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Feb 17 2015

The Four Mirrors

Occasionally a post is so dense, so meaningful, and so important that it takes an entire weekend to create…

Introduction:

I am getting closer and closer to starting Hormone Replacement Therapy and the idea of a physical permanent transition is starting to make some people, including myself, think just a little bit harder about what that means. I was speaking with one of my best friends. He was asking me some tough questions, like he always does, and it got me thinking. 90% of the questions, 99.99% of the opposition, but only 25% of the transition are the physical transition. I am about to start the permanent physical transition. Anything I have done so far can be undone. I am getting more questions and doubts than ever before. I actually enjoy it; I just wish it had come sooner. It may sound odd but being doubtful, questioning me, shows more support to me than blind agreement. It tells me that you engaged in the thought and you care for my well being.

With that said, I am a little sick of talking about the physical transition. I may still have some doubt, but I have made my choice. To be 100% sure would be crazy. There will always be doubt. I feel like I will know in short order if it was a good decision or not. So far, 100% of the decisions I have made toward transition has been the right one… Keep in mind some of those decisions started in high school. I was thinking about this too… I have really been transitioning for 12 years now. Not physically sure, but transitioning nonetheless. However, I have now hit a place, where I feel the physical transition is holding me back. The physical transition needing to happen forced me to come out. Until now, I have done everything my way, on nobody else’s schedule or plan. However now I have to involve the people around me, and society itself, in this transition.

There are four aspects to the transition, not just one. If I get questions and or doubts, about the transition, it is because people asked me why I am transitioning and their response is “you can do that as a man.” For you see, this transition is not about being a woman. This transition is about being me. This transition is about being complete again. I fractured into parts as a kid. My friend made a comment that I had attributed everything I liked to this girl underneath and attributed everything I did not like to the boy on the surface. To him, that meant I had a messed up view of gender.

To an extent, he is right. I have been particularly on this blog seeing Jo as the savior and Joe as the devil. He confronted me about that and he mentioned that the Jo(e) he knew wasn’t all bad. He pointed out that I am demonizing Joe. Why? I think I put such a stigma around Joe right now because I feel that I have to overcompensate for the past and the image I have built for myself. As part of my personal process with this transition I vowed to do an introspective periodically trying to figure out how the transition is going. This is that introspection. Since this was the first one, I had to build a quantifiable way to measure my transition. Thank you dear friend, for asking me the questions that let me build this framework.

I tried to be an honest man. However, I did not understand what was going in in my own head, body, or soul. I was a fractured person with another me inside. I was not able to see how to fix it until I realized those two people were also two different genders. To bring the real me out, I have to drown the me that has been out there so much and bring the other me out for a while. Once I am confident in what kind of person was underneath all this time I can bring him back and combine them both into one person. The first step is to figure out exactly who she is and what she likes. I will be back, but before that, I have to fade away, lose it all, and decide what to rebuild. This truly is a death and a rebirth. The death of two people, one of which I hid for many years. They will be reborn into one complete entity. I have already felt it a couple of times, but I will feel it from time to time: Times when I feel like I am falling, fading, drowning. Times will happen when I am hurting, lost it all, and losing. That is when I need the support of those around me; help me to breathe.

Therefore, here it is THE FOUR MIRRORS!

To me there are four parts to my transition. Four parts to my “gender” are beginning to change in drastic ways. The result of each mirror is how I have always seen myself. When looking in each of these mirrors. Yet for some reason or another, society, reality, or I, interfered in such a way that it was impossible for that to be real. The job of this transition is to make each of these “mirrors” reflect what I actually see. In retrospect, some of these transitions have been going on much longer than I expected. Another thing of note is that these mirrors entwine together. Each mirror effects each other mirror. However, in particular, mirror one ties tightly to mirror four, and mirror two entwines with mirror three.

 

Mirror One: The Physical Mirror

Explanation: This is by far the easiest of the four to explain. Most people when they get up in the morning, or after they take a shower, look into one and see a representation of their physical form reflected back. This transition is the reason I had to come out. If it were not for needing to make a physical transition, I would not need to be transgender.

