tran·si·tion [tran-zish-uh n, -sish-]
1. Movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change: the transition from adolescence to adulthood
I remember when my kids where young. We had a measuring chart on the wall where each year we marked how much they had grown each year.
Growing was exciting for both the kids and for me and my ex -- the parents. We also had another ritual each year around the Jewish New Year when we would take some time and write down what we learned and what we were thankful fro the past year. We often marveled at the changes in us individually and as a family over the past year.
I don't quite remember when all this stopped!
In 2001 when my marriage ended, my youngest turned 18 and was getting ready to go off to college. One of my children was still in college and one was finished. It is still not clear to me whether it changed before or after this point. I myself was pretty consumed with all the changes and transitions in my own life, and looking back now, all I can see is a cloud of confusion. No matter how hard I try to look back at this period, clarity continues to escape me. It is hard for me to admit this!
Moving out... the end of a 25 year marriage... the push/pull of my buried dysphoria were all creating an internal storm of change in me that now, looking back can explain my lack of clarity, that at last I can seem to own without a need to blame, or deny.
I have even come to understand that the journey to reach this point is just another everyday transition that occurs all throughout our lives. More importantly, I have learned that if I do not learn to accept these everyday transitions, it will always cloud my thinking and make me crazy!
In 2008, I took the risk to come out of my self-imposed shell and take my first baby steps into the transgender community. It did not take me long to learn that the commonly used word -- transition, really became a much bigger and somewhat magical work -- transition! When I heard that word spoken, when I saw it written, it seemed that my brain could not wrap around any other references for this word and it would only draw pictures in my brain of changing gender. As I met others, I asked if they transitioned, will they transition, do they want to transition. The answers were as varied as the people I asked.
If I heard the word used in any context other than "gender transition" my brain seemed to go on red alert and the internal sirens were blaring and the anxiety of fear and shame and wondering how they might know what I was considering internally. Sometimes it was hard to slow my heart down as the adrenaline was pumping though me as fast as it could. Warning! Danger! Get ready to run! I was not even sure myself, but fear, confusion and shame were still associated with that word from 2008-2010 when I knew I was definitely on that path.
I have been sharing my story with you for some time now, both through my book and these blogs. It amazes me what comes up for me each week -- what I learn about myself that I have not even thought about... and even more so, my willingness to share it all with you. It no longer generates fear or confusion or even shame. I have learned that there is no magic to transition, but it is an everyday occurrence. Certainly some changes, some transitions have larger impacts on our lives, but I have learned that each and every transition is important in itself.
Some transitions are forced upon us. Some may come from deep inside, either spontaneously or though a journey of internal wrestling. This work is not often seen from outside and we can struggle to let others know of these experiences. I think we often need to let others know of these "battles" to confirm ourselves in some manner. Telling our stories is a way we do this, and can often help others with their own journeys.
There is a bottom line here. Change and transition occurs every day and for everyone. In some way it can be special and ordinary at the same time. It depends on knowing that it is true, and how easily we can first accept the fact, and then accept the occurrence. For those of us who have transitioned our gender as we live in the world, it can often consume so much of our life and being. Now that some time has passed for me -- it has been four years, I have reached a place where I can honor it as part off my personal history, and look forward to the next transition in my life, and the adventure of discovering what it may be.
Perhaps I should hang a new growth chart on my wall so that I can mark each of my new everyday transitions!
In my book I wrote what I have learned about change and transitions:
So far I have learned that I am changing each moment, each and every day. I am not the same person I was yesterday or who I will become tomorrow. I have learned to be excited by this and now look forward to it. My old parts that felt they had to control everything so tightly are relieved because they were fighting against this belief. Change is constant. Change is inevitable
I'll leave a question for you....
Who are you now?
.... and now?
.... and now?
Grace Stevens is a transgender woman who transitioned at the age of 64 and holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is a father of three, grandparent of two, athlete, advocate and author of No! Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth, an intimate memoir of her personal struggle to transition and live her true life authentically as a woman. Grace is available for speaking about authentic living with Living on-TRACK, and Gender Variance Education and Training. Visit her website at: http://www.graceannestevens.com/. Follow Grace on Twitter: www.twitter.com/graceonboard .