Real life test

If you have not read yesterday’s post, “Not In My Wildest Dreams,” I direct you to that before reading this.

Last December, I found myself no longer able to keep spinning my wheels. I had fought so hard to remain male and found that I either was going to lose my sanity or kill myself. I had started and stopped hormone replacement therapy (HRT) three times, each time crashing worse than the previous time I stopped it. I had been in psychotherapy a year-and-a-half.

I felt like a fraud, trying to play the part of a male. I reached the point where I needed to know the answer to the important question: could I live as a female and would it feel right?

It is called the Real Life Test. It is the second or third step in the process of transitioning. The first step is seeing a therapist. The other second or third step is HRT. That became the second step for me as it works so much slower in older males and I wanted the mental peace it provides (which it did, except that I continued to stop taking it, then crashing). The Real Life Test is THE test for a person to truly get a handle on how he or she feels about him- or herself.

It is hard—what an understatement that is—to change one’s outward appearance, mannerisms, voice, and more, to go out into the world as the opposite sex. Males are too tall and large and hairy and deep-voiced. Females are too short and shapely and high-voiced. It takes diligence to find the proper clothes, to practice appropriate mannerisms, to adapt one’s voice even if just a little so that it doesn’t stand out so much, so that one blends in.

I needed to know if I could do it. I needed to know if it felt right. I had hoped to hold off on it, to at least postpone it until we bought a house in the late spring, and to have my first appointment with the endocrinologist to see if she would have any insights into medically treating me so that I could be at peace as a male.

I could wait no more.

I informed Julie. She agreed with me. Over the next few days, I made some phone calls and wrote some emails to inform loved ones and others that I was going to do this, and that I was going to make some videos for YouTube, in order to explain things.

New Year’s Eve morning, as I sat down to make the first video, I freaked out. I walked around the house screaming, bawling prayers to the Lord to help me, that if He wanted me to remain male to please give me the ability to do so. I connected with sister Sue and she consoled me.

I did what I had vowed never to do: I ran away from home. I headed for a safe place. I called Julie—which, in my mind, meant I really had not broken my promise not to run away—after I was several hours from home so that, hopefully, she would agree to let me keep going. She did. I intended to stay away for several days. The lovely people I saw that night strengthened me. By morning, I was ready to return and begin the Real Life Test.

A friend discouraged me from posting the videos. I never made any. He was right; the time still was not ripe for me to go public.

The next day, Friday, January 2, I knew I had to put myself to the test, no horsing around with “maybe tomorrow.” I went grocery shopping as Gina. It went well. Though, surely, I fooled no one, everyone treated me as they would any other customer. I was never so glad to step back into our house, but I was exuberant! For the first time in my life, I went out in public as a person who presented as a female and who was treated as one.

For five weeks, I lived the Real Life Test. Then, all of the old pressures got to me and I was back to the two-person struggle. When, in late April, I hit the two year mark of being in therapy, which prompted my first post that I would be going public about my condition, I felt the Lord was guiding me, providing the answer to my long-prayed petition, to make my situation known to all.

I was trying to remain male. I was fighting myself just awful. Greg was buoyed for a bit, after going public. It caused him to want to be a hero—the guy who had the guts to talk about his gender dysphoria and “beat” it. The offer came to write about it for Higher Things magazine and, once again, it was more than an opportunity to educate, the male in me tried to hang on, to please the two communities: family and faith.

But, only a few days after I went public and wrote the magazine article, I felt nothing male about myself. I held off as we bought our house and moved, finishing that on June 3. I could hold on no more. I fought with myself for four more weeks, feeling quite strongly that if I restarted the Real Life Test, I would finally have faced every problem, answered every question, and jumped every hurdle, that if it should go well then, well, that would be it. I cannot fight anymore, lest I wind up killing myself.

Even more, I have done the research on this. While many do not agree with me, my thorough study has led me to believe I have an intersex condition—a real, physical, mismatching of body and brain, with physical markers which give evidence to the fetal hormone washings not having worked properly. This does not automatically inform me to transition. What it does it teach me, finally, how I am formed. While I will continue to bang the drum for learning about this condition so that we can conquer it, so that babies are not formed in the womb with this mismatch, so that no one ever feel the need to transition, and while I will not celebrate this or promote transitioning as an automatic and happy solution, at this point I accept transitioning as a viable answer for me. Ultimately, it is my goal to teach these two things: the love of our Savior Jesus Christ and that we walk humbly before Him and our fellow man, living the law of love.

July 2, I restarted the Real Life Test. I have lived as a female, 100% of the time. It has gone so well, my self-confidence is through the roof, and my inner peace is profound. I finally feel like one person, not two.

Some of the biggest challenges have been telling people, here in Indy, whom I have met as Greg. For example, I had been to an eye doctor. I had to call them, explain my situation, and tell them I would gladly find another doctor if I would be a problem for them. Quite the opposite, they were very kind. I had my exam, selected frames after they came in, and went back to get my new glasses—ladies frames—and each visit was a wonderful experience.

If the rest of this year goes well, my therapist will give me a passing grade on my Real Life Test. What comes next, along with some of the things already happening? There’s more to tell, and to change my online presence to Gina.

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