Transition start date: December 23, 2014

Hopeful Transition End Date: Roughly November 17, 2017

Time Progress: 2 of 36 months. 5.5555556%

Estimated Transition Progress: 10%

What I currently see in reality: A boy with long (for a boy) dirty blond hair with brighter blonde highlights. He is handsome, tall, and relatively weak. He has eyes of blue and grey but constantly looking on in fear and insecurity. He wears ill-fitting jeans and usually sweaters too large for him during the winters, nice shirts (polo’s) during the summer. He goes out of his way to hide his feminine physical form. However, there are flashes of a beautiful woman underneath. Jewelry and lip-gloss have helped her to come out a little but there is only so much that can be done while still in the wrong wardrobe and without some of the important curves.

Where I see myself after transition: A beautiful striking woman, tall, slender, and powerful. Her hair is long, strawberry-blonde, and flowing down her back. Eyes of blue and grey piercing into the deepest parts of your soul but loving, and caring for that soul beyond imagine. Clad in bracelets, anklets, and a beautiful necklace. She is usually wearing dresses or skirts with sweaters or nice short sleeve shirts. Periodically she will wear shorts or jeans. She frequently wears tights or leggings with high socks. Rarely, if ever will she wear high heels preferring to accentuate her upper body instead of moving everything up higher to accentuate legs. She wears primarily light pastel colors preferring to be upbeat rather than dark.

Conclusion: Eventually, I am going to look in the physical mirror and see a pretty woman.

 

Mirror 2: The Mental Mirror

Explanation: This mirror is one in my mind. This mirror is the reflections of my thoughts and opinions of myself. It is the reflection of my mentality. It is the reflection of how I think. This mirror’s job is to show back to me my self-esteem, self-image, and value I have. Its job is also to provide a view of how I think. Things like logical process, positivity, and skills would fall into this category. This transition goes hand in hand with the emotional transition but tie into the other two as well.

Transition start date: January 1, 2013

Hopeful Transition End Date: Roughly January 2016

Time Progress: 26 of 36 months. 72.222222222%

Estimated Transition Progress: 50%

Where I started: I am a worthless person. The things I say are not what I mean. I try to stay out of people’s emotions. I try to advise them only by “logic” and claim that emotion has no purpose in life. Others see I know technology but I really know nothing. I can organize data, but the organization is only valuable to me. I have built a filter so that my soul at risk. In fact, I am not sure where my soul is anymore. I play devil’s advocate so much that my true feelings are never judged. Hell, I do not even know what my true beliefs are anymore. I will make myself whatever society wants me to me. I had difficulty taking complements and thinking of positives to talk about. I spent most of my day complaining and griping about things that ticked me off. Negativity ruled my life. I lived each day in dread of the next day. As a new year’s resolution in 2013, I decided that I would start to fix my self-esteem, self-image, and stop thinking so negatively.

Where I am NOW: To make progress I had to something abnormal and temporary. I had to isolate all negativity and all positivity into two different cores of thinking. This was the creation of girl mode and boy mode. At first, before I got here my own mind trapped me into thinking negatively. Coming out as transgender gave me the ability to have a huge leap in in this transition. Although I only feel half-complete. I was able to trap, instead of being trapped by, my negativity. I have made transition easier mentally by attributing all positives to girl mode and all negatives to boy mode. That does not mean boy mode is going away. He will be back. To live a life devoid of negativity is not possible. However, in the end I will be one person, like when I was as a young child. I currently have what amounts to a split-persona. It formed many years ago and I locked one off. Unfortunately, it held the ability for me to think positively. I am able to move back and forth between them with ease now. However, my mental transition is only half way complete. Separating them was easy; putting them back together will be hard.

Where I see myself after transition: I am one confident person. I know my skills. I will express myself properly and put my actual thoughts out there to be judged not fearing rejection. I will go back to thinking gender as an afterthought. I will be completely truthful with my friends and family about my opinions. I am good at organization and technology. I have a value to society. I can teach things I know. I have a balance of emotion and logic. I will be my own person of value. I can support everyone around me helping them to live and enjoy their life. I have learned how to take and give true compliments. I can proudly say the things that make me, me. I will proudly say the things that are positives about me. I will be a positive up beat person living each day to the fullest and tackling each challenge with a smile instead of dread. Positivity and Negativity will both be in my thought process; however, there will be a stronger balance toward positivity.

