While three years of continuous HRT have just passed, setting a hormonaversary date isn’t so easy for me. My first hormone course was May 2011 through December 2011. It included two brief breaks; one was for a medical scare and the other was to self-check if I was doing the right thing. By that December I decided I wasn’t ready to continue and paused until February 6, 2014, when I started again. And here I am.
The ‘here’ is a curious spot. It’s a milestone but not a destination. It’s easy to see how far I’ve come but harder to see where I’m going.
Gender things that looked like they had simple answers six years ago have turned out to be complex and the things that looked complex have been relatively simple. Back then, gender transition milestones looked a lot like video game experience points. Collect enough, and I’d be a woman and be happy.
Leave the house dressed for the first time, +10. Put makeup on and not have it look like total shit, +15. Get ma’amed, +20. Start electrolysis, +25. Start hormones, +50. Grow tits and an ass, +150. Grow hair out, +75. Part-time transition, +250. Full-time transition, +500. Legal name change, +200. Gender marker changed on identification, +350. Facial feminization surgery, +1,000. GCS/SRS, +5,000. Plus a zillion bonus multipliers like getting hit on, a bra fitting, skirts, dresses, ears pierced, and so on and so forth. More woman with each goal level achieved!
But it really didn’t work that way. With each new milestone came a growing awareness I wasn’t so much building myself to be seen as a woman in other people’s eyes but stripping the man off of me, layer by layer to reveal the me that’d been hidden from view the whole time. My thinking shifted from an externally validated, ‘I need x, y, and Z to be seen as a woman by others,’ to an internally validating, ‘What do I need to do in order to bring the woman I see in the mirror into comfortable focus?’
This shift was gradual, and I didn’t really notice my perspective had changed until a few months ago. Like when most of my beard was gone and the realization of how much having facial hair had been driving my gender dysphoria, having most of the guy gone has made me realize how much woman I am, if that makes any sense.
And long-term happiness? I’m still working on that. I am massively happier than I was before transition. To be free of a large chunk of my gender dysphoria has brought a great happiness to me. To be in the final phases of dismantling the last, larger vestiges of it is a great relief. It shrinks them to size in my self-revelation process versus being separate, outsized goals with huge emotional freight attached in a vain attempt to create something that was already there.