Around eight years ago I realised that to be able to keep living with myself I had to stop lying. I had to be honest with myself admit that I’m a girl, and change gender. It was that or die by my own hand. I knew that with the absolute certainty of those who’ve already tried multiple times. Since around six years ago there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t been relieved that I made that decision. So that leaves a very obvious question to be answered.
What about those first two years?
Those first two years were the hardest part of transitioning. The time period where every single part of it was terrifying, or upsetting, or just a plain struggle. Those were the years before laser hair removal had really started to work out. The years before hormone treatments had performed their magic. The years where I had not yet developed a personal sense of style, or any significant make-up skills (Though I’m quite certain that there are probably those who would say I still haven’t.) with which to present myself to the world. Those were the years where my mother and I had a fraught relationship. But most of all they were the years when I lost most of the people I thought were my friends.
It felt like one day I was surrounded by people who cared about me, and the next…well there were a lot fewer. Of course that’s not actually wholly true. It took those two years, and a large chunk of the next couple too, for them all to drift away.
What I didn’t understand then, and what I’ve only started to understand recently is that they were never really my friends. And I don’t mean that the way you think. Sure some of them were just acquaintances who seemed like friends due to proximity based, pressure-cooker type relationships. But that’s not what I mean. What I mean is that they were never Amanda’s friends.
They’d spent, sometimes, anything up to five years getting to know the old, fake me. They were “his” friends, “his” confidants, “his” support network. They knew…let’s call him, in the manner of only the very “best” PSA’s, Jimmy, not this new strange person with too much facial hair, no breasts, weird dress sense, and a scrawny body, who was named Amanda. Some of them really tried. I have to give them their due. Some of them tried as hard as hell to stay in Amanda’s life. But of all the friends Jimmy had, only a handful would go on to become Amanda’s.
It’s hardly surprising, Amanda is definitely a lot different to Jimmy. For one thing, paradoxically she has bigger balls. Seriously, things that used to make Jimmy curl up and scream for mommy, just make Amanda bear her teeth, ready for a nice tasty bite of jugular.
Anyway, when I think about it now, with the passage of time reducing the pain to a distant memory, I’m grateful they didn’t stick around. You see transitioning was a crucible. It burnt away all the layers of fake which I’d built up over the years to hide away the real me. It forced me to become if not a grown-up then at the very least an adult. It made me take responsibility for my body, health, and life. But it also removed a great deal of the unnecessary from my life, not least of which were the friends who were just, okay.
I’ve learned that not everyone has friends who are amazing, wonderful, loving, supportive, and the types who’ll bury bodies with you (Good friends will only do the killing part, conveniently forgetting to help with the clean up afterward.). But now after transitioning, after losing so much of what I thought was mine, with everything, and everyone who was less than I deserved, I can finally say with certainty that I do.