Conclusion: Eventually, I am going to be able to look in the Mental Mirror see both the parts of me that are female and the parts that are male and say: “I wouldn’t want to be anybody else.” Then, no matter what society or anyone else says, I will be able to think about myself positively.

 

Mirror 3: The Emotional Mirror

Explanation: The emotional mirror, much like the mental mirror is a measure of what is in my mind. However, instead of the way I think, it is a measure of the way I feel. This is a view of my emotions, my emotional state, and my capability to process emotions. Things like love, anger, sadness they all fall into this category. This transition goes hand in hand with the mental transition. In addition, it also ties into the other two.

Transition Start Date: March 2013

Hopeful Transition End Date: January 2016

Time Progress: 23 of 33 months. 69.696969696969%

Estimated Transition Progress: 60%

Where I started: I realized a couple of months into trying to think, more positively that I could not do it. In trying to be upbeat, my almost constant latent depression would hold me back from being positive. For many years, I tried not to feel anything. I would try to put everything into a jar and bottle it up so that I could process it later. However, I spent my entire life avoiding processing these emotions. I looked up and outside of myself realizing that I could not feel happiness. I could only feel sad, anxious, or angry. There was no joy left in my emotional life because I was overwhelmed with latent and ignored anxiety and depression.

Where I am now: After working though, many things depression, anxiety, fear, and sadness no longer rule my life. I still struggle with them frequently but I am able to be happy. I am able to love. I am able to feel good. I am trying to processes emotions as they come, mainly by writing. I have found value in both positive and negative emotions. While sadness and anxiety does happen, it is by no means overwhelming anymore. Happiness and love have found their way into my life and my overall capacity for emotion has increased greatly. To an extent, I am still repressing some things but it has happened less. My emotions are more real and have more value than ever before.

Where I see myself after transition: The most important thing to me is emotional balance. While happiness, sadness, fears, anxiety, excitement, and love all have value to my life; there is an important balance to reach. At no point should any of them be overwhelming or overbearing compared to the others. I will be able express my emotions at the time in a healthy way instead of repressing and letting them explode into a giant mess all at once.

Conclusion: Eventually, I will be able to look into the Emotional Mirror and be happy with the way I process and feel emotions. I will be able to sing songs about my emotions and see all emotions, positive, and negative, as productive.

 

Mirror 4: The Social Mirror

Explanation: This is by far the hardest to explain measure of transition. This is for, lack of a better phrase, my perception of how society views me. I have never been in a place where I want to fit into society. To the point that it has made me extremely frustrated. Society, over the duration of my life, has expected me to do things that are not natural for me. It has also expected me not to do, or not want to do, things that are natural for me. It is this mirror; it is this feeling that started the entire mess. If I could find a way to be happy with my place in society, the transition will be over. The thing I realized is that how I want to be treated is more similar to how society treats women than men. For better or worse, and regardless of how it should be, society treats the genders quite differently.

Transition Start Date: Roughly March 2000

Hopeful Transition End Date: November 17, 2017

Time Progress: 179 of 212 months. 84.43%

Estimated Transition Progress: 40%

Where I started: I had no place in society. I felt like an outcast and society treated me in a way that was not comfortable to me. Most of the pressure in my life was to prepare me for college, a place where I had no wish to go. That is where society pushes teenagers these days after high school. It was early in high school that I started trying to mold people’s options of me. I admitted I was attracted to men and came out as bisexual. That helped. That was the real start to this transition. It allowed me to be a little more feminine and do/say things that would not have been acceptable for a straight, cis-gendered, teen, boy, which is what society assumed me to be. Each time I solved a problem I found some other way that I was treated would start to bother me. Each time I learned that society does not see me the way I see myself. Society did not treat me in a way that was comfortable to me. Each time I interacted with society as a whole, I felt uncomfortable and anxious.

