Real Life Experience

It’s such a strange feeling living kinda in between two genders at the moment. On one hand I’m not really out to that many people that I associate with regularly. With exception to my support group, one friend locally, and my therapist and doctors I’m not really out.

But I’m also moving forward in transition, and moving on with my life as Madelyn. That means that over the last few months I’ve been going out more in “girl mode” and meeting more people for the first time as “Madelyn”. This week that was taken to a whole new level as I enrolled and started classes at a local community college as a part-time student.

I went back and forth quite a bit about whether or not I should just go to school in “girl mode” the whole time, go in boy mode, and then switch next quarter, or maybe just stay in boy mode in school for the next six months until I’m finished with all the classes I want to take there. There are numerous reasons I struggled with this decision. In an ideal world I’d like to slowly increase my time in girl mode from 0% to 100% over a period of months just to make it easier on the people around me, and to not overwhelm myself either. I’m the kind of person that likes to do things deliberately, and know that I’m taking steps forward at a good pace – I get some comfort in not feeling like I’m rushing ahead carelessly. I also have a strong motivation to try and move forward at a pace that’s sustainable for those around me.

But the idea of waiting six months before spending more time in girl mode just seemed too long given how far I am along with this. Even before school I was in girl mode about 40-50% each week, so I decided to go to school as Madelyn. This means that I’m now spending more time in girl mode than boy mode (80/20). On Monday’s I have to spend half the day in girl mode, and half in boy mode to go practice in my local community choir. But I don’t think I’m going to stay in choir for the spring quarter, so that will make Monday’s easier.

This kind of living in two worlds is a little strange. Like, when I’m at school I have to remember small things like speak in a higher pitch, give my name to people I speak to as “Maddie” or “Madelyn”, and be prepared to respond to those names (which is harder than you might think when you’re not used to them), and even remember to use the correct restroom for the mode I am in (walking into a boys restroom when you “pass” as a girl is not exactly a good idea).

In some ways it’s difficult to live at this half way point. I feel like it’s too early to legally change my name, and I haven’t even started HRT with Estrogen yet (which is coming soon). So for now I’m sort of stuck living about 80% of my life in girl mode, and 20% in boy mode – which is weird, but having an ID that has my male name and gender on it. But even though it presents certain challenges living part of my life as a boy and part as a girl, I also recognize that it’s a really unique experience that I get to have that not a lot of other people get the chance to. In some ways I really want to cherish these days because it’s kind of a one time deal that I get to experience this stage in transition.

For what it’s worth, transitioning my life from one gender to the other is actually going okay. Even though there are little bumps in the road, overall I am finding myself surrounded by people who are respectful and kind to me. For example, on campus I’ve had to do things like register my car for parking, go to admissions, pay my bill, get a student ID card, and interface with my new teachers. In each case it becomes abundantly clear I am a transgender person when they see me in person versus the name they have for me on file. In each case it hasn’t been any problem (although I’ve surprised some people and it’s been cute – something I’ll write about separately.)

I know that soon these two lives that I’m living will converge as I come out to more people, and as I begin to meet new people who only know me as Madelyn. But for the time being, while I am existing in these two worlds, I am trying to enjoy the journey, and appreciate the uniqueness of it for what it is. I’m starting to see that although transition is a struggle, there’s also beauty in it. For a short time I get to experience humanity from two genders – at the same time. I’m grateful for that chance.

I’ve decided to start keeping track of some of these little unique moments in a page called “Remembering the little things.”

One thought on “Real Life Experience”

  1. Abby A.

    Maddie, you are truly amazing. It is just so wonderful to hear your voice and most of all to hear your appreciation of this unique experience and struggle.

    “I am trying to enjoy the journey, and appreciate the uniqueness of it for what it is. I’m starting to see that although transition is a struggle, there’s also beauty in it. For a short time I get to experience humanity from two genders – at the same time. I’m grateful for that chance.”

    Though you grew up as a Christian and may still consider yourself that, there is much in your outlook that resonates with Buddhist philosophy, which I have learned a little bit about in recent years – viewing problems and challenges as opportunities to grow; knowing that suffering is inevitable in life but yet there is such beauty, especially as you embark on a path to transform that suffering.

    Those ideas resonate very strongly with me as well, and it is an absolute joy to read your words expressing them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>