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Overcoming difficulties as a transgender woman

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This post will cover overcoming difficulties. It may be my most personal entry here for a long time to come.

A lot of transgender people struggle with being misgendered, harassed, misunderstood and laughed at.  They often suffer from neurosis, depression, various anxieties and fears, lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem.  They come up against ostracism, violence and various kinds of daily abuse.

All of this in the name of being born in a way most people are not.

I don’t know whether its antidepressants actually kicking in (as they dull all kind of emotions, both positive and negative) or maybe I’ve learned not to worry too much or maybe it’s the fact that I shaved very neatly and applied some time-consuming make-up.  Or maybe it’s all of them combined.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I’ve grown in strength.  For once most of my doubts have vanished and I saw a real woman in the mirror.  I felt enough strength and tenacity to argue, fight for and defend myself if need be.

It’s a vast improvement, as I usually hunch, duck and avoid eye contact.  This time it was the opposite. I haven’t been turning my head nervously, I walk smoothly and sturdily.  And I much calmer.  A self-confident and assertive woman.

I’ve met my friend, we went to a coffee shop and talked vigorously.  It was as if people didn’t see what they didn’t expect in the first place.  They saw nothing that didn’t match the general picture: two girls hanging out over a cup of coffee.  And even if they did notice something, they kept it to themselves.

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You may say that I’m being oversensitive.  Maybe.  And maybe not.  Being transgendered can make a short walk to a grocery store seem like a quest to Mordor.

Such experiences as the above one can make a real difference.  For the rest of the day, people have been asking me about directions, where to find ATMs, what time it was and none of them misgendered me even once (and Polish language is full of gender-dependent pronouns that reveal the gender of the person who’s speaking and is spoken to).  I felt like I’d put a spell on the world.  Like I’d said: “you’ll notice the woman I am, even though I’d been assigned male at birth.” And everyone did. It felt wonderful.

I don’t suppose it would always be this way.  I won’t say that positive thinking and attitude will change everything.  I know it didn’t for me and for many of my friends.  I just want to say that for a transgender person such a day can make a real difference.   A day when the world not only doesn’t want to make you miserable but may for a while seem like a decent place to live in.  A day when mental barriers are being overcome.  Knowing by my own experience that it’s possible it is just absolutely invigorating.

While I was walking home and the wind’s been blowing through my hair, I just thought “Yes.  That’s the kind of life I want to live.” 

I felt tears welling up in my eyes.  And for the first time in months, they weren’t the tears of sadness, fear, pain or regret.

They were the tears of pure and overdue joy.

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