Reflections, 1.75 years in
It's been a little while since I started physical transition. Wow, I feel like I have made huge progress, and still have miles to go. I want to share some thoughts about what's going on in my life now.
Return to math
Transition is extremely time consuming. From the ongoing experiences every day which I have to process, to mental health upkeep, to new daily body maintenance tasks, I have spent soooo much time with it.
Mathematics is at the core of my identity. I am a math professor. I computer program. I make math art. So I have struggled with the ways that I have spent my time in transition. Before I started, I was able to put more time toward math and work; since, I have had to reduce it. And that has made me sad.
I recently reached a milestone, and feel like I have part of my life back. Now that I am through a major part of the process, I have my mind back, to think about math again. Rather than spend all my mental energy processing identity, navigating frequent major life changes and events, and trying to stay alive, now when I lie down to think (which I do often), math problems come more easily to me. I'm not back to pre-transition mathematical dedication yet, but I'm getting there.
I have changed visibly since starting HRT. My face softened, I have non-trivial breasts, my legs are completely different, I have a butt... I have better control of my voice, I changed my name. I really am liking who I see in the mirror.
But people still misgender me. The last bout of it came during a recent work event. One person misgendered me four times in a week, despite my corrections. It really frustrated me, but I guess all I can do is forgive them, and remember not to take it personally. This person didn't insist that I'm not a woman or anything -- they just used the wrong pronouns. Oh well, right?
I think I know better than to keep track of how long it's been since I was misgendered. Sometimes I get this hair tickling me, a silly idea that I should keep a log; you know, for science or something. But then, no, I realize that I would just be creating a touchstone to the past, a log of wrongdoings, a list of people I was angry at. This doesn't seem like a wise investment to me; I'll skip it.
My guard is still up. I cringe when people use pronouns for me for the first time, almost not wanting to hear what they use. Overwhelmingly they get it right. Rarely I still get mister or sir or he or him. I am guessing that next year, after another step, the rate of misgender will again significantly decrease. I look forward to it.
I love my family
I have had so much love and support from my family, friends, department, and the random people around me. They helped me when I needed it. Those people who say "just let me know if you need anything"... it turns out that if you ask them for help, they often give it!
My dad came and stayed with me through a super challenging week. My mom came for three weeks and was indispensible. My dad and sister lifted my spirits when I most needed it.
Friends drove with me to Madison. They gave me dinner. They kept me company.
I love you all. Thank you.
Embracing a queer identity
I'm trans. I embraced this a while ago, and continue to become. But this 1.75 years, it's really changed me. I connect with all parts of the queer community, and they welcome me.
Next week is national coming out day. I am looking forward to a day of thoughtful visibility.