It’s been a year now since I first went to the doctor to start this whole trip. I’ve been on E now for about 8 months. With that, I thought this would be a good time to just let you know where I’m at and where I’m likely to go.
First the big ones, I’m living as Dana now. I have been her for 3 or 4 months now. When I first started, this was my single biggest fear would I be able to pass as a woman and would I be able to live as Dana. I’m happy to say I pass most of the time, and I truly love being Dana. My worry now is not so much do I pass but more along the lines of do they know. I can blend into a crowd at the airport and not so much as get a single look. But as I interact with people when do they know? I struggle with the question, 'If someone knows but treats me as a woman with dignity and respect, does it matter if they know?'. I suppose the answer will come to me shortly or I'll give up caring sooner or later.
M is doing better. This is still hard but she makes progress every day. Every day she works at it. And some days she has big realizations about her life that make it easier. She’s had more troubles with her friends and co workers then I have. People feel freer to give her unsolicited advice then they do to me. I'd have to say most of the advice is hurtful and counter productive. People seem at a loss to understand she is going to stay with me. She's stronger then most people give her credit for and it surprises them.
M and I are both learning how to live with each other again. I make this sound like I left and came back and I suppose I did, Rick did leave and Dana did arrive. Now that it's Dana and not Rick there is a lot to relearn. Mostly little things, mostly how we interact with each other in public. As we introduce ourselves to others in public are we wives, friends, partners, or just something else. We're still trying to find the right vocabulary to explain who we are together. For years M would refer to me as 'my husband'. It was just who I was. But now, obviously, that doesn't work anymore. It's the same for me as well, she was 'my wife'. Even though she's still my wife, it seems awkward in public. I guess we're just not used to being two women together. It will come, I'm sure of it now.
The boys are doing well, so well there isn't much to say.
Work is going exceedingly well. Everyone treats me as a woman and works hard to see me as one too. I too am getting used to working as a woman. I've needed to learn how to lead my team as a woman leader rather then a man. It's easier as a man, you point the way and everyone goes in that direction. If you disagree with someone you argue over it, Rick was even said to have argued with others agreeing with him. Nothing is personal it's just business. Things are different now, I struggle with how to be the boss and be a woman. How to disagree without arguing. How to not take it all personally. I'm just now coming to terms with being a woman boss and leader. The lack of role models in my life make all of these things harder.
E has changed me. Physically, I'm smaller, and 'fairer' if that's a word. When I first started down this road my largest fear was would I be stuck in between a man and a woman. I had been cross dressing in public for years and I know I never passed as a woman. It was inconceivable to me a year ago I could go out in public as Dana without the entire world coming to a stop to stare. But E gave me just enough physical changes to blend in.
But more importantly, E changed me mentally. You read all the information about how E rewires your mind, you read about the changes to expect. You hope against hope for them. But I can't describe how different I've become.
A year ago you could blindfold me and put me in any airport in the country and I could drive from the rental car lot directly to the hotel with just a rental car map. Now I can't get out of the parking lot. Last year I could count the number of words I'd say in the day. Today I lose count before I've finished my morning coffee. Last year life was just so damn serious, now I laugh at the smallest things.
Life is easier now, the constant worry is gone. The constant struggle to be Dana and Rick at the same time is gone. As I've said in the past, it's as if Dana sees colors where Rick only saw grey. I am a 'happy' now that I didn't even know existed a year ago.
I grew up and went to school on the east coast. I lived in Boston for 5 years. Six months after moving here to the west coast I knew this was home and I could never go back. I've lived as Dana now for 3 months and I know I could never go back.