For some reason, I had always wanted pierced ears.

One year ago to the minute of this post, I sat on the table at Exposed Temptations in Manassas a fairly unhappy and somewhat confused individual. I remember thinking as I drove out there, "Am I really doing this?" A thought I'd have many times over the next year. Inexplicably, I hadn't connected this with my lifelong gender issues. At the time, I just knew I wanted my ears pierced. Why, I couldn't tell you... I just wanted 'em pierced. So I got them done. I went to Starbucks afterwards and was surprised that no one gave me a second look... a harbinger of non-reactions to come.

I got home from the piercing shop and returned a phone call from my wife, from whom I had been separated for two years. I told her that I wanted to make things final. It just kind of came out... just happened. In the moment, I didn't realize why I chose this particular time to tell her. Looking back, I now know that there was no way I could have discovered who I really was, while this should-I-stay-or-should-I-go hung over my head. A week later, I finally followed up on an email with a gender therapist after a month of hemming and hawing, and met with her that evening. The first laser appointment followed shortly thereafter.  I didn't realize it in the moment, but piercing my ears was a trigger... my first act of transition.  It unleashed everything that has taken place since then.

I wonder why piercing my ears was my first step. Most people I know who have transitioned didn't pierce ears until they are much further along in the process. I, on the other hand, unwittingly started with piercing my ears. It's an outward, visible thing that you can't hide. You have no choice but to leave them in for a couple months. You can't take them out when it's convenient. Aaaaaaand... it's permanent. It doesn't matter why I did this first, but perhaps there was a reason that the first step I took, was a permanent, visible one.

The changes this year has seen that are the most meaningful and life-altering, are the mental ones. Far and away, I've learned more this year than any other.  One very, very cool thing about transitioning, is that it affords you the opportunity requires you to examine literally everything about yourself.  You spend your entire life wondering why you are compelled to do these strange and sometimes harmful things... why you are so angry all the time and Just. Cannot. Be. Content.  Then one day, all the crap from your past adds up and everything clicks.  And you're able to let go of many of the things that you never understood why you couldn't get past, even though you always wanted badly to get past them. There was a month a while back when it seemed like I had one "aha!" moment after another. It was kind of remarkable, actually. I am closer than ever to truly understanding myself.

Of course, this isn't just about introspection.  An important part of the past year has been the physical metamorphosis.  It's very en vogue for trans people to disavow that fact. As time goes on, it takes on less importance, but still. If you had told me a year ago, that in a year's time, that I would look in the mirror and see a cute woman, I'd have asked you to stop getting my hopes up.  Although seeing beauty in one's self is as much mental as it is physical. Anyway, I'm happy with how I look.

Deep down, I knew I'd end up here from the moment that I stepped into Martha's office, although perhaps not quite this soon.  When I was driving back from that first laser appointment, I remember a tearful car ride home... knowing that something was forever changing.  Clearly, part of me  knew where this was going.  The rest of me caught up quickly. I don't doubt that I need to walk this path. Nevertheless, there are still times when I allow fear to creep in. For example, this disclosure meeting with HR that I have in 5 days. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little apprehensive and/or scared about it. I still have those surreal "WTF am I doing??" moments. I work through them by remembering that things which used to seem impossible have become my reality.

Gender congruency is not a panacea for life's ills.  There are certainly many unhappy cisgender people out there. After transition, I won't be anyone special... just another middle-aged divorced woman with 2 kids.  *That's* a challenge in and of itself, let alone throwing the transgender thing into the mix.  Transitioning is not a guarantee of happiness.  However, indefinitely treading water would have guaranteed the opposite. We'll see.

When I finally accepted myself, I set a goal of full-time in the winter of 2011. And I said that was "optimistic." Heh. It's looking now like I'll be full-time in a month or two... yikes!! It'll be interesting to see what life is like, after another 525,600 minutes have passed.


Faline, I too, had my ears pierced as a 'first act' this past January and no one has ever said anything to me about it. Once they healed I replaced them with small gold rings, they are a part of me now. You seem to have made much progress in this last year with lots of 'firsts'.

I pierced my ears a couple of years ago and then started gauging them (making the holes bigger) to throw people off of the scent. I was just another guy with big holes (but not too big!). This past summer, I added another set of holes (smaller and will remain smaller...I'm actually going through the long process of shrinking the bigger holes), but people don't think anything of it. I have long hair and piercings...I'm just another hippie teacher. I don't think people attach as much of a gender to ear piercings as they used to. About half of my male students are pierced. Our coaching staff is mostly pierced.

But that being said, for us, it is sometimes the first thing we can do to express something feminine about ourselves to ourselves.

xoxo Gin

I'm a technology consultant working in a traditional office... guys with button-down shirts and dress pants, and I never got so much as a question from anyone at work. Sure, they probably wondered, but no one ever let on...

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