Where I am now: Each time I would move a little closer to feminine, I felt better. Each time someone embraced my feminine side or talked to me about cute men, I was ecstatic. I love going out to malls, and I want people in average society to invite me to them. In my heart, I am a shopper. After coming out as transgender people are starting to treat me like a girl. I love every moment of it. There are slip-ups where people still treat me like a man. At work, I do not think they realize I am serious. When people treat me like a girl versus when they treat me like a boy is a huge difference. The culture between men and women is astoundingly different! I have always hated living in man’s society. Now that I have had a taste of the other side, I am addicted. However, I feel like I have spent so much time on this part of the transition already and made so little progress. I wish I could just flick a switch in everyone’s mind to get society to treat me like the girl I am! OH WAIT I CAN! Once I am physically looking like a girl, it will be so much easier for people to see me as a girl and treat me like a girl.

Where I see myself after transition: My goal for this transition is to full integrate with the female side of society. At the same time, I will retain my interest in some predominantly male things like video games etc. My goal is to have society as whole see me as a girl but to make gender a non-issue in my life. Once society treats me in a way that validates my true interests, my true likes and dislikes, my true mentality I will have no need to care which gender I am. For you see, I am finding that gender is a construct. Gender is a tool to get people to treat you in the way you wish to be treated. Moreover, a good chunk of that is to make people assume I am a girl before they even meet me; if people do that they will naturally treat me in the way I wish.

Conclusion: Society is inherently sexist. Eventually I will look into the Social Mirror and see that people, I do not know, are treating me, as I have always wanted to be treated. To my friends, to my family, they know better. I am stronger than what society would say a girl is… However, to society, I am just a girl.

 

Conclusion:

These four mirrors are my ruler. I will use these goals and measurements to update everyone on the progress of the transition from time to time. For most of them, I feel a little behind given the amount of time I have already invested versus the amount of progress I have made. I expect these transition completion dates are not going to hold up. Thank you, dear friend, for asking me the questions that allowed me to construct this infrastructure to measure my transition.  I have felt over the last couple of months as if I have been floating though this transition without a clear structure as to where I was going, although I knew why.

From today, I have a measuring stick. That measuring stick will be vital once I start hormones. I feel like there will be difficulties and victories to come, many of each. This measuring stick will allow me to see exactly how much progress I have made already. I am hoping by the time the summer sun shines people will start correctly gendering me (as a woman) when they meet me on the street for the first time. However, we will not know until that time comes, honestly, if things happen that quickly it would blow my mind.

I am breaking down the world that I have known and creating a new one. This transition’s goal is to live my dream: to make me complete again. This is the end of all that I have ever known and the beginning of the life that I have desired all my life. In the past, I have asked Gods and Goddesses for help. I have asked society for help. I have shouted out for help repeatedly, but because I did not know how I needed help, the message was not clear. I was lost. However, it was not until I looked inside myself that I could figure out where I needed help. I had found myself. It turns out that only I can decide who I am. Every tear that I have shed has been leading me to this transition and every tear that I shed over the next couple of years will be sadness if things are not working out.

Here I am lost and found. I hope that the summer sun will blow my mind. If I succeed, my dream dies because it has come true. Does that mean I am living a dying dream and need a new reason to live my life? That is an interesting thought.

About the author

Josie

I’ve never been good at writing about myself. I’ve never been good at ‘talking up my strengths’ but at least I should try…

I am a 30 year old (gasp), woman. To me, it is just that simple. My life is slowly coming together into a form where I can be proud to call it my life.

Who am I? I’m a strong, loving woman that was assigned male at birth and is finally correcting that egregious error by biology. For most women if they have an urge like wearing a sundress, they just do it. For my first 29 years on this planet, that wasn’t a possibility.

I write to heal, then publish to inform. I hope my journey can make the journeys of people that come after me just a little less painful.

I also have a ‘day job’ as a Data Center Technician. I do an incredibly physical job lifting fixing and moving servers. I daily, walk into and then maintain ‘the cloud.’ Servers are still quite a bit larger and heavier than your desktop at home. So much so that I am the only woman on my team of 20 and one of 5 in the entire building of about 75. Technology is without a doubt a male dominated industry. Which makes me quite sad.

I wish I could better express who I am. I don’t feel like I’ve done justice to my history, my life, and my story, but for now, this will have to do. To me the most beautiful thing in the world is understanding and empathy. If we can have only one thing for each other person on this planet, I choose empathy.

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