a lack of desire for offspring is abnormal or unhealthy).
At the end of the day, I do not believe I’m actually going to get any sort of a clear answer from God. I do not believe that people are going to prove to be a particularly useful input as to whether this is really right for me. I am really fucking happy with myself. I love myself now. I feel great. I do not want to revert this. I don’t want to go back, ever. I regret nothing, and the only thing that would ever make me regret it is if I decided that it was a mistake. I believe that God is the only person that has the influence to cause me to decide that this was a mistake, and I’m quite skeptical that will ever happen. I believe that more time in the place that I’ve travelled to will set things more firmly in my heart and mind that I’ve made the right choice.
I regret nothing. My doubts have no foundation. I am happy.