Transition is life. You can’t separate it from the other bits.
When I first encountered the concept of transition in the mid-1990’s, it looked like a sharp demarcation between one life and the other. One day you were a guy, and the next a gal. Sure, those people had practiced their new life here and there, but on the whole it looked like a jump from standing still to light speed.
Transition, I’ve come to learn, is indeed relativistic. When you’re in it, time seems to progress somewhat normally, but to those on the outside you change in a flash.
This past week I sent out my notices about my transition at work and my broader social networks to over 1,000 people and for probably most of them, [deadname] changed to Heather in a blink.
My own experience is that I probably firmly crossed the transition threshold somewhere around last August when I spent a week as myself and then resignedly put myself mostly back into the closet. Then there was the further realization in January that my dysphoria around getting dressed changed polarity. Going as far back as September 2014, the physical changes pushed me beyond a certain line, but I didn’t really realize it at the time.
Summed together, all of the experiences over the past 140+ weeks of taking hormones have been my transition, and it’s not over yet.
Just as my Quantum Theory of Transition posited that transitioning is the state of working towards aligning the internal and external and that being transitioned is the state of having them be in alignment, an external observer can snap us back into the -ing state versus the -ed state and that is a process completely disconnected from how we perceive ourselves.
This fluidity based on external observers happened to me this past week when checking into a hotel. My identification outed me and then minutes later a man held a door open for me because I’m a woman. I didn’t change or do anything differently than I normally would, but the world saw and experienced me as two different people.
This also happened when I disclosed.
I’d already been living my life as myself outside of work, and sending around the emails didn’t really change anything on my end except how people perceived me. For me, sending the email was almost anticlimactic; just a task to do. I hit a button and – pop! in people’s eyes on the other end, I transition.
Transition was all the work I’d done prior to hitting that button.
I expect the rest of my life will continue to be this way. Maybe that’s just how life is when you work on personal stuff. A few people see the work in progress and are there to support you and cheer you on when you flag, but most everybody else just sees the result.