Transitioning early in life: Rhonda's journey

[* name changed to protect her privacy. Views are hers and not those of this site.]

To be a woman, female in the world, I feel personally, is something very special.

Realistically, it is probably no more special than being male or a “man”, it is just my feeling that I’m talking about. Indeed most of the world believes that in fact, the male sex is better or “preferred” (even many women themselves).

Males are supposed (by most) to be the stronger, more dominant, more powerful sex, the “privileged” if you will.

So why do I believe it’s special?

Not for the reasons most people expect from persons with a “trans” background.

It’s not because I believe all women are delicate or “girly”, that we’re supposedly looked after or treated like princesses. That’s not reality, I (at least) am very aware that it isn’t.

It’s not because I revel in some self perceived “beauty”

What I think makes it special is the way in which we’re able to truly experience ourselves, life and the world around us if we’re prepared to slow our lives down and be still within ourselves and our world (even if just for a few moments at a time). Experience it and all of its infinite simplistic beauties.

I can’t be certain, but I don’t think that there are many men in the world who can experience life and the world in the same way.

Women have our own power and “privilege” of sorts.

Certainly, most women have the obvious (supposed, though many especially on the internet, would probably argue with me, and criticise my character) privileges, the ability to bear children etc, but I’m not really talking about that, sadly I’m not fortunate like most in that regard so I can’t, I’m talking about something different, something “more” perhaps?

And yes, I’m aware that for as much good as (I feel) there is about being a woman, there is equal or more “bad” but I think that most women tend to focus on what they feel is “bad” about life, about being female, the things they don’t enjoy. Most don’t try to look for the true beauty of it, and appreciate that.

I think for most women, it’s not until they reach an older age that they’re able to recognise their life for what it has been, nor recognise their strength, and just how much influence (perhaps “control”) they have (and had or could have had) over their situation and the world around them.

I’m in my thirties, something I notice about my life is the older women in it. The way they look at me, speak to me, smile at me. It is completely different to the way women my age or younger look at me and speak to me.

I’m no better than anyone and I don’t believe I’m any “worse” than anyone either. 

Younger women and women my age look at me judgingly. In many ways I am one of them. I’m a young woman trying to make a life for herself, trying for marriage, to start a family. Most dismiss me, I’m nowhere near as “beautiful” as them (they believe) I’m no competition (they believe) and life and the world is all about them in their eyes.

Older women who get to know me, my boyfriend’s mother, his aunt (just for example) they look at me differently. They see a young woman in her own right, not a girl or a child. I listen to them, but I also think and act for myself, I view the world much the same as they do, they feel respected.

Anyway, what am I talking about?

Simple uncomplicated things. 

Like waking up and seeing the man you love smiling back on the pillow next to you, recognising (in his eyes and his smile) the “boy” that still hides behind his maturing face.

Knowing you’re loved.

The way he feels when he looks at you, his woman.

There’s power in that.

Some of the older men you meet. 

You work around this one on a daily basis.

He looks at you and sees a woman, not a girl or a child. He remembers himself 30 years ago falling in love with his wife, 25 years ago when his new born child was placed in his arms in the hospital, thinks of all the ways that woman and that little girl changed him. He remembers watching his daughter grow up and how, regardless of how invincible he always thought he was, he learned fear. (for her)

He’s no relation to you, but he speaks to you in the way a father speaks to his daughter, and the other men (the younger ones) are careful what they say to you when he’s around, even though you know for a fact that he’s just one of them when he’s not aware you’re present.

Another man, he’s known your boyfriend since he was a child, he smiles at your boyfriend with quiet approval, then looks at you directly and asks with shameless expectation: “So when are you two going to have some children?”

It’s the women of the world who make men who and what they are.

There’s power in it. (and experienced men and women know this)

Take away the over sexualization of womanhood by society (yes, it’s there and I know it, I feel it too, everyday!) and it is beautiful and special in it’s own right.

Life is not “roses” for me, it never has been.

Lately especially, I wrestle almost daily with insecurity, hurt, shame and guilt due mostly to the fact that I can’t bear my own children, nor make the man I love a father. Society places much of a woman’s value on her ability to do these things and although that makes life even harder and hurt even more, my feelings are brought on more so because of personal desires and values than what society expects of me as a female, I do feel inadequate and often so.

I miss my childhood and my adolescence terribly, I never truly got to know them.

So, I could write you my story like so many other Transsexual born women do, change the names and the places and you’ll find mostly the experiences are pretty similar, in the end I don’t see why those experiences seem so important to us all in defining who we are to ourselves and to others, but if you need it here it is

I grew up in a remote rural area of a country that is NOT America, which meant information help and guidance where not in abundant supply and also that people were not of the enlightened nor tolerant persuasion.

My parents did not love nor support me (but I believe they’re trying to learn to).

I was older than some and younger than some. (Depending on what you believe as an individual, I might also be considered younger than most, regardless, I was certainly past a very damaging male puberty)

I am not university educated.

Neither my government nor anyone else funded me.

I did not resort to sex work, or anything else that some might consider “unethical”.

I still made it.

What can you point to from those factors that lead me to where my life is now? none. The only common factor of any of it was the person herself.

Me.

to say it basically; If you are, then you are, and all you must do is whatever needs to be done, but although it is and can be beautiful, please don’t assume life will forever be easy or simple.

Would I change anything?

Some things yes, maybe, but having been born is not one of them.

If I could, they’d likely be the same as most others here, I’d like to think I could and would start earlier, but I don’t know if overall my life would be any better now if I had. In truth, I don’t really think about that because it doesn’t change anything about my life now, and at the time I always did the best I thought I could.

I am typically not one to give advice, but if I where to try, I think my advice (for any who might like it) would be:

First regarding a question of being “stealth” or being “out” and concerns over weather people are aware of your history or not (and this question I don’t believe will ever leave you, not for as long as you’re breathing), my current perspective is that to the people who truly matter to my partner and I, although the information may (or may not) surprise them, I don’t believe it would change too much. I believe that if it became important, I could tell them and remain comfortable. 

The fact that I don’t tell people is mostly because I believe that eventually we need to let it go (so to speak) on a personal level. It hurts, life was and at times still is traumatic for sure!, but if you let that rule you, then it truly will rule you forever. Lots of people get hurt in life, lots of young female children and adolescents especially. the ones that make that hurt their identity generally are the ones who end up lonely, socially isolated and (I strongly suspect) eventually suicidal, because we as humans all have our own personal problems and stresses in life as it is without surrounding ourselves with others who need to tell us theirs all the time, and so we tend to avoid people who have needs of us (including our supposed approval and “acceptance”).

With that said, I also believe It is important to always be aware of where you came from, often that awareness is the only thing that can make you fully appreciate where and who you are now, and when you DO fully appreciate those things, it shows, people will see it and I believe, that will help you more than anything if the chips are ever “down”.

I can only really think of one particular thing (that can be applied to anyone) that I did right, or am glad I did a certain way (on purpose), and that is that I generally made an effort to steer clear of people and groups who where actively inclusive or supportive of me on the basis of my “trans-ness”, and endeavoured to get through transition on my own and surrounded instead by mainstream society.

I hope this is of help to someone, somehow and I wish us all peace.


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