So I started facial electrolysis a few days ago. The good news is that there was only minor redness afterwards, and taking pain killers ahead of time, made it not too much of an ordeal.
A post-transition friend commented that removing her facial hair ended clearly being a big factor in her deciding to transition. Not seeing her facial hair anymore crystalized an awareness for her. She realized that her path led not to a cliff, but a instead a narrow ridge with a spectacular view. So enjoyable a view that she failed to notice that the ridge was leading down to the bottom of the slope.
It’s a bit different for me because my beard is either blonde, gray or white, so it’s not really visible itself. Although even with close shaving it does cause “texture” on my upper lip and chin that I don’t like, even if it’s something other people probably don’t notice.
But yeah, it was a big step emotionally for me. Walking a ridge is a good way of putting it.
OTOH, life has already changed in ways I never expected — I’m definitely mostly femme-identified at this point, and I never thought I’d be living as a woman on the weekends. Bigendered describes how I live, but it’s not really how I feel anymore. As I’ve said before, I don’t hate being a man, there’s just not a lot anchoring me to that side of the middle path. (OTOH, I could also see how my life could’ve taken a different turn, where I was content to just cross-dress some of the time.)
It’s really the weekend living for the past few months that led me to decide to the do electrolysis. The ridge path may or may not be taking me down the slope, but I’m now spending enough time as a woman that it feels like it makes sense to do anyway.
Plus given the time involved, if I do end transitioning, it makes sense to get started now rather than waiting until I feel I need to urgently transition. At this point, I’d say any transition would be at least 2-3 years out. A year or two for electrolysis; I’d like to spend a year on my voice; and probably a year on hormones.
In my ideal transition path, I’d take time off from work for facial surgery/breast augmentation and then return after that. That way I’d return looking clearly different, and people could draw their own conclusions about what surgery I had done.
Not sure if that’s a practical scenario. I forget whether they recommend one year or two years on hormones before those surgeries, and in either case, I’d imagine hormones would make some visible changes that may be hard to conceal. (Someone I know locally, who’s about my age, has been on hormones about a year, so I’ve seen the changes in her.)
But at this point it’s academic. Although there’s a part of me that would really love to try hormones for a month, since a lot of people report that they finally feel “right” when they do so — and getting some clarity either way from the experience would be helpful. This feeling in-between and not-quite authentic enough is a pain in the ass.
It keeps coming back to the central question: would I be happier enough to justify the cost (financially, emotionally, etc.) and effort? Or am I OK with presenting as a man at work, and living as a woman everywhere else. At the moment, I generally don’t present as a woman on weekend nights, but part of that’s laziness — i.e. I usually get home on the late side (Silicon Valley hours) and don’t feel like doing make-up just to go to the grocery store, get something to eat, etc. OTOH, the fact that I don’t feel a compelling need to do so also tells me something.
Yeah, probably some counseling would probably help, but I’m so busy with other stuff I want to do (performing, etc.) that it’s not a priority. Which again probably says something.
But we’ll see where things go, especially as I start seeing more results from the electrolysis.