By Ophelia Pastrana
To read Ophelia’s column in Spanish, click here.
So this week I formally hit my 10-year mark since my first day of hormones. Thus 9 years since I began my formal transition. Took me a year to come out.
Been a lot really. 10 years of reinvention. 10 years being me. 10 times candles have been blown to the tune of “happy birthday .. Ophelia”. My happiest 10.
Also, 10 years of learning, re-learning, and re-evaluating … me.
So there’s a lot I can say about how things were back then, you know… before it all. But seeing you’re setting yourselves forward on this beautiful trip, very important lessons that I’ve learned along the way.
I do this in the hopes that it can help you fast track even some of the things that are most probably coming. For you. A sketch of how one sees life after a few years of being trans.
So. In no particular order
Lesson # 1: Eeeeveryone will tell you that you’re going “too fast” with your transition. You’re not.
The thing is, no one sees us mull it over. They don’t see month after month of thinking about how to transition. They don’t have a grasp on how many times we investigate ourselves in front of mirrors. They absolutely miss the hours upon hours that we spend googling this. They have no idea we’ve spent years seeing photos of ourselves and not understanding them.
They feel you’re going too fast because, to be honest, no one generally thinks of anyone but themselves. So when you tell them, it comes as a surprise, basically, because not a lot of people are taught to think that people can transition.
And then they’re overwhelmed, and say “it’s too much, too fast.” Not your problem.
Lesson # 2: You can absolutely transition several times
Being trans is not flicking a switch or hitting a button. It’s changing who you are. And in that matter, you can transition six times if you so wish. One way or both ways, or no way. Back and forth or not at all.
Also, the Ophelia I am today is not the Ophelia I was 5 years ago. Not only am I mtf, I’m also Oph to Oph.
Knowing this also holds weight with those who surround us. You want to make sure you surround yourself with those who will stick with you for at least 100 life transitions. Not just the one.
Lesson # 3: Everyone is in transition
I mean… What is transitioning anyway? Is it changing who you were at birth? Modifying your body? “Wearing glasses” fits this bill. How about braces? Working out? You get my point.
Nobody is “natural.” Nobody “respects genetics.” Nobody is born wearing clothes.
Transitioning is not exclusive to us. Think about it. Everything. Everyone is in some sort of transition. If even just a little.
It’s just people aren’t used to seeing someone be happy about it. To think there’s people out there that won’t ever admit they’ve had nose jobs or done something to their bodies out of self-love.
Unfortunate if you ask me. The medical science behind modifying our bodies is beautiful.
Like you. Like us.
I remember thinking that I was the only trans person in the world. Stuck imagining that “a transition” was this sort of one way trip to Mars situation. And thus there would be terrible consequences to endure. Forever.
Not even close.
Yes. transitions are forever. But because it’s best to always reinvent ourselves. Not because of some undeserved “now you’ve done it” logic.
It took me far too long to understand that many non-trans folks just won’t ever admit they are transitioning themselves. Took me even longer to see that this is the reason they’re uncomfortable with those of us who are happy with change.
Either way. I hope they get to it. Hopefully, then they’ll learn from their transitions as much as I have.
And in the meantime, let’s celebrate this one fact. Everyone is transitioning. It’s a fact of life. Just not everyone is open enough to enjoy it.
– Ophelia Pastrana is a blogger, speaker, comedian, and economist. She was named one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2018 and works frequently with It Gets Better Mexico.