Living Beyond Transition

I debated transition for years, writhing in emotional pain trying to answer questions that lay beyond the transition event horizon: would I be happier if I transitioned? Would the pains of transition be less than the pains of denial by compartmentalizing my transness? Would suffering those pains be worth it? I read something this past week that made me realize that not only was I asking the wrong questions, my framing was off.

I should have been asking myself what life I wanted to live, what that looked like, and how to get there.

From a book review by Agnes Callard:

…our grasp of the target and its value…is a matter of living rather than thinking. … We cannot take the measure of our lives in advance.

Sometimes you need to step forward, with uncertainty, into a future you cannot rubber-stamp in advance.

This shook me.

Attempting to sum the positives and negatives of transition and trying to pick the most positive or least negative path was my fool’s errand. It revealed itself not long after I began transition when I realized how much time I’d wasted analyzing instead of living my life.

For all the brain cycles I spent trying to analyze outcomes, judge future happiness, minimize pain and disruption to myself and my immediate family, and justify myself to myself and others, in the end it was Anais Nin’s, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom,” that moved me to transition.

It was the pain of living a compartmentalized life and interacting with others at a remove that grew like a cancer in my life; it was the pain in my gut and my heart screaming at me that I was overdue to start living a future other than one other people had anchored me to; it was the pain of the suffocation of self, gasping for moments of authenticity as the moments of my life seemed to slip by faster and faster. Those lived pains decided me.

In retrospect, my transition wasn’t about minimizing pain or maximizing happiness. It was about growth and growing into the person I could be while simultaneously living a future I wanted.

It was choosing to think less and live more.

©Heather Coldstream

I’m on Twitter @cistotrans

Please consider supporting my writing by sharing it with others with attribution and linking back or buying one of my poetry collections from the Kindle store. Thank you!

2016: Poems from a Year of Change

Uncertain: Poems About Gender Transition


About cistotrans

A Seattle-area trans woman seeking a happy spot to stay at along the path of transition.
This entry was posted in coming out, gender transition, LGBT, personal history, transgender, transition and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Living Beyond Transition

  1. Connie says:

    The old cliche, paralysis by analysis, comes to mind here. As if that’s not enough of an energy sucker, living a compartmentalized life – neither side of which brings real satisfaction – requires more time and energy in the “preparation for separation” (if you will). It’s so much more than just multi-tasking!


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