As I struggled with the decision to transition, I looked for someone, anyone, to give me permission to transition.
I wanted my wife to give me permission. I wanted my doctor to give me permission. I wanted my counselor to give me permission. I wanted my friends to give me permission. I wanted the trans people I communicated with on the Internet to give me permission. I wanted medical science to have a test to prove I was trans and give me the permission I desperately sought. I wanted the facts to prove beyond a reasonable doubt transition was the thing I needed to do to feel whole and the permission it would have given me.
How much easier it would have been!
Instead, I shirked responsibility for myself and attempted to offload it onto the people around me. It was a form of dissociative mania that gripped me. It was a desire to look away from the truth of myself and not have to take responsibility for myself. I was the person trimming hedges with a lawnmower who slipped and cut my arm off and then complained the label never said to do that.
In the end, my abdication of responsibility made things worse. One of the most truthful things my ex ever said to me was, “You’re not owning this and it’s making our lives hell,” as I again sought her permission to do what I knew I’d eventually do way back when I was fourteen.
It was as if I’d asked, “Excuse me, I’ve had this lifelong dream that has left me emotionally crippled because I haven’t been able to pursue it. Is it okay if I do it now?”
When I owned it, when I gave myself permission, a switch flipped. My ex was still not happy about the whole thing but she no longer spat daggers at me all the time. I felt calmer. I had a plan and a future instead of the foggy, pink cloud high I was chasing with ever diminishing returns.
If it helps, I give you permission to transition. But it’s not mine to give.