I remember when I first decided to transition, I had a few brief moments of panic (re: many extended moments of totally overblown panic). A few of these moments had to do with the fact that, while I felt like a girl inside, I was raised male, and I realized that to be able to integrate into the female world as a real, genuine female, I felt like I had to learn all these things about makeup and walking and my voice and clothing and expressions and gender cues and everything that I hid from everyone else and never made public. And I felt stupid, precisely because I didn’t know this stuff already.
I mean, how could I? I wasn’t raised as a girl. I didn’t know how to use makeup or how to blend or use eyeliner without horribly stabbing my eye or do anything properly with my appearance, short of what guys do, the kinds of guys that actually managed their looks properly. Yeah, I wasn’t a complete slob. (But even now, I still don’t really like makeup that much, and only use a very small amount daily; I’m still in that phase of “I’m not sure I completely pass well without a little bit of makeup.”)
And, my voice. I was so scared that I would never get a proper female voice. People buy instructional DVDs for this stuff. They get vocal coaches. They spend lots of money on extravagant training just so they can open their mouths and say something without anyone looking at them with an awkward wide-mouthed guppy face of shock. I thought I’d really have to throw down money for this stuff, in addition to the revolting cost of hair removal and everything else required to actually coexist with humanity as ourselves without attracting angry villager mobs with pitchforks and torches.
The best thing to do about all of this, in my opinion, is to just let it happen. Just be you. I saw this insurmountable wall of crazy and cash just towering in front of me, taunting me, screaming, “You’ll never be a girl! You’re a dude, dudebro!” (This wall is, apparently, a college frat guy with a polo shirt.) And, I basically just ignored it. Kept going to therapy. Kept seeing my support group. Kept trying things, like recording my voice and listening to it, and making little tweaks to my voice and recording myself again. I waited for a while on the hormones before my face softened enough to the point where makeup actually complimented it better, and then I just experimented in front of the mirror, trying things that I thought looked good, the way I saw makeup on people I thought looked pretty (and became surprised when people said it did look good). I found that I started walking and acting more like a girl outwardly when I felt better about myself through all the hormone changes. My self-confidence boosted, and it all came naturally after that. I evolved into the gender I was meant to be.
The truth is, if you begin transitioning, and this is exactly what you’re meant for, everything will fall into place. You’ll reach all of these things eventually, given time. Transitioning is a slow, gradual process, and there won’t be any sudden cliffs in the form of gender tests that quiz you on everything. You simply develop everything naturally, as if a girl growing up would, although maybe a bit accelerated. These things just happen.
And this goes for any gender, of course. Male-to-female, female-to-male, whatever. It doesn’t matter. If you feel this transition seems so daunting, so impenetrable, with all the things you have to learn and know to be yourself (a silly statement if I’ve ever heard one), just remind yourself that it’s a process, and you will get there eventually. You have it inside you already. You are already you. At some point, everything will just stick. It’ll click. It’s kind of like a bell suddenly ringing.
And you won’t even have to think about these things anymore. You’ll just do it. My voice sticks like this unless I deliberately try to lower it into man-mode. I walk and act like a girl, and I have to deliberately try to act male, and it’s getting harder and harder every day to do that.
You’ll get there. Remember: it’s a transition, not a magical poofing.
You are you. The rest is just muscle memory.
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